The Story of an MGB Rebuild

 

Finishing Off

For 6 months, the car had stood on ramps and axle stands, cocooned in bubble wrap and dust sheets. Each day, I had a choice of things to do and if I got bored with one job, or it got difficult and I needed to think, then I would do something different. Then one day, the number of things to do seemed quite small and I realised that the end was nigh! A glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel started to appear and I could set a target for finishing. The number of outstanding jobs could be written up on a white board.

One of the turning points was the fitting of the new grille. I'd been told by the MGOC that the shell had been reworked in the grille area during the painting process. In spite of this, the grille was not easy to fit. I had to perform some pretty serious flange bending on the new grille, perhaps it's because the grill flares out at the edges? The fitting kit supplied by the MGOC was absolutely useless. In the end I dug out the old (original?) aluminium strips, cut them to exactly the right size and filed adjusting holes in them. If you haven't got any, buy some 1" wide aluminium strip and bend them into a slight S shape.

I then had a strong urge to see the car properly. So on went the wheels, off went the covers and there was a car. It was a major boost to the system and gave me a keen incentive to finish the job.

During this phase, I hit the 2 major misalignments on the body - as I'd gone on I was surprised to find out how well it had gone; in spite of some of the dire warnings. The bonnet locking pin housing was out of alignment with the pin; so I needed to file out the bolt holes by at least 3/8" - diagonally towards the offside and to the rear. The holes in the safety hook bar plate also needed lengthening to the maximum possible. Secondly, although I could adjust the nearside door lock striker plate to make the door close nicely, the offside was well out of alignment. I had to file down the holes and also remove about a 1/4" off the bottom of the bolt plates that secure the striker plate.

The 'executive' seats from MGOC (or MOSS) are very nice. I had some trouble getting the seat rails to fit properly together - each separate bit goes on the seat and the floor but getting them to work together takes a bit of thinking. In the end I had to file out the mounting holes into elongated slots, otherwise the runner came off the floor rail. Why is the reclining mechanism so stiff?

Beware! These seats stick up higher than the normal seats. A standard tonneau cover will not fit properly with the seats upright. I ordered a new double duck one before I found out - in spite of mentioning them to the supplier. In order to use the tonneau, I have to tilt the seats forward and remove the headrests. They may make one for these seats but I think it will probably look a bit misshapen if they do. If you use a tonneau like me, order it without the headrest pockets as they're not used.

Here's the grille fitted and suddenly the body becomes a car with its own character. Not an easy job - I think the combination of new shell and new grille made the fitting very difficult. Note the obligatory concours broomstick.

The car on all four wheels for the first time. Suddenly, the end is in sight!

Getting the bumpers on makes another major difference and you can see from the photo that I got the front number plate wrong - it should sit with the top aligned with the front bumper, not the bottom. I used telescopic struts for the bonnet as the old bonnet prop used to seriously worry me in a wind! The lack of a nearside headlamp rim was due to poor fitting parts - in the end I had to use some mastic to hold them in place. This was mainly because I used plastic headlamp buckets but the original steel ones quickly turn to rust.

Yours truly fitting the boot badges. This is a bit unnerving as there's nothing to guide you. I used the old boot and took very careful measurements. Fortunately, they fitted.
The door lock set (AHH6179Z) from MGOC is good. These come with large nuts on the back and are much better than the originals which used to slip round and twist out of position.

Front view of the finished article

Side view on a sunny evening

The slight misalignment of the chrome trim at the rear of the door is very frustrating! I think it's down to a pressing error as the trims are aligned exactly the same distance vertically from the bend in the body pressing. The replacement doors I fitted several years ago had the same fault. The rear bumper on the offside needed some serious persuasion to get it to align properly - the end is sticking up here.

I'd never had the hood securing straps before and they certainly keep the hood tidy. A tonneau cover is normally fitted.

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