A lot of this is just me at work, bored, rambling.
In March, I will have owned the Magnette for ten years. What is really scary is, that is 21% of the cars life. I will have owned the car 25% of its life in 2009, and 50% in 2033. I will never make 75% of the cars life, because thats it will be 2107! Lets hope the car is around then.
Just thinking about that made me think of the MGB. Its a 1972 we bought in 1991. Now that we've had it for 15 years, this means we've owned the car for 44% of its life. In 2010 it will be twice as old as when we bought it. In 2029, we'll have owned the car for 75 % of its life. My dad will be in his late 70's. I'll be 51!
I am going to go home after work and spend some more quality time with the MGB! I need to heat up the garage and clean up the workbenches. I've got quite a bit of stuff out that doesn't need to be. I would like to condense another shelf down. I have no idea what I would have to throw away to accomplish this. But I need the space to set up a paint-center. An alternative is just to get the rest of the place spic and span.
I suddenly don't have the money I had a week ago. Its kinda disturbing. I just checked my bank account and it seems most of it went to rent and my final payment on the Cadillac but its enough to make you scared! I have three more checks this month and only one is spoken for so we're doing okay, but it was still a little surprising.
While I had the sandblaster out I blasted the rust holes under the front turn signals. The remaining sheet metal looks, honestly, like swiss cheese. A fine Lorraine Swiss with tons of tiny holes! One side I've welded up pretty well, the other side is far worse. The welder tends to make holes of its own because the remaining metal is so thin. The end result is alot of lumpy chicken shit welding, in a mainly cosmetic valance area, that is just ground down to look presentable.
I've priced out some parts from NTG Services for the Magnette. My plan has been to paint the bare shell and make it water tight before bothering with any further assembly. I can't predict when this car is going to run again, and it might end up living outside before it is running so my number one priority is to make sure it doesn't get damaged living outside. So basically, I need to put the glass and seals back in. I have windshield gaskets in my possession already, so I've ordered window channel kits, all new clips, new weatherstripping on inside and out of the glass, and new door and trunk seals. And, because the headliner goes on before the front and rear windshields, I have to get one of those too. The headliner is changing colors with this paint job to make it more correct. Originally, it had a light beige headliner to go with the Iris Blue paint, but since I am goign with a two tone blue and grey, the headliner should be a light grey. All told, the headliners, gaskets, seals, and shipping will cost about $500. (puke)
I'm goign to go back to my parents today and do some clean up, label some parts, tidy up the garage. Close that table I don't need any more. I have to empty out a big ass shelf, and bring it down the basement. I need to organize that space down there. I guess I shoudl go home first, tan a bit, cook dinner and then go up. The space I gain in the garage willbe suitable for the compressor and the generator and the The heater will go on top of that.
Today I found out I would be going on a business trip this wednesday. Thats kinda cool if you ask me! This does screw up my car plans a little bit. I'll get into that later.
Anyway, this weekend I moved in, and aside from the mess left behind, I had some other problems. Chief among them was that I kept doing everything wrong! Nothing worked unfortunately! I bought the wrong cable for the compressor. It had four wires and should have had three. I bought the wrong size pipes.
Thats ok though I don't really have any reason to go in there yet. I bought a broom, a garbage can, and some trash bags. I need a nice metal dustpan that won't crack on me.
I've had a brain fart for the website. I'm going to photoshop a picture of the bare, rusted hulk over the painted image that has always been on the website. It will flash a few times before settling in as the painted car. Inspiration+Persrpation=Restoration.
Basically I hope this website can prove that even a poor person can afford to restore a car. If you have $1,000 in free cash flow every month, which you will if you are cheap about life.
I was going to go out last night, but woudl it be worth the $40? Thats what it costs. $5 admission, a few $5 beers, some gas to get up there. Then you buy a beer for someone else... I'll skip it, and fall asleep dreaming of this car.
There are four "standards" I must attain when restoring this car. The lowest standard is in the trunk, and the interior of the vehicle. This area of the car is going to basically be covered by the upholstery and carpeting. This is where you learn how to paint and sandblast. The wheel arches are exposed on the inner trunk so perhaps some additional care should be taken in this area. What will require a great deal of care and effort is the elimination of rust.
I hope they don't read this :)
Back to what I was saying about levels of finish required. There is what you don't see ever because it is covered in something else, and then there is what you rarely see because it is under the car. The undercar does require a significant amount of work. In its truest form, British cars have no underseal and are painted to match the rest of the car. This is usually fairly impractical for a car used every day... the paint will chip and then the car will rust away... but it is the desired finish for a well restored car. So what we need is a colored finish, hopefully without any texture, that is highly chip adn dent resistant. I'm not too sure this sort of thing exists.
