Start of a MG Midget Project

  1. BilboBoggins

    BilboBoggins Member

    Posts: 19
    Hampshire Uk

    My first real project and I'm wondering if I've bitten off more than I can chew !!

    This is how it stands today, only got the car last weekend. As you can see the exterior body work at first glance doesn't seem to bad although I'm not sure what horrors are lurking under the paintwork. What is good is the engine, runs really nicely with no knocking of little or big ends, and the hood. The hood looks fairly new to be honest. What is bad is the floorpans, rear arches, spring hangers, all the normal places for a soft top Midget.

    Hopefully over the coming months I'll keep you posted. If anyone has any hints or tips these would be gratefully received.

    We'll here's some pics !

    • PA110235.jpg
    • PA110236.jpg
    • PA110237.jpg
    • PA110238.jpg
    • PA110239.jpg
    • PA110240.jpg
    • PA110241.jpg
  2. Richiew Tungsten Sharpener

    Posts: 232
    Teesside, England
    :oBest of luck. It looks a bit scary. If you need any inspiration have a look at the retrorides forum or the turbosport forum. They are always showing full body restorations there.

    At least you will get plenty of chance to do some welding. Hope you can find some sound metal to weld to.
  3. malcolm

    malcolm Bob the builder

    Posts: 8,386
    Bedford UK
    That's the sort of thing you used to see during the "classic car boom" when people were buying them as investments. Signs of history repeating itself now there's nothing else for them to invest in. Nice and shiney on the outside and nothing much holding it together.

    Is it a fairly fresh respray? I'd guess they'll have covered horrors, though panels are available, cheap and decent quality for the Midgets so I can't imagine the restoration will be too much hassle apart from all the cleaning up and stripping. Thought about a new shell? :laughing:
  4. rtbcomp

    rtbcomp Moderator Staff Member

    I think I'd go down the new shell path too! You can make sure it's well waxed before you bolt the bits to it.
  5. jrmig Member

    Posts: 65
    Gatwick, UK
    Wow - I thought mine was bad :o

    All the best with this one at least you can get all the panels for the Midget.

    If you want some inspiration check this out

    Not as bad as yours but it has given me a lot of inspiration during my midget resto.

  6. peterd51

    peterd51 happy to be here!


    my ex-boss bought a car just like that...

    a week later he found out his wife was having an affair with a guy she worked with...

    it wasn't only the bosses car that was sh*gged!

  7. andypocock

    andypocock Member

    Posts: 311
    They are rebuilding one that's in a pretty poor way in 'Practical Classics' at the moment. Might be worth a read.
  8. Phil@mpliron

    Phil@mpliron purveyor of molten metal

    whoa i thought mine was bad and i couldn't see the driveway through the floor.:whistle:
    I'll scan some of the photo's and post them.

    Good luck with the project

  9. BilboBoggins

    BilboBoggins Member

    Posts: 19
    Hampshire Uk
    Lol, loved Peters response !

    It's bad I must admit, at the moment it will be whether I can get a better secondhand shell, there's a company that advertise secondhand shells from £100 to £500 and as this only stood me in a couple of hundred pounds it might be the way to go or buy all the repairs panels, depends what make the best money sense.

    To answer Malcolm, the body had a 'Full Body Restoration' according to the receipt I've got in 2003 (cost £1683) so theres bound to be some nasties lurking but as you say all the repair panels are easily obtained.

    So the plan is to completely strip out the shell and make a proper assessment of whats required and price it up, have a look at a secondhand shell and then make the call.

    I'll keep me quiet thats for sure ! :whistle:

  10. classic2cv

    classic2cv Member

    I've seen a lot worse than that

    the body looks ok from the outside

    the door gaps look ok, the body isn't sagging

    if the doors open and close without bidding then your off to a good start.

    the best way to work on it would be to strip out the body to ease the weight on it

    you,ll need to brace the doors if you have to replace the sills

    the floors and the rear spring hangers can worked on with the body turned upside down :waving:
  11. Chickenjohn

    Chickenjohn Morris Minor and Porsche 944 fan

    Posts: 1,283
    East Kent
    Blimey, crikey, gov'ner. That looks too bad to restore to be honest- I thought my project Minor was bad but you could not see road/ air and tyres from the inside of the car! Yours is only a rubber bumper model- I would strip it for the 1275 mechanicals scrap the body and get an early 70's/ 60's (historic vehicle -tax free) chrome bumper model and use the mechanical bits to soup it up a little.

