MGC News – February 2020
MGC conversations with Richard Mixture
MGC GTS’s in the new year
Well, Happy New Year! It’s Richard here again for another year. Wow, 20% of the century has gone, I can’t believe it, I was 20 years younger when it started. Is that why I look so different when I look into the mirror. Well, I glad I’m aging gracefully, yes just like the rest of you.
Well, the big fat man in red visited me a few weeks ago and he left the same things for me as he usual does. No not hankies, nor jocks, or boxers or action briefs or what ever they call them these days. He left me an MG calendar and an MG book and an MG stubby holder. Quite nice really.
The book is another beauty from Veloce! ‘MGC GTS Lightweights – Abingdon’s Last Racers’ authored by David Morys. One of the best books I’ve read that only covers the MGC. Mind you there aren’t very many. If you read to the end of the index you’ve looked at 144 pages. This square format book covers many MGC topics staring with ‘The ADO 52 Project’ the project that conceived the MGC back in 1963 but eventually got underway in 1966. The book even has an extract of minutes of a meeting held in November 1966, at Longbridge, between Mr H J Suffield, Mr A A Issigonis and Mr S Turner.
The second chapter covers “The Power Behind The C’, then chapter three looks at the ‘Technicalities’, followed by ‘Production’, ‘Anatomy’ and ‘Building The GTS’. Chapter seven details the ‘Competition’, then life after ‘Sebring’, followed by the ‘Chatham Cars’, ‘Clones’, ‘The Huffaker MGC’, rejuvenation and ‘Loose Ends’.
The appendices have copies of build sheets for MBL 546E and Targa Floria and Sebring programmes.
Some of the photos are brilliant. It’s fascinating to see the raw aluminium body shell and how the flared wings were constructed and bonded and rivetted to a standard aluminium wing or mud guard for those people still in buggy land. When these panels were being pressed by Pressed Steel at Swindon, the MGC had not been released, so very few people knew what they were for. The assumption probably was that these panels were for a racing MGB. The aluminium panels were pressed at the end of 1966 and were done on the weekends so as not to disrupt the mass production of steel panels during the week. The press dies were adjusted to suit the aluminium and were lubricated with lanolin to avoid the material sticking to the dies.
Back at Abingdon the aluminium body panels were fitted to a steel floor pan including the transmission tunnel, bulkheads and sill sections. The wings were cut and the flared guards were fitted as were the front and rear valances. The adhesive used was Araldite and several paragraphs discuss the different strengths used together with the aluminium rivets.
The Factory produced two MGC GT lightweights, MBL 546E and RMO 699F and were given chassis numbers ADO52/1060 and ADO52/1059 respectively. Six MG body numbers were also allocated according to the paperwork. A third shell was completed at the Factory but was not a going MGC GT.
Sadly, BMC (actually it was BMH) was taken over by bus company Leyland or was it a trolleybus company? In 1970 the Competitions Department was closed and John Chatham bought the remaining MGC lightweight shells and spare panels and built at least four GTS replicas. The completed body shell was fitted with running gear and registered VHW 330H. The recipient of this car was Alan Zafer, the Competition Press Officer for BMC.
The second and third cars completed by Chatham were VHY 5H and EHW 441K and their history is detailed. The fourth GTS was Chatham’s own race car which he successfully used during the 1970s in Modsports racing events. Being a racing car, it was not register and therefore does not have a number. This was the car sold in 2016 for an affordable sum of €140,000, that’s about AUD 236,806.50 in today’s money.
So, if you fancy adding an MGC GTS to your stable, go to the model shop.
Well, have a wonderful 2020 and I hope the year fills all of your desires and when you end up with a real GTS in your garage please let me know and take me for a spin. Garry Julian excepted of course, ‘cos he built his own!
Remember ladies and gentlemen keep ‘em tuned,