The third level is under the hood. This really does need to look good. People will be looking under the hood of this car on a regular basis.
Speaking of under the hood, I don't have many expenses remaining here. I have to install new brake lines. I need a new battery tray that doesn'thave holes in it. I need a new set of battery cables from SNG Barratt that match and are appropriate to the vehicle. Lets review under the bonnet.
On the right side of the engine bay (which is the left if you are looking at it), we start with a very special washer bottle. This thing is unique and expensive. Jaguars had them also. You can get new washer bottles from Jaguar restoration shops, but they cost an arm and a leg. Next over is the battery. This requires the helmet style battery clamps... as available from SNG Barratt. On the ledge, we have a few electrical components. We have a regulator for the generator, and a small fuse box. Nothing unique here, its all out of an MGA. Again, on my car, this is all new, rebuilt, or reuseable.
Next is the heater. I've restored this to like new condition. It might need another shot of paint or some cutting back of the paint. I did sandblast it. Looks nice. It really could use another coat of paint but all the hard work is done.
Next over is the brake and clutch cylinders. I might get a new one of each. They were fitted to many different cars. My reservoir was already restored. Hopefully I will have the correct insides and not need to replace this. Coming towards me on the left there isn't much of anything. One the front there is a set of windtone horns. These give an amazing fog-horn noise. Its a beautiful half boat/half bleeting sheep noise.
Between the horns is the radiator. This needs some money spent on it. Basically I would like to maintain the shell and put a new core in it. The car always ran a little hot when I owned it. This is the original radiator built a the "Morris Radiator Branch". It is of lovely brass construction. Radiator paint is generally very thin. We'd probably paint the shell with a different paint than the frame. I would strip off the paint, take the radiator to the shop, have it cored, and then paint it myself with a good quality paint. I am tempted to polish the brass also. I'm not sure what I will do.
Polishing the brass would be a uniqie proposition, but not exactly original. I might settle for just buffing the tag.
I need to research how the subframe is attached to the body. I'm hoping that the Austin Healey method could be used but I'm not sure. There is a heavy frame on the car where the subframe mounts. Big pins connect the two frames. These are double ended with nuts. They pass through rubber mounts and have these plates. I might have to go to England for these. This is a good place for anti-sieze :)
My steering gear is probably ok. I already painted it. I've painted the rear axle, the driveshaft, lots of stuff. The driveshaft needs new u-joints. I might want to redo the front suspension, but ehhh... I'll probably install it as-in and redo it at a later date. The only thing wrong with it is that the powder coat is peeling. I'd have to sandblast it all again, bake it in an oven, powercoat it again... endless really. I'm not surprised I got a small amount of peeling on the subframe. I probably should have had it done professionally.
Stainless hardware is going to be used wherever possible. You can't use that in a suspension (you can still use plated grade eight) but all under the hood I'm going to use stainless. I will be making some real friends over at KL Jack.
The engine I am more than a little concerned about. It is likely that it has rusted solid. I will have to obtain a 3-bearing MGB engine, grind a little off the 8 to make it look like a 5, and rebuild it as an 1800cc Magnette engine. The beast could use a little more grunt. I'd retain the original engine. I woudl likely install an overdrive... If available.
I don't think I would change much else about the car. It will be nice to have the extra grunt getting off with 1800cc, the lower gears from an MGB, and the extra gears from the overdrive. Why didn't they build this car originally????
So how would this modestly modified car play in the magazines? Well, its considered just an old banger in the UK. I need to see which magazine will give it the biggest play. Massive restoration lavished on shitty car? The upgrades need to be INVISIBLE. I am even going to grind off the side of the 8 and turn it into a 5. "You'd never know this is an 1800 cc engine, till you step on the gas".
I know I'm getting WAAAYYY ahead of the game, but lets imagine this article. I would shop it around to a few magazine... headline like, "You Never Realized You Wanted a Farina".
With mild modifications keeping it up to date, this is the Farina you didn't know you wanted to own. If you just do a buyers guide, thats ok. I fyou do a nice feature on farinas and include mine, that'd be nicer. If you did a solo piece on my car's restoration that'd be fantastic... and if you put it on the cover... well I'd just about die.
This is my first restoration.
The body was put on a massive vehicle rotator. With the welding completed but the owner broke, the car sat outside for several years. The resultant surface corrossion had to be removed. Here, John is sandblasting the floorpans. Years of crud, rust and underseal were removed in just a few weekends.
