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[Car_Restoration] 1976 Mg Midget Into A 1968 Ah Sprite - A True 's


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#21
Bogsye

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1329639[/url]" time="1359622290"]Well, thought I would start off small and easy getting back into working on the Sprite- it take a while to get used to imperial sizes after years of working on the 205 :D Refurbed the heater box and fan. Unlike the 205 it is much more civilized to work on, no need to scrabble around under the dash, both are mounted seperately in the engine bay. This car has the earlier 'snail' fan setup which is generally more expensive than the later combined fan and matrix box, but fortunately we picked up both fairly cheap at Beaulieu autojumble last year, so I stripped them down, powdercoated the bits and bought new clips/bolts. [img]http://imageshack.us/a/img191/3010/img6590o.jpg[/img]

So that's what the blower fan looks like!! :D The one bit I never got round to fitting to mine. Mind, it did have some Frontline parts fitted on the front suspension. Your project looks good!



#22
cRaig

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Fitting the heater is a key priority for me in a rattly old draughty convertible :D I would love some frontline kit for mine, but it is expensive stuff. One day maybe.. Hopefully when its rebushed and nice and standard form, it should handle ok.



#23
cRaig

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Okay, well all those photos bring the project up-to-date (2009-2012)

 

This is how the car stands now. Have spent the last couple of days clearing out all the parts and junk which had piled up in it, and began familiarising myself with what jobs had been done/what needs finishing and what parts were required to do so. Gave it a quick wash to get all the garage dust off it.

Its certainly a cheery sight in the garage :)

 

img6600s.jpg
 

Since the progress last year we also picked up a pair of original earlier-spec rear lights, which suit the car alot better, with a nicer chrome trim, and a rounded indicator, much more '60s' :) Subtle, but quite a big change  on the rear end overall.

 

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Font end is pretty much finished, bar the bonnet being put on (will be done last as acess to the engine bay is much easier without it!)

 

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As a 'Spridget', it is full of contradictions, such as the MG grille on the front, and the Sprite badge on the back. Im sure it would drive the beards in the MG club mad! :D

As you can see close up it is a little organge peel-y but it hasnt seen a drop of polish since it was painted, once it is all assembled it will be getting a good going over with a machine polisher, as there is plenty of lacquer on it to cut back into :)

 

img6604t.jpg

 

The underneath and arches have been undersealed, and I have stuck a new pair of front discs on. Not sure why I didnt do it before, as they were well rusted! Should improve stopping abilities hopefully. Front suspension is nearly finished, just a few things to torque up and split pins to fit. Also want to fit new steering gaiters and grease everything up.

 

img6616vc.jpg

 

Engine bay has come on nicely, with manifolds and carbs fitted, pedal box, and heater matrix all fitted. Just waiting for some coolant and fuel hose to arrive so I can finish plumbing things in.

 

img6611un.jpg

 

Got one of the carpets out of the loft to see how good it will look when finished in red! With the black seats, doorcards, dash and parcel shelf it should look awesome :)

Transmission tunnel has also been carefully covered with dynamat-style bitumen/foil sheets.

 

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As well as retrimming the seats the girlfriends mum also did the gear gaiter. Certainly smarter in leather compared to 70's BL quality vinyl!

 

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The door cards were bought new, but came with white piping, so were carefully retrimmed with leftover red leather from the seats, small detail, but it all helps.

 

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As we have done this project over so many years we have occasionally treated ourselves, in the long term aim to return the car to a true 'Sprite' so one thing we were keen to get from the Beaulieu autojumble was a proper steering wheel. Was about 70quid I think, but for a uncracked one thats pretty decent, as with metal spokes and a very thin bakelite finish, they are easily damaged and quite rare! I was going to restore it, but the worn patina is growing on me. Its certainly a huge wheel, much larger than the little mountney wheel we previously had, will take some getting used to.
 

img6622eo.jpg
 

The horn push was also picked up at the autojumble for about 5quid, being sold by someone who didnt know how rare it is! Small bargains do cheer me up, help to offset the rest of the costs on nuts bolts and other small silly bits which soon add up!

 

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Another bargin we picked up at Beaulieu last year was an original radio box, the sad hardboard DIY attempt our car came with had given up, and was only held together with carpet and cableties.

 

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It should have a lovely chrome grille on the front (covering the oringally fitted 1 speaker! I have mounted 2 in the rear parcel shelf instead.) Sadly the grille is over 40quid new, so I shall be keeping my eyes peeled at autojumbles/mg scrapyards for a cheap one.

 

We also have a pair of the correct sprite dashboards 'in stock' waiting for the time money and patience needed to strip them, paint them in crackle finish paint and fit it. They were picked up very cheaply off ebay, the plan is to paint them both and sell one, which will cover all the costs of both of them. This job will wait until we fit a new engine and new loom, as the current loom has been bodged/extended and repaired to its limit!

