Well she's going up up for sale! Anyone who has followed my blog over the past few years will know - this early MGB is the BEST one out there. She's a concours example, sporting all the original, hard to find early MGB parts and details.
Such early original parts and details like:
-all the original Lucas lighting including the early clear marker lights and headlamps
-her original early riveted grill
-the early style oil cooler with rounded corners
-original style brake and clutch master cylinders which are not available new
-the early 3 main bearing engine
-the early pull type door handles
-all the original early decals and tags like the early Tudor washer bottle lettering and early heater lettering which are not available
-all her original type of carpet which is not available
-all the original interior vinyl has been maintained throughout
-all the original rubber floor mats
-early style door capping rails
-original tonneau and boot covers in their original stowage bags
-original jack, knock-off hammer in the original bag
-original manuals and sales brochures included
The list goes on and on - I was careful to maintain as much original parts as possible because the original quality is so much better than the repro's available today.
She's as original and pristine as they come. Featuring body and paintwork by Coachwerks. She's won awards, she runs and handles beautifully. She even has a full new set of Blockley vintage style tires. She's going to make her next owner very happy!
Check out this video:
I need to get $40K Canadian for her, which is roughly $31K US, you can contact me directly if interested.
Until next time -
It's that time of year again, the days are getting longer, warmer (some days), spring is in the air!
This week I put a few days of work in on getting the old MGB ready for the season.
Back in November she quit on me one day and I wasn't able to get her running again, being that it was already safe at home, I left it alone for the winter until just recently.
I gave her an oil change, full lube, new plugs, new coil, and new condenser, and topped it off with some fresh gas (I had drained the tank back in November)
Sure enough she started right up and runs as smooth as ever!
So yesterday I went and got her insurance & plates renewed and got all my application forms to apply for some Collector Vehicle license plates.
Today I went about installing and wiring my new Lucas fog lamps that I got for Christmas. When it was all done and working, I took her out for her first drive of the season! It was an amazingly beautiful day to say the least!
When I returned home I parked the car outside and took all the necessary pics I need for the insurance company. She's looking really good so I thought I would share some of them...
Until next time -
Since my last post about a month ago. I've been happily enjoying driving my freshly restored MGB. I've been working out lots of little kinks and fine tuning to get her running and performing beautifully.
It's been a tremendous help having such an informative online community like 'The MG Experience' and You Tube, and of course my friends and colleagues in the car community, to learn from and help diagnose these common issues myself.
I've rebuilt and fine tuned the carburetors, chased down the odd oil leak, and tightened such things as the e-brake, or hose clamps.
As little things have been addressed and maintained, the car has been getting better with each drive.
I've put almost 600miles on her in the past month since she's been on the road, and my confidence in driving her has been getting better all the time.
I've added some finishing details like the top, as well as some home made decals for the heater, and windscreen. These are decals that are different on the early cars and unavailable. So I found or made the correct artwork on my computer and simply printed my decals on some glossy sticker paper.
Last week, I drove the B up to Cowichan to attend the Vancouver Island Motor Gathering. It was a great day and the car drove well all the the way there and back.
It's a wonderful feeling to be finally driving and enjoying this car the way it was meant to be. The sounds and smells of the car mixed with the sounds and smells of the ocean breeze as she effortlessly hugs the curves... It's a beautiful romance, and I'm totally in love! Haha!
Until Next time -
Well it's been a very busy month to say the least! I've been super busy with work in the classic car upholstery world, and filling many evenings and weekends with work on the MGB. But she's come a long way!
As you can see, she's just about done! I've finished off hooking up the engine, fuel, electrical, oil and cooling systems in the engine bay,
Here's some before and after shots:
Underneath, I hooked up the new emergency brake cable, bled all the brakes and clutch with fresh fluid, and installed the manifolds and exhaust...
I got a new SU fuel pump and installed it with a new 'Smiths Petro-flex' hose and finished hooking up the fuel system with the carburetors, throttle cable and choke cable..
I also finished the interior with all the window mechanisms, door panels, top frame and 'seat belts,..
before and after of the seats:
Then this past weekend, I had friend/co-worker Eric Cherniff come by for an afternoon and help me with setting the timing, bleeding the brakes, and getting the car started.
After some ignition and choke/mixture adjustments, she fired right up! Needless to say, It was an exciting and gratifying day!
Of course there's still lots of bugs and issues to tune and fix before she's ready for the road.
She has a few oil leaks that need addressing, and the radiator has a pinhole leak in the upper tank, so I'll have to remove and send that out for repair.
My new convertible top has yet to be installed too, and of course alignment, fine tuning the carburetors etc.
But, she's almost there!
It's been a wonderfully educational and gratifying experience to say the least.
I can't wait to get her out in this beautiful top-down weather and stretch her legs driving some of the amazing roads that Vancouver Island has to offer!
Until next time -
Another weekend of major progress on the B!
I came home from work Friday evening with a cherry picker that I was able to borrow for the weekend. I had already made plans with my neighbor John to help me install the engine Friday evening, so that's exactly what we did!
It took a few attempts to get the angle of the engine & gearbox right as we maneuvered it in place. I also had to remove the oil filter for clearance, and used a rolling jack under the gearbox to help lift it clear of the frame cross-member and level the engine as we guided her in place.
All in all, it went very smoothly! we got her all in and all bolted up without any real issues or damage.
With the weight of the engine now in place, I was able to use a jack to install the front coil springs and then the front wheels after cleaning and re-greasing the wheels and splined hubs.
