Prep And Paint

Our 1969 MGC GT has been in the Bridge Classic Cars paintshop with Chris. He rubbed down the primer on the car before moving it

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Coming Soon

Soon to be arriving at the Bridge Classic Cars workshop is our 1969 MGC Convertible which will eventually be won through Bridge Classic Cars Competitions.

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This Just In – 1968 MGC

The Bridge Classic Cars restoration workshop in Pettistree, Suffolk has recently welcomed this glorious 1968 MGC. This car will go in for our in-house restoration

Read More »

MGC GT Roof And More

Lydia has been hard at work over the last week or so on the roof of our 1969 MGC GT. First, she stripped the old headlining from the roof. As with a lot of materials from the 60s and 70s, the foam had disintegrated, leaving a sticky mess.

Taking the roof apart was challenging as it was not immediately apparent how the headlining part came off the exterior of the roof. Two hidden screws finally showed themselves after a thorough inspection. Lydia used the old headlining as a pattern and made the new one from a brushed nylon fabric. As you can see, it looks a lot fresher and plumped up as it should be compared to the old one. Whilst doing this, she also took time to renew the cover on the rear crash bar, which goes over the boot hinges. This needed a completely new foam underlayer and then new brushed nylon on top. She refitted the rear interior light back to this as well.

Next were all the parts on the actual car body. Lydia first cleaned off the old foam and used a scotch brite pad to prepare the surface. Then, she applied new foam to the sides to offer some sound deadening and a base for the headlining to go on top. After this, she had to put the frame and the outer skin of the roof on, and tighten the nuts to hold this on.

Afterwards, Lydia cut the headlining to size on the job, then sewed it where necessary, and glued it to the car. The edges were glued to the metal frame and finished with some top on edging. The front piece of headlining was looking somewhat bumpy, so she cut a piece of cardboard to size and placed this underneath. It helped to smooth out the bumps and give it a much better finish. Then Lydia replaced all of the items attached to the roof, wind deflector, rear view mirror and sun visor clips.

The doors and the bonnet of our MGC were painted before the car was flatted and polished.

Prep And Paint

Our 1969 MGC GT has been in the Bridge Classic Cars paintshop with Chris.

He rubbed down the primer on the car before moving it into the oven and masked it up ready for painting. Chris then painted the car before painting the roof frame in DTM Satin.

Coming Soon

Soon to be arriving at the Bridge Classic Cars workshop is our 1969 MGC Convertible which will eventually be won through Bridge Classic Cars Competitions.

We love MGs and they are always popular competition cars. As you can see from the photos below, our MGC looks to be in great shape so we are looking forward to its arrival very soon.

What’s The Story – What is a University Motors Special?

In MG folklore, nothing sparks debate like the words ‘University Motors’. A misty, murky and sometimes erroneous rabbit hole which is filled with wildly varying statistics and numbers. What is known, is that University Motors was an MG dealership.

University Motors was the largest MG dealership for London and the Home Counties. From the 1930s, they supplied the public with sportscars, family cars and commercials until the 1970s. Where we will be pointing our interest happens in and around the late 1960s…

The MG C, a 6-cylinder variant of the hugely popular MG B, was introduced by British Leyland in 1967. Originally the car was reported to be the replacement for the fabulous Austin-Healey 3000. The legendary straight-six powered sports car that would serve as the inspiration for the upcoming MG C. Offered in both Roadster and Hardtop, the MG C’s would have a varied reception in the automotive press at the time. Although the more powerful 3-litre Austin-derived 6-cylinder engine was a welcomed addition by many, the extra 200lbs of weight in the front and revised suspension did take its toll on the nimble and playful nature people had loved from the MG B.

In 1969, less than 2 years after production had begun, British Leyland decided to pull the plug on MG C. Slow sales, an increase in fuel costs and the legendary MG B GT V8 looming on the horizon all contributed to the end of the production of the MG C.

This is where University Motors enters our story.

Legend handed down says that in 1969, the end of the production run, University Motors bought up the remaining MG C’s from British Leyland. The total amount varies though. Some sources say that as many 141 cars were bought by UM from Abingdon and delivered between September and December of 1969, but some have said that number could be as high as 176 or as a few as 90. Either way, a number of both Roadster and GT MG C’s found their way to the Hanwell dealership to be put into storage.

Some of the MG C’s would be sold as they were – standard, off-the-line 6-cylinder cars. While others would have special bits and pieces done to them for their owners by such garages as Wood & Pickett (known for their bespoke, unique Mini’s) to their desired taste. Because of this, no two University Motors ‘Specials’ were the same and only around 14 – 21 of the 150+ cars were modified.

