1969 MGC Roadster AutoView vehicle description
Produced between 1967 and 1969, the MGC Roadster is quite a rare car with only around 9,000 models ever having been built. Its lack of consumer appeal is thought to have been because few potential buyers were prepared to lay down the extra money needed to buy one when it looked so much like an MGB, even if it did have a straight-six engine under that bulging bonnet.
That was an important difference, because that three-litre engine, with its 145bhp and 170lb/ft of torque, was enough to give the MGC a top speed of 120mph, which was a revelation in its day and is still more than adequate on today’s roads. That makes it a fine choice as an everyday classic or long-distance cruiser.
It is ironic that many drivers now prefer the MGC over the more common MGB; this is probably due to the fact that the former is rarer and makes a much nicer noise than the latter. The subtle looks, which were perhaps in downfall in period, now say only good things about the driver behind the wheel, at least to the cognoscenti.
It’s also faster and more accelerative than its four-cylinder cousin, which is kind of the point. After all, if you’re going to drive a rakish British sports car then you really do want the full-fat option if possible, don’t you?
The vendor is a classic car enthusiast and dealer, and has owned this smart MGC Roadster for 9 years: “It’s only had four previous owners from new, with the last two being a father and then son – who owned it for a total of around 30 years between them. The history and mileage most appealed to me; it had (and still has) some lovely documentation with it and just from the paperwork you could tell that the dad was quite particular, which is no bad thing.”
Originally resident in London, Ian had the car situated in storage in Southampton. “It was my intention to use it, but I never quite got round to it or indeed to selling it.” When he relocated to Cornwall the car stayed in its storage facility, coming out to play just for MOT tests and a bit of regular, if brief exercise. “I’ve only covered a few hundred miles in that time.”
He says that, although just over 50 years old, the MGC is “pretty good throughout”. The aforementioned dad (of the father and son ownership duo) had some restorative works carried out in 1985 that still hold up well, even today.
The service book and extensive history file both back up the car’s mileage and can be viewed in the photographic gallery, below. The odometer currently reads 63,375 miles, which given the car’s age isn’t much at all.
On the Outside
Tartan Red is quite possibly the best MGB or MGC colour; for the former it brings to mind the Le Mans and Monte Carlo Rally race cars, but in this case it simply lends this example a charming exterior disposition. “There are a couple of bubbles on the door bottoms and the wheels could do with a lick of paint,” states Ian. “But it presents very nicely overall.”
We agree wholeheartedly with the above statement. It has a lovely smart appearance. The paintwork stands up well with a nice deep colour and decent luster, while the bodywork is straight all round. It’s pleasantly free of stonechips or other marks. The only area we’d perhaps suggest tidying up is the rear lower valance, which is a touch chipped in places. Popping the doors, boot and bonnet reveals nice and clean sills, door shuts and gutters.
The chrome-work isn’t in the first flush of youth with a touch of surface pitting here and there, but it’s very minor and it all buffs up well. All the original chrome mouldings remain in place and it wears elegant steel wheels and chrome hubcaps, rather than the optional wire wheels (personally we think they lend it a pleasing visual disposition).
“It could possibly benefit from a new hood,” says Ian. “However, I kept the old one on as it still has the ‘Lothian MG Centre’ sticker on it from its restoration in the Eighties. You’ll also find the original bag for the tonneau cover and poles for the hood.”
The MGC wears four Federal Super Speed 657 tyres, which Ian had fitted three years ago and that have seen minimal usage since.
On the Inside
The high levels of originality continue inside the car. There you’ll find a ‘Triplex Laminated’ windscreen sticker, as well as another telling the driver how to reset the trip meter. Lifting the carpets and mats reveals solid, corrosion free metal.
Overall, the cabin is in nice condition. The crackle black dashboard is relatively unmarked, carpets are fresh recent additions and both the seats and door cards remain in tip-top states. The red piping on the latter really suits the exterior colour and gives the black interior a bit of visual zing.
