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YB 0805 - Nico Dreesen

These pages are a translation from the original Dutch pages showing Nico Dreesen's car.  The text has been kindly translated by Willem Van der Veer.  Nico's original Dutch YB pages can be accessed here.  Double click on thumbnails to enlarge.

The restoration history of our 1952 MG YB

Number on the firewall:

75

Original English licence number:

MWD 315

Current engine block number:

168421

Original chassis number:

YB/ 0805

Original engine number: 

XPAG/SC2  17694

Current engine number: 

18228

Engine specifications after overhaul by BMC Service Ltd.  These can be found on a plate somewhat left of the original stamped number

COWLEY  OXFORD :  Unit   No:   

F 83411    STD

Part   No:

SA  2445 / 2R3

Cylinder head type number:

22952 ( Converted to lead-free)

Contact the owner?

Double click here

 

After reading an advert in the old-timer magazine "Voiture" we viewed the car in Delfzijl. The car's condition was bad to very bad, but it was reasonably complete. Fortunately the car was already imported and was provided with a Dutch registration. The car was taken by trailer to Maarheeze.

At home, in the garage, we optimistically started dismantling the car. Wheels, bonnet, bumpers, headlamps and radiator are removed.

After removing the windscreen and the dashboard, we started to dismantle the interior upholstery. This allowed a better view at the body's condition.

During dismantling we took pictures frequently to have some idea how things were mounted originally. We also noted the modifications that were done during the years, enabling us to return the car to it's original condition.

Here's the bare interior. The wooden floors were in a bad condition and will have to be renewed later.

The wings and side valances are taken off. Now we can begin to empty the engine bay. First the small stuff like petrol pump, horns, wiper motor, regulator, carburettor and lastly the steering column and engine itself.

Now that the glass, doors, rear axle, steering, sliding roof and rear mudguards are removed the body is bare and ready to be lifted from the chassis.

We now reached a point from which we can work on rebuilding the car. Of course this is not only more pleasant but also gives you the strength to carry on to the end. Initially, especially during taking apart the bodywork, there are moments where spirits are low and one starts losing courage at seeing all the problems to be overcome and the long way to go. But now we're going step by step in the right direction and regularly look back at all the successfully finished work. The question: "When do you think it's finished?" will have to be answered hundreds of times, without knowing ourselves!

All smaller parts will, after being cleaned, repaired and painted, be stored in the attic to be used later, together with the rest, to assemble a beautiful MG YB.

The dashboard was reveneered with burr-walnut veneer. This lavishly clouded veneer, which is very hard to find, was finally purchased from a wholesaler in Warmond near Leiden. Normally he doesn't supply to end-users, especially not in such a small quantity. But he was a nice man and he selected a very nice piece for us and gave us a big discount for coming from so far. That proves that good Dutchmen still exist!

Door locks and window winding mechanism, cleaned and re-greased.

The chassis:

Following the cleaning and sandblasting of the chassis, to better uncover the bad parts, repairs can be started.

Repairing the chassis required highly specialised knowledge. The whole left-rear section had to be cut out and replaced by newly fabricated parts.

Also several parts fixed to the chassis, like the leaf spring mountings and the side riggers on which the body rests, had to be replaced.

Newly fabricated chassis sections.

The whole chassis is minutely inspected for bad or weak spots and repaired. After repairing and painting in primer and black epoxy-paint, now is the ideal moment to rustproof the inside thoroughly.

After much worrying and work, finally a beautiful result emerges.

Following the fitting of fresh rubber bushes the front suspension can be fitted in excellent condition. The front wishbone arms had to be replaced though, they had suffered too much.

New bushes were made for the pedal shaft . Also a new brake master cylinder was fitted.

Here the brake drums are refurbished and ready to be mounted with new brake cylinders, brake shoes etc.

After thorough inspection the rear axle was diagnosed to be ripe for total reconditioning by an expert. The crown wheel and pinion were in excellent condition but all bearings including the two expensive pinion bearings had to be replaced, as all the oil seals of course.

Fortunately the steering rack was in very good condition, a piece of luck this time!

Assembly of the chassis.

Of the rear springs all straps, bushes and interleaf pads had to be renewed. Here they are, blasted and painted, ready for assembly. Two new front springs were ordered in England because the old ones were not original.

Front and back shock absorbers rebuild, new bump stops were fitted also.

Rear axle assembly with new brake shoes, slave cylinders, bump stops, etc. mounted back on the chassis. Brake lines were renewed and the petrol tank was refitted after being repaired, cleaned internally and treated against rust.

The totally overhauled engine (lead-free). Also the dynamo, starter, water pump, carburettor and all the smaller parts were overhauled and/or replaced. The engine was made leak free, with a special oil seal at the rear of the crankshaft to overcome the frequent oil leaks from these engines.

