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Marina-Should I do it or Not(possible project) UPDATED: IT'S RUNNING!

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Always a car that screamed out for a small block Chevy transplant. Even the 1.8  looks lost in the engine bay.  The Aussies got a 2.2 E6 option I believe. 

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2 hours ago, trigger said:

Well done on the buy, being a GT I guess it's a twin carb model which has a bit more umphh than the single carb although they are still pretty sprightly, the very early 1.3s had drums and no servos but they soon gained discs and servos by the mid 70s.

 

The US only got one engine/carb option-the single carb 1.8L. If I wanted to do dual carbs, it should be an easy swap with MGB parts, but I'm actually kind of looking forward to only having to deal with a single carb for a bit of change of pace. I know people who have gone the other way on 75 and later MGBs-a ZS 175 will also bolt right on to the Marina manifold, and the manifold will more or less bolt in to an MGB. The Marina exhaust manifold is essentially the same as what's found on dual carb MGBs, while the "log" exhaust manifold combined with the tight bend around to the catalytic converter really chokes up late Bs. I know of people who have managed to get MGBs with Marina manifolds past California emissions inspectors, where the emissions test requires a visual inspection of the equipment-the double Y Marina manifold really opens the cars up vs. the catalytic converter manifold.

I actually have a Marina manifold stashed away for a rainy day to use on a late model B.

At least by the service manual, the engine is an 18V at 8.0:1, which is the same as post-72 US MGBs. Engine familiarity is definitely a good thing.

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2 hours ago, trigger said:

Well done on the buy, being a GT I guess it's a twin carb model which has a bit more umphh than the single carb although they are still pretty sprightly, the very early 1.3s had drums and no servos but they soon gained discs and servos by the mid 70s.

 

The US only got one engine/carb option-the single carb 1.8L. If I wanted to do dual carbs, it should be an easy swap with MGB parts, but I'm actually kind of looking forward to only having to deal with a single carb for a bit of change of pace. I know people who have gone the other way on 75 and later MGBs-a ZS 175 will also bolt right on to the Marina manifold, and the manifold will more or less bolt in to an MGB. The Marina exhaust manifold is essentially the same as what's found on dual carb MGBs, while the "log" exhaust manifold combined with the tight bend around to the catalytic converter really chokes up late Bs. I know of people who have managed to get MGBs with Marina manifolds past California emissions inspectors, where the emissions test requires a visual inspection of the equipment-the double Y Marina manifold really opens the cars up vs. the catalytic converter manifold.

I actually have a Marina manifold stashed away for a rainy day to use on a late model B.

At least by the service manual, the engine is an 18V at 8.0:1, which is the same as post-72 US MGBs. Engine familiarity is definitely a good thing, although I'll look toward upping the C/R to 9.5:1. On a low compression 18V engine, this requires changing the pistons, but it's otherwise a straight forward swap. I took my B from 8.8:1 to 9.5:1, and it made a noticeable "seat of the pants" difference.

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The Aussies got a 2.2 E6 option I believe. 


Yep, the Marina ‘Big Six’, it was actually a 2.6 litre lump.

Australian Marinas were all fitted with E-series engines, in 1.5, 1.75 and 2.6 form. They were also very different from British built cars in most other areas as they had completely different gearboxes, axles, interior trim, exterior trim and were built to a much higher standard (compared to UK examples!).

Marinas are one of my favourites (see: username) and I really hope you get this one, I think you will get on well with it, especially with your knowledge of MGBs.

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9 hours ago, Skut said:

Always a car that screamed out for a small block Chevy transplant. Even the 1.8  looks lost in the engine bay.  The Aussies got a 2.2 E6 option I believe. 

given the scarcity of these these days id not want to engine swap any

however I do wonder how well a Rover V8 would drop into one :) (especially given the MGB got that engine too)

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given the scarcity of these these days id not want to engine swap any
however I do wonder how well a Rover V8 would drop into one  (especially given the MGB got that engine too)


I must admit, I have thought about the possibility of squeezing a P76 Rover V8 into a Marina, especially as the Aussie suspension and rear axle would actually have a hope in hell of handling the power.

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So, in the world of "it's a small world" craziness...I decided that I needed to buckle down and get a handle on actually getting the car to me.

I started off this morning and called Dick Moritz. Dick is a good friend of mine, and runs "Moritz Garages" out of Philadelphia. Aside from being a top-notch technical writer, he's also a heck of a mechanic/restorer. He has become the go to guy in the US for MGB overdrive, and when I finally get ready to put one in my car I'm going to have him rebuild it before I drop it in. In any case, Philly is not TOO far from Delaware, so I thought he might have some thoughts on people up his way who could at least get the car in to a better position to have a commercial carrier pick it up(I've been told that's not really an option at its current location).