There were special engine tuning options available – Such as the now infamous ‘Stage II’ works carried out to the Downton engines. This would see an increase in both performance and fuel economy thanks to some not inconsiderable cylinder head work which pushed the compression up to 9.5:1, some beautiful inlet porting and a tubular exhaust manifold. All though it only saw a small increase in horsepower, the Stage II work would wonderfully increase the low-end torque of the engine and help it to come alive. There were some cars optioned with the wilder Stage III Kit for the Downton engines, but only 3 cars are believed to have ever had this fitted.

On the undersides of the UM ‘Specials’ there were also changes. The dampers were changed out to either Koni or Spax units to help with the added weight and also to bring back some of the dynamics which had been removed from the standard MG C’s because of their considerable reworks. There were also several wheel options to choose from for a ‘Special’ with incredible alloy wheels from companies such as Cosmic, J A Pearce and the quintessential MiniLites.

Physically, there were also changes available to the Specials. Anything from flared arches, different grilles, Matt Black paint accents to wild bespoke bodywork by coachbuilders. Anything was possible just to sell off the cars in stock. There were badges fitted to the cars, some would say simply University Motors, others University Motors Special. Some were emblazoned with Downton plaques but all of them never seem to be in a uniform and consistent place. The standard MG C bonnets, sporting their impressive power bulge, would see some of the cars modified with the teardrop. A special addition to the bonnet to make way for the triple-SU’s that hid under the bonnets of Stage II and III cars, identifiable also by the twin rear exhausts.

With the cars still in stock, University Motors would supply MG C’s well into the early 1970s. Because of their tuning and performance upgrades, many people sought to replicate the identity of these cars. Aftermarket badges, rocker covers, bonnets and everything else under the sun sprung up to allow people to give the impression that theirs was one of the mythical ‘Specials’.

Many MG C’s and MG B’s wore University Motors badges because of being supplied from the outfits Hanley dealership, over 40 years they supplied literally thousands of cars which made their way across the UK, some pretending to be what others truly had. And others slipping under the radar in obscurity. No definitive records are kept as to which cars had what and when, they have unfortunately disappeared into the annuls of time as the dealership closed its doors for the final time many years ago.

With the workshop lights of the dealership turned off for the final time and the dust beginning to settle on the floors – no longer would the sound of rampant straight-sixes fill their storied walls. No longer would these magnificent machines be created but also, no longer would the world know for definite. Even according to accounts by ex-University Motors employees the numbers and specifications of certain cars vary wildly.

This all adds to the mystique, the magic and the mystery behind those hallowed words which adorn the badges – University Motors Special.

Update – Progress on the 1968 MGC Roadster

The 1968 MGC Roadster in the Bridge Classic Cars restoration workshop at our Pettistree HQ has had a series of key jobs finished on the classic roadster.

Jon has been working on getting the MGC Roadster sorted for its new life. Ranging from the engine bay, under the dash and the wheels.

The first job was to fit up the new hoses which lead to the breather tank in the engine bay of the car. This is vital that any excess oil or any fumes are routed into a separate tank. There are several vent tubes associated with the 6-cylinder engine that are required to be routed to the catch can.

Next, he began to look into getting the heater cable fixed in place and linked up to the controller/dial on the dashboard of the MGC. With everything linked up, Jon could test the heating system in the cabin of the classic MGC.

A crucial job that needed to be done on the car was replacing one of the wheel bearings. Jon noticed that the wheel was making some small noises and allowed for some small movement back and forth when rocked.

With all of this done, the car can be completely road tested and signed off.

Neat and Tidy – Tidying Up The Engine Bay Wiring of the 1968 MGC Roadster

The restoration technicians in the Bridge Classic Cars workshop have the fantastic 1968 MGC Roadster currently on the ramp to complete several jobs on the car. This time, it’s tidying up the wiring in the engine bay.

Jon has been methodically going through the wiring under the bonnet of the classic convertible sports car to make sure everything not only works correctly but is safely routed around the engine bay. System by system, he has grouped together separate parts of the harness and shielded them where necessary.

The State of Things – Wiring Repairs on the 1968 MGC

The Bridge Classic Cars in-house restoration team have been working on the 1968 MGC that arrived at our Pettistree workshop at our Suffolk HQ.

Our in-house technician Paul has been going through the incredible sports car and found some damage to the wiring harness. So, Paul has been methodically repairing the affected wires and carefully reshielding them after testing them thoroughly.

With this done, Paul can begin checking the other systems on the MGC.

This Just In – 1968 MGC

The Bridge Classic Cars restoration workshop in Pettistree, Suffolk has recently welcomed this glorious 1968 MGC.

This car will go in for our in-house restoration technicians to assess the entire vehicle to see what may need doing to this fantastic and rather rare sports car.

The MGC is a 3 litre straight-six powered MG Roadster built between 1967 and 1969. This is one of 4542 Roadsters built during its entire production run.