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1968 MG Midget - Bodywork repair and welding


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So my life took an almighty shit soon after my last updates and progress on this stopped pretty quickly. Then bought a Focus and replaced it with a TT that needed some attention (no, the TT is not directly related to life taking a shit). Finally bought a scrapper Dolomite that was an unneccessary distraction (still needs the stripping finished). Roughly back on track now and having a bit of stability.

Also this week marks a years ownership. So much for buying another light project while knee deep into welding it up. Admittedly I started mid this year, but still.

I have been doing the odd bit here and there though. I realised that I am going to have to do everything I did on the passenger side on the drivers side. Except with a outer sill replacement too. As its the drivers side, there is all the brake and clutch gubbins I will be welding around. Now if you think petrol is flammable then brake fluid is something else again. So I drained all the fluid out of the masters. I did this by forcing the fluid through the pipe work out of the rear brake nipples and the clutch slave.



The clutch slave on these are supposed to be a nightmare to change. I didn't find it that difficult, even with the front end on the floor and only the back end in the air.



This is the room I was working with. Not only was it easeily possible to do, I also got my phone there to take pictures too.


Clutch slave hose is kaput. I'm going to replace brake+clutch masters and this clutch slave on this to be honest anyway. Cheap enough and saves it failing later.




When welding on the passenger side, the unscrewed dash could be pushed far enough out the way for it not to be damaged. The drivers side however is full of gauges and such that I don't want damaged. So removal of the dash was a neccessity. This is a bit of a pain as it involves removing the oil+temp gauge from the dash that snake into the engine bay.

Coolant was drained and the temperature sender carefully removed.




This is the flexi oil hose held on by flared fittings and pipe clamp. Bit sketchy if you ask me but then its lasted all these years! I have a full length flexible hose to go in for replacement.



Gauge could then be removed.



Dash is then removed. I took the time when removing to label the electrical connections on the loom, so its not quite a mystery on putting it back together.



Steering column, wheel and crash padding removed.





Thats about when the TT arrived. It then became storage for old VAG parts with associated tools used fixing it and then dumped back into the car at the end of the night.



As it has been too bloody cold, everything pretty much froze to a halt. The last few nights have been a case of tidying up that mess.

Last night I decided I would remove the clutch and brake master completely. I need to replace the masters and its easier off the car, but also gives me a chance to repaint the carrier. The pivot pin is seized up on the bushes of the brake pedal, so when you press the brake it undoes the nut on the other side. Less than optimal and another good reason for pulling this out.





Also removed the accelerator pedal link rod and the hinged piano accelerator.




Check this wedge on the bottom to try levelling the pedal out with the wonky floor.



Thats not a metal wedge, its been 'expertly' crafted out of filler!



Next job is to weld some support bars to act as bracing across that door panel so I can pull off the remains of the sill and side panels. Almost all the sill I popped off with a flat headed screwdriver from the welds being so crap. Replacement panels are here - actually been sitting in the hallways for nearly 3 months and I've not even opened the box yet. Hopefully I actually have everything I ordered in there.

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Decided to carry on disassembling this pedal box. Pivot pin put up a fight. 


Used my trusty stubby impact to loosen it up and then hit it out with a punch. Did fear I'd ruin the bushings but they survived remarkably well. Cleaned the bushings out and ran some fine sandpaper over the pin. Putting the pin back through the pedal found it span freely. They're pretty big bushings considering there isn't much in the way of load on them.



Used paint stripper for the first time on the metal parts. Not sure why I haven't used it before tbh as it worked pretty well. Usually I just hit it with the wire wheel but that makes paint debris everywhere. I still ran the wire wheel over but that was to remove the rust. 

Sprayed a coat of etch primer on. At 8c in the garage, it dried very slowly and I'll have to put some more costs on tomorrow.


Temperature in the garage not helped by my heater exhaust snapping off and stopping me using it. I think a combination of work hardening making the metal brittle and blowing around in the wind killed it. Tbf I should have strapped it to the wall ages ago. Now just need to find the box of spare bits and replace it. 


