As I am still not able to drive a manual safely (although making progress), I have made it known that I am interested in classic cars with automatics.
Consequently, I have done a deep-dive into a world of cars that I have actively disdained over the past few decades. Cars that, if I were walking by them and spied an automatic shifter rather than a manual gearchange, I would quicken my pace and not look back.
It turns out that there are several advantages to being a hoarder of Borg Warner orphans.
First, there is a dramatic price reduction for automatics, sometimes up to 50% over the price of a manual. Second, I have found that most of the cars with autos have lived easy lives. These Borg Warner slushboxes are not terrible, but they are no PDK, so running to redline and slamming a quick shift have never been a part of these cars’ lives.
I have also learned that while I will always prefer a manual, there is joy to be found in cars with automatics.
At the same time I have been looking for automatics, I have been adjusting the size and shape of the SCM collection.
To that end, Matt Crandall at the Avant-Garde Collection will be putting some of our cars up for sale on BaT. Watch for our D90 turbo-diesel (5-speed) and our one-owner SCM Suburban with just over 90,000 miles and all service records from new. (We only used the Suburban for our annual trips to Monterey, and while we wait for the collector car world to establish a new normal, we want to free up the garage space.)
We still need an AWD for Oregon winters, so a Land Rover Discovery (automatic) has once again become part of our family. I am well aware of the terrible reputation these rigs have, and I have owned a bad one in the past. But I have confidence in this one – I’ll explain why at another time.
Which brings me to the topic of today’s blog. As all listings for classics with an automatic seem to immediately land in my inbox, I was not surprised when one for an MGC-GT popped up. Currently listed on Hemmings, the auction ends this week.
Used Car Whisperer Rob Sass waxed enthusiastic about the MGC and its 6-cylinder engine. I enjoyed the Pininfarina-designed MGB-GT we drove on “The Road to Reno,” but found it under-geared and underpowered. The six-cylinder and automatic solve both of those issues.
My question is, as we already have the 1971 Jaguar E-type 2+2, isn’t the MGC just another way to scratch the same itch?
When I posed this to a friend, his response was, “Didn’t you own seven Alfas? Why does owning two similar cars trouble you?”
I am conflicted. I’ve never seen an MGC-GT with an auto. I like the sunroof and the presentation of this car. But is it ridiculous to have two British 2+2 slushboxes in the garage?
What would you do? Walk away or create a matched pair here?