Because the strip and prime wouldn't happen in one shot, sections were sandblasted and then primed.
Welding the fenders left them with plenty of ripples. This type of primer can be filled right over with body filler. After filling it in and sanding it down, we needed another coat of etch primer. Once this was totally smooth, it was coated with a PPG high build primer.
Lots of sanding with a long board created the beautiful flat lines you see here.
The finish of the underside almost matches the quality of the top. For a first time paint job, its not bad!
Because wide white walls aren't available in modern radials, John used these portable white walls.
Aside from the welding, which was almost twice the cost of the car, nothing cost more than the chrome work.
There isn't enough money to improve the seats, but this is the type of thing you can always do later.
The dash was restored by sanding it down and applying Danish oil. The result looks like old, well preserved trim without the fake gloss of modern uerthanes
The exterior electrical parts were a lucky find on the internet... A gas station attendant in Norway offered a full set for just a few hundred bucks.
You'd never know it by looking, but this car has been fitted with an overdrive and 1800 cc engine. The giant drum brakes are more than adequate
I am going to have to get ahol dof my moms car for a day, like middle of this week, to haul all this shit around. I am going to bring the Magnette rotator to the house, and get it all attached... raise it up... and slip the trailer under it. Then the body gets lashed down to the trailer. The actual lifting mechanisms go into mom's car, or a borrowed truck, and the whole shootin' match goes down to Dunstable for free. A second option is to spend a couple hundred bucks having the body hauled but I don't think I want to do that.
This evening I will spend some time at the garage getting it cleaned up. I should go to Sears and get a workbench to bring down there. But seriously, the first step is a whole lot of cleaning. I will staple up plastic sheeting to prevent any damage to the garage. You can sand and prime in the same place without any trouble, but when it comes to the final finish we'll have to really clean the place up again. The goal however with hanging plastic is to prevent damage to the poor lady's garage.
My mind keeps spinning with the body rotator! This is a simple piece of engineering. What it does is mounts to the frame of the car where you would normally attach the bumpers. The whole car is then lifted off the ground by the hydraulics... where it can then be balanced on the axis, and spun.
I just got another check! I love getting checks. I will get another $500 check before the end of the month. Less than $400 is spendable due to rent and electricity payments due.
Ok here is how the
Lets take a new tact at "can you afford this?"
The answer, is, No. You can't. That is, if you have a life, a wife, kids, etc. Well none of that for me, I have an MG. I take home $505 a week. Thats 2k a month. I have various monthly expenses as below:
|RENT||Cheap as shit studio apt||$575|
|Cable TV||I steal it||$0|
|Phone||Cellphone, $9.99 part of family plan, but I never pay him||$0|
|Internet Access||Someone has wireless in my building, I steal it||$0|
|Food||Budget $10/day. Breakfast? two PopTarts, 47 cents. You can do it||$300|
|Gasoline||Used to spend $60 a week, but I've cut back||$120|
|Electricity||I've got electric heat, so I don't turn it on||$20|
|Laundry||Three Loads a Week, $10||$40|
|Haircut||SuperSluts Supercut includes $5 tip if she's hot||$19||Grand Total||Monthly Expenses||1074.00|
I'm guessing I am getting ahead of myself. I really shoudl just go down and give the place a good cleaning. I thought I was renting the entire garage, with out these tires here. Its been a month, you got your rent, and they are still here. I'm don't need the space as of yet, but I woudl really like to move my car parts in here ASAP. - 8-20-05
Its about 4:30 at work, and things are slow so I'm Magnette dreaming again. Today's agenda is to get the clicker to access the garage, and move a few things in. I want to bring in the compressor, the generator, tool benches, and a few lights.
Today I actually stepped up to the plate and started spending what is required to restore the Magnette. I have been held up with a lack of space, tools, and will. After seeing my poor car deteriorate to a rusty hulk, I became re-determined to see this restoration through.
Today I spent $900 to rent a garage for 6 months with an option to renew. This is part of a private residence. It is two cars, with two poles unfortunatley, but should be fine. There is a hell of a hump going up into the garage though!
I also worked out my preliminary expenses to outfit this garage for media blasting and painting:
|220 Volt 6300 Watt 11hp Generator||Powers compressor||$950|
|80 Gallon Compressor||With enough CFM to sandblast||$800|
|Two workbench units||Neat clean place for paint||$350|
|Body Rotisserie||Turns body upside down||$1000|
|Sandblast Unit||Pressure Feed||$400|
To restore the Magnette, I am going to have to give up a few things...
I do have some future expenses, #1 probably being a heater. This is New Hampshire and it can get extremely cold during the winter. The garage will need to be atleast 55 degrees for me to tolerate it.
