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Unique 'MGC Prototype' Replica at Shannons

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SYDNEY – April 25, 2013: The six-cylinder engined MGC was originally proposed as a replacement for the Austin-Healey 3000, but as it was in production for less than two years, it has become increasingly collectible today.

But what is not widely known is that Australia played an important role in its development.

The first engine to be considered for the new car was an Australian-designed six-cylinder version of the BMC B-Series, as fitted to the Austin Freeway. However after tests in England, this engine was considered not powerful enough for the new MG flagship and the heavier 2.9-litre straight six later employed in the Austin 3-Litre saloon was fitted to production versions from 1967.

However on Monday (April 29), you can buy a locally built and painstakingly executed ‘replica’ of that original ‘Australian’ MGC prototype, which is being offered with no reserve price at Shannons Melbourne Autumn Classic Auction.

Beginning with a rubber-bumper, US-sourced MGB, this thoroughly rebuilt MG is similarly fitted with the prototype’s 2.4-litre six cylinder engine from an Austin Freeway, coupled to a Nissan Skyline five-speed manual transmission.

As with the original prototype, many other locally-sourced components were used to upgrade the MGB’s chassis, suspension and brakes to handle the additional power and torque of the six-cylinder engine.

They included a re-cored Austin Freeway radiator, a Honda fuel pump, a re-engineered front-end utilising HG Holden oil shock absorbers and a strengthened rear end with an extra leaf spring.

The interior has been fitted out in the style envisaged for the top-level MG model, with camel leather-look trim, a solid Tasmanian Blackwood dash and MGB English-type dash gauges.

This unique MGB six-cylinder comes with receipts for recent work and has travelled only 150km since its cylinder head was rebuilt in 2010.

It is being offered for sale with no reserve, with Shannons expecting it to attract bids in the $12,000-$18,000 range because of its uniqueness as well as reflecting the increasing value of the surviving and increasingly rare MGC models.

Other MG models in the auction include a lovely Primrose with black interior 1968 MGB MkI roadster that was originally imported from the United States and converted to right hand drive that has had little use since 2005 ($12,000-$16,000) and a well-presented and mechanically fresh 1948 MG TC Roadster that has been used as a daily driver for most of its 25 years in the vendor’s hands ($25,000-$30,000).

Not quite an MG, but certainly one in spirit is the 1994 model TD 2000 Roadster that is believed to have covered just 5,700km since new, has always been garaged and has been in the vendor’s hands since two months after delivery ($24,000-$28,000).