The following days Saturday and Sunday, I continued rolling with the progress!
I had friends Richard Owen and Norman Thomas come by on Saturday to help me install my newly restored windshield. It was another tricky job that required lots of eyes and hands, but we got her in place with great success!
I then installed the Radiator, oil cooler, generator and all their respective hoses in the engine compartment,
I installed the gas tank with new rubber buffers in the straps and between the boot floor,
Then I finished off the boot space with the spare wheel, jack and hammer, tonneau bars, tonneau cover and boot covers - all original pieces in their original stowage bags.
There's not much else going on in the trunk of an MGB,
While I was at it, I test fit the tonneau bars, and then the boot cover and my NOS tonneau cover. They all fit, though the NOS tonneau cover will need some hot days in the sun to help smooth out some of the wrinkles it has after being folded in a bag for 50yrs,
There's more to come as the B gets closer to completion, stay tuned!
-I know I will be!
until next time -
It's only been a few weeks since my last post on the B, but a lot of great progress has happened since then!
I worked a few evenings through the weeks, but most of the big progress happened this weekend in which I put 2 solid days of work in.
With the car rolled outside in the beautiful hot sunshine, great music, food and drinks at hand - it was absolutely glorious!
The biggest - and slightly tricky next step forward was getting the car off of the rolling cart that the body shop made for it.
While the cart has been a very convenient tool for work height, and ease of rolling around etc. I have assembled as much as I can before getting the car back on her own wheels.
With the help of a neighbour, we jacked the car high enough to remove the cart, and then lowered it onto some axle stands where I installed the rear axle & suspension.
I also installed the front suspension cross member, but still without the coil springs.
As I don't have the correct type of spring compressor, I'll need the weight of the engine installed first to be able to install the coil springs with a jack.
Until then, I made a rolling cart out of wood to support the front end while the back end can now roll on her own wheels.
I made sure to use Anti- seize on all of the hardware threads to protect them from corrosion etc.
I've also been using a product called Fluid Film that is an oily rust inhibitor containing wool wax. It can be sprayed and wiped onto virtually everything except rubber & upholstery. It finds it's way into all the nooks and cranny's and prevents any moisture or corrosion from getting in. It's even recommended as an undercoating for vehicles that will stop rust and prevent anymore for forming. It even gives everything a nice shine when it's applied, water just beads off of it.
In the interior I installed all the original 1/4" jute underlay on the floors and then the original rubber floor mats and seat tracks.
I also finished the rear cockpit area by installing the battery box lid with it's new rubber seal, and then installing all the original carpets, snap hardware, rear 1/4 panels, back board, and the rear cockpit rail.
Interestingly my interior panels were all fit with black screws and washers rather than chrome.
The carpets I spruced up by actually cutting and splicing in small worn areas with bits of matching carpet I salvaged from my second original tunnel carpet. It was crazy tedious to hide the small repairs, but I'm quite pleased with the results:
I installed the door handles, and much of the inner door mechanisms for the latch/lock and wind up window assemblies, including the 1/4 vents. I replaced the fuzzy window guide strips too.
With a battery hooked up, I proved out all of the electrical auxillary functions like lights, horns and I even got the old AM radio working!
The MGB is starting to come to life! I have been absolutely loving the satisfying process of restoration too. Next week I hope to be installing the engine and drive train, so stay tuned.
Until next time -
I've continued plugging away on reassembling the MGB. I put a few hrs in most evenings this week and then one full day on the weekend.
Needless to say I've made a lot of great progress!
I installed the grill, which I had previously cleaned up and re-chromed the surround. This is the original early style grill that has the riveted stainless steel teeth.
I fit the MG logo's on the boot lid, and fit a new boot lid seal too.
I still need to adjust the hinges to get a better fit of the boot lid now that the seal is in place.
I also installed the heater which I had previously rebuilt with new seals and fresh paint. I made sure to get a good seal around all the gaskets and remembered to thread the brass oil pressure line through the firewall with it's grommet before installing the heater.
I still need to make the new screen printed lettering on the heater box face - these earlier cars had screen printed lettering instead of the stickers that are readily available. I'm thinking I may try making dry transfers.
With the heater installed I could hook up the air duct hoses, control cable and heat vents in the cockpit,
With the under dash area coming together I proceeded to install the windshield wiper motor and mechanisms. I made sure to first re-grease the gear mechanisms and line first, and then hooked up the wiring correctly with the flasher unit,
Today I put in a full day and installed the dash with all the gauges, switches, wiring and control cables.
It was a tedious job installing some parts like the heater vent control cables and the radio, but a headlamp for light and a couple of pillows to save my back helped a lot,
I made sure to double check every electrical connection and referenced my wiring diagrams and pics to make sure I hooked everything up again correctly.
I then glued in the vinyl dash top cover and installed the demister vents and chrome finishers on the corners for finishing the door seal ends. These chrome finishers need to go on before the padded dash edge crash rail can be installed,
On the opposite side of the firewall, you can see the black grommets and cables coming through for the oil & temperature gauges.
The choke and heater cables for some reason, originally had brownish/red coloured grommets! I've noticed this detail on just about every original car I've found pics of - for some reason just those 2 grommets were redish/brown, but all the other grommets were black. Curious...
There's lots more to come,
Until next time -
After months of being away at Coachwerks for all the metal and paint work, the body shell has finally come home and looks absolutely stunning!
I first had the entire body shell sandblasted to bare metal at Quickstrip.
Then the guys at Coachwerks got to work replacing any metal that needed repairs.
