Jump to content

Welcome to 205GTIDrivers.com
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!
 
 

Photo

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


  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
54 replies to this topic

#1
cRaig

cRaig
  • Pitcrew+
  • 1,472 posts
Joined: 31 Mar 2007
  • Name:Craig
  • Location:Bath, Somerset
Garage View Garage

As I find writing up project threads for unfinished cars a useful way of both procrastinating, and summoning up motivation to finish them, I thought I would have a go at one for the Midget. I did have an old thread on here with some photos, but I can’t seem to find it, and it wasn’t really a 'proper' project thread anyway..

 

Like most of my projects they take a while, so this one started back in 2008. I was bored, and on a Uni placement so had too much free time and a little money, so went half’s on a 1976 MG Midget 1500, so came with the lovely rubber bumpers..

 

img4418o.jpg

 

img4419e.jpg

 

img4427re.jpg

(Very questionable seat covers, were quickly binned..)

 

img4423ek.jpg

 

It was purchased for the bargainous price of 600quid, which for a complete running; albeit off the road convertible it seemed almost too good to be true! (spoiler.. it was  :ph34r:  )

 

So we snapped it up, and trailered it back to Bristol and set about stripping it down enough for a quick blow-over respray (the paintwork was pretty flat and dubious) so as we had the time and the space, a quick paint job and a tart up gave a good opportunity to get all the other bits and pieces needed for the MOT.

 

With a couple of mates we stripped it and painted it in a weekend in a derelict shop in Bristol (Don’t ask.. was very convenient.. high ceiling, carefree neighbours etc) Driving it up off the road, over the pavement and into a shop was quite good fun! :D

 

img4492a.jpg

 

img4537c.jpg

 

img4527z.jpg

 

img4545g.jpg

 

img4558p.jpg

 

img4563cg.jpg

 

It didn’t really need much for the MOT, a little welding by one of the spring hangers, few electrical niggles, dodgy wipers and a leaking damper were all easily (and cheaply!) fixed and it was on the road in time for the summer :)

 

 

So once it was through the MOT, we spent the summer pottering around Somerset, when the only issue we had with reliability was a fairly spectacularly blown head gasket! We put it down to lack of use and not enough octane booster. (It was fairly obvious that compression was an issue! :D)

 

dscf2303l.jpg

 

 

So once I had stuck on a new head gasket (a joy to work on after the 205's cramped engine bay!) and when we were feeling brave enough, we embarked on a 1750mile round trip to France, which was really good fun! The car performed admirably, with no reliability problems at all!

 

dscf2184p.jpg

 

dscf2153w.jpg

 

dscf2188.jpg

 

dscf2250z.jpg

 

dscf2153w.jpg

 

 


Edited by cRaig, 27 January 2013 - 01:20 PM.


#2
cRaig

cRaig
  • Pitcrew+
  • 1,472 posts
Joined: 31 Mar 2007
  • Name:Craig
  • Location:Bath, Somerset
Garage View Garage

After a summer of use, we tucked it away for the winter, and then decided, as the car had been so reliable, and had given us so much fun, we would strip it down to check the underside, put right the few bubbles which had appeared in the paintwork, and remove the hideous rubber bumpers in exchange for some chromework.

 

The easiest way we figured to check out the underside was strip it down, and roll it on to a couple of mattresses. Worked a treat, and the empty shell was pretty easy to lift around really!

 

It was only when we flipped it up did we start to discover the true horror which lay beneath (usually hidden by filler..)

dscf2604c.jpg

 

It was a complete dog.

 

dscf2611a.jpg
 

dscf2614j.jpg
 

Someone had undertaken previous repairs by adding new layers without removing any existing rust. A true onion skin of filler, rust and crap.

 

The rear spring hangers were completely gone, all of the unpicking was done with nothing bigger than a medium sized screwdriver, the car was just waiting to fall apart.

 

dscf2620s.jpg
 

dscf2623x.jpg
 

dscf2622fm.jpg
 

 

We found genuine buscuit tin (still with fox's label stuck on!!) which had been welded in to create a structural point near one of the seatbelt mountings!

 

The general approach the previous owner had taken was to weld over a new layer, cover liberally in filler (over 1cm thick in places- generally on the bottom of the floor pans, where you dont really need filler anyway! And then coat it in underseal. Absolutely no paint used at all!

