Sophocles once said, “there is nothing more demoralising than money”. He was almost right. It was the lack of it! This was certainly the case with the MGB! It was 2006 and I had received the unfortunate news that my painter had died. This was unfortunate for many people and it affected me personally as well as his friends and family! Why does it seem to be the good guys that are taken?
This left me with a bit of a predicament regarding the car. I had a car that was almost finished on the bodywork but still requiring alot of legwork to finish! I mean, how bad could it be?
The truth was quite bad! One painter with a very variable reputation offered to take the car on, but they wanted £1000. For my dad and I it was about our limit to commit to! We then had recommended faces come over. That was a predictable outcome; they all took one look at it and replied “it will cost you £2,000 and whatever else we find along the way”; they wanted an open chequebook for the car! For both me and my dad this fee seemed extortionate! There was no way that we could commit to that!
To put it bluntly, we had a car that seemed like a lepar to most painters and with the costs to match something perceived as untouchable! With this in mind the car went under a tarpaulin for probably the best part of 6 months and the project stagnated completely.
Of course, with something seeming as doomed for eternity procrastination kicks in, and boy did it kick it hard with the MG? This is a theme that has run in many a retro owner’s blood, with me being no exception!
What did I do in that time? Quite alot, just not anything really related to the MG. OK, not directly? Part of it involved me going to Spain with a few mates in a £260 Volvo, messing around on the said Volvo, and tinkering with my then new daily of a Focus 1.6, in particular its audio system!
If you need to console yourself with a procrastinator I am all ears! Don’t, however, expect any productivity to come at the end of it! It’s all good and well procrastinating with a black cloud over your project like a rash! Of course, the uninitiated people of restoring would often laugh and joke about the lack of progress my car was making. Were they helping me however? Most didn’t, probably because deep down they knew I faced a big task. That was to either give a half decent bodyshop an open chequebook to completing the Sebring conversion or for me to get off the sofa and actually crack on with the task. Time would tell however.
Seeing as I was still in my first year of University and hardly rolling in cash I decided to embark upon embracing all aspects of the car! For a first time restorer you really do pick things up thick and fast! I did however have help! Come Spring 2007 and progress was being made with the bodywork, much to the dismay of my neighbours! The weekends were progressing nicely however:
It’s funny really! Sometimes to make progress you do have to do it yourself!
By the time the summer of 2007 had arrived it was looking a more complete, albeit very brown! It wasn the finish or brown that I envisaged either! But when you are working to an impossible budget, compromises have to be made!
In this case, it was sticking to the car’s Russet Brown! I originally planning to go with more of a modern chocolate brown as used on the R56 Minis. However, yes, that little matter call a budget would me I’d stick to the brown! Over the course of the summer of 2007 my painter friend and I kept on chipping over the available weekends it seemed we were doing alot but acheiving very little! He was paid of course for a bit of the work he did!
In this time the engine still hadn’t been fired up since 2002, the battery was truly dead by now, where even Unipart’s lifetime warranty couldn’t save it; some of you will remember the Samson batteries warranty out there! I also cut my teeth into the welding aspect of this car! And sure enough with the crappy MIG gas canisters from Halfords, it wasn’t pretty! Ah. the joys of fixing a car on a shoestring! Somehow, my perseverance did eventually pay off!
I finally had something that began to look like a car at least! Being in a cash strapped situation after graduating from university in 2008 and looking around for jobs during a recession I had a bit of a brainwave! Get a donor car! That way, that will have all of the parts that I need to complete things!
And this would be it!
Yup, I got my hands on a very sorry looking, but complete MOT failure of a 1973 MGB GT during Christmas 2008! Surely with all of its spare parts it would provide all of the pieces of the puzzle! After all, it was £400 for an automotive wreck! Well, yes it would, but simply not in a manner that anyone expected.