 

img6620n.jpg
 

Did what I hope is my last bit of angle grinder bare metalling yesterday, on a couple of splash plates for the front arches. Would have bought new but for a tiny panel they are 45quid each! Some things for this car are joyfully cheap, but then occasionally you have to keep your wits about you to avoid being ripped off. These were bought second hand off ebay for about 30 quid.

 

img6621n.jpg
 

Next week bags and bags of screws, washers, pipes, clips and fixings should be here so there should be lots of small, but important forward progress :)


Edited by cRaig, 02 February 2013 - 12:38 PM.


#24
Bogsye

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I remember refinishing my dashboard in crackle finish paint. The main problem for me was getting a warm enough environment to get it to all react evenly! Weird how paint only wrinkles when you least need it ;)

#25
cRaig

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Yeah, I had a little experiment on a little bracket with some crinkle paint, and it seemed to work quite well, but a dashboard is a much bigger undertaking. Im thinking of waiting until the middle of summer, and sitting the dashboard over a oil filled rad to get it nice and warm. Will see how it goes!



#26
Bogsye

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Good plan! I struggled to get the crinkle even, and also the sheen - some bits were a bit glossy which shouldn't have happened. Always meant to do it again, but had to sell it for house deposit. I'm sure I'll do another though, but probably with a modern engine. k-series was all the rage then, but I'm sure there will be others. Got some photos on Flickr of the car under my screen name - must dig them out. Even converted it to RWA to get bigger wheels on it, which looked quite nice.

#27
cRaig

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Converting it to RWA? Sounds like alot of work!? I guess if you were replacing the rear quarters due to rust it wouldnt be too much extra hassle to replace the inner, and convert it. Does it make much difference to wheel size? Its not something I had ever really considered is putting bigger wheels on it! :D



#28
Bogsye

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It wasn't too bad and the inner arch was quite easy. It did allow me to get (drum roll....) 6 x 14" without clearance issues. Put a set of Techdels' minilite sports on which suited it quite well.

I remember it taking about 5 shots of tacking the sills before I got door shutlines that were any good.

Happy days!!

#29
cRaig

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Yeah, sadly that is the one thing that is wrong with this shell (and was done by the previous owner-Im not guilty!) is that the doors simply dont fit! The shutlines are painfully small in places. Not alot can be done about it now, my long term plan is to get some fibreglass doors which can be trimmed down to shape easier than the metal ones, without the risk of cutting through the door skin etc. The upside is that nearly every midget you see has terrible shutlines, so its less painful! :D



#30
Bogsye

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...but not as bad as the general door fit on Spitfires. :)

#31
cRaig

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Well, I lost my battle to fit aeroscreens, and we finally got around to fitting the windscreen. Not an easy job, involved alot of struggling, and a ratchet strap to get it down into position. Still, it fits, and lines up, it just needs the seal poking through in places into its final position.

 


 


 

With some forward progress comes some setbacks, as with most projects. Clearance for the exhaust ( a non standard "sporty" 4 branch manifold) was just too tight, so that has been pulled off and scrapped, and is being replaced with the standard manifold and downpipe, which should have alot more room (the problem is that the ports on the 1275 and 1500 are on opposite sides, so this shell isnt designed with an exhaust on the drivers side in mind, and I dont really want to chop around the shell to make it fit, when the long term plan is to fit a 1275.

 

The other problem is door clearance. Basically whoever replaced the rear quarter or a pillar didnt quite put it back in the right place, and we thought we would get away with it, but as the doors have settled and now the windscreen is on and has firmed up the a pillars, the clearance is jus too small.

 

So the plan is to order some fiberglass doors which can be easily trimmed down to fit (if we try and trim the metal ones down, it will cut through the door skin and be very difficult to fix, fiberglass should be quicker and less messy.

We cant afford to get them painted to match at the moment, so as a "temporary" measure they will be painted matt black with vinyl racing roundels fitted :D



#32
cRaig

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More progress,

 

Rear number plate light sourced, painted and fitted. Its abit of a carbuncle on the back, but is kinda 60s, so I quite like it. Plus a bit more chrome never hurts!

 

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Interior fitted out, and I think it looks awesome :) Enough red to offset the black seats and dashboard, doorcards etc. Fitted the 'luxury' club carpets, with additional underlay underneath, so should minimise exhaust/rattly gearbox noise, and  help to minimise wear to the carpets. Still need the bits that arent glued down fixing down with button clip presses, but couldnt resist putting them all in to see how good it looks!

 

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Some progress up front, new exhaust manifold and downpipe fitted, with the carbs and inlet manifold back on. :)


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Also picked up an original chrome grille for the radio box for a fiver off ebay- much more satisfactory than buying a new one for 42quid!

 


 


Edited by cRaig, 02 March 2013 - 08:24 PM.


#33
cRaig

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Roof!

 

Bit of a bugger to fit, as it has spent the last 3 years up in the loft, so had shrunk enough to make fitting tight to say the least. Fitted it loosely and then gradually increased the tension on the front clips while applying heat to the  areas under most tension. Am just missing the back chrome trim finisher and screws, then it will go down perfectly.