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It's amazing how smart this car looked when you bought it, given all the horrors you've found underneath. Great to see it being fixed properly.

Given how far you've gone with it, I'd be tempted to have it blasted and return it to its original colour. The blue is nice, but the original yellow would suit it well, too.

It's noticeable how much more complex the monocoque structure of the Midget is than the separate chassis Spitfire, with so many more built-in rust traps and assemblies of different panels relying on each other for strength. Makes me think about the bullets I probably unconsciously dodged looking at rough Midgets a couple of months ago!

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Spent a chunk last night fixing the diesel heater exhaust. An important working appliance of the garage for this time of year! With such high fuel prices and an excess of waste oil based lubricants that I've been needing to dispose of, it's had all sorts of shit run through it. I'll probably end up needing to strip it down for a decoke by the spring.

Finished painting up these pedal box parts. This weather takes an age for the paint to dry.




Checking over the hardware, I will either need to try rethreading the pivot bolt or get a replacement. They're  a tenner each so I think I'll give it a go.



While that was drying, I finally opened by big box of panels from Ashley Hinton - it's been sitting in the hallway for the last 3 months.

 His panels are excellent quality and mega cheap. Full outer sill £19 a panel, etc. All the ones I've had fit pretty much as good as Heritage panels. I have been reading people moaning on Facebook that heritage panels are dropping in quality. Sounds like their tooling is starting to become completely worn out too now. 



Part of the panels is these brackets for the rear bumper to help support the weight. I don't appear to have any on my car. Probably lost during the last "restoration". 



Irritatingly I did manage to order the wrong hinge plate panel. This I think is for a later car and the extended piece out is for a door switch. Not the end of the world as a replacement from Moss is only £29 (if they have stock).



I could modify this but for the cost of another, it's not really worth it.



Finally I started lining up the steel box sections to figure how I'm going to brace this. I haven't actually braced a car before and always got away with it. However these Spridgets have so little steel in their design, this area definitely needs this bracing before I start cutting.

What do we reckon? I'll need to cut it all to size and fit it properly but does this geometry make sense?


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On 12/22/2022 at 5:29 AM, N Dentressangle said:

It's amazing how smart this car looked when you bought it, given all the horrors you've found underneath. Great to see it being fixed properly.

It's a real gotcha on classic cars. They can look fundamentally sound but then out not to be and even the experts get caught out! Like Harry's Garage YouTube channel with his XJC and Lancia Zagato.

This wouldn't have been so bad if the welds had penetration. A lot of this redoing is simply because they're so crap.

On 12/22/2022 at 5:29 AM, N Dentressangle said:

Given how far you've gone with it, I'd be tempted to have it blasted and return it to its original colour. The blue is nice, but the original yellow would suit it well, too.

I am seriously thinking having it stripped back and the whole thing redoing bare metal. Apart being this far down with repairs, there are a lot of areas that needing paint, like the brake pedal box area. 

Problem is, that's a complete full strip down - removal of engine/pipework and suspension. Takes things to another level that I didn't really want to go. Not just the extra work but also expense of then needing to replace damaged fasteners and such. 

I keep pondering about colour. Trying not to as still got a fair way before I'm at that point. The blue isn't correct for the year but then with the magazine, it's part of its history. It was painted 30 years ago around 1992 (colour change on hpi check) when it was 24 years old. Hence it's spent more of its life in this blue than it has the original yellow! So arguably the blue more original to the car than the yellow. 

Another option if stripping back is to go a completely different colour. I do fancy red but they're all red. Or white - I do like them in white and it's apparently an easy colour to paint yourself. Depending on quotes for painting, I may end up having to do it myself.

On 12/22/2022 at 5:29 AM, N Dentressangle said:

It's noticeable how much more complex the monocoque structure of the Midget is than the separate chassis Spitfire, with so many more built-in rust traps and assemblies of different panels relying on each other for strength. Makes me think about the bullets I probably unconsciously dodged looking at rough Midgets a couple of months ago!