Dick tells me "Call Glenn Towery-he's in Delaware." I don't know Glenn overly well, but have done some business with him in the past. He's another phenomenal MG guy-he goes my "V8 Glenn" and specializes in doing V8 conversions. He also quite literally drives all over the country in his V8-converted MGB GT-to the point where he's at somewhere in the ballpark of 600K miles. He regularly hauls cars and motorcycles behind it plus travels through the midwest of the US, so Dick thought that Glenn might be able to load it up and bring it to me.

This is where things get really interesing-I called Glenn and told him I was buying a Marina in Delaware. He said-"Oh, are you buying(seller's name) car?" When I responded with an affirmative, Glenn tells me that he had "rescued" that car about 30 years ago for $50, resurrected it, and his mother and then his wife had driven the snot out of it for many years before it finally set unused and Glenn sold it to the current owner. So, Glenn gave me a fair bit of history on the car, and the fact that it was in his family is quite a ringing endorsement.

I started talking to Glenn about transporting it, and he tells me that he thinks it MIGHT be a bit much to haul behind his MGB, but that he could probably tow it with his brother's pick-up. Also, he mentioned to me a couple of other things-namely that he needs to come to my city to pick up an engine although he doesn't have a definite timeline, and also that he has another trip in October where he'll be passing close.

Then, he throws something else interesting at me-"I can't bring myself to tow that car-it needs to be driven." We don't have any definite plans, but he's weighing the option of doing enough minimal rehab on it to get it roadworthy, and then driving it down to me. He said he could come with his brother(driving a separate vehicle), drop it off, and then pick up the engine. I'm a bit leery of hopping in an unknown BL product and driving it halfway across the country, but to Glenn it's just another day.

He's going to throw together a plan in the next week, but the whole thing is sounding both exciting and promising. Plus, I LOVE the fact that the car has a history with Glenn before its current owner, and as much fun as it would be to go and drive it back it's also a great story that this particular guy did it. Plus, it's another chance to him to have a reunion with a car he knows well.

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Yes indeed-I'm thrilled to connect with someone who had a long ownership history with the car, and it's even better that it's someone so high profile in the MG community.

Also, Glenn was pretty emphatic too about keeping the BW35. He asked me what I was planning on doing with it, and I said maybe sometime in the future that I would do an "Dick Moritz Street Performance" build on the engine(9.5:1 C/R, port and polish the head, Delta D9 or APT VP-12 camshaft). His advice was maybe not to do that all the way, but that it would definitely benefit from the 9.5:1 C/R and maybe a bit of head work with the stock cam. He told me that he bought the car without a head and put a 12H2923 "big valve" head on it-I didn't ask him whether or not he'd done hardened seats but if he didn't, I should do that.

Of course, upping the C/R on a US 18V engine means new pistons. I'll have to decide whether or not I want to pull the block and have it machined, or if I want to just hone the cylinders in the block. The difference is a long weekend vs. a few months, and a few hundred vs. a few thousand dollars.

In any case, I'm just excited that things are happening with it.

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Spent some time yesterday chatting with the seller, and today with Skip "The Marina Man."

Things are coming together nicely, although for a few reasons the "drive it down here" plan is now pretty much off the table. A large part of me was really looking forward to the "waking the car up" aspect of this purchase, and even though I know it would show up here running well after ~600 miles on the road, I'm ultimately a lot more comfortable with it being trailered here.

One of the things I'm working on now while I'm waiting on other things is looking at tire options. Apparently the 13" aluminum "turbine" wheels I'm getting aren't stock-I'm wondering if perhaps they're a Spitfire wheel. In any case, Skip seemed to think that it's probably wider than the 4.5" stock steel wheel.

Fortunately, I at least have some options without paying stupid prices from a specialty supplier. I can get a 155/80R13 Kuhmo, which is close to the stock 155HR13(82 series). That's probably not going to be too happy on a 5" wheel.

Skip tells me that he runs 175/70R13s, which work fine on a stock wheel but would also work on a 5" wide wheel. That gives more or less the stock radius, but opens up a LOT more options including the General Altimax RT3 that a lot of MG guys rave about.

Fortunately, all of these options run under $70 a tire(shipped) from Tire Rack, although I need to call my local tire store and see what they can get. By the time I pay for mounting and balancing, which the local stores generally include in the price of the tire, I'm usually at about the same price or ahead vs. buying from Tire Rack plus if I have any issues or need to collect on road hazard insurance I can take care of it the same day.

