The Story of an MGB Rebuild


Why I Had to Do It

The most difficult decision is whether to restore the original body or to reshell. I'll start by saying that I don't think that the Heritage shell is as good as the original. Once you've finished, it will sound much better because it won't creak and grind like the old one. However, there are things that will irritate you and cost you money to sort out

  1. The MGOC say they will sort out the front suspension damper recesses and the front grille area as part of the repaint. Even after this, the grille takes some work to go in
  2. All seams are supposed to be filled. I had to fill some seams at the rear of the boot.
  3. The side mouldings are virtually impossible to align
  4. The bonnet pin housing mounting on my shell was way out of alignment with the bonnet pin.
  5. The door striker plates will take some work to make the door fit properly
  6. I haven't succeeded in making the fresh air door close fully
  7. The rear lights will need some filing of the mounting holes
  8. I can't get the boot and bonnet to align to my satisfaction - the curves seem out of alignment

I can reassure you that all the key parts fit without work - engine, crossmember, rear suspension. The Haynes MG restoration manual is a bit gloomy about the Heritage shell but I was surprised to find that it was much better than I expected. Having said that, it seems that they still have some work to do.

I would say, if possible, restore your old body wherever possible. I had a bit of a fixation about a brand new body but I think I should have thought harder about restoring. Unfortunately my body had had some pretty poor repairs in the past and a reshell was probably the right decision. If you do restore the shell, strip everything out - there will be a lot of parts that will need reconditioning.

2 factors forced me to start. One was reversing into my Land Rover. The second was when of the stainless steel oversills dropped off and exposed a big hole in the lower rear wing. Fixing the hole revealed a lot of problems with bodged repairs from a previous owner.


This first picture shows the state of the rear wing immediately after I managed to reverse into the Land Rover. The damage doesn't look that bad but there's probably a lot of work to do in order to sort it out.

When I look at the car now it looks very smart but underneath the exterior, rot has got a good hold!


The second picture shows the nearside rear wheelarch. Here you can see why I only reckoned for one more summer of driving. The rot is working its way out from the inside. Already, there are some rusty paint nicks on the front edge.


This picture is the boot floor where it meets the left hand wheelarch. If you look at the vertical seam running down the wheelarch. you can make out that it's starting to split apart. The car had had a previous repair where the inner wing joined the outer one and it wasn't a very good repair!

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