I'm quite enjoying the simple structure of this! The Dolomite on the other hand is much more complex with many more awkward shaped panels all over it. 

Panels for the Spridgets are crazily cheap compared to other classics and so readily available. They're also seemingly a good panel fit (so far) and not needed any rework. It's made it quite nice to restore, especially against the Dolomite with its hard to find, poor fitting panels.

Reassuring that the Spitfire is even simpler as it's the next (and probably final classic) car on my hit list. Definitely don't want a big project and only mostly mechanical at that. 

Before the Dolomite (well over 3 years ago now!) I was seriously considering buying @HillmanImp GT6. Even though it was a restoration project, it didn't look too terrible a one (especially in hindsight to the Dolomite). At the time though I was moving house and wasn't the time for buying anything else. Actually was another year before I moved house after being messed about by sellers/buyers. Do wonder if I had that now that I'd have finished it. 

My top pick would be a Spitfire with a GT6 engine retrofitted. A GT6 with a webasto would be nice too but they're a good chunk more expensive. Even if having the BGT and GT6 together would be a cool match.

On 12/22/2022 at 8:52 PM, purplebargeken said:

So essentially a full restoration job.... joy...

I know right! I've done it again. Certainly next time I'm going to buy a lot more carefully. 🫣

Then I'll find a bargain Frogeye Sprite that is in need of work and I'll do this all over again. 🤣

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  • 2 weeks later...


I just couldn't get the welder dialed in properly. Spluttering to all hell, despite turning the power and gas up. There should be enough penetration though that the tacks will hold.

Good to be back working on this. I don't miss the smell of burning paint though.

Also put back together the now painted pedal box. Thread at the end of the pivot pin was mullered but some judicial use of my impact got the nut back onto the good thread! 🤣

Tomorrow I'll start cutting the old sill and side panels off.

As the weather is nice outside I should really be removing the Dolomite 1300 engine and cutting up the chassis ready for scrap. Just it is still a bit cold out there and I fancy getting on with the Spridget. I.e. I'm procrastinating.

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On 12/24/2022 at 2:25 PM, Mally said:

After getting quotes for painting, I have no doubt you will fancy painting it yourself.

I'm sure you can do it, but be aware the paint dust gets everywhere and neighbours may not be as forgiving as mine were.

I have contemplated painting it myself, just I'm terrible with liquids and especially paint. I've already sized up the fence between the garage and the house, figuring that I could take it down and get it through into the garden. That way I could do it in the middle and not worry about painting anything that the neighbours own. 

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7 hours ago, SiC said:

I have contemplated painting it myself, just I'm terrible with liquids and especially paint. I've already sized up the fence between the garage and the house, figuring that I could take it down and get it through into the garden. That way I could do it in the middle and not worry about painting anything that the neighbours own. 

Make sure you put a decent sized tent / marquee over it before you start painting and seal it well.  You'd be amazed how far paint can travel if you don't and it Does upset the neighbours. Ask me how I know.

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I've got a bit of room to play with in the garden (don't forget though the picture is a wide angle lens, so it's not quite as big as it makes out). If I put it in down the end, I'm hoping I'll be far enough away from it affecting my neighbours. Given there isn't much in the garden, I might as well make use of it. The problem is mostly getting something in the garden. It's almost as if the builders made sure it wasn't possible to allow people to use the garden as car storage...

Just have to be careful when the sheep are in the field. Someone might be getting blue lamb for a Sunday lunch otherwise.


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As per the other thread, I ended up working on stripping the scrappy Dolomite. So I only had an hour or so after dinner to work on this.

Cut the outer a-post off

Then the side panel

Then the outer sill!

A real nerving test on how good the bracing is!

I've been debating whether to replace the inner sill or not. It's only a membrane piece on these so quite simple and very cheap. As it was cheap, I bought a replacement anyway.

