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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - MGC V8 Rover engine conversion

Can anyone help me?
I am re-building a mgc roadster into which I am fitting the Rover V8 3500 engine.
There is a lot of information available concerning how to fit the V8 (Originally Buick!) Rover engine into the MGB, but nothing on the "C".
Remember that the "C" has a different front chassis and suspension, plus the transmission tunnel is wider than the B.
It is my opinion that the V8 conversion into the C body will be easier than into the B - the C 6 cylinder engine was very high and quite long.
The C body also has a built-in crossmember which the engine sump must clear.

Any help will be sincerely appreciated.


Peter Leyland

Don't do it - By a V8 and sell the C "as is"....
Stuart Robson

June 1979 Saftey Fast has an article on an MGC V8. No real detail information.

The crosmember is dropped further from the frame rail than the B. The MGC engine's deck height is about 1/4" taller on a 'C, but the crossmember had to clear the pan also where the B only needed to clear the dampener. Frame rails are spaced further apart.

My understanding is that the C shares the transmission tunnel with the '68 and later B's.

Bottom line reads, you can probably shift the engine forward to clear the foot boxes without a problem and avoid cutting them up if that's what you want to do. BV8 Engine mounts will most likely not work due to subframe differences.

The thought that it will be easier to put the 8 in a C being esier than a B may be technically correct as the hole for the motor is bigger, but in practice may be more difficult since you're going to be breaking nearly new ground. The B stuff is all pretty much scienced out; I'm guessing there aren't too many CV8's out there, and you'll be asking different questions than the B parts answer
Greg Fast

I echo Stuart. Don't do it. The MGC is too good and rare to be bastardised. The properly sorted straight six is a joy. IMO.

Mike Howlett

Peter...I have to concur with the previous post on this thread. Keep the C a B to do your conversion. Also check the MGBGT V8 and conversion lists....there is a lot of information to be found.

good luck in your endeavours...

rick ingram
1969 MGC
1978 MGB
1974.5 MGB/GT V8 conversion (3.9 litre Rover bored and stroked to 5 litres)
rick ingram

Rick when did you bore and stroke?


Why Justin, just last nite if you must know! rick
rick ingram

Another vote here to leave the C as is and drop the V8 in a B! Cs are rare and unusual, Bs are not...

'69 B
'69 CGT
Rob Edwards

Good God man; It would be criminal to stuff a 3.5 litre engine into a good C. With the kind of room you have, you should be thinking 502ci crate engine from GM! Should weigh a bit less than the Austin Anchor that was in there ;-)


There are MGCs in Australia that were converted to V8 many years ago and have now been restored to original specs once the folly was realised!

While an MGC may appeal initially for a conversion a proper appreciation shows the MGB to be a far more practical candidate.
Ian Buckley

To the 'Leave the C as it is" brigade:
What a load of old cobblers!

I have lost count of the number of times people have derided the C for the boat engine that was foisted upon it, the "not real MG" status tagged to it and the generally negative statements about it's handling or more correctly the lack of it and I maight add a lot have been on this forum as well.

Now someone wants to improve their car (NOT YOUR CAR) and everyone has an ill informed opinion to pass.

TO Peter Leyland;
Go for it.
The torsion bar suspension and tube shocks should make the conversion easier and the rear end ratio is about right. The gearbox I would be looking for is Borg Warner's T5 and you should be pulling about 1750 RPM for 100 kph or close to it.

The Rover 3.5 is significantly shorter than the inline 6 so you should have plenty of latitude for positioning up front there.

One thought: You may want to add some bonnet louvres or a vent about where the chrome stip is on the "power buldge" to get rid of any excess heat.

Good luck and keep posting how you go.


Peter Thomas

I have to agree with Pete. It is his car. And done with some thought, the process can be reversed if the 'C somehow becomes as rare and desirable as a K3 Magnette. I must say that I'm rather surprised by the "don't do it" reaction, especially on this section of the BBS. This is the "MGB-GT V-8s and V-8 Conversions" section where 'Bs and midgets are being fitted with all manner of L4, V6 and V8 engines.

I say, "Vive la difference".


Derek Nicholson

I vote with Peter Thomas also. After all, in about a hundred years or so, there will still be more "Cs left than museums to put them in. Enjoy them all while we can.
Edd Weninger

I'm also in the don't do it camp, when you can have something like this with as much power as a 3.5 V8 and a better resale value

The V8 in B and K in Midget make sense a V8 in C does not IMO.


There's certainly a good argument for going with an engine larger than the 3.5, as the stock six is a good bit heavier and you would have to find a way to back off the torsion springs. Considering that those who have used the 300 Buick feel the handling was not adversely affected, there would be good reason to think that a small block chevy would be a nearly ideal powerplant for the MGC. That's assuming the headers can be made to clear the steering. Another great candidate would be the 351 Ford small block as the sump arrangement would be more favorable. In either case the weight should be just about right. With the abundant power of either engine I'd be willing to bet the MGC's much beleagered handling reputation would improve dramatically.

Jim Blackwood

If it had a straight 6 there may be room for a V12!!!!!!!

A SOHC per bank engine would be easiest to do. Say a Jaguar unit.

