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1968 MG Midget - Bodywork repair and welding


SiC
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How do they compare to a wire wheel? I've found them to be pretty effective at removing paint+filler without clogging and thinning metal. Don't half make a dust storm though. 

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9 minutes ago, SiC said:

How do they compare to a wire wheel? I've found them to be pretty effective at removing paint+filler without clogging and thinning metal. Don't half make a dust storm though. 

Less lively* to use than a wire wheel and no nasty, spiky, spirals of wire flying off at you and your genitals, hence my suggestion. I got lucky and someone on Ebay was selling a load off that do but aren't meant to fit a grinder for 11 quid or so each. I just looked and 10 x  2" ones that will fit on a drill are available for 45 quid.

I've not had much reason to use it lately but was so impressed with the first I quickly bought another. I'm sure @GingerNuttz can add to this as it sounds like he's plenty of experience with one. Everyone I've shown it to has never even seen one. Eastman have vids of them in use on the tube.

I was meaning for larger surfaces btw, looking at the crazed bodywork you'll have plenty to remove.

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2 minutes ago, Scruffy Bodger said:

Less lively* to use than a wire wheel and no nasty, spiky, spirals of wire flying off at you and your genitals, hence my suggestion. I got lucky and someone on Ebay was selling a load off that do but aren't meant to fit a grinder for 11 quid or so each. I just looked and 10 x  2" ones that will fit on a drill are available for 45 quid.

I've not had much reason to use it lately but was so impressed with the first I quickly bought another. I'm sure @GingerNuttz can add to this as it sounds like he's plenty of experience with one. Everyone I've shown it to has never even seen one. Eastman have vids of them in use on the tube.

I was meaning for larger surfaces btw, looking at the crazed bodywork you'll have plenty to remove.

We got them from the paint rep to try and started using them quite often on resprays, there was a couple of colours iirc red/yellow and green I think. 

Filler removal is rapid on a 9" with a coarse grit but it's a workout 😂 

 

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It was never the intention to buy one needing a lot of work and I rather not be! However I've dug my own hole by buying it sight unseen, so I now need to dig myself out of it. 🙄

I had my suspicions that it'd need a fair amount of work when it arrived. It's why I've kept my slate clean from buying anything else (I did nearly buy a A-series Metro on 19k miles the other day...). Hence why I held off going after the forum bike Rover, as I need to keep my project list under control.

I am super excited to start driving this. But I must not get carried away going too far with this, otherwise it'll become another Dolomite. Quick tart up on the worst rusty bits, filler + rattle can paint on the flaky bits* and sort the mechanicals to make sure they're safe and sound. I think this is a fundamentally sound car, it just needs a bit of love and recommissioning to bring it back around.

* If it wasn't rusty underneath those cracked sections on the offside, I'd be putting filler in the cracks and rattle can over...

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I do like the fiberglass looking wheels I used on the Plymouth. They allow air circulation to the surface you're working, tend not to shed everywhere and aren't too vicious.

Only caveat is they don't on the grinder with the guard on

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On 12/19/2021 at 1:20 AM, Shandylegs said:

If you haven’t already ordered the panels, I have a Ashley Hinton NS wing repair panel that I didn’t end up using. Yours if it will be of any use?

Just skimming through my thread and I must have missed your post! Was it a N/S rear panel? If so I'm definitely interested! AH doesn't have any stock of them at the moment and isn't sure when the next batch of them will be made. 

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1 hour ago, SiC said:

Just skimming through my thread and I must have missed your post! Was it a N/S rear panel? If so I'm definitely interested! AH doesn't have any stock of them at the moment and isn't sure when the next batch of them will be made. 

Hi SIC - Nope, it’s a NS Front. Still sat there if you want it though.

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Hi SIC - Nope, it’s a NS Front. Still sat there if you want it though.
Ah, unfortunately I already got that panel pretty much after I bought the car.
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Thanks for the offer anyway!
Coming from the Dolomite, I'm always amazed at how cheap panels are for the Midget. This little lot cost less than £100 posted with next day.
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The plan for last night was to jack the car up and go in for an early night's sleep. Didn't quite work out that way.

First problem was jacking the front up. What should be simple turned out tricky as the Anti-roll bar was in the way of where I wanted to put the jack.
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Instead I used the tow hook mounting point which was a bit sketch to be honest.
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Got the front up on stands. You can see where it's been jacked up in the middle over the years. Originally my intended jacking location but in hindsight possibly not the best.
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Then I went to the rear to jack it up on the diff. Easier said than done with the jack unable to get under the tank!
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At this point I really wished I had quickjacks or similar to sling under and push a button.

