I really need some advice now, and unfortunately this has become quite a
serious situation. Basically I need to know the point where a car becomes
unworthy of restoration. Heres my situation. I bought a '73B 3-1/2 years
ago the car ran well and looked OK, but in my excitement over buying my
first MG I ended up buying a car that I really shouldn't have. It had high
miles but ran well, and at the time I noted a little surface rust, some
small holes in the floorpan, etc but that was it. I've driven the car
basically daily since that time, and last spring I had the engine completely
rebuilt and installed a late model OD trans. I've also replaced rear leaves,
fuel tank and done a bit of front suspension work.
So heres the catch:
This weekend I decided to investigate some bubbles in the paint in various
locations, and two days and a mountain of rust flakes and bondo shavings
later I have assessed the sorry condition of my body shell as:
1] Needs complete new rocker panel assemblys (these are really bad), and
floor pans on both sides.
2] Needs dog leg panels (prob 10") welded into both fenders on right side.
3] A few other small pockets of surface rust on trunk lid, hood (hood is
actually rippled badly enough that it would need to be replaced were I to
completely restore and paint the body), etc as well as the characteristic
crack above drivers mirror.
4] Entire car has two bad coats of paint on top of original dark
greenish-blueish color so would pobably need dipping or stripping before
repainting. LOTS of unecessary putty in front fenders (DPO found it
necessary to cover some minor surface rust with 1/8 inch + of bondo)
5] Interior is in fair condition
A little about my situation may assist you with making reccomendations:
1] I am a grad student and must support myself, my MG and my Mt bike racing
habit on a stipend but do have "some" funds and a wee bit of time available
to put into the car.
2] I have gotten quite attached to this car and really can't visualize my
future without an MG to drive.
So, basically, I have a car with a very solid drive train and suspension but
a body that is rotting to pieces, leaving me with, as far as I can tell, the
1] Bite the bullet and find a competent facility to do the bodywork and
paint job. Any cost estimates here would be greatly appreciated.
2] Find an early 70's B with a ~solid body but little else and transplant
the necessary good bits from my car. Ballpark ideas on price and
availability also appreciated.
3] Get the steel work done (a must if I keep the car intact in my opinion),
shoot it with some primer and wait 'till I graduate (2 years) to attack the
paint job etc. I have a feeling that the cost of this alone will frighten me.
4] Seal up the car as best I can, throw the cover over it, buy the SAAB 900
my friend wants to sell me for $1500, and demote the B to an occasional
driver until I can afford to spend the time and money to do it right.
As always you input is greatly appreciated (needed in this case)
Chris "I drove my rusty B to work in 10" of snow just to write this" Lenth
ps. I love the look those sport 'ute drivers give me as I pass them in 10
inches of snow