1969 MG C 3.0 Liter Inline 6 from North America
One of the most under-rated of the 60's sports cars. An affordable Aston
Overall, Madge has been very dependable. The only major troubles being associated with stripped splines on the wire wheels giving way under hard braking. The first time this happened, back in '84 or '85, I lost the spinner and the wheel. The second time, I immediately let off on the brake (deftly avoiding the braking car in front of me), pulled to the side and disconnected my front brakes for the VERY careful drive home. Since then I have been very careful about making certain that the hubs and wheels were kept greased.
I used to make a lot of long high-speed runs on California's open highways (San Francisco - L.A. and San Francisco to the Redding and Sacramento areas) and somehow managed to blow my rear piston on one, '87-ish. The car continued to run OK despite the heavy smoke, and the replacement was fairly simple, not even requiring the removal of the engine.
The leather seats fell victim to *something* in the early 90's. I'm guessing some cleaner or oil. I left the car out in the rain (something that had happened a few times before), but this time, the leather shrunk, ripping all of the seams.
The bullet contacts have led to a few lighting failures, but this is a known issue, and the bad contacts can usually be easily found, wire brushed and put back together.
The fuel tank ended up rusting in the mid 90's, and needing to be replaced with a galvanized unit.
The oil-pressure regulator's spring gave out sometime (forget when now) when I was in college and was over $100 to repair. I ended up spot-welding it closed, figuring that the chances of having *so much* oil pressure that I'd ruin something were slim. I only replaced the spot-welded piece with a good new one a few years ago.
Overall, not a bad track-record for more than 30 years and almost a quarter-million miles of service.
I bought the MG after having been able to drive a Big Healey for a while, needing a replacement for my (admittedly abused) Alfa and FIAT DD/Track Cars. Just as I was deciding that the Big Healey was not looking like an affordable option, the C came along and I grabbed it. Early on, I was extremely impressed with the torque, acceleration, comfort and speed but quite disappointed in the handling, and for years I felt I needed at least three cars, an American muscle car for the strip, the MGC for touring, and a "true" sports car for the track. (Getting to use any of them or a motorcycle for general use as the mood suited).
Over the years, and after having a number of cars in the "Sports Car" role, the MG's done a fine job of working her way into it as well - a quick search of YouTube will find a number of great examples currently being campaigned. Wider radial tires and polyurethane bushings get rid of the understeer issues that were written up when the car was released. This can be improved upon even more with a quick rack, adjustable shocks and uprated torsion bars.
I've had dozens of cars over the years. They come and go, but I've always had the C. It gets better and seems more "ahead of its time" every year. It's one of the few classics that I wouldn't hesitate to take on a 1000 mile freeway trip. It's comfortable, dependable and doesn't complain going 80 MPH for days at a time. Looks like a classic 60's Roadster. Sounds like a classic 60's Roadster. Drives like a modern GT. The best of all worlds.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 4th January, 2012