The current one is in decent condition at the top but rusty at the bottom. Surface rust at the back but pitted on the front section. Could also always only replace the front piece but tbh it's probably quicker to replace it entirely. Just need to keep an eye on alignment. Also I think I'll need some more upright bracing welding in at the back too.

Something for me to ponder about and decide in the morning. I have a few more days off this week, so I really hope I can get more of this done and finally finished off.

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16 hours ago, Mally said:

Personally I'd leave the inner sill, but we all know which way this is going.


Yes, yes we do! 🤣

I really wanted to keep the inner sill as right now I'd be showing a picture of the outer sill being welded on, however the welds on the floor pan were the usual crap and had failed at the front.

The back ones seemed good but trying to reweld the front onto already thin and pitted metal was only going to be a episode of blowing holes through.

So I put in another additional brace at the back. (I haven't actually figured how I'm going to cut out the bracing when I'm done yet 😬)

Then set to work cutting the old sill off carefully to not destroy the floor pan.

That took a good 3 hours with some diesel heater tinkering time in the middle (it's not liking my engine oil/diesel mix and I had to tweak the settings for it to run nice).

Left a right mess of grinding dust.

Found some more welds/pigeon shit to redo before I put the new inner sill on.


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For a project which only required light* resto, you're having to get rather involved! 

I guess it's a decent warm-up act for when you buy a Frogeye and inevitably have to do the same again. It must be so damn frustrating having to spend so much time undoing someone else's mess. 

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3 hours ago, Dick Longbridge said:

For a project which only required light* resto, you're having to get rather involved! 

Weather was crap for most of last year, so I needed something to keep me busy! 

In truth, if I saw in person, I wouldn't have bought it. But if you get yourself in a mess, you have to fix that mess.

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Rewelded. This is the post grind picture as the welds looked awful! The underseal/paint kept catching fire and messing up the shielding gas. A grinder makes a welder you ain't.

At least there is penetration now.


Lined up the inner sill.

Marked and ground back where I need to weld.

The front floorpan is going to need some TLC to fix this gap. Probably weld a L-piece in or something.

After much fettling and then deciding it probably didn't matter anyway, I tacked into place.

Need to run to Moss and pickup the correct A-post hinge panel. Bit annoying I ordered the wrong one as I have no use for it. Never mind.

Tomorrow though I need to see my parents to replace my mum's Cayman battery (bit of a hassle as it's completely flat and the releases are electric) and fix their Astra H as a warning light has popped on. Still have Thursday and Friday to get on with this though. I think maybe even Saturday as Mrs SiC is baking a birthday cake for one of her colleague/friends child birthdays. Hopefully and providing I stay focused, I'm hoping that a good bulk of the bodywork will be completed. Probably not as something will end up setting me back no doubt, as is the way.

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4 hours ago, SiC said:

Weather was crap for most of last year, so I needed something to keep me busy! 

In truth, if I saw in person, I wouldn't have bought it. But if you get yourself in a mess, you have to fix that mess.

Impressive commitment! I'd have been tempted to grinder flap disc that inner sill and then go over with a coat of 40801_P&$prodImageLarge$

but I guess with welds as shitty as what you found that option had to be ruled out.

Having looked at a few old cars lately, I didn't see anything that wasn't far, far worse in the metal than it seemed in the pics apart from the one I ended up buying. But maybe my expectations were so low by that point I wasn't surprised 😉

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I had grandiose plans to get loads done the last two days. A combination of getting up late and having to sort out life's paperwork has meant only this afternoon/evening have I had time.

While I had decent access, I decided to weld up the footwell. I should have done this when the inner sill was off. Instead it just made it more difficult for access. At least I wasn't trying to do it with the side panel on.

Cleaned up the existing join as best as I could with the wire wheel.

Then welded. Welds look shit because of the shielding gas being mess up with the filler/paint/underseal flames and fumes. Also I'm well out of practice.

