1968 MG C TYPE Downton for sale £29,950

Cars / Classic Cars (UK)

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CALL *******0984 Show number
Title 1968 MG C TYPE Downton
Make MG
Price GBP £29,950
Refcode DIY1158540
Mileage (Miles) 70,000
Mileage (KM) 112,654
Colour Green
Gearbox type Manual

A rare opportunity for the MG enthusiast and collector to acquire probably the fastest MG road car of the Classic pre 1980's era. Downton claim a 0 to 60 mph of 7.5 seconds 0 to 100 mph of 19.5 seconds and 130 plus top speed while averaging 18 to 24 mpg. Very few MGC went to Downton to be modified and it is believed this was the first. The MGC was the last BMC engine the series C to have Daniel Richmonds attention as British Leyland took over and severed outside help.

The car is in nice usable condition and a joy to drive having covered less than 70,000 miles by its cherished six owners. If interested please come and view. May take a part exchange for something interesting. A car close to E type performance at a lot less cost.

First Registered 27th February 1968.

Cost ­- £1412-2s-4p.

Colour British Racing Green. Black Interior.

Extras Overdrive, Wire Wheels, Heated Rear Screen, Heater, SP Tyres, Underseal, Seat Belts.

Registration 1 CFU.

Current Registration RFU 943 G.

Chassis Number G-CD1/776-G.

Engine Number 29G-RU-H/189.

Body Number 383-P.

Right Hand Drive Home Market.

Distributor A H Turner Ltd. St John Street, Markham Moor, Nr Retford, Notts.

First Registered Owner C. G. Gray of Lea, Gainsborough, Lincs.

Second Registered Owner 27th May 1972.

Graham David Roberts of Lincoln.

Third Registered Owner 11th October 1976.

Peter Robert Anderson of Lincoln.

Fourth Registered Owner 31st August 1977.

Derek George & Pearl McGlen of Sleaford.

Engine Modifications - Carried out by Downton Engineering Works Ltd. Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Went to Downton in May 1968 and the engine was modified to a Stage Three Number 45 Conversion giving 174bhp.

Cylinder Head Exchanged (Number 6024). Compression Ratio 9.5 : 1

Cylinder Head Number 6

Three Special Inlet Gas Flowed Manifolds.

Exhaust Six Branch Gas Flowed Manifold.

Three SU Carburettors Type HS6 plus Piping, Yellow springs, Needles HS6.

Mixture Control.

Progressive Throttle.

Static Ignition Timing 8 Degrees BTDC

Tappets Hot 0.015

Contact Breaker Gap 0.015

Air Cleaners.

Set of Gaskets.

Set of Spark Plugs (KLG FE 125P)

New Parts 3 Inlet Manifolds, 2 Air Cleaners, 1 Throttle Linkage.

Cost £228-11s-0p

The first MGCs were six pre production cars and were made from the 3rd November 1966 starting with chassis number 101 but launch date was not until the 18th October 1967 at the Earls Court Motorshow. Production was slow and only 230 cars were made in 1967 and only 41 were GTs. When production did get going 100 cars were built a week. The last MGC was built on the 18th September 1969. The last Roadster was chassis number 9099 and the last GT was chassis number 9102 a total of 8999 cars were made. The home market had 1403 Roadsters and 2034 GTs. Strangely the last cars did not leave Abingdon until March 1970.

A record of the numbers made with the Downton conversions was not made but there were more 149bhp stage two or known as 43 conversions than 174bhp stage three or known as 45 conversions, because they were cheaper and easier to fit by the enthusiast. The 174bhp triple carburettor 45 conversions could also be done at home although more complicated but people in other countries requested these but the badges often were not fitted. As early as the autumn of 1967 BMC announced the stage one and stage two or Downton 43 tuned engines were available but this was on the Austin 3 litre saloons which shared the same engine as the MGC. When production ceased in September 1969 there was a stock of MGCs remaining and University Motors BMCs largest dealership made an offer to take them. This figure is confusing as it was thought to be 176 but it seems to now transpire 118 GTs and 23 Roadsters were more likely to have been acquired.

University Motors marketed them as University Motors MG Specials and worked hard to sell all these cars offering many extras and upgrades but most were just cosmetic changes to paint and trim. An alloy slatted grill was fitted to most; in fact no two cars were alike. One was altered so the rear seat could sit two adults with reasonable comfort and others had changes to the suspension for better handling. Downton kits were available and fitted to a few cars but not carried out by Downton, University Motors gave their own warranties. 21 cars received the Downton upgrades most were to Stage two spec not Stage three. In reality only a handful of cars went to Downton during production for the 45 upgrades and were badged properly.

BMC Series C. 3 litre Engine.

The BMC C Series engine was in production from 1954 to 1971. A cast iron block and head with a single over head cam shaft that was chain driven. It came as a 2639cc or a 2912cc. The last version of it came out in 1967 to go in the Austin 3 litre saloon and the MGC GT and Roadster. It was now a seven bearing crank instead of four and to reduce weight all ancillary castings were alloy. The block and head castings were redesigned but only 45lb was saved. The manifolds were changed so breathing more efficiently but only another 19bhp was gained taking it to 146bhp, it was though a very reliable unit.

