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cRaig

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

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Bogsye

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.

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cRaig

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

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Bogsye

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!!

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cRaig

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

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Bogsye

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

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cRaig

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.

 

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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

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cRaig

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!

 

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Edited by cRaig

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cRaig

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

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cRaig

Seats!

 

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

 

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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
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cRaig

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

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cRaig

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

 

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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!

 

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Edited by cRaig

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Anthony

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

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eddie bullit

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

Only jesting looks good! :P

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cRaig

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

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artois7

Looks brilliant, great read too!

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Jolly Green Monster

nice work, looking forward to more updates and it maiden journey.

 

Simon

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cRaig

Thanks, I'm looking forward to getting it finished and taking it for a drive! :D (drifting round a mcdonalds carpark near you soon.. :P) The plan at the moment is to try and get it finished for graduation in around July, it depends how much the DVLA drag their heels with regards to re-registering it and issuing a V5/numberplate.

 

Anyway, a couple of hard, dusty days work, but we now have doors that fit!

 

The doors didn't need much trimming down to fit, but much more than could have been done without splitting the door skin on a metal door, and adjusting the frame of the metal doors and then re-skinning them wasn't something that I fancied undertaking. Some people may consider the fibreglass doors a "bodge" but I am happy that they have been done well enough, with enough care and attention that they don't detract from the car.

 

In an ideal world, we would have noticed the door shut lines were less than ideal before paint, but moving both the A pillar and rear quarter is a fairly large job, and normally undertaken due to rust, it's just unfortunate whoever swapped them previously didn't get the repositioning/jig quite right!

The comforting fact is that most midgets you see on the road have terrible door shut lines! :D

 

The fibreglass doors also meant we could (relatively) quickly and easily add a small wedge to the bottom of one of the doors to drastically improve the shutline against the sill.

 

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The stainless hinge brackets fitted in quite nicely, with a few shims needed to get them square and exactly in the right place. But with big headed rivets, the mounting to the door is really good.

 

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The doors arent bolted up yet, just test fitting in the openings, so the panel gaps improved further

 

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You can see the wedge that needed adding to get the door square with the sill:

 

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I'm really pleased, it was hard work, but we have ended up with doors that fit that much better than most midgets you see on the road (even some of the ones at the NEC Classic Motor Show had dodgy shutlines, I know- I spent quite a while inspecting them to summon enthusiasm to get on with the doors! :D)

It does mean that wind up windows arent a particularly easy under taking, but in all honesty the first thing you do in that car when you get in it is wind the windows down and put the roof down! :D

 

The plan is to make some window "panels" as found on the earlier Midget/Sprites, such as this

 

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Its a simple alloy frame, with a felt runner and two sliding perspex windows. Should look suitably racy/ retro, and will just "unclip" from the door and be stored in bags. Will look into them in the new year when the doors are back from paint, but they aren't a priority, just needed for waterproofing/ vague security if leaving the car outside over night.

 

Have also got the tonneau cover back from being fixed. Im really pleased with it! Smartens up the car/folded roof no end! :) Just needs the poppers fixing to the parcel shelf, as my custom one is missing them. You can also see how dusty things have got working on the fibreglass!

 

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So the doors are off to a small/ decent paintshop (as I cant be bothered to mess up the garage spraying things, and also lacking a compressor these days) Next job is to put all the fluids in it and think about getting it running...


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cRaig

Quiet weekend side project. Getting a wrinkly dashboard! The crappy (38 year old) 1500 wiring loom has been condemned, as it had been chopped around and repaired too many times. So an Auto Sparks brand new wiring loom has been ordered, in age-specific 1275 spec for the new car. While swapping the loom, it makes sense to swap the dashboard at the same time, as the rubber bumper car had the 70's spec 'safer' plastic rocker switches, while the 1275 has the (much cooler) toggle switches.

 

I didn't want to pay for a refurbished dashboard, so cranked the heating up, alot of prepwork and a quick going over with a hot air gun and some wrinkle paint has been quite successful for a first attempt I think!

 

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While researching how to have successful wrinkle paint (its funny putting so much effort into getting paint to wrinkle up..) I discovered a fantastic suggestion- spray the rear side of the dashboard gloss white, so while rummaging to plug things in/repair things in the future, light is reflected much better and you can see what you are doing!

 

When the dash has firmed up for a couple of days (don't want to scratch the wrinkles off!) I will start building it back up with all new lucas switches, and give the gauges a bit of a clean up.

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cRaig

Dash has hardened off, and have started building it back up. Quite tricky to do it without scratching the crinkle paint!

 

Quite pleased with how its looking, very 60s with the chrome toggle switches and crinkle paint. Should look good with the red carpets :)

 

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Reebmit

Craig, great thread..I had a midget RWA 1972,one of my best cars had it for 13 years, it was built as a fast road/hill climb car. Went through almost every iteration of A series with straight cut boxes through to the toyota 5 speed. This then evolved into a seriously hot Ford crossflow, circa 160 hp with ford 5 speed, car only weighed around 500kg so went really well. Handling was superb especially with rear wheel drive, you could put in anywhere. Miss that car, I would like to do it again but probably with a Red Top Vauxhall... I will look out a pic or two... keep up the good work, will follow with interest

 

Found it, god, me and dad 20 years ago.... scary really

 

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Ha Look at the cars in the background!

Edited by Reebmit

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Bogsye

Good effort on the door alignment - makes a big difference. I recall about 5 attempts per side pre stressing the shell and tacking the sills. Worth the effort though. Usually Spitfires and Heralds that look like they have wings poking out.

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cRaig

Ace picture Reebmit! :D I really like the look of midgets without the bumpers, I think they can look really smart. Bet it had a bit of shove with 160bhp! I think I have settled on a crossflow 1275 through the Frontline type 9 five speed as the eventual engine setup. Need to save up the pennies for that though! So the plan is to live with the 1500 engine until we either save up, or the engine goes pop.

 

Yeah, I'm pretty pleased with the doors. It was a lot of hassle, and some expense of the glass doors, but much less work than chopping around the rear quarter/sill join. When it eventually goes rusty again and needs welding, I will make sure everything is put back in the right place and it can have metal doors again! Or by then I might have saved enough up for a heritage shell, who knows!

 

Bit more electrical prep to sort, then its just waiting for the new loom to arrive, and running that and wiring things up! Looking forward to an electrically reliable midget!! :D

Edited by cRaig

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Bogsye

Longlive the bumperless look :)

 

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I'd quite like to do another but perhaps a k-series and re-work the back suspension. Mine had a basic fast road engine (no where as high an output as 160) and I did the Frontline front suspension kit & ARB. Took a Mini RC40 exhaust and chopped it around to fit, which seemed to work well.

 

Apologies for the thread-swerve....!

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cRaig

Mm, quite jeaous of your bumperless looks now! :D Still, I guess dropping the bumpers off isn't much work in the future if we fancy a change. I think I'll still miss the rubber bumpers in some sad way! They were very useful as "parking sensors", and sitting on while eating lunch in a french layby etc!

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Reebmit

There you go Craig some serious motivation now... not that you need it, looks to be coming along nicely, Brians car looks great... You're right bumperless looks really good but can be done at any time. K series is a nice conversion and suits car perfectly.I think like all these car projects its good to get the cars to a point where they are back on the road then do small projects at a time to keep the motivation there...its really hard when they sit at the back of the garage for years on end. Keep up the good work!

Edited by Reebmit

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