It needed the front and rear inner and outer sill sections to be repaired on both sides as you can see here:
During the metal repairs, they even found this neat little magnetic tin with a new/original set of keys for the car! It was hidden in a frame section underneath...
After the metal had been sorted, the body was primed, seam sealed and sanded perfectly smooth. The underside was sprayed with a textured "rock guard" coating just like the factory did. Finally the body was painted completely with all the fenders, doors, and panels being sprayed inside and out...
As you can see, Coachwerks did an outstanding job!
I'm brimming with excitement and gratitude as I'm now entering the most rewarding part of any restoration: putting it all back together again with all the freshly restored components!
I started the first evening by opening box after box of all my freshly restored parts and setting the parts and bags of hardware out in the general areas they'd be getting installed.
The first thing I decided to tackle was installing the wiring harness...
With the harness routed correctly through the car, I began installing and hooking up the rest of the electrical components one by one.
I made sure to clean and use a light smear of dielectric grease on every electrical connection as I put things together...
Some before and after shots:
Of course as I go along, I have to re-tap each and every threaded hole on the body to clear the threads of excess paint from the body shop...
Here are the front headlamps and signal lights going in...
And the rear tail lights,..
Here are the new/OE horns with their wiring correctly routed under the front rail:
With each component I install, I study and review my original photo's and research to make sure I'm using the correct hardware and orienting them to be exactly like the original was.
Today I installed the brake and clutch master cylinders and pedals.
I started by installing the rubber gasket to the body and then fitting the brake and clutch feed lines to the backs of the master cylinders as I positioned the pedal box assembly in place on the firewall.
Then the pedals are installed with a smear of grease on the pivot bushings and some new clevis cotter pins...
then the cover panel is screwed in place to finish it off..
Some more before & after pics:
As you can see, the car is coming along nicely!
It's been somewhat of a life long dream to finally be restoring a classic car of my own, and besides finally driving it, this has been the most satisfying & rewarding part!
It has been a joy to be meticulous in the final detailing of each piece I assemble to make sure that it's going to be protected against corrosion and looks/fits & works correctly.
There's lots more to come on this project as the car comes together so stay tuned!
Until next time -
Well I finally found a new tonneau cover for my MGB. Unfortunately the original one mine came with was quite badly shrunken and would barely fit over the steering wheel much less reach to the front corner snaps. So I've had my sights on e-bay for a long while and was considering buying a brand new tonneau from Prestige. But low and behold I struck gold again! I found a new old stock tonneau in red, complete with it's factory stowage bag!! Amazing!
I just got the tonneau in the mail yesterday and it's beautiful! Of course after being folded up in it's bag for 40-50yrs it will have to be installed and left in the hot sun for a few days to get rid of all the creases.
I've actually been very successful in finding NOS items for this car on e-bay. In fact I'm proud to say there will be hardly any non factory/repro parts when the car is finished.
In the past year I've also found such notable NOS items like my red tunnel carpet; found still in it's original BMC cardboard box! sitting on a shelf for 50yrs!
I also found a NOS starter motor with a date stamp of Dec '63 to replace the non standard repro starter someone had previously installed:
Same thing goes for the oil filter casing, someone had installed an aftermarket "spin on" oil filter attachment so I had to remove it and find a correct NOS one:
I also found a pair of correct original horns with a Jan '64 date stamp on them, and a NOS clutch master cylinder:
Of course the best part about NOS parts is that they're original, factory correct and you know that they're going to fit, be good quality and add value to the car.
In my experience the majority of repro parts available often have glaring visual differences, poor fit and often really bad manufacturer quality.
Original or NOS, though often hard to find, are usually a much better choice in the end.
Until next time...
With the start of a new year there has been some new progress on my MGB.
I gave my gearbox to Richard & Micheal Owen of Owen Automotive to have them properly inspect and rebuild it. Replacing anything that was needed.
Because these early box's had only 3 synchro's (none on 1st or reverse) they were notorious for having damaged/worn laygears. This was because if you're not completely stopped before shifting into 1st, the gears would grind because there's no synchro to prevent it.
To my delight they found that all that the gears including the laygear were in immaculate shape! The car had been driven carefully and well cared for. I only had to replace a few bearings and seals. Now the gearbox is fully rebuilt and ready to go! Thank you Richard and Micheal Owen for your expertise!
In other news, the chassis which is now on a rolling cart, has been returned to Coachwerks from the sandblasters all cleaned to bare metal.
The body panels are all removed and ready for repairs followed by primer/paint by Coachwerks.
In the meantime I've cleaned up all the hardware for the body panels and re-plated everything using my Eastwood zinc plating system.
I also stripped and repainted my folding top frame. I'm still in debate over what colour of top I'm going to have. My car originally was ordered with a black top. However, in 1964 grey was also an option on OEWhite cars. I think the grey top would really look nice against the creamy white body and red interior - but I'm still torn - any opinons on this would be greatly appreciated.
Until next time -
Over the past few weekends I've had the opportunity to clean up my front and rear suspension while the body shell is in for metal and paint. As it turns out many of the components were actually already new/replacement parts including all the shocks, leaf springs, coil springs, brakes, kingpins and wheel hubs!
At some point before I bought the car, someone had spray painted much of the underside and suspension black. While this may have helped preserve things, I've taken it upon myself to disassembled everything so I could properly clean, re-paint & re-plate all the hardware so that cosmetically everything looks right. I'll be replacing the front wishbone bushings and a few other odds and ends while I'm at it.