“The ignition, and all external locks work on the same key and there are two with the car, although only one petrol cap key. The glovebox is on a different key, so you can lock your stuff in it if it goes into a garage for work.” In the boot, still stored in their original bag, you’ll find all of the car’s original tools. “There’s also a very old cross-ply spare tyre; it may very well be the original period one. I haven’t changed it as I love the originality, but the new owner may choose to match it to the much newer exterior ones.”
“It drives very well and the automatic gearbox suits it,” says Ian. “An auto MGB can feel a bit lethargic but the unit really suits the extra power of the MGC engine, and makes for a relaxed and smooth driving experience. Roof down, wafting and cruising around on country roads really makes for a lovely drive”
The brake servo was rebuilt and new rear brake cylinders were fitted three years ago, with pads and discs changed just prior to his ownership, so it pulls up nice and square. “The only issue is if you don’t use the car then the oil drains back out the torque convertor and it gets a bit of a leak. This is common to this gearbox (also used on the Stag and Rovers), but you just keep an eye on it and top it up when necessary. Of course, the best fix is to use the car more regularly!”
The engine bay has some light surface rust here and there, but the next owner could take their time to sympathetically improve this area. The underbonnet sound deadening is coming a bit loose in places also but probably just requires a bit of adhesive to re-fix it.
It’s a similar story underneath where it all looks good and solid. The actual underside metal is well protected, but some of the suspension components, cross members and differential housing could do with a thorough wire brushing and re-application of protective paint.
The car had a service and new MOT with no advisory notices carried out last month. However, as the car hasn’t seen much actual road time for a number of years we’d recommend that it has a thorough going over before being used in anger (or much more likely, pleasure).
Would sir or madam prefer to know very little about their prospective purchase or to have a surfeit of knowledge? That is of course, a rhetorical question. We’re certain that you’d prefer to have as much information as possible on which to base your buying decision. Well I’m afraid that using a word like ‘impressive’ wouldn’t suffice here, as we have an incredible 127 photographs (yes, one hundred and twenty seven!) detailing this car’s history.
They range from old MOT certificates to its original British Leyland BMC Passport to Service book and detailed handwritten owner’s notes, including a letter from father to son. Throw in a multitude of invoices and even an MG Owners’ Accessory Catalogue, and you get the idea of how much there is to peruse. It’s definitely one that any interested party should take their time to electronically leaf through.
Highlights? Well, how about the receipts for its mid 1980s restoration (for £2,360.66, £1,202.38 and £1,378.54), a multitude of handwritten notes by a fastidious owner detailing each individual spend and servicing history (the latter fully backed up by the original service booklet stamps and receipts). In addition you’ll also find more recent work carried out by Ian including fresh track rod ends, rear brake cylinders, brake servo and electronic ignition in December 2017, and new rear hub seals, bonnet buffers and radiator surround seals in November 2020, along with the MOT and service.
Please visit the documents section of the gallery of this listing where you will find photos of the paperwork to support our claim that this car has been restored and maintained to a very high standard.
What We Think
This is a lovely, appealing example of a very rare MGC model. According to Anders Ditlev Clausager’s Original MGB With MGC and MGB GT V8 just 92 home market Roadsters sported an automatic gearbox, making this uncommon in the extreme.
We can confirm that the auto ‘box really suits the model’s long cruising legs and makes it an effortless GT to pilot. Ian tends towards understatement, “it’s a nice old thing.” And who are we to disagree with that lovely sentiment?
It still presents very well and has a whole host of very pleasant interior and exterior touches of originality, as well as that impressively extensive history file. We think this MGC is one for the model connoisseur and as such think it’ll sell for between £16,000 and £22,000.
There’s no doubt that an MGC represents a safe place to park your money. It should steadily accrue, while you enjoy the car’s elegant British top-down wares on the open road. Surely that’s a perfect combination?
Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; to arrange an appointment please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance, Classic Concierge for storing your car plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping.
BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.
Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.
Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.
Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.
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