They look even shitter when cleaned off with the wire wheel.

Passable after grinding through. This will be under carpet/rubber mat and so shouldn't be visible usually anyway. At least these hold unlike the original. Panel is slightly warped from the heat but I don't care too much about that on a footwell.

As a brief interlude and for shits & giggles, I put the panels on the car to figure how it'll look and check for alignment.
Generally looks okay but might need the outer sill a tad higher. Also some cutting down of the footwell side panel.

Panels removed and set to work welding this inner sill on.

Managed to burn a hole through my air hose FFS. It touched the body and melted it. The ends are crimped on so not easily fixable. It's part of a retractable unit too and I'm not sure if that pipe is user replaceable. Irritating.

The air line is an essential part of my work flow. When you either get too much smoke or the flame won't go out, it's useful to blow it out. Also cool panels to not have them warp too badly.

Welds didn't turn out too terrible. Actually these are some of the best I've done for a while.

Penetration isn't bad either.

As a quick job before I closed down for the night, I welded up the jack mount.

Which I should have done tomorrow as I rushed and made a mess of it.

Grinder session should fix/improve it though.

The front floor pan is going to need a repair section to fill the gap between the inner sill and floor as the right angle is gone. However I need the outer sill on first as a straight edge to clamp the inner sill too. Will make welding in the floor pan more tricky.

There might need to be a bit of fiddling/cutting of the body to get the outer sill on properly at the ends but it doesn't look too bad. I'll plug weld the bottom and tops. Which means a good hour drilling holes all the way along! I think the closing panels will need welding into place first as I don't think it's possible to get them in once the sill is on. Dunno, just need a fiddle to figure.

Hopefully tomorrow's job if I get a chance.

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Fair play for going in so deep with all the new panels on this old thing.

The only suggestion I have is before you weld everything up would be to just lightly tack the outter sill and door post in place and then remount the door to double check everything is right and can't be improved upon.


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1 hour ago, Joey spud said:

The only suggestion I have is before you weld everything up would be to just lightly tack the outter sill and door post in place and then remount the door to double check everything is right and can't be improved upon.

Yeah that's why I started lining stuff up yesterday with clamps to check as I don't want to have to cut it all out again because I've got it aligned wrong! There aren't many datum points but the door post with hinges sits onto the top of the sill. So I should be able to screw the door onto the hinge panel and put it up against the car. 

The great thing about these era cars is that the panel gaps are so hideous from the factory I'd have to try hard to get it worse! Next time you see a spridget at a car show try looking at the bottom of the doors. I bet they're sticking out and possibly quite a far way too. Mine were a good centimetre or so out at least without door seals on. 

1 hour ago, Joey spud said:

Fair play for going in so deep with all the new panels on this old thing.

Part of the reason I've chopped so much out is the superb panel support makes it quicker to do that. I could have potentially repaired a lot of these panels, but that required loads of small bits of fabrication. Ironically as the welds have been so bad and easily removed, it's been even easier to cut out/pop off the old repair panels and redo. All of the repair panels that it has had are still available now. So a case of buying a replacement and refitting.

I really wasn't intending to replace the sills. I could have just patched up the rear piece and been done with it. Or even cut a sill up and replaced just the rear end. However it was @Angrydicky (iirc) that said if I did that, it'd be a struggle to make the repair invisible once paint was on it and better off replacing the whole thing. A post was more collateral in that job as I could have not cut it out, but makes life a lot easier by doing so. Also I didn't know the condition of it until once I cut the outer panels off. It is a cheap enough panel to replace and having it off gives me room to realign things anyway.

The panels are a lot better fit than the ones I've had with the Moggie too. Also as cheap or cheaper.

To give examples:

Steelcraft rear repair wing £170


Ashley Hinton inner sill £14.50


Ashley Hinton outer sill and closing panels (and repair panel for rear wing that I didn't need) £27.50


A post hinge panel with fixings £30


A post skin £22


Footwell side panel £12.50
aha5620pic3.jpgAnd so on.