With the rear axle I replaced the emergency brake cable as well as the old steel brake lines that were showing some pitting. I inspected the brakes and wheel hubs which have clearly been recently renewed by the previous owner. No leaks, smooth function, looks good!
I even finished the hubs off with some new chrome knock-offs
I'll wait until the body returns from the paint shop to reassemble all of the springs etc to the car.
Until next time...
I recently picked up my freshly re-chromed pieces from Electro Shine Metal Finishing here in Sydney BC. They did an outstanding job, I am very pleased! highly recommended to anyone needing chrome or plating of any kind.
Any chroming now-days is going to be very costly so I only had a few of the major components that needed it done like my bumpers and grill surround.
Here is my freshly re-chromed grill surround and center plinth going back together with the original riveted stainless teeth (that I hand polished), a NOS 'MG' emblem and new bonnet rubbers...
Here are my bumpers being re-assembled after chroming...
With the bumpers and over-riders re-chromed, I hand painted the backsides with a satin aluminum rust paint to protect against corrosion and give an original look.
That should now cover all of the chrome for the car. My quarter light vents, lights, and other small odds and ends were all still in exceptional condition and the original chrome polished out nicely.
Speaking of lights, I'm still desperately trying to find a working pair or even another single headlight. I'm trying to find the correct Lucas 7" sealed beam headlamps that were so common through the 60's-70's on British made vehicles. They need to be for LHD road spec of course - the RHD ones come up more commonly on e-bay but they're no good to us North Americans because the glass is designed to reflect the light to the wrong side.
I have one and I've bid on a few that occasionally come up on e-bay. But they just keep slipping away from me at the last second. If you have some or know of any that I could purchase, please contact me! - they're going to a good car! ;)
Until next time -
I spent a few hours today fitting some new parts and details to the engine of my Mk1 MGB.
With only 41000 original miles on it before I pulled the engine out, it had a few minor oil leaks (which is pretty typical of a British sports car from the 60's), but she ran well and wasn't burning any oil or coolant. Evidence would show that it has had a new timing chain, thermostat, starter, and oil filter replacements in it's life.
A while ago I gave it a full exterior cleaning/de-greasing followed by a fresh paint job. I replaced most of the outer cover gaskets and seals without removing the head or pulling things apart too far. I refurbished the distributor, fan assembly, drain tap etc.
I did decide to find an original style oil filter assembly on e-bay because mine had been converted to a modern spin on type when I got the car. Today I put the NOS oil filter in place with all new seals and hardware.
I also replaced the plugs, wires, and wire tags with original Lucas suppressors. New points, rotor and condenser. New heater tap, side cover gaskets and seals, rocker cover seals and tags, and new rubber engine mounts.
Finally I fit a new clutch plate, carefully installed using the correct clutch installation tool.
With all that done, I feel confident that the engine should be good to go and hopefully won't leak. I still plan to replace the oil pan gasket when I hoist the engine for re-installation into the car.
The car itself is still waiting it's turn for metal and paint. Once that's done, it will be like re-assembling a big kit - just about everything else is freshly restored and ready to go...
As I'm sure you can guess, I'm very much looking forward to the re-assembly process!
Until next time -
Well I finally decided to make some new seat covers for the MGB. I had hoped to just keep using my old originals because they were so well preserved. But after months of thinking about it and restoring everything else on the car to such a high standard, I just couldn't keep using the old cracked leather with holes already starting. I thought it better to make accurate patterns now, before they really start to deteriorate...
I sourced some leather in the correct shade of red and set to work carefully patterning the old covers and cutting/sewing up the new ones.
The piping all had to be hand made out of cream vinyl strips sewn over the correct small diameter core.
I also had to carefully unpick the stitching and re-use my original vinyl and carpet back sections so that they would match up with the rest of the original vinyl and carpet I'm still using in the car.
The end result came out looking very good! The colour is a perfect match to the rest of my original trim. The piping is the right size, and the vinyl and carpet sections are original. I think these seats will be a great addition to my otherwise original interior.
Until next time -
This weekend saw a bit of progress on the B. On Sat I went in and refurbished a few more things on the engine. I removed the side covers, cleaned them and replaced the cork gaskets with new ones. I removed the brass drain tap from the side of the block and cleaned it up and I replaced the rubber engine mounts.
I also removed a few last components from the car to take home for restoration. The car is in line to have its metal and paint work done very soon. I've got her stripped right down to a bare shell except for the front and rear suspension. I wanted to keep her rolling still for easy transportation.
Once she goes in for paint, they'll be mounting the car in a rotisserie frame so I can remove the suspension at that time and bring it all home for restoration while the car is getting painted.
I removed the rear half of the steering column with the steering wheel, making sure to mark the exact location of where the column splines slot into the U-joint just beyond the fire wall. I then repainted the column and polished all the chrome, plastic and hardware. I also refurbished the column support brackets...
I also took some good pics of the state of the front and rear suspension currently.
As you can see the car has been well maintained and there is evidence of lots of replacement parts and re-painted components. The front coil springs and all the brake flex hoses, discs and pads are new, the swivel axles look like they've been done recently too, as well as the bump stops. I'll be replacing the tie rod ends and lower A-arm bushings though...
The rear suspension is about the same, it has new leaf springs, new rebound straps, new bump stops and new brake pads. Besides cleaning and refurbishing, I'll probably only be replacing the e-brake cable and carefully cleaning the paint off of the front and rear shock bodies as they should be bare aluminum bodies with black arms originally.