Finally, the seller told me that he's sticking 5 or 6 boxes of spares and NOS parts in the trunk of the car when it comes my way :)

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Great thread.

I've always fancied a Marina Auto myself, nice cars Marina's , like most BL stuff I really don't think they're as black as painted.

If BL had ever got the concept of developing a car properly before releasing it (instead of getting the buyers to do it) things may have been a lot different !

Good luck with the new Marina I look forward to the updates :grin:

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The seller had the exterior looking REALLY nice ~10 years ago. It has a few rust bubbles and some other issues now, but I HOPE that with some hand work and a rattle can, I can get by without a full repaint. We'll see. The interior needs some work, but I have a lead on a dashboard if nothing else, and I also have a good and reasonable local upholstery shop to redo the seats reasonably.

The Citron one is the background is not as it seems :) . It's a true US spec car-the seller stuck the home market bumpers on it and badged it as a Morris(remember these were all badged as Austins in the US). He was trying to replicate the TC look, although mechanically it still has a US spec 18V engine with a single HIF6. I'm not sure if he ever planned a twin carb conversion or not-it actually would probably be the easiest part of the whole project to do(I could dig around in the garage and find most of what I needed to do it). Believe it or not, though, the standard US-issue Marina manifold is actually well regarded in the US since the exhaust flows as well as a stock dual carb MGB(it's the same double-Y arrangement) while I'm told that the "log" intake flows better at high RPMs than the twin carb intake. With a Marina manifold, you can pull the cat off a '75 or later B but keep the Z-S 175 on it-I've heard a few folks say that they've managed to get cars so configured past California smog inspectors(who do a visual inspection in addition to a "tailpipe sniffer").

I flirted with the idea of buying the yellow one also or buying it instead of the GT, but don't have space for both along with a few other considerations.

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The car arrived around 2:15pm eastern time today. The delivery itself deserves a full write-up and photos, which I will be happy to provide this weekend sometime, but let's just say it was an adventure. Even though it was off the truck by 2:30 or so, it was after 4:00 before it got settled into its new home...and thank goodness for a "rescue" from a coworker who helped me get it there with a tow strap and his minivan :) 

In any case, here it is resting peacefully next to the MGB. I am going out of town for the weekend, so won't be able to work on it. I'm probably going to snatch the battery off of it and either charge it or just get a $50 Wal-Mart special(which around here is a decent quality Johnson Controls battery-the one I pulled out of my MGB back a few months ago was nearly 10 years old). It has a Die-Hard on it now, which use to be the end all and be all of batteries, but I don't even know where I'd need to go to FIND a Sears for another one...

 

IMG_0192.jpg

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3 minutes ago, 1970mgb said:

The car arrived around 2:15pm eastern time today. The delivery itself deserves a full write-up and photos, which I will be happy to provide this weekend sometime, but let's just say it was an adventure. Even though it was off the truck by 2:30 or so, it was after 4:00 before it got settled into its new home...and thank goodness for a "rescue" from a coworker who helped me get it there with a tow strap and his minivan :) 

In any case, here it is resting peacefully next to the MGB. I am going out of town for the weekend, so won't be able to work on it. I'm probably going to snatch the battery off of it and either charge it or just get a $50 Wal-Mart special(which around here is a decent quality Johnson Controls battery-the one I pulled out of my MGB back a few months ago was nearly 10 years old). It has a Die-Hard on it now, which use to be the end all and be all of batteries, but I don't even know where I'd need to go to FIND a Sears for another one...

 

IMG_0192.jpg

Huzzah!!! :-)

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Alright, so here's the fun story of delivery.

First of all, I live in a condo complex that's built into the side of a hill. Our parking area requires several feet of relatively steep grade to get it, and to be honest even a light car like the MG can't be pushed up it.

I knew-from the seller's photos-that the shipping company had a 5th wheel, 3 car trailer that they were towing with a 1 ton Ram duelly. Since that's a big more nimble than an 18 wheeler, I'd HOPED that they would be able to back it in and get it unloaded right where it belonged.

Unfortunately, not all went as planned. They'd told me it would be arriving this morning, so I'd taken the MORNING off work. I called a few times for an update, and the best I got was before 3:00PM. With that in, I handled a lot at work by phone/email, and sat myself down to wait(I also finished the radiator install on the MG, which was good, but I needed a hose clamp and was afraid to go even 5 miles to the hardware store to get it lest they come).

Around a quarter after 2:00, they finally rolled in. The guys were adamant that they couldn't get their trailer where I needed it. So, with that said, I said just get it out onto the street and we'd go from there.

