Ghost of a shell

As there is nothing, I can do about the Morgan right now, my evenings are now dedicated to the 1973 MGB GT aka Mildred. Clearly: I don’t have enough and responsive readers/followers on my blog 🙂 Back in May I posted the question if I should buy this rusted piece of metal. Maybe a wise comment would have saved me from this madness. Well, maybe not…

I knew that the car was not the best basis for a restoration. Although the left sill was just exchanged – more welding would be required. But then again – it was by far the cheapest chrome MGB GT compared to the ones on Ebay-Kleinanzeigen, and AutoScout.

Taking it apart presented some challenges. The front and rear suspension were the most crusted and dirtiest I have seen so far. But the disassembly, cleanups and first repairs progressed well. With the experience made on the other projects, I started to track my hours on Mildred. With the 3 hours I put in tonight after work, the total is now almost 80hours – or exactly two working weeks. This was done on evenings and weekends over a period of two month since I got the car. So, it is time to take a look at the project status:

  1. Disassembly is 99% complete. I still need to remove the fuel and brake line under the car as well as some smaller parts but this is all straight forward and will only take minutes.
  2. All parts had a rough – sometimes complete – clean up. The gearbox crossmember for example was sandblasted and is painted already. Most parts have been shrink-wrapped and stored in Euroboxes and shelves
  3. The rear axle has been cleaned and wire wheeled. Thrust washers, new bearings and seals have been ordered.
  4. The entire front suspension has been taken apart, cleaned and partly sandblasted. The crossmember is in a bad shape – I found a replacement one on Ebay which was even worse. Another search on Ebay surfaced one in the UK which is now being delivered to my son in Uxbridge….
  5. The paint and dirt in the engine bay and most of the right side of the car have already been stripped.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, the sad truth is that with every ClearStripDisc on the grinder I find more and more really rough spots on the body. It is starting to dawn on me that it is most likely financially not viable to restore Mildred. I have a good idea what painting the car will cost. Gearbox, suspension, and engine costs are also somehow predictable. I have enough experience with wiring now and budget interior trim is available. But the money required for body panels and metal works might kill the project. Nevertheless, I will continue for now.

To fully strip the shell of paint I will at least need another 10 hours (or more). This does not include the floor of the car – which would be best done with the shell mounted to a rotisserie. The roll-over jigs I found on the net cost between 450€ and 600€. Currently, I don’t have this money right now but I have an idea on how to build one myself for less than half of the cost…

By the way: Looking at the hours and parts going into a project like this, a completely overhauled Frontline Developments LE 50 with a modern engine and first class interior is actually not as expensive as you might think…..

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