So cheap and readily available that if you make a mistake, then you haven't destroyed a £200+ repair panel that is unobtainable (as is the case with the Dolomite). Many of these are stocked by Moss (just more expensive) and I can pick them up same day. Plus they all fit with barely any modifications. 

A lot of these repair panels are made by a chap called Ashley Hinton. Some are steelcraft (same company as Heritage repair panels but not original tooling) and of course genuine heritage panels from original (but often worn out) tooling. 

While I don't mind fabrication of panels, I'm no expert and it takes a long time. Whereas sticking together these big panels makes much quicker and satisfying progress. I imagine with a spot welder, this would be an even quicker process. 

Basically it looks a bigger job as so much is cut off, but I am reckoning it's a quicker job doing so because of the full panels. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Drilled out a whole load of holes ready for plug welding. Dropped my drill and bent my new sodding drill bit after this.

Aligned the panels up to check for fit and tacked the outer sill into place. I went for a slightly higher position of the outer sill than where the inner sill sits. However I'm wondering if it is too high and I might have to cut the tacks off to lower it.

Jacking hole is in about the right place though.

Need to line up the old hinge panel to check for alignment. I can see the cut and weld marks at the top and I'll use this as a reference to see if it fits the same at the bottom.

The box reinforcement is in the wrong position on this panel though. It covers the captive bolts of the check strap and it's too high. I did think other stuff was out of alignment until I put the old and new next to each other.

I'll have to drill the spot welds out and reattach it lower down.

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I wasn't happy with the fit of the sill where I had it a few extra millimetres higher than the inner sill, so I cut back it off to try again. Re-clamped it to line up closely to the inner sill.

That gave just enough room for the hinge panel to fit correctly.

With that correct, I double checked with all the panels clamped into place to check for alignment. Everything seemed good so I tacked the top and then plug welded along the holes. I measured some spot welds elsewhere on the body and found they varied around 1.5 inch to 1.3 inch and sometimes a lot less. Basically it seemed whatever the factory worker decided as they went. With that in mind, I chose 1.25 inches.

Plug welding is always something I struggle at. I cranked up the power and wire speed a lot. Seemed to be okay and generally got good penetration.

Then had the fun job of the welding bottom. Sparks and hot molten balls in your face.

Ground down the top and chucked some zinc primer I had to hand.

Was going to grind the bottom too but tea was ready and I CBA to go out again this evening. Next job is to weld up the front footwell to the inner sill. This disintegrated from a rusty edge when I cut the old inner sill off. There is already a patch at the back so it's probably an original floorpan. I'll just put a right angle patch along and weld both sides. But I need to do that before I weld that side panel on while I have good access. The eagle eyed will have noticed the reminder on the panel so I don't forget.

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I admire your progress and feel your pain... 

Doing spot welds is a PITA regardless. Doing them while you're crawling about a floor just plain sucks. Not to mention the sparks! 

At the point now, it's starting to not hurt as bad. Although a stray spark in behind your welding helmet is unpleasant surprise! 

Also get your want to cut stuff back off and redo it. Find it hard to do myself, but ultimately it's the only way to do it to how you want it. 

Can vouch for the fit of panels on a Midget, great uncle of mine has a unrestored '72 one that he has owned since '77 and the panel gaps are bloody awful 😂!

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10 minutes ago, JMotor said:

Although a stray spark in behind your welding helmet is unpleasant surprise! 

Old picture but this is generally what I'm wearing when it's getting too smelly and/or firey. A bit clumbersome but so far I haven't had any big incidents. The head covering makes a big difference in stray sparks causing mayhem! I don't wear the respirator enough though as I get lazy but then regret it when blowing my nose later.