 

dscf2616.jpg
Some high quality pigeon sh*t welding on the chassis rail!

 

dscf2581s.jpg

 

After a depressing day poking around with a screwdriver we gave up and went to the pub and decided that the scrapyard was the best place for it, and began looking for another shell.


Edited by cRaig, 27 January 2013 - 02:30 PM.


#3
cRaig

cRaig
  • Pitcrew+
  • 1,472 posts
Joined: 31 Mar 2007
  • Name:Craig
  • Location:Bath, Somerset
Garage View Garage

Fortunately we came across a very local, and more importantly very tidy! shell on ebay. We snapped it up for 300 quid, it had clearly had time and money spent on it, but remained unfinished and incomplete, and had been left after being blown over with zinc primer to protect the new panels which had been welded in before it had been left.

 

4486826752cd650cd9fdb.jpg
 

4486824966cb9618d81eb.jpg
 

44861690193fe928695bb.jpg
 

4486825526bb787958bfb.jpg
 

 

It was also fortunate that this shell was older, and was the chome bumper 1275 shell, rather than the much later one we had just scrapped. At this stage we didnt know the exact age or any details, as it came without a V5 or any info at all! (partly why it was cheap I guess!)

A suitable garage was hired, and the shell trailered over in preperation for a 'proper' job this time round, with a determination to avoid any hidden rust!!



#4
cRaig

cRaig
  • Pitcrew+
  • 1,472 posts
Joined: 31 Mar 2007
  • Name:Craig
  • Location:Bath, Somerset
Garage View Garage

The first job was to COMPLETELY bare metal the car. Partly because primer absorbs water over time so old primer isnt a great base for paint, and secondly I wanted to be completely sure there were no hidden horrors!

Out came the paintstripper for the body panels and some knotted wire brushes for the angle grinder for the underneath!

 

dscf2633b.jpg
 

dscf2637v.jpg
 

dscf2640o.jpg
 

A few bits of welding needed finishing off, but it was all fairly minor

 

dscf2641rs.jpg
 

Cleaning up the front wheel arches was VERY tedious!

 

dscf2642dg.jpg
 

 

dscf2657y.jpg
 

We also stumbled across the body number screwed to the passenger door opening, which was a start towards finding out the car's identity. We contacted the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon, who amazingly have a full record with all the chassis, engine and body numbers cross referenced for the production run of Midgets and Sprites,and they set about trying to find it in the archive.


Edited by cRaig, 27 January 2013 - 02:48 PM.


#5
bondyshambles

bondyshambles
  • Drivers+
  • 199 posts
Joined: 18 Apr 2012
  • Name:Mr B
  • Location:Worcs
Garage View Garage

Feel your pain with rotten Midgets. I had mine for 7 years and it went from being mint to a wreck in that time....she was a daily though. I dropped it a few years for £500 quid and it was the rarer round wheel arch model. Reckon i could have still got £1500 of E-bay for it but in and outer sills on both sides were rotten as hell. Still miss her though..such good fun

 

midget_zpsa051f1f6.jpg



#6
cRaig

cRaig
  • Pitcrew+
  • 1,472 posts
Joined: 31 Mar 2007
  • Name:Craig
  • Location:Bath, Somerset
Garage View Garage

Looks tidy! I do like the round wheel arch models, but like you say, they are rare! But like you say, they rust either way! :D

 

Once the many many hours of sanding, scraping and wire brushing were over, it was on to the many hours of filling and sanding

 

dscf2648m.jpg
 

dscf2649z.jpg
 

Unlike the 205 which saw professional bodywork, the midget is an entirely DIY affair, so a impromptu spray tent was constructed out of an old 8 man tent, which is an ideal size for a midget!

The shell was liberally coated in Zinc 182 inside and out, all the panel joins were seam sealered, and lots of stonechip was applied to the wheel arches. Followed by some 2K MG Flame Red, and quite alot of lacquer!! It was an awesome weekend with my mates of long nights, beer and takeaways, dodgy airfed masks and getting covered in blood red paint while trying to spray the underside! Enjoyed it, but no rush to paint it again, hence all the attempts at preventing rust! :D

 

dscf2001dh.jpg

 

dscf2002ue.jpg
 


 

dscf2004r.jpg
 

dscf2669h.jpg
 

dscf2671w.jpg
 

dscf2673r.jpg
 


Edited by cRaig, 27 January 2013 - 09:42 PM.