David Witham

Peter, Good luck with your conversion. I'm in the last stages of a similar conversion - a '95 302HO Ford with a T-5 in a '69 MGC GT. I also have a standard '68 MGC roadster which handles acceptably but which basically could do with 150lbs less weight in the front. This, the Ford conversion offers (engine 495 lbs vs 650 odd for the MG) but with some 75% additional horsepower and torque! The engine may even be fractionally narrower than the Rover. The C has virtually no changes to the engine bay to accomodate the engine and the headers just miss the standard steering joint universal. I passed the headers through the inner fenders behind the wheels. The Ford bellhousing and B-W T-5 pass through the tunnel without modification to the body. Standard MGC engine mounts work (with some re-siting of the brackets on the "horseshoe" and you can use the existing gearbox mount with some mods. I have installed a Quaife ATB diff and anti-tramp bars to try and keep everything together. The hood closes over the air filter with about a half inch clearance.(I converted to a Edelbrock carb. and manifold.)
I looked at a 351 motor but it is a bit wider and taller than the 302.
Although this is my first conversion; it certainly has not presented any unsurmountable problems.
I think the MGC was more of a "corporate" response to the demise of the A-H 3000 rather than a brilliant design in its own right. Go ahead andd build what Leyland should have. Bit of an irony that the new MG SV uses a Ford V8!

Thanks for the responses.
I should have mentioned that the C roadster is a very incomplete project - I bought a "rolling chassis" and have scrounged various bits and pieces. I do not have the C engine or gearbox.
I am rebuilding the vehicle as a weekend fun runabout to drive to the beach, go on outings etc.
My son has a MGBGT that I resored which is very original, so I'm not toally sacreligious!

A critically important consideration is cost-effectiveness. Cetain parts are available at reasonable cost in South Africa, others need to be imported at huge cost. I learned to my cost that the freight charges on small items are often much greater than the cost of the ite itself.

I could obtain an Austin Westminster cylinder engine in SA (similar to the C but not the same) and make it fit, but why bother building what would amount to a "replica" c?

The Rover V8 route is a reasonable compromise, as the BGT was produced with a Rover V8 engine (2551 units, I think)ex factory, and a Roadster V8 makes a pleasant runabout - the engine is light and economical.
Rover V8 engines are available in SA at reasoable cost.
The chassis that I bought was originally an automatic MGC, and I am toying with the idea of fitting a Rover V8 engine with Borg Warner model 35 automatic transmission - I have an egine and gearbox lined up!
A manual gearbox (SD1) is a much more rare beast.
I have a spare MGB 1800 cc gearbox in my garage, but I suspect that this would not survive toolong, considering the torque of the rover V8 (hopefully, unlike my original 60 spoke wire wheels!)

What I cannot bring myself to do is to fit say a Toyota 4age 16 valve engine - very common in SA and around 100kw of cheap, reliable power that would be lost in the engine bay.

By the way, if anyone of the "C" purists is interested, there is an original "C" needing complete restoration in Cape Town that the owner (not me!) would sell for around US$2,000 (the aluminium bonnet alone must be worth US500!)

Apologies Peter

If it's only a shell then it's a blank canvas - Go for it!

Thought of another straight six? BMW or Volvo perhaps. They too must be inplentiful supply (and fast)

Good luck
Stuart Robson

Damn - wish you'd told us re: the C in Cape Town last year, i was out there for christmas and desperate to bring back a present! ;->

Whereabouts is it..?


Why toil over your own conversion -- here is a ready-made beast -- Schweeeet!!! And a California-like car to boot.
John Wells

Hi, Phil
The vehicle is in Newlands (Southern suburbs - next to Rondebosch. It belongs to a helicopter pilot who is working on contract in Nigeria!
I know this because I sold it to him in 1987!

Your big challenge would be to ship the vehicle economically.
I work in the Motor industry and we import boatloads of vehicles from Spain at a basic cost of approximately US$ 400 per vehicle.
The shipping companies will quote you in the region of US$ 2,500 to ship a single classic car as a private individual.
I learnt about economies of scale in Economics and transport economiccs at University, but that sort of differential is scary!
There is a guy in Knysna (Frost) who makes a living out of selling SA classic cars back to the UK and USA.Maybe he could offer a decent shipping price?


Peter Leyland


If I am reading your threads correctly the Rover V8 is not yet purchased and if this is the case the Holden Commodre V6 may be more available there is SA.

The are several version here... the 3.8 V6 and Borg Warner T5 being the most common.

The reason for the suggestion is the inclusion of EFI and fully electronic engine management ex factory and the T5 bolted straight on with out the need for matching bolt patterns , clutch components etc.
There is also a multi strand power drive for the accessories and air con is more often included than not.

The weight is comparable to the Rover and the dimensions are smaller and the reliability is well proven here. My own V6 had 486 000 kms on iy and ran perfectly until I traded it on another Commodre recently.

Email me off line if you want more info.

Cheers, Pete.
Peter Thomas

hi Pete.MGC is better touring car at over 80mph than B or v8 due to the weight, My CGT beat Bs & v8s & RV8s at last autotest, & i think my C handles better than my BGTV8[even with front coilovers].We have a CGT here than can outrun 4.6v8 Bs,; so a GOOD C is more than a match for a B ANY DAY.Restore as a C & reap the rewards . Steve
Stephen Foldhazy

Hey Stephen, betcha my 3.5 B-V8 will outrun your C! :-)

Jim Blackwood

Careful Jim. I thought your car was not running at present???
Stephen's Mate

Yes, well I'd not expect to have to be ready before summer. Actually though it does run since I haven't pulled it down yet, and good enough to take on a hot MGC too. Just not for long.

Jim Blackwood

This thread was discussed between 21/11/2003 and 05/12/2003

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