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1968 MG Midget - Bodywork repair and welding


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The reason I tidied the garage the other day was because I was having my garage door curtain replaced. Long story but basically the company fitted the wrong size. The fitters didn't think to measure before putting the door up. Almost all sorted, but they didn't have a replacement box cover lid. It's annoying but I haven't paid the full bill yet as they're not finished. So had a few months interest free buy-now-pay-later.

Part of this tidy up meant pushing both cars out. Once they'd gone, the Dolomite was pushed back in and back to being reused as an expensive storage cupboard.

I decided to reverse the Midget in and at an angle. This has given me a fair bit of room without being at the front of the garage. So I can weld with the door open when it's hot and don't have to worry about giving arc eye to passers by

Stripped the backend off of lights.
Fixed the taillight reflector. Good ol' Uhu Por did the trick on this. A bit less solvent (or none??) than standard UHU, so shouldn't melt the plastic.

Then started poking again to assess what needs doing. As the photos on the last post and here, it's pretty much as I expected. Essentially the same job on the nearside.


This wing is not really bad from first glance. I'm hoping it can be saved. No doubt it's been brazed. Bottom half I have a repair panel, so should be repairable.

Also note the green screwdriver angle here. Basically it's been double skinned.

With that, I knew I would have to take all the paint off and sort out what's underneath. Fully aware that it's going to have a shit ton of filler.

Removed the boot lid as gives me full access.

Also pulled the wiring loom out as I don't want to accidentally cut or burn it later. It's covered in blue electrical tape. Not sure why, so may have to pull that off later to investigate.

Without further ado, it was time to mask up and get on with it.

4 and half (i.e. a half used one) abrasive discs and an hour & half later

There was filler absolutely everywhere. I did intend to get a dust catcher for the grinder on this job. Except I forgot to order it. Just had a big fan blowing it out/making a mess everywhere.
Next project I think I'm going to strip down and see about media blasting it. Absolutely hate filler dust. Gets into everything and everywhere.

Thick dust everywhere that was actually quite satisfying to hoover up.

So what's the verdict?

Wing braised on but very little rust apart from the bottom quarter. Debating whether to cut off the wing and clean up underneath. Or slit the overlap at the top of the panel and just reweld in place.

Its arse is in a very sorry state though.

This has had a repair panel on at some point. My suspicion is that it's been cut from another car. There are extra holes in the panel that have been lead loaded. First time I've seen lead loading on this car. Perhaps it was their first time too and an experiment?

Out with the trust screwdriver got those welds popping off again.

Yes it's double skinned.

I'm going to have to chop that out and see what is going on under there. I suspect I will need to brace the boot area given I'm going to be potentially removing the wing too. Or I'll sort the wing first and then this.
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14 minutes ago, 2flags said:

The big question is, is it supposed to be double skinned? Has someone just slapped a repair panel over the top of it?

This is panel diagrams for the rear end.

Skin panels:


Inner panels:

drawing-mg-midget-parts-mg-midget-rear-b It doesn't look like it should have a double skin. I don't know if it's the remains of the original panel or its been welded as an extra. Or perhaps they knew the welds would be crap and not hold, so added it for reinforcement?

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Weather was a bearable 29c in the garage today. Too hot for welding but cool enough for some simpler jobs.

First was looking at the door lock. The passenger side works fine but the drivers side only locks, not unlocks. I stripped out the mechanism and had a look. Couldn't see anything obviously wrong.

Putting it back in to have a better look showed that turning the key doesn't give a full throw on the actuator movement. This is going from a unlock to lock to unlock by turning the key on the other side. You can see that it only goes out about half way. Not enough to unlock the door again.

Pushing the actuator arm inside the door showed it could do full movement. Just that the lock is so worn that it can't. So basically a new lock barrel is needed.

Then took the door off. Interestingly this produced shims. These look like something decently made with a slight angle on them. Possibly factory? No idea if they did that in the factory.
Possibly not as this door was held on by bolts rather than screws like it should be.
I might try without these shims as the door sticks out very crooked.

Next up was to look at the rear wing. I decided to do this before the rear panel as even though it's in poor shape, that rear panel is strong enough to stay in place to provide a reference point for this wing.
I'll probably have to put a brace across the boot opening when I do the rear panel to keep things aligned.

Anyway this looks like a repeat of the other side, because it is. More poor welds that were mostly removed with a twist of a screwdriver.
Started with slicing the top of the panel. These welds actually mostly held. Just not welded all the way along and I didn't want to damage the upper panel.
Arch required a few slight cuts.