#7
ORB

ORB
  • Drivers
  • 2,215 posts
Joined: 15 Aug 2006
  • Name:Oliver Barrett
  • Location:Carlisle, Cumbria, England
Garage View Garage
Awesome!

#8
pugpete1108

pugpete1108
  • Drivers+
  • 2,544 posts
Joined: 29 Aug 2005
  • Location:Ashford, Kent
Garage View Garage
Awesome, nearly bought a job lot of three a while ago for like £1500 or something.

If I had space I would have snapped em up.

pretty rotten tho but I should have been able to make 2 good ones.

Good job and keep up the pics

Edited by pugpete1108, 28 January 2013 - 08:37 AM.


#9
stufarri

stufarri
  • Drivers+
  • 1,107 posts
Joined: 16 Jun 2006
  • Name:Stuart Farrimond
  • Location:Standish, Lancs
Garage View Garage
Awesome thread.

I have always fancied one of these but with a modern more powerful drivetrain as I'm not sure how long I'd stay interested with 60bhp.

Cracking looking project Craig.

#10
cRaig

cRaig
  • Pitcrew+
  • 1,472 posts
Joined: 31 Mar 2007
  • Name:Craig
  • Location:Bath, Somerset
Garage View Garage

You would be surprised, with suitably crap tyres on the back they are an absolute barrel of laughs! :D

 

But the long term plan is to get something in it with a bit more power.. deciding what is tricky though. The K series conversion is quite popular, but I think I would like a tuned 1275 engine, to stay a little bit more 'period'

The other option I have thought about which is a little odd as a diesel lump! Given its nice to take it on long drives around Europe, the added efficiency of a modern derv engine would make it alot more affordable!


Edited by cRaig, 28 January 2013 - 10:52 AM.


#11
pugpete1108

pugpete1108
  • Drivers+
  • 2,544 posts
Joined: 29 Aug 2005
  • Location:Ashford, Kent
Garage View Garage
Yeah my plan was to zetec it anyway along with a full rewire

#12
cRaig

cRaig
  • Pitcrew+
  • 1,472 posts
Joined: 31 Mar 2007
  • Name:Craig
  • Location:Bath, Somerset
Garage View Garage

Well, it was around this time that we heard back from the archive people, and for around 30 quid they sent us a very useful certificate, with as much info as you could hope for about the car!

 

certificate1.jpg
 

Now we have all of the relevant numbers, we can approach the DVLA and get a age-related numberplate and ensure it remains tax free! :) Its also nice to know its full identity, the original trim colour and FS key number etc! I was so impressed so much information has been kept after all of these years.

 

It also meant that alot of the parts we had kept from the first shell were no longer entirely appropirate for a Sprite (wrong dashboard, wheels, front wings, engine etc etc..) At this stage we decided to continue and combine all of the parts to make a true spridget- almost 50/50 between sprite and midget components! The long term plan is to eventually get it looking original and standard, so we are slowly colecting the rarer AH Sprite bits to replace things like the grille and steering wheel and dashboard etc.

 

Once the paint was dry and hardened, I set out putting it back together!

 

dscf2674xw.jpg
 

dscf2675x.jpg
 

dscf2677d.jpg
 

dscf2791m.jpg

 

We also picked up some very cheap decent quality chrome bumpers! Think they were 120quid for the pair, but in good usable condition- much cheaper than trying to get anything chromed! And I quite like the slightly pitted/used chrome look on old cars, new chrome (unless something really concourse) can look a little odd in my oppinion, so I try and find good condition used where possible.

 

dscf2802d.jpg

Although with a decent paintjob.. the bumperless look was pretty tempting! :D

 

dscf2803d.jpg


 


Edited by cRaig, 28 January 2013 - 11:51 AM.


#13
cRaig

cRaig
  • Pitcrew+
  • 1,472 posts
Joined: 31 Mar 2007
  • Name:Craig
  • Location:Bath, Somerset
Garage View Garage

Next step was to sort out the engine bay and prepare for fitting the engine!

 

dscf2797b.jpg
 

 

We then set about fitting the "wrong" Triumph 1500 engine into the earlier shell, and it turns out when being assured by people that "yeahhh, that engine will fit fine mate" what they actually mean is "well, i guess it should fit, but I really have no clue!" Extra clearance was required on the front fanbelt pulley which fouled the steering rack chassis rail. This was chopped out and reinforced with some steel box section.