I always wear goggles not just because I've had sparks roll on the inside of my visor, but it blocks 99.9% of UV. A lot of people don't realise but it's not the bright light that makes The Sand Man come to visit, but the UV emitted from the electrical arc 


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      In the meantime here are some snaps of the Range Rover. As usual it was a car I said I would probably never buy due to their reliability*. I have said the same of Jag XJR, XJS, XK8 and I have had all of those now. Basically the moment I declare buying a particular car is impractical or improbable, I end up buying one.
      Things to note on the P38. It's a nice colour with tidy body. The EAS has been removed. It runs and drives lovely and it doesn't have enough electrical problems to hinder progress. The main one is the driver's side window not working, but that should be fixable. I've tried changing the outstation, that didn't fix it. Might be wiring under the seat. Other than that I bought it and took it for an MOT the very next day, and it passed. Since then it had what seemed like a battery drain, but since unplugging the RF thingy for the remote locking and putting on a proper lead-acid battery, which the car can actually charge, unlike the modern lead-calcium batteries, it has been perfect. I will treat it to a full service soon.
      Stay tuned for the latest collection later today!

    • By captain_70s
      I'm a masochist from Leeds who is running two rusty, worn out Triumph Dolomites as my only transport in rural Aberdeenshire. You might recognise me from various other forums and Facebook groups. Realistically I need to buy a modern car of some sort, but instead I find myself looking at £300 Citroen BXs and Triumph Acclaims on Gumtree and thinking "yeah, that'd fit right in with the rest of the broken cars I can't afford".
      On to the cars, the main attraction being my 1976 1850HL "50 Shades of Yellow" that I bought for £850 and is currently my daily driver, here is a picture of it before I sanded off some surface rust and sprayed it badly in the wrong shade of yellow with rattle cans:

      Within a month of purchase I managed to plant it in to a steel fence backwards after a botched gear change on a wet roundabout and ruined the N/S rear wing, although judging by the other dent that's packed with filler it looks like somebody had already done the same. I also managed to destroy a halfshaft and one of my Sprint alloys (good for an extra 15hp) in the incident, so now it's sitting on it's original steelies but painted black (good for an extra 5hp).
      It's only broken down on me twice. once with some sort of fuel delivery related problem which may or may not have been an empty fuel tank and once when the thermostat jammed shut and it overheated and blew out some O-rings for the cooling system. It has recently developed a taste for coolant and oil which is rather annoying, although it's done 89,300 miles which is about 80,000 more miles than BL engineering is designed to last, I'm keeping my eye on eBay for replacement engines... 
      I tried to keep ahead of the rust a bit by rubbing down the arches and re-painting them, but apparently rattle can paint isn't great when you are spraying it at -5C, it also highlighted how although my car might have been Inca Yellow in 1976 it's now more of a "cat piss" sort of shade. So I ended up with the wrong shade of yellow which has rust coming back through after 5 weeks. Did I mention I'm incompetent?
      The other car is the first "classic" car I bought, so I can't bear to sell it. It's a '77 Dolomite 1300 and it cost £1400 (about £400 too much) and has been nothing but a pain in the arse:

      It looks much prettier (from 100 yards) but that's most due to the darker paintwork hiding the rust. It lives a mollycoddled life in my garage, where it somehow still manages to rust, and is utterly rubbish. 0-60 is measured on a calendar, top speed is 80ish but at that point it uses more oil than petrol, it rarely ventures over 50mph and if you encounter an incline of any sort you can kiss that sort of speed goodbye, along with about £20 of 20W50 as it vanishes out of the exhaust in the form of blue smoke.
      One of the PO's had clearly never heard of the term "oil change" so it developed into brown sludge that coated everything internally with the next owner(s) blissfully pouring fresh oil on top of it. This lasted until about 600 miles into my ownership when there was muffled "pop" from the engine bay and the car became a 3-cylinder. The cause was catastrophic wear to the top end causing a rocker arm to snap:

      As this was my first classic car I'd assumed it was supposed to sound like the engine was full of marbles, it wasn't.
      I put the engine back together with second hand bits declared it utterly fucked and promptly did another 5000 miles with it. After about 3500 of those miles the oil burning started, valve seals have gone so it's been relegated to my parent's garage as a backup car and something to take to local car shows as the 1850 is now embarrassingly ugly. I'm keeping my eye on eBay for replacement engines (deja vu, anybody?) Oh, I also recently reversed it into a parked Ford Fiesta and royally fucked up the rear bumper, rear panel and bootlid. Did I mention I'm incompetent?
      There have been two other cars in my life. My first car, a 2008 Toyota Yaris 1.0 an it's replacement a 2012 Corsa 1.4T. I didn't really want either of them, but it's a long story involving my parents and poor life choices. Ask if you want to hear it!
      So that's a brief summary of my current shite. If you want more pictures or details of anything do say as I've got photos of almost everything I'd done with the cars.
    • By mat_the_cat
      Thought I should probably start a thread, given that a few people have suggested it. For my sins, my first car was a 1985 Hyundai Stellar. Bought back in 1997, when the sun still shone, I had more hair, and the world was generally a better place.
      This may be the earliest photo I have, I think from 1998:

      Anyway, I drove everywhere in it, and clocked up over 100k miles before I was given an Alfa Romeo 75. So I took the Stellar off the road for some much needed TLC. Made some progress on it - Rebuilt all the suspension, fitted a rebuilt Cortina* rear axle, Princess 4 pot front calipers and Capri vented discs etc - before a couple of house moves and renovations put it on the back burner.
      * before anyone says they are identical underneath, there are some differences. I fitted a replacement axle fairly early on in my ownership, only to fit that not only was the propshaft flange the wrong size, the UJ was totally different so I couldn't even fit a new yoke. Finding a company on the day before New Year's Eve who could cut off the end, weld a new UJ on and balance it wasn't too easy, especially one that was accessible by push bike!
      Anyway, late last year I found some renewed motivation, and have been working on it when time and money permit. Here is what it looked like in October:
      OMG barn find?

      Front suspension OK at first glance...

      ...but it has turned out the calipers had seized (so are away being rebuilt) and all the (brand new) ball joint boots had perished:

      Quite a bit of welding is needed too, but I had a setback just before Christmas when we were burgled and my welder stolen

      Crusty roof rail

      I've cleared some of the crap away from it now (it's not stored at mine - I'd love to own somewhere that big!) so might be able to get more photos. Currently working on the rear brakes, and disappointed to find that the shotblasted rear axle is now starting to rust after two coats of POR15 and 7 years storage under cover...

    • By mat_the_cat

      By popular* demand* here is a thread about the least popular VW van around.
      The photo is as bought, back in 2006. Purchased with a year's MOT, 6 months tax, and a caravan all for £600. To his credit, the seller had received many enquiries from people wanting to buy either the caravan or van, but not both although refused to end the auction early when there were bids already on it. So it failed to go anywhere near what I thought it would sell for.
      The combination suited us well, as we could live in the caravan wile we carried out major house work, and use the van for carrying building materials. This we did, enduring a sometimes cosy but often cold winter in the caravan while I used the LT as my only road legal vehicle. It was already carpeted inside, with a simple electrical system as it had been previously used as a motorbike race van. It saw a little bit of use as a 'tent on wheels', seen here in Scotland in 2007:

      I'd always wanted to build a campervan, although I kept this quiet when seeking domestic funding for buying it in the first place! So when the bulk of the work was done, I suggested using some fittings from the caravan to convert it. This was met with approval (to my surprise), and we planned to take it to a festival one August.
      I waited for a forecast of dry weather, but none came and I was running out of time so ended up booking time off work a week before the festival. The reason for dry weather is that I wanted to tackle some welding...

      As it turned out, I had one dry day to work on it! After much searching I'd bought some genuine VW panels (despite forum experts saying there were none remaining), which fitted very nicely



      Managed to get that far on Monday, then it was time to tackle the floorpan but I'll leave that tale for another day...


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