I had hope to save that outer panel. But like the other side, it's going to be quicker and easier to just replace it. Except apart from the bottom wing area, it is in quite good condition. Possibly keep it for something else that may have poorer panel support.

Not quite sure what happened when they welded this bit. Looks like they shut their eye every time they struck an arc. Ironically these actually are the stronger welds. That's not saying much though...

Which was mostly ripped off by hand. Zero attempts at welds at the top of this either.

Like the other side, this piece here is completely wrong. I smashed it out with a hammer on the backside and then cut a tiny bit that was actually welded.


This mess was what remained. It'll need a clean up with a wire wheel next. I might have to invest in a new wheel, I've nearly worn mine out! I do have the abrasive foam type discs which work well but wear much quicker. The wire wheels are a similar price but last far longer. More vibration though and my hands are telling me they are getting annoyed with all the vibrations.

So it looks like I need to order some more panels again tonight. Side panel, arch repair and rear panel are the ones I think I need. Debating whether to just order replacement A-pillar panels while I'm at it. They look okay on this side but there is a lot of filler that could be hiding a right mess. I.e. once attacked with a wire wheel, I'm sure it'll make holes.
Bottom sill needs a much bigger repair this side. However it's on the back of the sill under the b-pillar and not on the curved bit. So I think I can get away with just a patch. Really don't want to go down the route of cutting the sill off as on a convertible it can easily make things bend where you don't want them to.

Someone on a Spridget Facebook group I'm on pointed out that flat bit on the rear valance (above the exhaust) is completely wrong for a Spridget. Way too wide and the curve is in the wrong place. No wonder they sculpted the back end in filler. A new rear panel should give me something to work with under the lights too.

Hey ho, off to spend more money I go.
Still seriously thinking of stripping it completely and getting it media blasted.

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I need to make a decision on if I'm going reversing lights or not as I have to order the panels up 😫

Reversing lights for originality

Clean look for a better look

Both panels cost the same and fit the same. Reversing light panel has holes for number plate, etc and so don't need to worry about drilling them. However it does have extra holes for the later bumpers that will need welding up. No reversing light panel has no holes at all, so will need to drill everything into place. 

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31 minutes ago, Rusty_Rocket said:

Ditch the reversing lights. You don't need them in something this big, it's another potential rust place, more wiring and as you say, it looks cleaner without them. 

What is swaying me back to the reversing lights is that looking at the the side of the panel without the holes, it's basically one where BMH haven't stamped them out. So the indentations are still there for them. While I can obviously filler them up, it's a bit crap really. I guess they don't have the tooling for a completely smooth panel and so they just don't stamp out the holes instead for the earlier cars.




I do really need to make a decision today and get them ordered. It looks to be cooling off a lot later this week. 

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Not had any spare time recently to get on further. A big box arrived yesterday though.

Which meant I finally did decide on which panel to get. I went for the one without holes for the simple reason that after a lot of comparison I realised the big holes for the bumper on the later car is wrong for the earlier. So I'd been making even more holes in it anyway. Haven't made a decision on whether I'm fitting reversing lights. That can wait till it's fitted.

Let's not add up what I spent. Could have got a new Google Pixel 6a to replace my Pixel 5 with its smashed camera lenses according to the email I got yesterday.

Last night I was scraping off paint and underseal. Found more panels badly welded on. The ones closing up the box section behind the seats. My go to method of finding if a panel is original or later is simply by scraping off the top layer of the paint. If I find primrose yellow (factory colour of the car) or primer red, then I know it's decent.

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Dug out old faithful with the wire wheel semi permanently attached

And made a right mess removing paint and underseal from the arch.

Another patchfest but even more this time. I started peeling them off with a screwdriver again.


Yesterday evening I fitted the cutting disc and removed everything that was not factory.

The line of old "weld" is where the patch was upto. Not quite sure why they made it so big really.


Went a bit too deep in places. This should be easy enough to run a bead along. Nice thick steel and easy to work with.

With the mess pile filling up.

While it's a bit annoying having to do this, it's actually in really good condition under these patches. I'll be putting new patches back on but much smaller ones with very little overlap. Also try making the big hole where the hood goes, to one that is fitting the curvature of the arch better with less gap. Basically smashing the hell into a metal plate until it fits.