 

Still, its in now, and I'm happy the crankshaft pulley has enough room. Its not an ideal situation, but we couldnt really justify buying and refurbing 1275 engine at this stage, especially when there is nothing wrong with the engine we have.

 

dscf2822o.jpg

 

dscf2823c.jpg

dscf2821a.jpg


 



#14
cRaig

cRaig
  • Pitcrew+
  • 1,472 posts
Joined: 31 Mar 2007
  • Name:Craig
  • Location:Bath, Somerset
Garage View Garage

Bumpers look great! :)

 

dscf2824b.jpg

 

Also invested in a decent set of carpets, the MG club do an amazing range of stuff, so this is a "mid-to-premium" carpet, with nice bound edges, should make the interior a breeze compared to trying to replicate carpets from scabby old ones!

 

dscf2826d.jpg

 

dscf2827x.jpg

Also bought a Mocal thermostatic sandwich plate, and a 10 row cooler, as the 1500 engine does have issues with oil pressure when hot (especially trekking through France in the summer!!)
 

dscf2831u.jpg
 

As we try and get everyone involved, my girlfriend's mum retrimmed the seats in really nice leather, with red piping. A really nice addition to the interior :)

 

dscf2810.jpg

 

dscf2813e.jpg



 



#15
kyepan

kyepan
  • Drivers
  • 3,368 posts
Joined: 07 Aug 2005
  • Name:Justin
  • Location:Maidenhead, Berks
Awesome work

#16
Paul_13

Paul_13
  • Pitcrew+
  • 3,356 posts
Joined: 16 Oct 2008
  • Name:Paul
  • Location:Ruscombe, Reading / Basingstoke
Garage View Garage
Crying out for a redtop engine on bodies ;) Nice work though :)

#17
cRaig

cRaig
  • Pitcrew+
  • 1,472 posts
Joined: 31 Mar 2007
  • Name:Craig
  • Location:Bath, Somerset
Garage View Garage

The best I have seen fitted is a Jaguar straight 6 fitted :D

 

There wasnt alot of progress for quite a while, as university work took up more and more time. Eventually, after hibernating it was moved to our new garage in Bath, where it finally joined the 205, the first time they had been in the same place for years!

 

dscf2958.jpg

 

dscf2959t.jpg

 

dscf2967e.jpg

(dodgy camber on the front was due to the top trunion being on the wrong way round, an easy fix fortunately!)

 

Then set about getting the garage storage sorted (I have alot of crap for both cars) and then the first priority was finishing the 205! (naturally :D)

Now that is done, the plan this year is to get the midget finished. This brings the thread more or less up-to-date, so will try and update as I get things done. The first job is empty it out, sort out all the parts and find everything! Then make a to do list and get cracking! First job is to underseal the underneath, a rubbish job, but anything to postpone the (inevitable) rust! :D


Edited by cRaig, 28 January 2013 - 07:52 PM.


#18
cRaig

cRaig
  • Pitcrew+
  • 1,472 posts
Joined: 31 Mar 2007
  • Name:Craig
  • Location:Bath, Somerset
Garage View Garage

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.

 

img6590o.jpg
 



#19
davey sprocket

davey sprocket
  • Drivers
  • 397 posts
Joined: 03 Jun 2008
  • Name:Dave Goddard
  • Location:Poole, Dorset

Great work sir! My fleet isn't too dissimilar... My 205 has to share my affections with Maggie... SDC10521.jpg However, unlike you I have no intentions of a major restoration, a snotter she will remain. They're great little machines to work on and it's a different world from the Pug... Absolutely everything is available. I've really enjoyed the mechanical overhaul I've given her. Look forward to seeing your progress. :-)



#20
cRaig

cRaig
  • Pitcrew+
  • 1,472 posts
Joined: 31 Mar 2007
  • Name:Craig
  • Location:Bath, Somerset
Garage View Garage

Thanks! Yours doesnt look like a snotter at all! I do like the look of MG Bs, would really like a V8, but the draw of the cheap and cheerful midget was too much!

 

Have spent to day going through all the various bits I have, and trawling the parts book/ ebay buying various bits I need to make progress; fuel hose, need to make up some new battery to starter wires and some new bushes needed on the rear.Will hopefully get alot done in the next couple of weeks, would really like to try and get it finished before the summer.