The gearbox is, after much deliberation, found to be not good enough and therefore, just to be sure, totally overhauled.

The Bodywork:

The body: in the restoration of the body we went step by step, start with cutting out a bad part and replacing it with a new sheet of zinc plated metal sheet. This way we are sure to retain the original shape and position of the area that's repaired. Before that the body is first sanded down to be sandblasted later. By sanding beforehand the sandblasting can be reduced to the minimum thus protecting the thickness of the metalwork. First the body is tackled, the rest like the wings, running boards and bonnet will get their turn later.

The gutters and the drains of the sliding roof, connecting to the hose to take the rainwater, were rotted out. The bad parts are cut out and as can be seen on this picture replaced by newly fabricated parts.

  Here is the left rear wheel well. The old and bad parts are cut away and as seen on the right, replaced by new zinc plated metalwork (left). Also the edges of the wells, including the captive nuts have to be replaced totally.

The sight of the boot and spare wheel space wasn't very rosy and they had to be renewed almost completely. Slowly but steady one saw the bad spots disappear to make room for the new. These craftsmen are really masters of their work!

Small, but very time consuming repairs, were necessary if one wanted to have a durable and 100% proper repair. Here for instance, the replacement of the rain gutters on the front. The doorpost had to be cut open, in order to replace not only the outside but also the internals.

No comment!

From the last picture it was obvious that both sills had to be replaced completely. Here we can see the fabrication of new parts, the outside, inside and innards of the sill.

Ready at last, a totally new sill! A lot of work of course, but in the end a nice result, with which one can be satisfied. The other side has still to be done, though! The condition of the boot lid and spare wheel cover wasn't "something to write home about" But armed with good spirits a lot can be done.
And this is how they looked, although not yet finally painted, when they reappeared from the hands of the metalworker. The parts of the doors that were in a bad condition were cut out and repaired.
The running boards are nice and smooth again. Now only the painting in primer and dark red epoxy paint remains. The parts, that took a lot of trouble to acquire, are waiting to be mounted. In the bottom are the four door hinge pins machined from stainless-steel.
From this point on all metalwork, that is welding and repairing of the body, is ready. After priming and spraying the inside in a neutral colour, the body is placed on the chassis again. During the assembly of the car many difficulties were encountered in sourcing and finding the right and original parts needed. Also concerning the parts that had to be chromed, like the radiator surround, the hubcaps, the bumpers etc, etc. the search was long in finding the right address. The work on the body is finished!! This encourages to continue the further assembly of the car!!
It's starting to look like an MG again but we are not there yet, a lot has still to be done!!

Nice eh?

We are getting in the mood! Especially now that the results of all our work are getting visible.
Dashboard with instruments fitted and connected. Also fitted are the newly made plywood floors. The doors that are already sprayed in the right colour are assembled with glass and fittings and can be fitted, although the door panels are still missing. The boot lid, spare wheel cover and front apron pictured left are ready for assembly. Everything was rust proofed on the inside.
The bonnet.

The Upholstery:

The assorted parts look like new again, which in fact they are. Assembly of such parts is one of the most pleasant things of this whole restoration business! Next step is the restoration of the interior. That this part would not be simple, nor cheap, soon came clear after some talks with car upholsterers.

A brilliant result, and compliments to the upholsterer!! The colours of the leather trim where kept original, but the difference, caused by the years, was enormous.

Before….  And after!! A nice new headlining and interior trim. The door panels and their pouches were kept in exactly the same pattern as they used to be. The inside of the car has the same well known scent of leather and wood again!!
Fit the carpet, the leather gaiters for the gearlever and handbrake. Then check the trafficators and then carefully outside for the first test run!!! Well there she is, for the first time again in the fresh air!!

Drove to a country lane and made the first pictures. After this we drove around to see how the water temperature behaved and how high the oil pressure stayed with a properly warm engine. Fortunately this was all to full satisfaction. We will now reregister the car and book it for the MOT.

Our first drive, a tour with the old-timer club "Sittard Klassiek". First gather on the marketplace and on receiving the tour instructions and some drinks we drove off. Number of cars 132. Distance 300 km. Had lunch in an old castle. Our little car held up fine. On the way home we had heavy rain! Leak under the windscreen. Will have to fix that later. But what a beautiful day!!

Here's an outing with the MG-Magnette club in Limburg. Two other MG-Y owners and us were invited by this club because our cars were the forerunners of the MG-Magnettes. Nice tour to the three country point and its surroundings. Also had something to eat and visited the railway museum and..... the very best weather.

So this is the tale of the resurrection of an old English car of the marque with a very distinguished past. We're glad we succeeded in our goal and that we despite all the setbacks that had to be overcome, we persevered and kept on going. But for everyone that feels called to undertake such a thing, one good advice.......... THINK CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU START!!!!!