Until next time -
I got into some of the exterior chrome on the MGB over the past few weeks. I had hoped to be able to re-use my windshield, but after closer inspection I found a large chip out of the glass directly in front of the drivers position. From all that I've read, replacing the glass is not an easy job on these. But it will have to be done, and at least I will have the opportunity to polish the aluminum frame members and change out all the rubber seals at the same time. After some careful research I've learned that the correct Triplex glass is available now from Moss for about $600 CAD - a lot of money for a piece of glass!
But it seems to be the only option available that has been made using the original tooling found in England. There are other glass options that are cheaper, but they have fit issues because either the curvature is different and/or the glass a different thickness making the job even more of a nightmare.
I think I'll save up for the proper glass to avoid those issues.
After taking the frame apart, I've begun polishing the anodized aluminum frame pieces carefully. The side pillars were a satin anodized finish, while the top and bottom rails were polished to look like chrome. The top rail in particular I'm sanding down to remove some deep scratches and then polishing out to a chrome finish again...
I also cleaned and polished my 1/4 vent side windows. The chrome is still in great condition on these so they came out beautifully, even the rubbers are still intact and working properly which was a bonus. I only replaced the top corner blocks and the bottom rubber where the frame meets the body. The new corner blocks required some cutting and shaping to fit like the originals.
Same goes for the air vent in front of the windshield, good chrome just polished.
Some of the smaller chrome bits that need chrome work done I am looking into replacing. With the high cost of Chrome these days it's sometimes cheaper to buy new than to have things re-chromed. My door capping brackets and top frame brackets for example will be cheaper to replace. So too would the bumpers, but I've opted to keep my originals because I want to maintain the correct original fit.
The front and rear bumpers unfortunately will need to be re-chromed however. Along with the grill surround. I carefully disassembled them and got to work cleaning and plating all the original hardware. Painting the brackets and bagging the finished components to add to my shelves of finished parts for the car - when it comes time to reassemble everything it will be like assembling a big kit.
In other news, I re-assembled the air cleaners to the carburetors with new seals, filters and the correct Coopers decals to finish them off.
I also installed a new SU fuel gauge sending unit to the side of the gas tank so it will now gauge the fuel level properly.
Until next time -
In an effort to preserve as much originality on my B as I can while still maintaining show car quality, I've started refurbishing and revamping my original interior panels. Unfortunately most of my original panels have warped because of the poor quality Masonite boards they're made on. However, the vinyl covers themselves were in exceptional condition, the original bright red vinyl cleaned up very well with no visible rips or scars on the surface.
I decided I would try making new panel boards out of a better quality water resistant panel board and reuse the original vinyl covers. If it doesn't work, I can easily match the vinyl and just make new covers all together.
Luckily the old covers and foam came off fairly easily and fully intact. Here you can see how simply they were trimmed from the factory, a thin strip of black vinyl binding was used to create a smooth clean edge where the pleats meet the piping, softened by 1/8" poly foam underneath all the vinyl - including the lower sections of the doors. The use of foam on the lower 2/3's of these panels is one detail I know many aftermarket kit manufacturers get wrong these days. It was also done on the rear 1/4 panels as well.
Here you can see one of my new panels trimmed with the original cover on the left, compared to the one that still needs to be revamped on the right. The most crucial part of this process is making sure the original holes for all the hardware lines up again. Check once, check twice and check again!
Here are some pics of the original rear 1/4 panels before they receive the same treatment, notice how deep the notch in the panel is for the piping!
All the front panels - no foam was used on these ones - or the rear back panel.
Well there you have it, I'm really looking forward to re-installing the interior of this car.
It will be one of the only ones out there with virtually all new/old stock carpets, all the correct rubber mats that aren't damaged or faded, the original vinyl panels re-vamped, and the original seats revamped with new leather in the correct bright shade of red in the correct grain.
Plus, the original red tonneau and boot covers, and a new top from Prestige using they're factory original patterns. I'm still debating whether to have a black top or a grey top. Grey was still an option for O.E.White cars in early 1964, Opinions??
Until next time -
I reassembled the brake master cylinder this week, after a good cleaning, a light hone of the inner cylinder and then re-plating the outer body in silver cad. I purchased a new rebuild kit and put everything back together wet with fresh brake fluid. Then bolted the cylinder up to the pedal box beside the new clutch master cylinder already bolted in place. I even added the correct early metal caps, putting them on with a tiny bit of grease in the threads to prevent them from seizing shut, and a new rubber seal between the pedal box and cover assembly.
I also received my new old stock oil cooler in the mail this week to replace my original one that broke. I was very happy to find one of these early originals with the rounded ends!
This weekend I got into several components of my interior.
I started remaking some of the interior panels by carefully removing the original vinyl covers from the old warped panel boards. I then cut new panels out of moisture proof panel board and re-trimmed the original vinyl onto the new boards - making sure of course that all the original screw holes are in the right spots again!
I decided to try out some of the replacement rubber sill covers that Moss still offers. After reading so many mixed reviews on them I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were almost exactly like the originals. The only issue being that they're missing one of the tread lines and they only come in black.
I found a good matching vinyl/rubber dye from SEM and sprayed them as well as all my original floor mats.
The colour (firethorn red) was an exact match to the original, I even masked and touched in the black areas too with satin black SEM coat. They came out looking brand new - I'm quite pleased with the results.
