This is the second in a series of stories about the hands-on restoration of a practical British sports car
Since deciding to move forward with a cosmetic restoration of my 1967 MGB GT, the first thing I needed to do was to evaluate the car and see what it needed.
Obviously that evaluation is only a partial one as we really won’t know what we are dealing with until the car is in bare metal. However, there are many things we can find by just thoroughly going over the car in a shop environment, so I took the car to The Paddock Classic Car Restorations in New Britain Connecticut, and started to examine it thoroughly.
With this car I decided to do what is often called a sympathetic restoration. That means tackling only those things that need doing and leaving as much original about the car as possible
For the interior, right off the bat we realized the driver and passenger seat were still their original Connolly hides. As they are in unbelievable shape, I decided to leave these alone.
The same holds true for the original Les Leston steering wheel, the original rubber floor mats, original headliner, and carpets. The Les Leston wheel and the wood shift knob were part of the MGB GT Special package.
In contrast, the door cards and rear seat bottom are well worn, actually, worn out. These will be replaced.
On to the exterior, we know that the car was painted at some point but it was not done well. As a result we will strip the car to bare metal and completely repaint it in its original color of Dark British Racing Green. We know that the interior and the BRG colors are correct for this 1967 MGB GT because we took the time to order the British Motor Heritage Trust certificate.
If you want to know what color exterior and interior your MG, Triumph, Sunbeam Jaguar, or even Aston Martin was delivered new, this is an easy way to find out. You simply go to the British Motor Heritage Trust website and for £43 (less than $60) you get such certified factory information.
Other parts of the car were all pretty decent. Chrome and stainless trim are in excellent shape, as is all the glass, which is original from 1967.
One thing we noticed on the body was that the driver’s-side fender was from a later model car, a 1968 and later version. While going through the service records that came with the car, we found that the fender was replaced in 1971 after an accident. The Triumph/MG dealer in California where the car was purchased new replaced the fender. It notes that it used a brand new (and slightly longer) MG fender as the ‘67s no longer were available.
This means that we will need to find a good used 1966-67 MGB GT fender to make the car right. This may be a bit of a challenge but I am hoping that friends with connections in the MG world will come to my rescue.
So far it looks like there is little or no rust anywhere in the car, which is amazing. So far we believe the rockers and doglegs are original to the car. We will know for sure about the rust situation after we remove the glass and the paint from the car. We are crossing our fingers that this car is as good as it seems.
Next time, we’ll write about the disassembly of the car from trim to the glass and even the engine and gearbox. Stay tuned, and let me know if you know of a period-correct driver’s-side fender.