Plan B was to jack up on the side. I really didn't want to do this, not least because of that warning not to! Carefully did it while listening for any untoward noises.
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Left a mark but nothing major.
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Stands went on the front cross members and rear leaf spring. Good wobble found it stable and despite the pictures looking not, it is actually pretty much level
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At this point I should have called it quits for the night. But I didn't and took the door off.
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Found a flaking paint and promptly stuck my screwdriver straight through it.
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Admired the paint runs on the sill. Definitely points to this being completely a previous DIY restoration and paint job.
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Removed the seat and carpet from the nearside.
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And removed the broken aerial that's been annoying me. Not sure what I'll replace the hole with. I'm not too bothered about having a radio in this. Might just put a new aerial in though as something convenient to fill the hole with.
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The wheels had to come off for doing the bodywork, so this gave a good chance to inspect the brakes. Taking the trim off found the original wheel colour that was on here when it featured in Practical Classics 1996. I might go back to this in the future as I'm not overly keen on the body coloured wheels.
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Discs are used and calipers look OEM. But plenty of pad and not a huge lip.
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Found another spidery friend.
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Checking the flexi brake lines showed a date code I think of 2013 (or is it 2012?). I'm not inclined to change these now as they aren't that old. Calipers I might not either as, apart from being grubby, I think will be okay as have been used relatively recently.
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Rears much the same. Nice to see Delphi branded brake shoes rather than some cheap no brand nonsense. Wheel cylinders aren't seized either. So I don't think I will change any of this.
Master is definitely going need changing but I already have bought one of them.
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This is good news as, even though brake parts aren't expensive for these, it does save like £180 odd in part.

While I was there I had a poke on that rusty rear arch. What I thought was a bit lump of filler on the back is actually the profile of the inner arch. I know it's not filler as it's rusted on the inside 😂
Weird how there is this massive rust trap here. Thankfully I think the inner is saveable and the outer is ok all bar this lip needing a thin strip to repair it.
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Next up was removing the front wing.
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I was a bit worried about this as it's pretty crusty at the front. There was a wing going cheap near me but I got outbidded at 8seconds remaining. Grrr.
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Next up was removing the lights. My hope was to remove then entirely. Two reasons. One, so I didn't have to disconnect the loom. Two, it reduces the weight and thus damage on the wing. However removing the headlight ring was quite a battle. Only chipped one small bit thankfully.
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Removing the light found this horror of an electrical connection. Classic cars are like peeling back an onion. Many layers of unknown!
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The side/indicator light wasn't playing ball though. That was going to need the loom disconnecting. This entailed removing the front chrome grille. Not hard but there are two fasteners missing. I'm finding quite a few odd fasteners missing in places on this car.
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Removing the wing was relatively straightforward. Mostly a case of finding where the fasteners were and then fighting with them rusted solid. Managed to get them all undone though - even if some did sheer off. The front bumper also had to come off so it could slide forwards a bit. Also had to drill out the rivets on the chrome surround of the grille as they'd been riveted through the wing and main body.
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Under the wing wasn't as much of a horror that I feared. While rusty, the sill itself is solid. Likewise in the corners. This is good as I was fearing that it'd be another sill replacement job.
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What is less than ideal is the welds on this panel. Zero penetration, so not actually holding on. Might as well have brazed it! These welds came undone with just a standard flat headed screwdriver.
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Literally just stuck the screwdriver in here, gave it a prise and it popped right off. Welds were scraped off with the same screwdriver...
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I could fix that panel where it's rusty and weld it on all around. However I've just bought a complete replacement for £23. For that price it's quicker and cheaper to cut the old and weld the new straight on.

With that, it was 1am and I decided that now was the time for bed.

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Bit late now - but I have a softwood plank/board that I use(d) for the Spitfire....... the jack will bite into it and it spreads the load - just to get it up onto a stand to improve access to the diff or front subframe...... not the best option but not lifting too high and gets it ready to have the arse or nose up in the air.

That's a lot better than the homebrew 'restoration' that had been done on the Spit. Gotta be on the happier side with that to be fair,

Also I found that the tiny scissor jacks that come with the Spit/Midget can get it started so you can get in with a trolley jack too......

 

EDIT - just saw the wing too. Not too shabby in all honesty. The headlights were also a 'joy' on the Spitfire with adjusters seized and the mounts solid.

