Tests. They can get you stressed, anxious and even at times depressed. Looking back, it seemed like my MGB was just one massive test. After all it began looking like a simple project but after one setback or another beyond my control it seemed like it was a project that was deemed to fail going by my tribulations from the previous MGB blogs. This however looked set to change once I dropped the car off to the bodyshop of my first choice from all those years ago. Since then I had used him for a few cars for minor panelwork and strangely I even bought a 1970 VW Beetle off him which gave its own challenges. The “grass is always greener” strategy also entered my mind with me buying a horrorshow of an MG Midget with its share of problems. But I had to do something with the wreck of my MGB, and so I got in touch with Sagoo, the first painter I asked to work on the ‘B. It was fair to say that he was a known entity ; if there was a chance of getting the car done this was it!.
The brief like all things started off simple. Restore it back to original. After all, we had a tailgate, a set of rear quarters, a pair of wings and valances to boot. However, with having a blank canvas and seeing magazines written by people who modify cars would soon change this. From tinkering with cars to mildly pepping them up I was about to throw myself into the deep end, more than I would realise.
This would start from me picking up a copy of the RPM magazine, which has now morphed into Practical Performance Car Magazine (PPC).
I shall look into whether I can get my hands on a copy of it but in short, the magazine outlined how you could build an MGB Sebring V8 for £4,000! OK, £4,000 bought you a few nice cars back in 2004 but all of the same, an American derived V8 in a quintessentially British everyman car. Throw some big wings into the mix and some fat wheels and all should be well! Sounds easy eh? In short, it wasn’t. What I didn’t prepare myself for was the frankly shocking fitment of the wings from Smith & Deakin ; I wondered if Stevie Wonder had created the moulds for the wings! They were miles and miles off from fitting right. I struggled to put them on myself and Sagoo the painter dug his heels in here when it became apparent at just how much work faced us. Of course, I felt he was sandbagging a little.
Remember that internet forums were only just beginning to kick off at this stage and information only came from car clubs and even then only those who tried to fit the parts on. I was very much on my own as was strangely my painter.
What we decided to do was go along to the MG Car Club show at Silverstone to see other MGs. In short, we noticed that any MGB with fibreglass wings had compromises made in terms of how it fitted the car. Some cars had the wings catching the doors so as to fit, others were just as shoddy as ours, while others were pin straight.
Why were some pin straight? The others had grafted the arches on from the Sebring wing kits onto an existing wing. This of course presented me with the first of many hurdles with the Sebring conversion. I had to source a set of Chrome bumper wings. Truthfully, the secondhand rubber bumper wings had been questionably repaired and were not really suitable. When new wings were £225 each new this was a hard pill to swallow; suddently the £4,000 budget was looking threatened of snowballing up! But like all events you make some great friends. Somehow, I got a set of wings and an Ivor Searle 1500 engine for my MG Midget for £100! Yes, that figure is correct! Sometimes, going to shows can really open up an avenue of people more than you realise and it’s one reason why we should all support the right events.
With that said there was only one thing left to do ; let my painter get on with it and put my feet up. But as we all know, it’s never that simple.