MGC News – April 2020

MGC conversations with Richard Mixture

A Numbers Game

Hello there, it’s Richard here again.  It’s all in the numbers.  That wonderful young Club member who is looking after the MGC Register, John Craven, has set it up so that the first cars produced are listed first.  To do that there are numbers involved as I’m sure you know. 

When the MGC bodies were pressed and assembled by Pressed Steel they were numbered so they could keep tabs on how many they made and could charge MG for the ones that they delivered.  This number was stamped on the floor on the driver’s side in front of the seat mounting bolts.  It’s usually covered with a bitumen coating and paint which has to be removed in order to see the number.  Now the question I first asked was, is the car a right-hand drove ‘C’ or a left-hand drive one?  And the answer is, the number is on the right-hand side of the car whether there is a steering wheel there or not.

MG then stamped this number on to a little plate which was rivetted to the inner left side guard in the engine bay.  The plate calls this number the “Car No.”  The number is preceded by a bunch of letters.  “G” means MG, “C” means MGC, “N” means roadster, “D” means GT and “1” means Series 1.  Then there’s other marking such as “-“, means neither “U” means USA Market and “L” means LHD.  Then there’s the number and the letter “G” which means the MG Factory at Abingdon.

The number is also stamped on the chassis rail near the engine mount although I have never seen this number but there are pictures of it.  My ‘C’ also has the number stamped on a tag that is fixed to the top of the dash and is read through the window.

So, you’d think with all this information it would be easy to identify an MGC with it’s Car No.  Most of the time it is but sometimes it is quite difficult. 

I was contacted by a nice young gentleman who lives in that small country town called Sydney.  Steve has a racing MGC GT with 200+bhp engine, improved brakes and suspension and says it’s a fun car to drive and certainly gets your attention when ambling down Conrod Straight, Bathurst, at 130mph.

Steve’s Car No. is difficult to read

Now, Steve knew his car was a GT and was told it was a 1969 ‘C’ that came to Australia from the good old US of A.  But, it was not easy to ID his car from the “Car No.” plate.  We assumed the number should start with GCD1U/ …. G.  But Steve’s plate appeared to have a three-digit number, ‘863’ possibly, if you consider the last letter is a ‘G’ which all numbers have.  Looking at the UK data base, that number shows the car is a February 1968 roadster which Steve’s car is not.  Looking at those numbers again it looks hand stamped which is similar to some very early cars and not late ones which is a bit odd. 

Some number ‘threes’ use a font with a straight top to the number three eg 3, but not always.  So maybe the number is an eight and not a three.  The font appears to be similar to ones used on some of the plates.  So, it’s all a bit confusing.

Steve checked the floor but could not find any numbers.  There was no dashboard tag nor chassis markings.  When crawling under the car and into the engine bay Steve discovered his ‘C’ was Primrose before it was painted red.  We also discussed yoga …  He contacted the previous owner and manage to contact the one before that who owned the car in 1989.

After looking at many numbers and considering the UK data base, we decided the best match was #8636 which is a Primrose GT that was despatched to Los Angeles, USA in July 1969.  We decided the ‘G’ at the end of the number must have fallen off the car somewhere along Conrod Straight.

The main photo above is Steve Perry peddling his MGC GT through The Cutting at Bathurst

Remember ladies and gentlemen keep ‘em tuned,