This week I have to go to Robbin's paint shop and determine what paint system I will be using. I want to make sure that no matter what I need to use, it all is the same brand and that this brand is not going anywhere. I started with SEM products and now then aren't available locally!
I need basically four kinds of paint. The first is an etch primer than can be filled over with bondo. The first stage in restoring this car is going to be sandblasting, and priming, the entire underbody of the vehicle. This will be completed with, basically, little or no filler because the underside has been so well repaired. I will have to bring my welder in case some things crop up.
The second kind of paint is a regular primer. This will go on the underbody.
The third is a high build primer for the exterior of the car.
The fouth is a finish for the underside.
The fifth is a finish for the exterior.
So whats happened? Well I graduated college, got a job that ate every free moment I had, and the car went to the welder. And it sat there. For years. He replaced the sills, the crossmembers, and the bottoms of the rear fenders. He also made me broke. I rebuilt and powder coated the front suspension, and every other small mechanical part in the car: heater box, horns, etc. I ended up having to rebuild the engine of the MGB when it blew up.
I went to England for a semester of school at Cambridge University Gonville and Caius College, and was fortunate enough to meet Mick Holehouse and get a ton of parts at a big BMC show in Peterborough. The following is complete and ready to install:
I haven't done much. I caught a cold and it was very cold outside so work slowed. But, I have stripped another part and powder coated it. I still need these bumpstop things for the suspension, but the pins I backordered finally came. If I can get my ass out of bed I'll get work done every day this week. I am going to make a resolution today. From Monday and forward, I will continue to go to the gym EVERY DAY, and I will do atleast something to the Magnette, EVERY DAY. And I will get my school work done!
Removing the engine from the suspension crossmember took all of five minutes. I put the engine on a few blocks of wood along side the MGB in the garage. The suspension is now seperate. I took the engine mounts off and put them in the kerosene bucket. I began to take apart one side of the suspension, but I can get some of it apart! The shop manual is no help. It just talks of gudgeon this and pigeon poop. I'll have it all apart soon though I hope. The brake pads are being sent out to Kip Motors, from whom I will also order cylinder rebuild kits, unless they are totally seized on, in which case I will need new ones. Everything else should be retained. The brake drums I recall being in acceptable condition and not needing to be turned. I'll find out tommorrow.
Tonight I cleaned the garage, treated the bolts to make sure they come apart easily tomorrow, and attached lifting tackle to the engine so I can take it off the suspension. Hoisting engine off comes next.
Work slowed during the school year, but I managed to repaint/rebuild the horns, heater box, wiper motor, and some other small bits of stuff.
Last night I removed:
The passenger side rear fender had some bad rust holes. The rust was treated/removed and the holes were filled with a lead and bondo combination. Mostly lead with skim coat of bondo.
Some part location IDs:
Whoops! I've been doing more work than writing. Over the summer, I have-
Built a sandblaster cabinet out of plywood and plexiglass.
I kinda liked the CH brand air tools. The bargain sandblaster was shit.
Still need air rotary sander.
Sandblasted one brake drum and painted it. Sandblasted bodywork under rear bumper to find lots of little holes!
Became lax about recording diary entries and work slowed as I met nasty rusty bolts. Decided that air power was need to complete work on this car. Purchased:
Spent better part of day on:
Removed two turn lights, one headlight, horns, hood buffers, hood cable.
Removed one headlight, two tailights, reverse lamp, trunk wiring harness is coiled in corner, all extterior molding removed, as well as contents of the trunk, cardboard trunk fittings, and trunk lock.
Decided that some interior components will simply be masked rather than removed, including most wiring. (I later changed my mind back to removing everything). Today I finished interior removal and began on exterior trim.
Finished removing dash- assorted brackets etc are in box 4. Wiring is tape labeled to switch i.e. "Fan" and the color and shape labeled to the individual hookup i.e. red splotch matches red splotch pink=pink red X=red X. Dash harness was retained in position. Dash harness labeled 1 & 2 go under hood to starter solenoid & regulator box.
Started removing dashboard and inner windshield surround. Put screws and small parts in box #4.
After speaking to a local body shop that specializes in older cars, I have been convinced that a full nut and bolt restoration is the one and only option for this vehicle. The rust isn't TOO bad but this needs to be nipped in the bud before it gets serious. Planned the following agenda:
On this day I removed all window winders and hardware- nothing too unusual. There are small pins found by pushing back the trim. Small screw in box, two goes under rear armrest, other screws go in rearseat on sail ends of piping. All carpets removed, except pieces under rear seats.