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It’s pretty depressing to see the previous ‘restoration’ work carried out on both your Midget and Dolomite. Lots of bodged on patches covered over with thick filler and a shiney coat of paint.

Do you know if they were ‘professionally’ restored or done by enthusiastic amateurs. 

Very pleased to see you make the effort to do things more thoroughly.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A patch a day keeps the scrap man at bay

Getting back on this after a short break. Options are to replace the arch with a complete new panel or repair what I have. Cutting the arch out is a massive job as a lot is attached to it.

I'm using individual patches as easier to shape and contour than one big patch. Some is butt welded, some overlap. I can get to both sides when overlapping so there should be no rust risk by doing this.

Welds didn't turn out that nice as I hoped. Turned out that I was kneeling on the torch cable. At least I'm going to use that as my excuse.

Pre-cleaning up to metal



This actually now matches the contour of the arch and so won't need a heap of filler. Tbh I probably will mostly clean up the welds and not even filler. The carpet will be covering this on the inside.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Weather is back to being a bit more sensible now. Another patch in and a smaller one as needed to shape the curve. This is butt welded at the top to make things more awkward. The next one along will be a larger patch as it's mostly flat.


Ground back. I could go flat but I don't think I'll bother with this. I prefer a bit of weld bead as I know I haven't gone too thin then.

Quick slap of primer on the inside and out.

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Made a template for a big repair piece to butt weld in.

Transferred to metal. Awkward shape that uses a lot of steel up.

Required some grinding back to fit. Ended up cutting in half anyway as the bit around the bump stop doesn't fit that great and will need the angle tweaking.
Tacked it in and then I remembered I didn't make holes to puddle weld in on the edge. Drilled some Insitu but did manage to go straight through on some.

Then I also remembered I forgot to change the inaccessible fuel tank bolt. Bent back the lip here and managed to wiggle a fresh one in. I am considering welding this bolt in place but not sure if I'll end up needing wiggle room when putting the tank bank in. I'll also need to hammer down this chassis leg and weld it on. The gap is way too big and whoever replaced the floor didn't do a great job (surprise...). Might have to smack it up from the bottom or even potentially put some steel in-between to weld onto.

Making repair sections takes so long. Even this simple piece took me from 8pm to 10:30pm to plan, cut, prep and tack. Ready made panels that accurately match are much quicker and easier to put in a lot of the time. Many of the panels for this are available and do fit, which is why I've enjoyed doing most of this.

Hopefully this arch is now the worst of it. Not much else that I haven't poked. Only really the inside of the front wing/footwell area on the drivers side.

I'm also debating whether to replace the sill this side. The bottom is pretty thin at the back and I suspect might be thin further along. Big job as needed to both brace and remove the panel all the way along. However now is the time to do it with this wing removed. Pattern sills are £45 posted for both sides.

Or I repair what I have with either fabricating from fresh steel or even potentially cut a replacement sill panel to replace just the worst part on the rear.

Decision, decisions and one that I need to make soon.

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Welded the plate in and a quick dress back.

Worked the other plate in. I didn't want to have two parts but this wasn't an accurate enough piece to go in first time. So needed a lot of tweaking with the mini flap disc to get the curve around the bump stop area right.

Eventually I got it fitted in so I could butt weld it properly.

Then I ran a few beads.

Started puddle welding in the bottom but ran out of gas. This bottle hasn't done too bad. Pretty much most of this car to date I think.

I know I said I wouldn't grind back flat but as I had spent the effort to butt weld the repair sections in, it seemed rude not to.

Slowly getting there. Glad when I've got this arch repaired. Still got a bit more on the rear of this arch then back boot repair section. The front needs the sill fixing up. I'm siding towards not replacing it. I need to get the camera down there but it looks in pretty good condition apart from the bit at the back. Then the repair section for the arch and the outer panel.

Once that's all sealed up, I need to get on with the rear boot panel! Not one I'm much looking forward to as I reckon a lot of grot to cut out and I'm worried things won't line up after.

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Didn't get much done this bank holiday weekend. Visiting family events scuppered most of my free time. Today I had spare time and after a midday snooze in the garden, I decided that early evening I needed to do something on it.

Connected the regulator to my fresh bottle of argon (£78 for this refill FFS - may need to consider CO2 soon) and it gave me a chance to clean up the wire feed roller & torch shroud.

Puddle welded up the final patch. Then welded up the pin holes and cut marks that came through from grinding + cutting discs. I turned the gas down in an attempt to reduce my usage. This just led to welds with higher pinholes. So ended up turning it back up again!