Daniel Richmond carried out modifications and had himself a 3 litre saloon which he drove 300 thousand miles in. I have outlined the modifications at the very beginning but it is interesting to make comparisons to 3 litre cars of the time to appreciate the full Downton 45 conversion.

Downton Engineering Ltd.

Daniel and Bunty Richmond were partners in the home and at work but did not marry. Daniels parents were Sir Robert Daniel Richmond and Monica Davy whose father was Sir James Davey. Their son Daniel was born in India around 1924. Sir Robert was in the England rugby team in the 1890s before going to India in 1896 to join the Indian Forest Service; he took a pack of Fox hounds to hunt Jackals. He was knighted in 1936. Their son Daniel had been a land agent after the 2nd world war finished and then worked for BEA. Bunty was the daughter of a high court Judge Charles Romer and Great Granddaughter of the first editor of Punch, Mark Lemon Romer, she was christened Veronica Ritchie Romer and she was also related to the writer Somerset Maugham. Known as Bunty she was born in 1921, schooled in Paris and Montreux learning four languages and learnt to fly at the age of 14. She then took up an apprenticeship at a garage in the village of Bentley Hampshire. Bunty married John Harold Whitaker in 1944 and possibly not divorced and this was why she and Daniel never married.

When they got together they set up in business in 1947 at a garage in Headlands within the village of Downton Wiltshire, they choose there because Daniel loved fishing and the rivers were ideal especially for Salmon. They were not typical village garage proprietors as they liked to specialise in the repairs and restoration of prestigious vehicles such as Rolls Royce, Lagonda, Bugatti etc but did repair more mundane vehicles to pay the day to day bills. They were aristocratic and Bunty particularly ran the office with dramatic flair. They owned some nice cars and both raced them in sprints, hillclimbs and speed trials. These included a supercharged Lagonda Rapier, a 6 litre Allard J2, a Lotus 7A and an Austin Seven Venom racing car.

It soon became apparent that Daniel was gifted at tuning cars and built up a good reputation. It started in 1957 when he was asked to fit a tuning kit to a Morris Minor, finding it to be rubbish in his opinion he made his own modifications that worked well. As well as the Morris Minor he then offered tuning kits for Austin A35s, Healey Sprites, Sunbeam Alpines and Triumph Heralds. He sold several hundred kits a lot going abroad. As this side of the business had taken off so Daniel and Bunty took on two Hungarian refugees George Toth and Jan Odor, they had come to the UK after the Russians had quashed the Hungarian uprising in 1956. Toth was in charge of the cylinder head shop and Odor was the exhaust specialist.

In 1961 with the introduction of the Mini Cooper, Daniel excelled with tuning and modifications of this model getting a top speed of over 100mph and 0 to 60 mph of 8 seconds, magazine road tests were exemplary. Ronald Steady Barker drove the car to Longbridge to show Alex Issigonis and he was so enthralled with it that he asked Daniel if he would become the technical consultant at BMC which he was happy to do.

The little garage at Downton expanded getting new specialised equipment and employed over 20 staff. Daniel Richmond, Alex Issigonis, John Cooper and Bill Appleby worked as a team to optimise the power and performance of the BMC engines. The first commission was to improve the MG 1100 saloons head. The Mini Cooper then became the Cooper S. The 1800 S LandCrab engine was improved and so was the E series engine. Improvements were made to the BMC C series engine which was in production from 1954 to 1971 and was latterly a straight six displacing 3 three litres. One project that did not come off was the DX engine which was intended to replace the Mini.

Throughout the 1960s their reputation grew and their order books looked like the pages out of Whos Who. There was always one stipulation and that was all bills were to be paid in cash, even when Lord Snowdons office presented a cheque it was rejected by Bunty and they had to return with the cash before the car was released.

BMC were now extremely successful in Motorsport particularly the Monty Carlo Rally winning four years in succession. Downton were producing a 100 kits a week that could be fitted without violating the warranty, so making Daniel and Bunty very wealthy.

1968 was a pivotal year and BMC became British Leyland incorporating many British marques of car. There were many changes in personnel and it was down to the new chief engineer Harry Webster to tell Daniel Richmond that they no longer required his services as BL did not believe in employing consultants. Daniel started to lose heart and spent more time fishing particularly at his home in Devon which had been bought from the profits of the business. Drinking had also been a big part in Daniel and Buntys life and with the garage being next door to the Bull pub it was all too easy for the two to intermix and by the late 60s it started to take over. People also started to leave the work place. Jan Odor had left already as there was an altercation when Daniel who had given him a bonus for the work he had done, Bunty expressed her displeasure, so he left and started Janspeed engineering. George Toth partnered up with colleague Richard Longman to create Longman engineering in 1971. David Dorrington went on to form Maniflow in 1973. Brian Slark started Slark Race Engineering and Steve Harris started a tuning firm in Cranbourne Dorset.

Bunty continued to run the garage and drive her Ferrari she held no prisoners and liked to drink as much as Daniel, life was quite stressful between them. Daniel died of a Stroke on the 7th March 1974 probably caused by the heavy drinking and smoking aged 50. Bunty continued on with the garage but sadly took her life in early 1976. She had sold the Downton Engineering name and her Staffordshire Bull Terrier died the day before.

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LINCOLN, Lincolnshire
United Kingdom

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