 

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Roof really looks the part, it was bought new not long before the old midget died, so it looks nice and smart. Hopefully a few weeks in the up position will encourage all the creases in the plastic windows to come out a little.

Am currenty bidding on a tonneau cover to smarten it up when the roof is down, as it looks like a bit of a folded bundle without a cover, and it spends 99% of the time with the roof down when in use, so might as well!


Edited by cRaig, 03 March 2013 - 04:17 PM.


#34
cRaig

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Seats!

 

Certainly look the part and help to offset the large amounts of red everywhere else!

 

 


 

 

You can also see the CAD assistance in these photos for making the last bits of trim (Cardboard Aided Design!) templates will be transferred to MDF and covered in black vinyl to match the rest.


Edited by cRaig, 05 March 2013 - 05:07 PM.


#35
cRaig

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Some progress recently, but have either been waiting for bits or it has been too cold/grim to be working out in the garage to get much done!

 

Picked up the roof tonneau cover, which looks really smart. Its an original one, so the stiching is a bit perished in places, so will be reinforced/smartened up shortly.

 

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With some new stitching and a bit of vinyl care, it should look fine

 

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The parcel/speaker shelf has been covered in black vinyl, which looks great. I replaced the original which was made out of 3mm hardboard with a piece of 18mm ply.. so its considerably more sturdy, both from a point of security (locking things in the boot with the roof down) and a good place to fit speakers for a semi-decent sound.

 

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Also collected the steel wheels which we bought on ebay but had been in storage in a family garage, I hadnt even seen them.

 

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Worth the wait! I think they will finish the car off beautifully, just need to get them powdercoated at some point, as the brush finish hammerite someone has applied is ok, but not great.

 

The current debate is what colour for the wheels- silver, or old english white? I am unsure, but leaning towards silver as it is standard and perhaps less obtrusive. Any thoughts..?

 

 

Need to get on and finish the interior, fit the exhaust, and get it running in the next couple of weeks :)

 

Craig
 



 


Edited by cRaig, 13 March 2013 - 11:56 AM.


#36
cRaig

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Horrible Rostyle wheels off, tyres removed. Not really sure what people see in them, I guess it doesnt help that this set appear to have been painted by a blind chimp

 

img6847x.jpg
 

Wheels have been blasted, powder coated (came in at £23 quid a wheel, which I think is pretty reasonable!) tyres have beeen swapped over, as they were fairly new before the old midget died, and have only done a few thousand miles.

 

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Obligitory AA badge fitted!

 


 


Edited by cRaig, 22 March 2013 - 05:10 PM.


#37
Anthony

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Looks like you're doing a cracking job with this Craig :D



#38
eddie bullit

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GET THAT BRITISH s*itE OFF OUR FORUM!!!

Only jesting looks good! :P



#39
cRaig

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Finallly spent some more time pottering with the Spridget!

 

The exhaust was a moderate hassle, as mentioned previously putting the later 1500 engine into the 1275 shell has caused some headaches with clearance/compatibility, and the exhaust was no different. Originally we tried to run a complete 1500 exhaust, including 'sports' manifold, but that was ditched as the really wasnt space for it. Its now running a hybrid of 1500 downpipe and centre section, with the 'correct' to the age of the car 1275 backbox. Its a tiny wee thing, but looks suitably period and quite cool on the back of the car.

 

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As its mated to the 1500 exhaust going to the front, it ends up not quite lining up with the last exhaust bracket hanging stud, so rather than chop it about when the 1500 engine is temporary addition to the car (read about 10 years lol). I made a small bracket to replicate the fitting, and move it an inch or so to line up with the natural resting place of the exhaust. The exhaust is also fairly rigidly mounted, as its quite close to the bumper, but clearance is fine, looks better in person than the photos.

 

 

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Last bits of trim have been vinyl coverd and fitted. Looks quite smart, I'm very pleased with the interior. Its not perfect, but a vast improvement on our first midget which was an absolute state interior-wise (and everyother which way..)

 

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The car when we bought it! Note the dreadful carpet (I think it was office carpet someone had badly stuck in all over the place) and the parcel shelf was held together with sellotape..

 

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Also got around to buying/fitting some decent seatbelts. The old ones were fairly grimy/threadbare after 37 years. Safety first and all that..

 

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Next job is fettle the fibreglass doors to fit- initially we made some rough alloy hinge brackets to rivet into the doors, in order that the standard hinges can be retained, while still spreading the load through the fibreglass in a satisfactory manner.

I then found a local fabrication place who laser cut them out of 2mm stainless and folded them much more accurately than we managed with a vice! They also made three full car sets for 40 quid, so hopefully can sell the other two pairs and recoup my costs, as putting fibreglass doors on more race-orientated midgets is quite common, and this is quite a clever solution IMO.

 

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So with a few alloy shims, the doors should fit on the standard hinges, the two different designs are due to the door structure tapering, to keep the door flush with the bodywork. Thats the theory anyway! If not, more shims! :P


Edited by cRaig, 13 December 2013 - 10:08 PM.


#40
artois7

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Looks brilliant, great read too!