I didn't take a picture after grinding all that back again. But you get the idea.

Then set on the boot floor outrigger section. This strengthener piece is not properly welded to the floor. Poor welds again.

Ran over the wire wheel to get the rust and paint cleaned off.

Then welded along. Quite hard work as the underseal on the bottom kept catching fire. The fumes from this mess up the welding arc as it engolfs the shielding gas. Also the metal is very thin on top, so had to turn the power down a tad so it didn't melt through.

This is after grinding. Might need another bead or two where I didn't quite weld along properly.

Then cleaned up again. Next was to start lining up this outrigger piece and clamping down for welding.

I still really need to make a decision on this offside outer sill. Heart says I should replace it all. The head says that's a much bigger job and I should just patch the rear section that has rusted through.

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9 hours ago, BlankFrank said:

You're a machine, man. Bloody inspirational.

Sounds like overstatement, probably because it is, but it definitely encourages me to get the welder out on my old heaps.✌️

Divide and Conquer!

If something is too big a project, I divide them up into little projects. If those little projects are too big, divide again. Keep dividing till you get a sub-project that is manageable. 

For me, the main project is the welding up the car. Then the offside repair. Then this rear arch repair. Then inner rear arch. Finally these small repair pieces along the bottom. 

Next up is that rear outrigger piece project. Then repair the rear of the arch.

Next I have to made a decision on that rear sill. Either replace it all or repair the rear. 

Once that is done, inner arch repair and get that outer panel on.  That'll be the arch project done and hopefully the offside project done.

Finally tackling that rear panel.

So loads to do! But broken down its manageable.

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Welded this outrigger bit

Last bit on the inner arch repair is this section here. I've clamped the inner "out" repair piece on to get an idea of shape and size.

Also welded up some of the bead that had rotted away. To replace this would require removing the whole wing. It could be cut off and filled smooth but these sort of bits make the distinctive shape of a spridget imo. Possibly needs a bit more work to improve this.

Decided to take the front wing off. Mostly as I want to inspect the area for corrosion and help decide if I'm doing the whole sill or not.

Then I got distracted scratching the bonnet paint. Looks like it was painted blue and then another primer coat and blue put over the top. Presumably a blow over at some point in its history. Maybe a major reason why the paint is so fucked now.

Took the light out. Has modern-ish Wipac H4 setups in it.

Took a fair bit of fighting and realising that I missed some bolts. Like this bugger hiding behind the loom.

Wing then slides off. This is actually just taken after cleaning up as I forgot to take a photo directly after.

Actually is pretty good under here.

Also found a fusebox lid, spanner and a nut.

Attacked the area with the fibre pad and wire wheel. Again it looks very clean apart from some pitting. Much better than the other side.

What is nice on the Spridget over the MGB is the ease of access to the pedal and masters. I have replacements for these as at least one leaks and neither is in great condition. As I'll be welding around here, draining all the brake fluid is a good idea. It's incredibly flammable and more so than even petrol.

I also removed that hideous wing mirror. Pulled it apart and broke it. Oh well. In the bin it goes.

Back to why I took the wing off. This rear part of the sill isn't in great condition.

Hitting it with the Eddie Hammer found it solid.

But poking made holes larger.

Cleaning up with the wire wheel didn't make any new holes.

Given the front is okay, I think I may patch this up. Or get a sill and only cut the back end off. Not sure I really want to completely remove and replace this sill.

Incidentally next week will be four months since I first drove it back. It's taken me longer than I hoped as I wanted it done by the summer but tbh I'm not doing too bad for me I guess. One side is pretty much done (needs pin holes sorting and a tiny repair piece on the door jam) and the other side is well under way.

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Tonight I decided to finish this rear panel off. There is a slight ridge that needs tapping down and pinholes to fix. I marked out all the holes first, so I could see it through my welding visor.

Then tacked them up

Ground down with my die grinder. Repeat for a few more. Finally hit with a hammer to flatten the ridge. Don't mind if a little too indented as I'll put a skim of filler on here. Just a skim of filler doesn't hide ridges, only indents!

I noticed it was flash rusting in places and I'm not likely to be painting this anytime soon. So I chucked a coat of paint on.

Likewise I put paint on this outrigger piece on the other that will disappear with the outer panel.

