The intention for this build was to turn an ugly duckling into a classic sports car with a very limited budget. The best way to do this cheaply is to remove the old rubber bumpers and run without them.
Once the bumpers are removed there are several modifications needed to give the rear a pre ’74 look.
The flat area below the rear lights, which was modified for the rubber bumper models, needed to be returned to chrome bumper spec. As the lower edges of the rear valance and wings were rotten pre’74 repair panels were used.
The lower section of the valance was cut out and the chassis trimmed…
…to fit the lower section of the new panel.
This took time as I had to weld slowly with a series of tack welds to make sure the panel did not warp with the heat. In retrospect I think I would just replace the whole panel next time.
Anyway I’m happy with the results.
The other side looks like this.
So, In my experience if one side of the car is rotten then this will probably be mirrored on the other side. A quick check of the A post revealed more corrosion. This was cut out…
….and the inner structure repaired.
A Metal Folder and shrinker were used to make a repair section from sheet steel. This was painted on the inside before being welded in place.
Further towards the back of the car more corrosion was found. Guess what? This was cut out and replaced with new metal.
I noticed this ‘old school repair which made me laugh. It seems to be a plate bolted and riveted on to the front wheel arch then blathered with thick camouflaging underseal.
I will investigate this next time.
No matter how I tried I could not get the front wing to line up with the A post. I had a genuine wing which came with the car. I compared this to the wing on the car and it became apparent that the wing was at fault. The wing was removed. This showed that further repairs were needed to the A pillar.
The rot was cut out…
…and the inner structure repaired.
I then fabricated a new repair skin from sheet steel. I used a Shrinker to get the curve at the top of the pillar. This was made to follow the curve of the wing.
A small repair section was tacked then seam welded in above.
This was all then ground back ready for a final skim of filler.
When the wing came off I could see that the front wheel arch was a bit frilly so the rot was cut out and new metal let in.
I seam seal all repairs with polyurethane sealant. I find this so much better than old fashioned brushable seam sealer. You can paint over it too.
So after completing the under wing rust repairs on one side, I removed the other wing.
At a glance the A pillar looks in better shape with less corrosion but this will require further investigation. The wheel arch was worse on this side with fibre glass matting being the repair material of choice.
This was cut out and replaced.
This was an easy repair as all the sections were flat.
Next I will be investigating the A pillar before moving around to the back of the car where extensive repairs need to be done.
So now the car is stripped it is now time to grind off the filler (bondo) and see what we are dealing with. I suspected there was a lot of filler and I was right. I decided to start at the A pillar and work my way backwards.
There was quite a bit of filler on the A pillar but there didn’t seem to be any apparent reason for this. I don’t know why but the join between the pillar and sill was filled in. There are a couple of small dents that I will have to deal with later. As I got to the top of the pillar I found a small patch of rust and a hole.
This was cut out and a patch made. I will do all the welding once I have gone around the whole car, cut out the rot and made the patches.
The B post/ rear wing was next and obviously loaded with filler. A repair section had been let in in the past and although not a bad job the panel had warped due to the heat. The amount of filler applied to this panel was way too much to cover the warped area. As you can see it is nearly 6mm thick in some areas.
I will press the area out from the other side and put a skim of filler over it.
Further back behind the rear wheel arch there had been some more repair work done. A repair panel had been welded in but it had not been welded flush so (guess what) thick layers of filler had been used to cover the problem. I will be cutting the welding joint and welding it flush.
Someone had also filled a rust hole in the wheel arch lip with fibre glass. Thanks….
I cut it out.
The rear valance wasn’t much better with rust holes and filler along the bottom. I may go with a new panel here. Maybe a smooth one off an earlier model.
All in all I was expecting much worse so good news really
This weekend I started work on a 1978 MG Midget. The car is the later rubber bumper model.
The heavy bumpers were the first to go. Out of curiosity we weighed them and they came to a hefty 96 pounds (44kg). This is the weight of a small adult.
The plan for this restoration is to end up with a tidy everyday classic for the owner. At the moment the paint finish looks like it has been done with a roller, the filler looks like Artex and the synchromesh on 2nd gear is weak. The strip down started with the bumpers then the engine and gearbox were removed as one unit.
The underneath was surprisingly rot free.
The windscreen and door furniture was removed.
There seems to be a lot of filler on this car so it will be removed, any issues repaired with old metal cut out and new welded in.
The floor is in remarkable condition. Now the rubber bumpers have been removed the mounting brackets at the front will have to be cut off so a more fitting front grille can be fitted. I will also smooth out the rear valance were the bumper mount ‘lumps’ are.