At least the trailer did give me a good chance to look it over from the underside. Fortunately, the underside is solid

IMG_0165.thumb.jpg.c5087a01f1b5cbb235c821968e5a7dc2.jpg

 

The trip down the trailer was a bit interesting, as it was ALMOST too narrow for the trailer, and the tires rubbed the center rails the whole way down.

We tried pushing it up, but there was no getting it up the hill.

So, I had the bright idea to try starting it. They hooked their jump pack up, I pulled the cover off the air cleaner and shot some ether into it, and a couple of minutes later it reluctantly cranked over again. Unfortunately, cranking is all it would do. It wasn't sparking(out the coil). I popped the distributor cap and couldn't see any arcing across the points even though they were opening and closing,  but unfortunately they guys were in a hurry and I didn't want to give it my full attention to diagnose it. Finally, we ditched at the loading dock of a restaurant next door. I tried to let them know what was going on, but it seems as though they've closed permanently. None the less, I left a note claiming I'd broken down(not too much of a stretch) with my name and phone number, and a promise to be back soon.

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I went and grabbed my other car and tool box to attempt to jump it, but it was cranky REALLY reluctantly, and I wasn't in a good position to yank the distributor and mess with the points. I was also just far enough away from my "box of bits and bobs" to do something like drop in a spare distributor or something else.

Finally, I called a co-worker, who showed up with his minivan and a few tow straps :) . Since we REALLY only needed to go a few hundred feet, I wasn't too worried about an improvised towing arrangement. A lot of police officers hang out at the gas station across the street from where it was parked(and where the below photo was taken) and I was happy that none noticed(or at least didn't care) that the registration sticker said 2014. Since I haven't called Hagerty to add it to my policy yet, this car is both untaxed and uninsured, and technically it was very much illegal to even have it on the street for a few hundred feet. I'll get it insured on Monday, since I have a good excuse for the expired registration(just bought it) but of course uninsured is a big no-no.

IMG_0190.thumb.jpg.f54a087345b6c405f095f366647c4d94.jpg

 

So, with him towing and me steering/braking, we got things lined up more or less. We still couldn't QUITE get it where I needed it to be, but my neighbor lent an extra hand and we got the Marina docked.

I had to run off out of town, but yanked the battery off of it before I did. I don't know if the battery will come back to life, but I'll run it by Autozone for a check and charge, then grab a replacement from Wal-Mart if it does test bad. I need to replace the positive terminal also.

The seller did absolutely PACK the car with spares. I haven't really even had a chance to look at everything, but it's loaded up everywhere other than the driver's seat. I'd hoped I might find a spare distributor and carb to mess with this weekend, but he was a bit stumped as to why I'd even want to change the distributor(I remove distributors to change or adjust points on MGs, so it's one of those things I do without a second thought, but I've also seen people terrified at the thought of removing one). There are probably 4 or 5 grills in the back seat, along with what looked like a full set of replacement window glass and boxes full of lamp housings/lenses. I found shocks, calipers, drum backing plates, and all manner of other stuff in the trunk...under the spare gas tank. It's going to take me at least as much time to sort out what's there as it will to actually get it running/drivable.

IMG_0197.thumb.jpg.f9d03dabef71e8c8f9d63f272969bc1e.jpg

 

Hopefully, once it sparks, it should come right back to life. I'd planned to oil the cylinders today, but given that it's already turned over a bunch of times, I don't see any real point in doing that. The gas gauge registered empty, and I'm not sure if that means it's truly empty, the gauge isn't working, or both. An empty or nearly empty gas tank makes my life easy since I don't have to worry about getting 10 year old gas out of it. I'll get some in a can and put a couple of gallons in it. Also, I didn't HEAR the fuel pump running, but I'm not familiar with the one installed so I don't know what type of sound it makes. If all else fails, I have this

1553563994_IMG_01992.thumb.jpg.4b6ec249010ce124a4634636f301c03f.jpg

Fortunately, we did also have plenty of time to establish today that the brakes are good. Depending on how adventurous I'm feeling, I may do for a quick and dirty job of just sucking old fluid out with a turkey baster and refilling with fresh, or I might follow that up with a full flush until it flows clear.

Beyond that, an oil change is quick and easy(I did the MG today without even jacking up the car, so the extra ground clearance should make things even easier). Glenn, who owned it many years ago, put a remote-mount oil filter on it like he does on all of his MGs. There are 3 or 4 replacements elements for that in the trunk, so that part is easy.