The black aerosol felt like it used about a quarter on those two pieces. So not a massive amount. I'm seriously considering maybe painting this myself with cellulose. Might have to be next spring/summer though as the weather will probably start turning before I finish the metalwork.

It's not as if I don't have the Dolomite metalwork to be getting on with after this Midget. Plenty to do there still!

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I’d put a new sill on if it was mine, if the step is good you can use a skin sill. The trouble is that unless you’re very skilled with filler a repair in the back of the sill will always be visible if you look down the flank of the car. Because it’s a long flat panel.

The master cylinders on the car look like the original ones to me, these are quite rare and sought after by a lot of owners who want their cars to look original under the bonnet. The modern ones you can buy with the plastic reservoirs look crap IMO. You can get the originals resleeved and rebuilt if you so wish. About £100 each iirc.

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2 hours ago, Angrydicky said:

I’d put a new sill on if it was mine, if the step is good you can use a skin sill. The trouble is that unless you’re very skilled with filler a repair in the back of the sill will always be visible if you look down the flank of the car. Because it’s a long flat panel.

Yeah that's one of the things weighing up in my mind. It's a big-ish job replacing the sill but I suspect I'd take far longer trying to sort filler than replacing it. 

They're ridiculously cheap too, so no excuse there. These are aftermarket ones but the guy that makes them does a fantastic job.


2 hours ago, Angrydicky said:

The master cylinders on the car look like the original ones to me, these are quite rare and sought after by a lot of owners who want their cars to look original under the bonnet. The modern ones you can buy with the plastic reservoirs look crap IMO. You can get the originals resleeved and rebuilt if you so wish. About £100 each iirc.

I actually prefer the plastic reservoirs, especially on a single brake line system. You can quickly pop the bonnet open and you can eyeball levels to check they haven't dropped. With the bonnet shut you don't see them, so doesn't bother me they look wrong! I'm certainly not the type to pop a bonnet at a car show/meet and get out my broom pole to hold it open (we've all seen it!  🤣

Any old parts that look original, I always bag up and stick in the big box of bits for the car. So any future owners can have them refurbished and put on if they so desire. 


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That is a good point.

First we knew the reservoir had run out of fluid on my dads Hillman Minx was when the pedal went to the floor, fortunately when he was just reversing it out of the garage. Tiny reservoir on those too.

I had a resleeved body ready to go (the larger can type from the disc braked cars, just like yours) so built that up with a new kit and fitted it. It is reassuring to have a better capacity in there.

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Received the pricelist today. Quite amazing these things last so long in the world without being thrown away. Mrs SiC reckons it's a replica. Could be but it would be a lot of effort for something that sells for a fiver + postage.

I find these facinating to read as they give the idea of not only cost but also what options were available. I'm surprised a radio was an option. I'd have thought they would have been far too expensive an item.
But then these aren't Issigonis designs who disliked such frippery in his motorcars.

Also this book from @anonymous user arrived today. Absolutely fascinating read that is picking up stuff that I didn't know. Such as the Frogeye design was influenced by the Jaguar D-Type that was winning all the races of the time. Of course it's an economical version as the budgets were strict and tight.

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That's deffo an original. I have pre-WW1 car brochures which look like they've never been handled. Something like that price list would have been printed in the tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands to hand out at motor shows etc. I'm sure I'll have brochures and stuff for your exact model of Sprite, I'll have a look in the files and take some pics at some point if you're interested?

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1 minute ago, barrett said:

I'm sure I'll have brochures and stuff for your exact model of Sprite, I'll have a look in the files and take some pics at some point if you're interested?

Yes please! Also currently fascinated in the Frogeye. Definitely a vehicle I want to buy. Either if/when the market on them falls enough for me to afford one, or if that doesn't happen then it'll be another "affordable to buy" resto job.

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      About two weeks ago this vehicle was inadvertently advertised by stinkwheel on here. Having recognised this vehicle from my time as moderator on the 2cvgb forum, and having seen it change hands then, I was interested.
      A flurry of pm's saw a seed planted in my mind. We've got some building work to do at home - so what better way to help this than to buy a van that hadn't been on the road for 8 years?
      Amazingly, my wife thought it a good idea too, and we discussed the proposition with our children. A family fun bus? Why not! My 5 year old son was keen, my 9 year old daughter much less so.
      Anyway - wingz123 delivered the mucky beast to my drive this afternoon. Thank you very much sir, lovely to meet you!
      So here we are, project acadiane after a quick jetwash.

      Sent from my SGP621 using Tapatalk
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