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bodywork or boneyard?

Subject: bodywork or boneyard?
From: (Christopher A. Lenth)
Date: Thu, 07 Dec 1995 11:00:22 +0500
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 
following choices:

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

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