    Or sell the mechanical bits to a Minor owner wishing to make his car faster. If you did manage to weld that car back together, it would still be the rubber bumper model and you'd have to pay tax on it- so not a real classic.

    If you do decide to restore, I agree this is good advice:-

    "the door gaps look ok, the body isn't sagging

    if the doors open and close without bidding then your off to a good start.

    the best way to work on it would be to strip out the body to ease the weight on it

    you,ll need to brace the doors if you have to replace the sills "
  12. fingers99 Member

    I'd be inclined to replace the shell with one from an earlier one (pre-plastic bumpers) if possible. That one really will be a labour of love!
  13. BilboBoggins

    BilboBoggins Member

    Posts: 19
    Hampshire Uk
    Thanks for all the advise so far, I must say this is probably the best forum I've joined so far, not just in welding but generally !

    I'll update you all as I go ! as it stands I might have found a good shell for £200 which just needs some localised welding on the outer sills but I've yet to see it with my own eye !........

    To be honest though I'm looking at this project for the experience, I figure if I can tackle that and get a good result I can tackle anything !!! and in a way I'm semi cheating in as much I have worked professionally restoring cars in the 70's and 80's (showing my age now !) so I'm looking forward to it....

    I've attached a picture of my 'other' baby' which I have spent some time on !! (although a friend did the welding that was required) The picture was taken last weekend.

    • PA110229.jpg
  14. ger Member

    Posts: 53
    ohhh ! nice
  15. busastars Member

    Posts: 974
    South Wales
  16. migmag

    migmag Member

    Posts: 656
    North east
    Constructive advice please???:whistle::whistle:

    I have seen allot worse restored.............

    What do you mean its not a reel Classic??
    Of course its a bloody classic just cos its eligible for road fund licence and it has plastic bumpers.

    You can buy bumper conversion kits and even if he keeps the bumpers its still a classic.

  17. BilboBoggins

    BilboBoggins Member

    Posts: 19
    Hampshire Uk
    As I've said this one is really about getting at the deep end I must admit from a welding point of view :o , but is there a better way to learn ! I've toy'd with the idea of a donor car but I think that will be defeating the reason why I got this chassis to be honest.... so in for a penny in for a pound !! Its had new sills already (in 2003) so I'll probably start with the rear arches to see how they go first before I tackle the floor :scared:

    I've also got a 15yr son who's keen to help as well so it should make it interesting to say the least.... :whistle:

  18. busastars Member

    Posts: 974
    South Wales
    Looks a nice project, if it was me and being first one I would buy most of the parts rather than fabricate each one, you will still get enough practice but will come together alot quicker.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2008
  19. daf45

    daf45 Member

    I am really surprised to see how bad that little car is inside compared to how smart it looks outside. I hate hearing things like 'it can't be done' or 'its not worth it'. I could have seen myself buying something like that as a little project without realising! If you manage to finish it then you'll really enjoy owning and driving it.
    Some of the comments are spot on mind - the shape of (whats left of) the shell looks right - the panel gaps and so on. And I would also agree with buying repair panels rather than making them.
    Why not tell us who carried out a "full body restoration" just five years ago?!
    It will certainly be a lot of work but I think it's worth saving, particularly if you brought it as a project to learn on. Good luck to you, keep posting the pics.
  20. Chickenjohn

    Chickenjohn Morris Minor and Porsche 944 fan

    Posts: 1,283
    East Kent
    In that case, strip the interior trim of the car and brace the door gaps with spot welded on box section and across the b posts inside the car. This will stop the gaps closing up when you cut the floors, sills out.

    If its just experience, then go for it, but dont expect to have a valuable car at the end as it is not a tax exempt bonafide classic and being rubber bumper is much less desirable than the early cars. However, if you want to for the experience - go for it!

    Mig Mag- my comments were all constructive, some cars are just not worth spending a huge amount of time and money on. If it was a frogeye, then there would be no question, a pre 72 chrome bumper midget, possibly, but the 70's and 80's Leyland cars are really really poor quality (hence all the rust seen). As I said, some cars are just not worth the effort. That car needs floors, inner and outer arches and inner wings, outer wings (the paint job is bound to be hiding fibreglass bridging rust holes) probably most outer panels will need replacing , doors re-skinning etc and I bet the sills as well.

    A word on the sills, expect to have to cut these away and start again as I doubt a great job has been done on them looking at the rust in the rest of the car.
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