Good luck though - it'll be worth it when you're at the mercy of UK potholes and lever arm suspension 😁

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  • SiC changed the title to 1968 MG Midget - Bodywork repair and welding

Panels arrived yesterday. This lot cost £95 delivered which I reckon is an absolute bargain. They are Ashley Hinton panels which seem well regarded.
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This lot cost nearly the same from Moss. Not sure how I managed to spend so much there - I do it everytime.
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As a side note, if you live near a Moss UK branch, they've got an open day at the end of the month. A chance to look inside the warehouse and also get 15% off too.
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Carried on stripping the interior this evening. Finished taking the driver's seat out and most of the carpets. I'm not sure whether to put them back in after or replace them. They are a little threadbare in places. Also pondering about rubber mats instead but I think that might look rubbish.

Unfortunately I seem to have forgotten to take many pictures.

So here are the soft top bolts I removed to get the carpet out.
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Underneath I found this conveniently placed bung which I presume is for accessing the prop shaft grease nipple. Not sure if this is stock?
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Took the wing mirror and bottom light off the wing ready for that to be repaired. Mostly to make it a lot lighter and less likely to get damaged because of that from bending and distorting it.
Debating how much to cut off the bottom. I have a large repair section for the bottom but it doesn't need that much repairing. I could have almost got away with fabricating a repair but the panel was under £35, so not even worth my time doing that.
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Also took the windscreen off. Just six bolts to remove and the whole thing comes off. Haynes say you need to remove the dash. However the left side had plenty of access and on the right I just had to remove the Speedo to allow me to get a socket in. Electric ratchets are handy for this sort of thing as a hand ratchet you're going back and forth a click or two everytime.
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I am a bit nervous about having the screen off and cutting too much.
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With the screen off it is easier to clean up this whole area. I'm debating what I'm going to cut out. I have a complete panel for the left flat piece. However that goes right to that A-pillar panel. Likewise I've got a complete A-pillar.

But I think if I cut both out too much, I'll end up having it all go out of shape. I don't have any metal stock to brace and to be honest, I didn't want to go that far either.

I think I'll cut out the side panel first. Weld the replacement on and then do the A-pillar. Again I could have just patched up the crusty bits and rewelded the poor welds on the side panel but that replacement piece was only £23. It has a bunch of holes in it that line up with the wing fixings. Just getting them right and then drilling out a flat piece would be a time consuming job, along with making a replacement piece the right size.
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This A-pillar I could replace completely. However I think I'll wire wheel it right back heavily and see what the state is like underneath. Then go from there.
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The  A pillar could turn out to be a pain by affecting the door fit. Ideally you need a jig, for the door, but obviously that won't happen.

I'd also be having nightmares of it folding in the middle whilst stood on axle stands.

I'd at least support it under the middle until you finish welding.

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I love preformed panels! They're even better when they're cheap. This panel I think was £12.50 or something like that. I spent just as long cutting out the old and cleaning up than fitting the replacement in.

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I didn't want to cut too much off here and loose strength. The bit with the hole in the bottom I will cut separately once I get the big side panel in.
I'm fearful that if I cut the whole inside off, the pillar won't have anything there to hold the gap and this side will drop.
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Old panel lined up onto the new. The holes and edges matched up perfectly. A quick scribe and then chopped down with a jigsaw - my favourite tools for cutting metal sheets.
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Clamped up
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This poor hammer has gone through so much abuse over the years. In this use, the handle has a habit of catching fire.
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Then weld
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A few bits left that I'll do tomorrow. I need to bash it closer but it's late now (11pm) and I don't want to annoy the neighbours.
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Penetration decent. Warped the fuck out the panel at the bottom. Not too bothered as I'll bash it back into place and weld the bottom. This is all covered by trim.
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The welds at the top were crap because the underseal and paint on this panel kept catching fire, which messed up the argon shielding gas mix.
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I cleaned all the filler and paint off this A-pillar.

Plan was to cut off the crusty bit at the bottom
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And cut+weld this panel into place.
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However I've got this panel now that is both a full length and does the side section. There was a piece on the left but it was cut short and didn't have the bits with the holes left on it. The other side is just folded over. Currently not welded. I might run a few short beads down to hold it in place strongly.
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The top welds look a bit parp, which made my decision clear that I will just replace the whole panel. Tbh I think it'll be quicker than trying to cut the other panel and line up the bottom bit.
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I need to effect a repair on this bottom piece. You can get replacement hinge mounts pretty cheap but that will mean lining up the door. Given this is in very good condition apart from the very bottom, a small piece welded here I think will be perfectly fine.
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The  A pillar could turn out to be a pain by affecting the door fit. Ideally you need a jig, for the door, but obviously that won't happen.
I'd also be having nightmares of it folding in the middle whilst stood on axle stands.
I'd at least support it under the middle until you finish welding.