If everything goes as I'd like(which it never does, but goals never hurt) I can hopefully drive it to the sheriff's office by the end of the week for a safety inspection-those are a bit of a joke in my state since they really just check the lights, windshield wipers, and horn(it's a $5, 10 minute job). Once I have that done, I can transfer it and have it legally back on the road. It needs tires, but the ones on it now are at least serviceable enough for a ~10 mile drive to the sherriff's office.

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My dad had 2 Marina Vans when I was small. The last one had been fitted with a 1.8 mg engine by a previous owner. Which of course my Dad never raced against a then brand new MG Metro Turbo. Side by side somewhere in Birmigham in about 1989.

Apparently the Metro could only get as far as the rear edge of the front door! 

All the best with the Marina. Will be following with much interest. 

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As another fun little anecdote from today that I'm sure most of this forum can relate to, although of course this is the opposite problem of what you all usually have...

I mentioned that we tried to get it started coming off the truck. One of the driver went hunting around in the driver's footwell for the bonnet release, while I went up to the grille to see if it didn't have an internal pull(a lot of old American cars are that way). We all spent a minute or two hunting around, before it finally hit me to open the passenger door(right hand door). Sure enough, there was the bonnet release just under the dash board on that side...the truck drivers were both stumped as to why it WOULD be there and also why I would think to look there. Since there was too much else going on, I just said "it's British" and left it at that. I use that excuse a lot on the MG :)(even though its bonnet release is above the driver's left leg in LHD vehicles).

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I think I’d be inclined to just put a new battery on it and be done with, even if that means changing the leads if US batteries use different terminals. It’ll mean peace of mind in the long run - I can’t be doing with weak batteries. 

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      It really looks that good. There is a reason for this: its previous owner was an old lady who loved the thing so much so she made every effort to keep it in good shape. It originally came from Fleet in the GU postcode which suggests to me it was bought by the present dealer at auction, hence arriving down here in Kent. Before seeing the car I checked its MOT history and its only fails were thanks to broken stoplights, which shows me that it was very well cared for. I suppose an example of this was that on the last MOT, an advisory was a corroded rear silencer. The silencer on the car when I saw it was new. Methinks the lady wanted to keep it as good as possible. It was kept in a garage and so all the bumpers and black trim are very black and the tyres are in very good condition. Spare never used! Also included a free Dettol first aid kit from 1997.
      This car has 15000 genuine miles on the clock. We clocked over 15000 during the test drive! The lady owner really only trundled around her village in it and the MOT shows that it only did some meagre miles between tests. This, of course, came at a price. We saw a cherry red Micra from 2002 at the same dealer. Paint was shoddy and when they washed it the boot had massive sections of bare metal and it wasn't very happy. This car, however, is in fabulous condition and there was no contest between the two cars- it really is that good, inside and out. Immaculate interior, driver's airbag, cassette player... all there and all functioning (apart from cassette thanks to new battery and failed display). This meant that I bought it for £1600, £100 over what was my uppermost limit, but I knew I wouldn't see another like this that was in as good shape for a fair while. It was priced very ambitiously, at £1990, so I'm content in the fact I managed to slash a few hundred off the price. There wasn't that much paperwork though. All the dealership received was the logbook with 3 service stamps from 1998, 1999 and 2000, the radio key pass, a National Trust sticker, and the original paperwork holder. I suspect the old lady died and had her car auctioned, and the massive file of paperwork is now someone's egg carton, along will everything else she owned.

      As always, this car isn't exactly in showroom condition. While the inside is great and the floor is solid, and the underseal is in great shape, the not undersealed parts need a small looking at. Mainly the rear of the driver's side sill. It's really the only bubbling on the car. I suspect a well aimed stonechip managed to fester over the wintery salted roads, making it rust even more. It's around the size of a 5p piece, and will give me the opportunity to spray the insides of the sill with some chain oil to prevent any further corrosion. Behind the fuel tank there are a few rusty joints- places where the spraygun cannot get paint onto- which some Vactan and Dynax should put to rights. Alternator belt looks original because of the cracking and Nissan badges and will need doing soon as well as the front plate. As much as I like the 90's font and original dealer surround, the dishevelled R and general water ingress is a persistant MOT advisory. It could be the MOT station being strict (and most likely is considering there's a Saxo down the road with far worse blackening), however for the sake of peace of mind and all that, I'll get a new one made. The rear has already been replaced indicating this has happened before.
      All in all, I think this is a nice plucky motor. I'll have it by the end of the week; just got to sort out tax, insurance, and it's going to have an MOT. As part of the deal it's getting the MOT and an oil and filter change which will be something ticked off the list. It has some love scratches and chips here and there, but it drives well, is stiff and controllable, and should make out to be a nice summer project!
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