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All of us can remember the pleasure of opening an Airfix type kit of our favourite sports car, being engrossed in assembling the individual pieces and observing the magical transformation into the finished model. As we grow older, many of us lose such pleasures, but there is now a practical opportunity to build a "real MGB" by assembling from readily available major components.
The skills required in renovating rusting bodywork or rebuilding major mechanical components such as engines, gearboxes, overdrives and axles are considerable, and are only within the capabilities of a gifted minority. However there are thousands of owners willing to undertake their own rebuilds, but who are restricted by lack of special equipment, necessary time to complete every aspect of the work themselves. The answer to completing your own rebuild on time and within budget is to use pre-assembled major components that are either new or reconditioned as this takes full advantage of economies of scale and the guaranteed skills of manufactures. Having estimated the cost of all the major components required to undertake the task, including the preparation and painting of a brand new bodyshell, the figure amounts to a surprisingly low £6,750.00 inc vat, and brings the project well within the capabilities and budget of most enthusiasts working from home.
You will of course need an MGB as a donor for items to either transfer directly or to provide exchange for reconditioned components and if you are not using your existing MGB, such a vehicle can be found from £500 upwards.
Since the reintroduction of MGB bodyshells by British Heritage Limited, a continuous process of improvement has developed this part into a fully panelled assembly complete with wings, doors, bonnet and bootlid ready fitted and primed for final preparation and painting. When you consider the combined cost of individual panels and labour required to undertake a major body restoration, it is clear that the current price of £2,614.00 inc vat is a bargain. The Club Spares Department provide final preparation and painting of the bodyshell in modern 2-pack or cellulose paint for £1,292.50 inc vat, and painting in your own colour choice can be requested when ordering the bodyshell. The painted bodyshell is then transported to you.
ENGINE POWER AND TRANSMISSION
There is now a wide choice of engine options to select from and depending upon how you want the car to perform, will determine whether you opt for a standard, balanced or high performance unit. Prices start at around £550 and rise to £2,124 for a 2.1 litre stage two unit complete with carbs, distributor, clutch and flywheel. You will need to consider the condition of the engine ancillary components and in all cases fit a new water pump and clutch. Other items such as carbs, starter motor, alternator and distributor replace only if necessary, as if serviceable a clean and polish may be all that is required. It is a good idea to allocate a small section of your home workshop ( or even better a separate garden shed) where all cleaning, degreasing, rust removing and repainting or polishing can be undertaken. A bench grinder with wire wheel attachment, a polishing kit with drill attachment, plus a degreasing trough are all essential.
Reconditioned gearboxes and overdrive units are available from £275 and £195 respectively. A salisbury type rear axle is £199 and a banjo type differential for earlier models is £155. An exchange reconditioned prop-shaft is about £45. All these Club exchange reconditioned assemblies carry a minimum of twelve months unlimited mileage guarantee and are available for nationwide delivery.
SUSPENSION, BRAKES & ELECTRICS
Rear leaf spring kits comprise all you will need to install two new leaf springs and are £78.95. A pair of new front coil springs is £19.95. You may wish to rebuild the front suspension onto a gloss powder coat finished front crossmember and these are available on an exchange basis. Standard lever arm damper units for front and rear at £11.95 and £10.95 respectively are available on an exchange basis if required as too are king pins with stub axles that also incorporate the pre-set top trunnion to simply bolt into place at £34.95. New brake components should be fitted and our costing estimate allows for new brake master cylinder, wheel cylinders, hoses, brake pipes, calipers, brake discs, shoes and pads. A new wiring loom is essential for obvious safety reasons and the cost is in the region of £145. Switches, lamps and gauges can all be transferred from the donor car.
The MGB dashboard has a distinctive black wrinkled finish, that wears and chips with age. A newly painted reconditioned exchange dashboard is only £39.95 and a new dash padded crash rail and vinyl dashtop should also be fitted. Seats, carpets and interior panels are all available in a wide range of colours, styles and materials and can be supplied in complete boxed sets to your choice. For example a complete MGB Club Interior Trim Set comprises: pair of leather seat covers, four seat foams, two seat webbings, two back boads, pair of seat headrests, an "Ultimate" moulded carpet set, interior trim panel set in either Classic or Club style, Vinyl door cappings, vinyl cockpit rail cover, leather gearlever gaitor, console armrest, door pulls, panel clips, screws and fitting instructions. All for £821.75 inc vat. A new hood is available for under £100 and would be recommended to compliment the overall new appearance of the car.
Some sound advice, is don't hurry the final finishing stage, as great care should be taken to fit chromework, badges and trim seals accurately. Too often we see sound rebuilds that have been rushed in an eagerness to get the vehicle on the road and the small details that have been overlooked let the car down. The original bumpers, windscreen and other serviceable chromework may be transferred from the donor car however replacements are inexpensive and may be used if required.
SO WHAT'S STOPPING YOU?
If you were to commission the work through a professional workshop you could expect a total bill in the region of £14,500. This would be a fair price, bearing in mind that approximately 260 hours of labour would be expended. Inevitably you would take much longer to complete the job, and six months is a realistic target on the basis of fifteen hours each week. So by starting now, you will have your "new" MG on the road for next April thereby saving yourself all the labour charges and have had the satisfaction and experience of recreating to a professional standard the most successful and enduring classic sportscar of the twentieth century.
By taking advantage of the members' interest free finance offer you could have your "new" MGB on the road in time for spring 97.
All components mentioned are available at members' discounted prices from our Club Spares Department on (01954) 230928
Our email address is email@example.com
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