In other news, I got into refurbishing one of my original leather seats a few weeks ago. I carefully removed the old covers and cleaned them thoroughly. After careful inspection, and several weeks of thought, I've decided I just can't bring myself to re-use the old covers as I had hoped. The cracks through the leather are too deep and too many, I don't feel confident that these covers will last another year of regular use. They have shrunk and unfortunately gone brittle in many areas. Plus when I tried to re-glue the cushion centers back to where they used to be, it put heavy stress wrinkles in other parts of the cover because they've spent so many years shrinking in an unglued state.
With the high standard to which I'm restoring everything else on this car, they just don't make sense to re-use...So,
I've decided that I'm going to make a new set of seat covers myself in house. I've sourced a hyde of perfectly matching leather in the right shade and the correct grain. I'm going to carefully unpick the stitching and re-use the original vinyl and carpet back pieces so they match the rest of the interior. I've ordered in enough matching cream piping to do the job as well as a new pair of seat diaphragms . My original molded seat foams are still in beautiful shape, the new ones I've seen aren't nearly as soft and comfortable as these originals so I'll definitely re-use them too.
I have a few months yet before the car will be ready for seats so it's a project I'll make time for as the weeks allow...
Until next -
I thought I would share a little bit of research I've been doing on the evolution of the various different Smiths heater labels that were used on early MGB's. Unfortunately there currently only seems to be 2 of these variations available on the market today, however maybe this research will lead to some other variations being produced at least small scale for those who seek them.
The first incarnation seems to be the metal plates for both the Caution label and another for the model spec info - these are being sold by a few manufactures as correct for "early MGB" - however I have yet to see any MGB with these plates on originally. They were however used on the MGA's and it's worth noting the exact text and arrangement on these plates - the caution label refers to "freezing" conditions and is only 4 lines long in text under the Caution. The Smiths label says "manufactured in england" and has little rectangular boxes for the actual code numbers to be stamped in.
The next style of these labels that I have clearly seen on all original early MGB's up to mid 1964 is this printed style of lettering that is printed directly onto the painted black surface of the heater. It's not a sticker - it's printed lettering most likely done with a dry transfer that is burnished on.
The Smiths label in white says "manufactured in england" again, has the little boxes around the code numbers, and says "heater" under the smiths logo - just like the plate.
The caution label in red is now spread to 5 lines of text under the caution, speaks of "winter conditions" instead of freezing conditions now. The faded one on the right is from my car from February 1964 and is identical to the left one from 63
This style of printed lettering continued through 1964 however somewhere along the way was slightly altered. The pic below is from a late 64 car and the text has changed just slightly to now say "made in uk" instead of "made in england" - this is the best shot I have yet of this original style of printed lettering and shows the code numbers clearly -
This printed lettering lasted until sometime in 65 when it was replaced by a pair of stickers. These stickers are readily available today and what most MGB restorers have been using as standard on even the early earlier cars. You can see that the word "heater" has been dropped, so too have the little rectangles around the code numbers. The numbers themselves have changed too (perhaps the heaters are a different model?)
The Caution sticker now has 5 lines of text and speaks of "freezing conditions" rather than "winter".
So there you have it, the evolution of these heater labels on the earlier cars. I know that there were even further changes to the logo's on later cars too, but that's for another article some day. I am currently working on making accurate artwork for the earlier printed style of labels that were found on my 64. When it's done I'm going to have it made into dry transfers that can be burnished on. Perhaps I'll get a few sets made for anyone else who really wants the correct labels on their early heater.
Until next time -
Another great week of progress both at work and on the MGB. I was reading up on some interesting details I found on earlymgb.com
I learned that early MGB's exported to Canada were given a BMC grill rosette!
Upon seeing the pic I remembered that I actually have one that my Dad gave to me when I was a little kid. I've had it in a drawer my whole life and not realized that it actually probably came from an MGB grill! (our daily family car in the early 80's was a Mk1 MGB-GT - maybe from that?)
I've never been a big fan of filling up a grill with emblem's etc, but this one I might just have to ad - for authenticity sake! ;)
Speaking of authenticity, I am very pleased to say that I solved my carpet issue! I have searched the planet for a source for the correct type of loop pile molded carpet that was found in these early MGB's and unfortunately no one makes the right stuff.
My original carpet was actually in beautiful shape! totally reusable except for the main tunnel section that had a big glaring section in the middle where the carpet has worn through from peoples elbows.
I was going to have to settle on an expensive new carpet set that was at least molded, but in cut pile with rows only sort of like the original.
Then one night last week I was surfing e-bay and I found it; - a new/old stock section of red carpet still in its original BMC box, the tunnel section only!
Best part is I got it for only about $80 CAD - problem solved! I still can't believe I found this, sitting on a shelf in England for 50yrs just waiting to complete my beautiful original carpet set! A bit of steam will help relieve the creases and get it looking right again.
I also put together a few sub assemblies in the evenings that I'd already restored all the components for like, the Radiator and rad shroud assembly and the engine mounts...
On Saturday I picked up a few odds and ends from Craig at Hunter Classic in the morning and then proceeded to work on adding some details to my freshly painted engine..
I also unbolted the gearbox so that I can hand that off to be properly serviced/inspected by a professional.
I wanted to get a look inside at the clutch because there seemed to be some oil dripping from that area which could be from a leaky rear seal.
As it turned out there was evidence of oil being sprayed around the inner bell housing but not enough to cause any slipping of the clutch.
These early 3 main bearing engines have a reverse scroll rear seal instead of the rubber seals used on later cars. How do I stop oil leaking from the scroll seal? anyone have any suggestions? Is a bit of oil leaking unavoidable?
Until next time -
Another busy week of work has come and gone. I only really had time to work on the MGB on Saturday, but I managed put in a full day on some of the more tedious projects...