Yeah, I've just posted what I've done so far with the aim of it all not falling apart on me.
This inside edge will stay in place once the outer section is removed.
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It's (pigeon shit) welded in both sides onto that back piece. This is why I cut the panel down to do in two sections.
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The outer piece is just folded over this side, welded at the top
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And welded at the bottom. Admittedly there isn't really much here keeping this on
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So far nothing has moved. I'll get that big panel welded in before I touch anything else on the pillar. Hopefully this will keep things rigid.

This piece is pretty rotten and I want to replace it. The bottom I'll weld a piece to strengthen it - possibly after removing the A-pillar. But I'll get the outer piece done first before I remove the other bit with the hole in the pillar.
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20 hours ago, Mally said:

The  A pillar could turn out to be a pain by affecting the door fit. Ideally you need a jig, for the door, but obviously that won't happen.

I'd also be having nightmares of it folding in the middle whilst stood on axle stands.

I'd at least support it under the middle until you finish welding.

I know someone who had a Midget that stayed jacked like that for a while for welding, when all the work was done neither door would shut.

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You really are a glutton for punishment! I was scrolling down pictures and saw a rusty hole in a blue panel and thought it was my own thread 😄

That's a point - Do you know what paint colour this is? I looks exactly like VW medium blue to me.

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Finished welding this side panel on the inside and out. Inside side was a pain with trying to push the warped edge right in and then having the wax in the cavity keep smoking off/catching fire.
The right hand side of this panel going near the A-pillar only has a few tack in for now. I'll weld down there once the new A-pillar piece is on. Not only will it make it easier to weld with a piece on the back, it should also make a strong box section.

Some impressive paint runs too. Won't see this with the wing on though.
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Put a jack under the pillar just in case. Tbh I don't think this will be an issue here, more that the dash could sag down
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There is a fair amount of metal holding that to the rest of the car though.
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Chopped the outer A-pillar piece off in two pieces. One mid and then the top. This allowed me to slide the panel sideways as the right hand edge is only bent over, not welded.
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Then chopped into the welds at the top and prised it off. Noticed the welds here were gold - I've not seen this before. Googling suggests that's because of the temperature of the welds or possibly not enough shielding gas?
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With the other piece off, I cleaned up the area with a wire wheel.
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Interesting to note that the old A-pillar is from the same company/one-man-band as the new one going on. Probably a good 26+ years difference.
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The new piece lines up really well. No major fettling needed.
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Only slight cut to take into account this excess weld blob being in the way.
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At the top it pretty much lines up perfectly. I need to grind down some of the welds on that side panel at the top, as it's stopping this going all the way in.
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The bottom sticks out a tad but I suspect that's more because the panel needs a bit more natural bend in it. This should come from when I bend that side edge back over.

I need to fashion a repair on the bottom of that hinge panel. Thinking I'll do a patch on the bottom to fix up those holes in the sill as a t-piece that meets the bottom of that hinge mount. I'll be welding it over the sill rather than cutting the sill, as I don't want to be cutting too many holes into the sill and weakening at this point.
Might drill a hole where there is already a hole anyway to make a cavity wax injection point.
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I reckon fabricating that t-piece is probably going to take longer than getting that A-pillar panel in.

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Ah yes was going to say I wonder if it was brazed. Did think a brazed joint be softer though. I did hit it with a heat gun to see if it was solder, but I didn't have a blow torch to see if it was brazed. 

Some of the repairs on this pillar have been quite questionable in their strength. The floors have been replaced in its past and I have been jumping on them to test the welds are up to the job. Still tempted to strip some of the paint off and put a few more beads along it just in case. 

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definitely brazed - I've had a nightmare with some of the P6 that has been 'looked at' previously. Took sodding ages to remove it all for a clean weld.

Once again - the pace is a bit unnerving - I was happy to get a couple of small door patches done yesterday afternoon!

This one intended as a keeper or another flip coming?

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14 hours ago, cobblers said:

You really are a glutton for punishment! I was scrolling down pictures and saw a rusty hole in a blue panel and thought it was my own thread 😄

That's a point - Do you know what paint colour this is? I looks exactly like VW medium blue to me.

 

14 hours ago, SiC said:

Iris blue apparently. Correct for early (pre 65) cars iirc 

Just had a thought. The car search came back when I bought it that the colour changed from (the original factory) Red to the current Iris Blue in 30 June 1992. So not only is the last major restoration likely 30 years ago now, it's actually spent longer on this "non original" colour than what it left the factory with!

I have considered changing it back to the original Red or even Old English White as I'm not a huge fan of (baby) Iris Blue. But the under bonnet being a different colour would annoy me. No intention (just yet!) of doing a full body strip down and repaint. 

