Lot 137 - 1969 MG C GTS ‘Works-tribute'
|Estimate||£35,000 - £42,000|
|Result||Sold - £39,200|
- Raced by Gerry Marshall and Colin Percy
- Comes with FIA papers from 1990
- Superb condition with recent works carried out
The MGC GTS Sebring was one of the best looking and most iconic creations to come out of the BMC Competitions Department in the 1960s. MG felt that success in International competition would help their brand image in general and the forthcoming launch of the MGC in particular. Work on designing a lightweight 'C' began in 1966 with the intention of competing in the World Sportscar Championship (Group 6 Sports Prototypes) and six bodyshells were built with the centre structure built from steel similar to the production cars, whilst the exterior panels, such as the roof, doors, and the instantly recognisable bubble-arched wings, were formed in aluminium. Ultimately, only two lightweight versions of the MGC GT were assembled by BMC at Abingdon. These 'Works' cars, RMO 699F and MBL 546E, (affectionately known as 'Romeo and Mable') ran in the 1967 Targa Florio and in 1968, the MGC GTS, as it was now known, raced at Sebring and the 84hr-long Marathon de la Route at the Nürburgring. Their final Works-supported outings were at Sebring in 1969, when the MGC competition project was cancelled. During the early 1980s Colin Pearcy, a name synonymous with British circuit racing and classic MG racers, owned RMO 699F, one of the two official 'works' cars built by BMC to compete in the 1969 Sebring 12 hours. Colin raced a variety of cars at that time and was sufficiently successful at International level to qualify for BRDC membership. At the time, Colin had the largest private MG car collection in the country which, at its peak, housed over 30 interesting MGs a few with works history. He raced most of them from time to time, however, he felt that RMO 699F was simply too valuable to risk in 'Club' meetings with the inevitable dramas, so he decided to build from scratch an MGC GT that resembled RMO in many ways but could be raced most weekends without the financial penalty.
This fabulous road/race car was built to 'Works' specification for competition use in the early 1980s by Doug Smith of MG Motorsport for Colin Pearcy. Its bodyshell was constructed using alloy arches, wings and doors, fabricated in the style of the 'Works' cars. It has rose-jointed tie rods, anti-tramp bars, straight-cut box, rear disc brakes and a competition rear differential. Once constructed, it was raced by luminaries in the sport such as Gerry Marshall, Colin Pearcy, Barry 'Sideways' Sidery-Smith and Chris Conoley, to some success. It has FIA papers dated July 1990 which state works specifications.
Doug Smith of MG Motorsport had the knowledge and expertise required to construct a replica of Abingdon's special tuning department's GTS and this very special works replica would go on to be owned and raced by some of British motorsport's most prominent figures. A solid 1969 MGC GT donor car was sourced and construction of the bodyshell was undertaken by Vincent Cyril Higgs at Colin's workshop at Yardley Farm. The aluminium body panels, including the wings, door skins and rear arches, were specially fabricated to duplicate those used by the factory, resulting in the same 'Macho' stance that rendered the Abingdon cars so distinctive. The engine build, including blueprinting and balancing, was undertaken by John Murray and the final assembly and set up was entrusted to the experienced hands of Doug Smith. Finished in Signal Red, and looking every inch the Group 6 'beastie', 'VVK 9H' was regularly raced by Colin during the late '80s in rounds of the HSCC 'Classics' Championship, Top Gear Heritage Championship and the MGCC Championship. Colin and Gerry Marshall were great mates and indeed shared drives in the car during two-driver races. When approached properly, Gerry was hugely generous with his time and advice, particularly to newcomers, however, when a fellow racer could be heard quoting directly from "The Racing Driver's Book of Excuses" he tended to 'take no prisoners' often suggesting that a "lack of power" was more likely a "lack of talent". Colin was no mean peddler either, but on one occasion at Mallory, he had not enjoyed his best race in VVK 9H and after some, less than gentle, derision from Mr. Marshall, Colin promptly sold it to him and returned to the bar. After a short period of time, the car was then sold on to the prominent car collector, Arthur Carter, a close friend of Gerry's. Mr Carter had the engine totally stripped and rebuilt and generally re-commissioned and it was agreed that the well-respected and vastly experienced club racer, Chris Conoley, would race the car in the UK and at selected International events. We understand that the last such event was the 1990 Trophée des Ardennes at Spa. At some point during this period, the exterior of the car was changed from Signal Red to British Racing Green with a Yellow valance and red engine bay as an homage to the original Targa Florio works cars and with the addition of period trade decals, it looked absolutely correct. The car today presents and drives very well. It is being offered fully recommissioned with a history file including FIA papers dated 1990, the current V5 documents, and various invoices for work carried out over the years including some £6,000 having recently been spent with Thomson Garages in London. This is a great opportunity to own a car that is very well known in MG circles with a fascinating provenance. Suitable for hill climbs, circuit racing (new owners would have to establish the currency of safety-related items), or fast-road use. With cars built from works spares changing hands for six-figure sums in recent times, we believe this example, at this guide, represents fantastic value.
Interested parties should note that there is a small gearbox issue which the vendor will pay to have fixed for the new owner
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Buyers are advised to inspect the car in person or use a professional to carry out this service.