To start with, I've been racking my brain over what to do about my wiring harness. My original harness, which was in good working order when I removed it, has many issues with the woven cloth covering that in many areas has gone to tatters or has faded out to a dull earthy colour. The actual wires and connectors are still in great shape and totally reusable, it's just the aesthetics of the cloth that needed mending.
Originally my harness was woven black cloth with a yellow tracer running through it. A new harness from Moss or British wiring costs over $600 Cad. and the new ones have a white tracer through them instead of the correct yellow one - hardly worth the money to still look incorrect!
So I decided to tackle refurbishing my harness as best I could myself before deciding if a new one is the better option.
I had already cleaned the harness a few weeks ago, so from there I first mended the areas that were tattered with some black cloth hockey tape.
Next, I masked off the coloured wires and sprayed the old cloth and repaired sections in a satin black upholstery dye. This made the harness cloth a uniform black again and helped my tape repairs blend in.
Then came the really tedious part, I sat down at the table with a tiny modelers brush and some yellow paint, and hand painted the yellow tracer threads back in!
Yes - I'm crazy, but it worked! In most areas I was able to barely make out the original tracer through the black that I had sprayed over so it was easy to just touch it back in. Areas that were taped, I faked it, continuing the same pattern of tracer line over the tape. This made my repairs blend right in and the harness looks almost new again. To finish it off I sealed my work with a fabric sealer. The entire process took me about 4hrs, which was well worth the effort in my opinion.
With the wiring harness restored, I moved on to my distributor and plug wires.
I first took some good pics to illustrate how much over spray of engine paint was on my distributor body - even inside under the points and condenser. Was this factory over-spray? - I don't know but I've never seen another B with engine paint on these components, have you??
I decided not to keep the over spray and gently cleaned the entire body of the distributor by hand.
I polished and painted the vacuum unit with a chrome paint to give it a new shine. I'll replace the rotor, points and condenser as well.
I cleaned my original Lucas plug suppressors and hand painted the little Lucas logo's in white again with my little modelers brush. I've ordered new wires, as well as the yellow numbered labels and the small rubber organizer that the wires will thread through.
With the distributor job set aside for now, I moved onto cleaning/refurbishing my grill.
I took apart the grill and proceeded to hand clean and polish all the stainless grill teeth. Mine being an original early grill, these teeth were all individually riveted in place, and the rivets were all looking brown with age. After cleaning off the corrosion, I carefully picked out the head of each rivet with some aluminum coloured paint on my trusty little modelers brush to protect and make them look new again.
The chrome grill surround and badge support have just enough fine pitting to warrant a re-chrome, so they will be sent out along with my bumpers at a later date. In the meantime I've got a new badge and the teeth look like new again.
To cap off the day, I cleaned my gas tank up and gave it a new coat of gloss black. It wasn't in bad shape - in fact an old Moss label was found half peeled off on top so I know it's a replacement.
In the mail this week I received an original British Motor Corporation radio - I found it on e-bay for $25! It will need to be serviced obviously, but will make a nice touch to the finished dashboard when it's done. I think I might know a certain father in law who might be perfect to handle this job... ;)
In other news, I am very happy to say that I'm one step closer to having my metal and paint work done! I have been debating for months over how and who to do it, I've finally decided it's going to be done once and and done right. I'm going to have Coachwerks here in Victoria handle the job rotisserie style so the underside will be properly painted like the topside. Over the next few months I'm eager to see the cars transformation. I've done several upholstery jobs with Coachwerks over the past few years as they handle most of the metal and paint for Rudi and Company. They're the best of the best in what they do, so I know I'll be in good hands!
Until next time -
Well what can I say, it's been a huge week of work and progress! It's easy to get things done when it's a labor of love I guess.
I put in 2 hrs every evening and then a full day on Saturday to keep things moving along.
I've been making good use of my zinc-electroplating system, cleaning up all my hardware on the wire wheel and re-plating them in zinc as original.
After receiving a shipment of new stuff from the Roadster Factory, I was able to refurbish my carburetors. I replaced the fuel lines, re-plated all the hardware, transferred over the original 'Smiths petro-flex' label to the new fuel line. I also got my new heat shield correctly plated in golden cad.
The carburetors I just gave a good cleaning and replaced all the gaskets. I avoided the temptation to over polish these as they never were originally.
I was able to find a brand new/old stock starter motor on e-bay to replace the modern one that had been put in mine. The date stamp says 12/63 so it's perfect! I painted it in the MG maroon engine colour as original.
I also stripped and painted the fan and pulley in yellow and re-plated the hardware as original.
I also received my new/old stock clutch master cylinder in the mail. After giving the brake and clutch master cylinders a light hone a few weeks ago I found that the clutch cyl. had some corrosion on the inner cylinder wall. Luckily I found this brand new one online for a reasonable cost. To go with it, I've ordered a new pair of the correct metal caps from Scarborough Fair. I also rebuilt the clutch slave cylinder with new rebuild kit.
Last but certainly not least - today I worked all day on cleaning and painting my engine/gearbox assembly. I came prepared with a big tarp to work on. I spread the tarp out outside, rolled the drive train out onto the tarp (to collect any mess from the process)
I washed everything down carefully by hand, scrubbing every nook with small wire brushes and plenty of Varsol. Soaking up the mess periodically with paper towels and making sure every port or opening remained sealed off. When it was all clean and dry, I masked off what was not to be painted and gave the engine a few coats of colour. I ended up using Krylon Dual (paint/primer) in their Burgundy colour. I think it's a great match for the MG colour and from what I've read it should hold up to the temps that this little engine puts out. I'm still probably going to sandblast and paint the rocker cover and oil pan separately later on to get a better finish on them.