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9 minutes ago, Back_For_More said:

definitely brazed - I've had a nightmare with some of the P6 that has been 'looked at' previously. Took sodding ages to remove it all for a clean weld.

I have to say, my handheld Milwaukee right angle die grinder with flap wheel attachments has been a revelation. As it's small, it's so much easier to get into tight spaces. Not only physical size but power means you can safely use it one handed without risking it being ripped out of your hand. But also the cutting area is small, so easier to get precise than a 4.5" grinder. 

My only complaint is that the 4Ah battery only lasts about half hour tops and then takes 1.5hrs or so to charge. Irritatingly the Milwaukee charger doesn't make a noise when it's done either. Tempting to buy a 6Ah battery while the eBay 15% offer is on, but they're not cheap for a genuine.

12 minutes ago, Back_For_More said:

Once again - the pace is a bit unnerving - I was happy to get a couple of small door patches done yesterday afternoon!

I'm actually surprising myself at how easy this is going. Not only premade panels help massively but their cost and ease of getting hold helps too. The problem I have with the Dolomite is that many of the panels are not only expensive but extremely rare now and only available second and. This led me to staring and rechecking for a long time before I finally committed. The deadline of the garage door being fitted and it needing to be on four wheels was the final push for me to actually weld it in!

The other thing that spoilt the Dolomite for me is their value increase. It almost felt like I really needed to make sure everything was spot on perfectly aligned - despite it not being that good out the factory! I'd hate to be restoring something of real value like a classic Jag E-Type, MK2, TR-something or such. 

I definitely prefer working on "common" stuff where panels are easy to get hold of. I'm not great at fabrication and it takes me a very long time. For me to do it properly I could do with a few extra tools like a bead roller and such. But that takes up prescious room in the garage for something I won't use that often. 

This is certainly much more enjoyable than the Dolomite to be repairing, not least it's not another massive weldathon. Plus the motivation is there to get it fixed as it's a fresh project. 

21 minutes ago, Back_For_More said:

This one intended as a keeper or another flip coming?

The problem is that, despite my best efforts to try making my cars look undesirable, people keep offering money for them and I find it hard to say no! 🤣 Everything I own has a price on it. Admittedly some (like my BGT) I'd only let go for much more than their realistic market value.

I think I've mentioned this before a few times but back when I was 18yrs, I visited Haynes Museum for the first time. Incidentally the first time I went away on holiday with, the now, Mrs SiC. I've always been interested in aircraft and that was what engaged me the most when I was younger, rather than cars. However when I passed my driving test I started to really get interested in cars. 

Classics were never really on my radar until that first visit to Haynes. I do remember seeing a green rubber bumper BGT in a local car garage when I was getting some new tyres on my first car. It quite fascinated me. 

Anyhow in Haynes Museum there is the red room where it's filled with various sports car in the vivid red.

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In here was a MG Midget, Spitfire and a MGC. 

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From that visit I decided I really wanted a classic. While the MGB GT was my favourite, the Midget most affordable and the Spitfire the easiest to work on, I would have happily had any of them.

I bought plenty of books to read up on them and my fascination with them started. But the one thing I kept being told, from parents, colleagues and such is that they're all crap against modern cars. They break, they rust, you die in a crash and terrible to drive. This knocked my enthusiasm for getting one. 

So I went through a succession of modern cars. Some burnt me badly like an RX8 which, while fantastic to drive, lost me £3k in depreciation in a year and the same again in fuel. While some I still miss, like my Smart Roadster (that I sold to free up room on my drive for the BGT).

Then around 2018, this appeared at the local classic car garage.

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I was in love. However pretty much everyone on here told me it was a tarted up turd. While they were right and it'd needed welding, I still regret not buying it. Anyway after a month long protracted search (thread is still on here somewhere!) I eventually got the BGT that I still have 5yrs later. That car certainly tested my patience with its unreliability (or bonding exercise as some may say).

Anyhow to get back to your point on selling this. I always wanted to get a BGT, Midget or Spitfire. I'm at the point in my life where I'm lucky in that I can go YOLO, why not get all three! The problem is that I refuse to spend £10k+ on a dealer fresh example. So I inevitably get something that needs work (bonding exercise?).

Hence the only one left in the trio is the Spitfire. So if I did sell this, I'd either replace this with another Midget (in red) and/or Spitfire. It would have to be a very good price for me to justify selling this, which is unlikely to happen. 

I'm sure once I get all three, I'd probably end up deciding to sell one/several but it's a target that I'm still aiming to get all three. 

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