There are lots of gaps, but this goes with restoring a car. I have had the classic restoration of a classic story... years of doing nothing, bursts of productivity, massive expenses. I'll try to post every once in a while to keep everyone up to date.

A lot of this is just me at work, bored, rambling.

Feb 7 06

It has been too cold to work on the car, but I've spent plenty of time thinking about it, and plenty of money for parts. Just last weekend I bought the giant tent I will be using to sandblast the car. Ebay has proved fruitful again. If I'm not outbid, it looks like I might get a new trunk lock/handle assembly. It will be the perfect gift for the car's ownership-birthday.

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.

Dec 28 05

I'm at work, doing nothing, dreaming of my car again. I think I'm going to jack the car up a little more and see if I can't spin it totally upside down.

Dec 28 05

Another month! So little> progress. The winter is tough. Did some sandblasting. I taped up the cab and started to sandblast the floors. It worked very well on the rusty parts, but it was terrible for removing undercoat. I guess the sandblasting creates so much heat it gets the undecoat hot and sticky. This wasn't a good sign for the underside of the car, because its completed coated in a thick layer of this stuff. So I've started using a heat gun and a wallpaper scraper to remove the thick undercoat. It goobers up the scraper pretty bad, and is taking forever, but I think it will make sandblasting this spring much easier. I basically have one wheel well half done. It is goig to take a couple of good weekends unless I find a faster method. Luckily with no chemicals involved, this is a fairly neat and clean process. Its so cold in the garage that the underseal scrapings resolidify before they hit the floor.

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)

Nov 29 05

Could I get much lazier? I went home after work, and took a "short nap" around 5:30. I woke up around 3 in the morning, laying on the floor, with a big cut in the side of my neck from the bedframe. I swear I wasn't even drinking.
Wow ok I take that back. Hours later I'm sweating from working so hard. I need a beer. So I can fall off the bed again.

Nov 28 05

It was a great thanksgiving. My run the compressor off a generator idea didn't work too hot. Luckily we got brave and just ran a 240 volt "extension cord" from the dryer in the basement. We were originally going to run a live line from the fuse box, but the panel was out of expansion slots. So instead, we ran a wire to the dryer and put a plug on the end. In the garage we installed a dryer outlet, and plugged the compressor into that. Ran great! Now I have to sell the generator :)
I've been thinking about putting in a large order to NTG. Basically, I need all the parts required to immediately seal up the car. They would be: A second order could have the following needed parts (not many parts needed though!) Depending on how much the first list totals, we can add some of the second. I am also considering spending some cash on the steering and suspension. The suspension I rebuilt a couple of years ago has barely survived. I would like to redo it with new paint, new hardware, and all new ball swivel joints. I would retain the kingpin, shocks, etc.
Another thing I am interested in doing is refinishing the dashboard. I would need the special switch removal tool but they don't cost too much. I would give it a good sanding, stain selectively, and put on a nice shiny varnish.

Nov 21 05

The incredible warm weather continues here in New Hampshire. Last time I wrote I was about to start the compressor... and it did start! It just didn't run for very long. The motor overheated, the thermal switch cut, and it died after about a minute. This is likely due to high amp draw, which is caused by undersize wiring. 30 amp wiring requires a 10 guage wire, which is what I used, but probably stil isn't sufficient. It is interesting that it wasn't the generator that cut out, but instead the compressor motor. My solution to this was to switch to 10 guage standed wire, shorten the cable by 5 feet, and change from an aluminum plug to a copper one. Hopefully this upgrade will supply juice to the motor! Hopefully this will let me compressor run as it was intended.
If the compressor runs as intended, I've gotten some lugs that go into the concrete, and will mount the compressor in place. I won't mount it if it turns out that I need a 240 volt line run for it. I would prefer that the compressor not be hard wired in place, but instead have an outlet and a plug lead on the compressor.
My brother comes up in a few days and we are going to have some fun with the cars. I am going to get a tank of welding gas... I could probably get Thomas to do it. Or, I could get a tank tomorrow at a place nearby that sells welding supplies and should sell gas. Actually best bet is to have Thomas do it. I just have him pick up the gas on wednesday. Then... we're gonna have some fun!
There is a cross member under the radiator. One corner is rusted out. We have a simple repair process: These

Nov 17 05

It has still be unseasonably warm, so I've still been having fun in the garage without using the space heater. I went to Sears and got some oil for the generator. If Nate doesn't come over, I can start the generator when I get to my parents house. Then... plug in the compressor. All told it would be pretty awesome if I coudl get everything started.

Nov 15 05

I spent last night in bed. I felt so sick, probably from a diet I am on. But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger :)
Today I am going to go get a haircut, go to the 99, and then go to my parents house to work on the car. Actually, nix that. I am going to go home, take a nap, eat some Taylor ham or chicken salad, take a well deserved nap (because I merely slept 14 hrs yesterday) and then go up to my parents house. As part of my diet I need a chunk of fiber. Probably my best bet is fibercom or something. Or, some bulky fiber? I don't know but I definately need fiber. I need something to settle my stomach!
I am goin gto go to my parents and clean up that garage. Idefinately need to make sure that I am not hungry when I go up there. Being hungry would prove disasterous after seeing all that food she bought.
Thanksgiving is in a week or so. I dont want to be fat for that. I need to slim it down before!
Anyway som assuming I've eaten and show up at my parents not hungry but ready to work, I want to clean up the garage a fair bit.

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 GeneratorPowers compressor$950
80 Gallon CompressorWith enough CFM to sandblast$800
Two workbench unitsNeat clean place for paint$350
Body RotisserieTurns body upside down$1000
Sandblast UnitPressure Feed$400
I am going to go to my parents tomorrow and investigate moving the Magnette tub using our trash trailer. Some Magnette parts are going to move into my apartment. Especially those I need to keep clean. The same company that makes the body rotator also makes a body lift. This might permit me to pick up the Magnette and put it on the trailer. But then again, I could always make my own out of a pipe and some straps.

To restore the Magnette, I am going to have to give up a few things...

I don't think I will miss any of it.

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.

Five Year Gap

So, what we have here is a five year gap. In that time, keeping a diary online became "blogging". We'll keep up with the times and rename this as such!.

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:

Honest Injun, all I have to do is paint the body and put it all back together.

January 30, 2000

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!

December 18, 1999

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.

December 16, 1999

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.


December 15, 1999

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:

August 15, 1999

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-

October 26, 1998

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!

October, 1998

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:

September 6, 1998

Spent better part of day on:

September 5, 1998

Removed two turn lights, one headlight, horns, hood buffers, hood cable.

September 4, 1998

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.

September 3, 1998

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.

September 1, 1998

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.

August 31, 1998

Started removing dashboard and inner windshield surround. Put screws and small parts in box #4.

August 24, 1998

August 23, 1998 Work Begins

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.