That was probably the most productive week of work yet, between upholstery work and MGB work, it's all work that I'm genuinely proud of and enjoy doing.
Until next time -
Had a great Saturday day off spent puttering away on various parts for the B. Among other things, I cleaned and polished the intake manifold and the breather assembly. There seems to be some debate as to how the intake manifold was originally finished, some say they were just left bare aluminum, others say they were painted engine colour. My car showed clear evidence of engine colour being sprayed onto most of the other engine components: the starter, generator, some over spray onto the gearbox bell housing, even the distributor body! However I wasn't able to find even a spec trace on my manifold, so I decided just to polish it. If I am proven wrong I can always paint it later.
I did repaint the top plate of the breather in grey hammertone as was on there originally, and zinc plated the wire hose clamps and the breather support bracket.
I also spent some hours cleaning up hardware on the wire wheel and zinc plating them with my new electroplating system. Here you can see some freshly zinc plated parts like the fuel filler neck, the wire hose clamps, and the hardware for the gas tank and fuel pump. These items can be polished to a shine or left dull depending on preference. I've left these pieces dull in this case.
I also cleaned the fuel pump, repainted its bracket and cleaned all the rubber components in warm soapy water.
Here's the brake light switch polished, and it's hardware replated in zinc...
The Radiator and its support bracket, all cleaned to bare metal and repainted in gloss black. The rad I cleaned and by hand with a wire wheel on a drill to clean the tank and sides and a brass wire brush to clean the fins. The bracket I stripped in a glass bead blast cabinet.
A few more odds and ends, cleaned and painted as original...
I had to find these original horns on e-bay, mine had been replaced with some aftermarket plastic ones. I found this working pair with a date stamp of '64 so they're just right.
Another busy week of work has come to an end. My days were spent installing all the interior trim on a Mercedes 220se. In the evenings I came home to what felt like Christmas a few days in a row as deliveries of B parts arrived in the mail from Moss and The Roadster Factory.
Mostly just small odds and ends, like rubber seals, gaskets, hose clamps etc...
Some new rubber pads for the pedals, a new pair of wiper blades...
Unfortunately my old oil cooler hoses are on their last legs and upon trying to remove them from the oil cooler, the aluminum cooler rad broke at the hose fitting.
I ordered new hoses from Moss but as you can see the new hoses and fittings are very different from the originals - as is often the case with replacement parts!
I'm now considering trying to find a local hydraulics shop that could make me some new and more accurate hoses using my original fittings.
I refurbished a few things Monday evening like my wiper motor assembly.
I took it all apart, cleaned everything, and re-greased the mechanisms before reassembly. The body was originally painted in a dark grey hammered finish - not black wrinkle as I've seen on some other cars. So I restored mine to what it was.
I also refinished the gearbox support cross member and stay rod. Just cleaned them up to bare metal and repainted as original.
Until next time...
It's been a very busy few weeks since my last post. The upholstery work has been rolling in, so I've been working 7 days a week just to keep ahead. The work is inspiring though, I'm grateful that I'm able to make a living doing what I do, I don't take it lightly. More to come on that later -
Meanwhile I have been getting in a bit of work on the B in the evenings at home...
I purchased a zinc plating system from the Eastwood Company for doing my own zinc electroplating of all my hardware. A lot of restoration shops send this stuff out for re-plating and it inevitably comes back in a box with all of the hardware looking great but all mixed up. With this kit, I can set up on my work bench and just plate what bits I need to as I go along, no need to mix up all my individually tagged bags of hardware.
Speaking of plating, I have also been getting into restoring my brake and clutch master cylinder's. I have found enough evidence that I believe the outer body's of these were originally Cad plated in golden cad. And the early cars up to about mid '64 had metal filler caps instead of the more common plastic ones.
I've carefully disassembled both cylinders and will be sending the bodies and pedal arms out for re-plating. In the meantime I'm tracking down some original metal caps and have purchased rebuild kits for both M/C's. When they come back from plating, I'll lightly hone the inner cylinders before rebuilding them.
The other night I also started documenting and disassembling the intake manifold, breather, and carburetors. My B which was built in Feb. 64' was one of the first 3 main bearing cars that had this second style of crankcase breather assemblies installed. Earlier cars would have had just a simple pipe going from the top of the rocker cover to the front air cleaner. Here you can see the original breather on top of the intake manifold, with a pipe going down to the front crankcase side cover.
I also documented the HS4 carburetors, and the original "Smiths Petro-flex" fuel lines. As you can see a few of the clamps have been replaced, but I have new original style ones to set them right. I will also replace the fuel lines with original style ones and transfer the original Smiths logo to the new ones. The carbs I'll just clean and rebuild.
Here is the original golden cad plated heat shield that protected the carburetors from too much heat from the exhaust manifold, preventing vapor lock.
As you can see these original panels had asbestos riveted to the back side, I wore a proper mask and gloves while briefly handling this. I sealed the entire panel in a big zip-lock bag and then double bagged it before safe disposal at a designated facility.
Moss sells new identical panels as these with a convincing non-asbestos insulation on them and correctly finished in new Cad. To avoid dealing with the hazardous removal and replacement of the asbestos, the new panel seems an obvious solution.
Until next time -
Classic auto enthusiast, upholsterer, coach trimmer, and fine scale modeler.