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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wasn't sure where to post this, but thought that here might be as good as anyplace. If it needs to be moved, PLEASE move it, OK?

I stumbled on to this (or maybe it's "these" since it's in pieces) and picked it up —

http://mgaguru.com/mgtech/restore/rt309.htm

It's rough by any accounting, but I really do think that I can do something with it that will different and the build ought to be a lot of fun. I have a good number of parts and pieces necessary for the build already, so it shouldn't be a lot of money, just a TON of work.

What I was hoping for is some inspiration. Pictures, or posts, or threads or internet "builds" or anything related to MGA (or even Big Healey or other older sports car) drag cars. I like the idea of using an older MGA body for the car rather than an MGB or Midget for the vintage effect, you know? I love Gassers when based on older bodies and I'm hoping that I can work with/resurrect this one and achieve something fun and unique.

Any help with any pics/posts/threads/tips/ideas/etc and such would be TERRIFIC ! ! ! ! !


TC
 

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I would love to say go for it but I can not................some cars are just to the point of it makes no sense, if you where to acid dip the body to really get the rust out there would only be a chain with a chunck of metal coming out of the tank
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I know, it does look hopeless, but I think that there's just enough left to use as the basis of the body shell. Otherwise, as a restoration project, it's just rust and dust.

For real, I don't see the body as a problem, and that's pretty much all that I need for the project everything else will be fabricated or is already done and waiting in one form or another.

I've already begin working on the rear clip, got the fenders off and pretty much finished in primer, same for the clip itself. The trunk is aluminum and didn't need much fussing, same with the doors.

Was working on the front clip, welded up into a "one piece" which will flip and be removable. Still have to fill the seams and straighten one of the fenders, but the rains have come and I'm working outside, so everything has come to a stop. I'm including a few step-by-step pictures of how the "aluminum foil mold" is working out for the fiberglass fender repairs and a few pics of the front and rear clips so far. I think that they're gonna be just fine for a drag car.

Maybe . . .












Probably ought to be working on the Austin and Hillman instead but they're in storage waiting for the for the work tent to be resurrected, so . . . gotta stay busy with something. Idle hands and all that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I already picked up a pretty decent stock frame in Rhode Island.

Needs some side rail repairs, but nothing that a bit of steel 2x4 won't fix. I kind of want to stay with a stocker if possible as the lower body clips are contoured to fit on top of the frame rather than drape over it. It's a simple rail frame with a few cross members, leafs in the back, coils in front.

I have a narrowed Ford for the rear along with good leafs and a set of old slapper bars, the front will get a VW torsion bar set-up. The torsion tubes have already been cut and rotated into a raised position, I can adjust that even more when positioning the mounts for it. As I already have the VW front beam, and it has a disk brake conversion already done to it, I'll be saving a ton of money there and ought to be good to go with it. I guess that this one will be sort of making good use of a bunch of old parts that were just hanging around waiting to be made into something. Sort of an Ol' Skool kinda thing I guess, I'm hoping that the car really looks that way when finished.

Big plans, small budget, no energy and even less money, getting too old for this . . . what could possibly go wrong?

Loads of stuff for the project already hanging around. Found just a small handful of photos of what the old sports car class drag cars looked like, but need a whole lot more to help "design" the car.

Thanks—

TC
 

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Tommy Boy You sure got some big balls taking this one on...........hope you all the best, forgot about the alloy parts isnt the hood also alloy as well as the doors and trunk lid.......... what are you doing to remove the rust????
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Yup, the hood, doors and trunk are aluminum.

For the rest I hit them with with the right angle grinder with a wire brush, then a sanding disk attached. Two coats of MasterSeries, board sanding, filler where needed and a final coat or two of Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer. Seems to do the job wonderfully.

Spray a gallon of cheap and easy ($24 a gallon) Tractor, Truck & Implement paint for the final, just not sure of the color yet.
 

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hey Tommy,
Love the MGB. Its as close to Austin Healey as MG gets. Just remember if you are going V8, you will need a good set of steel rails front to back as to nail it down or you will twist that car apart. What are you planning on running?
I won't lie to you, my MG was a ton of work and will still have a ton more to complete. In hind sight I may not have taken this on knowing this now. But still when I walk in the garage and see it , it puts a big smile on my face when it fulfills my vision I had back in 2011. I wish you well with it. Hope your vision becomes fulfilled too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Big talk, I know, but . . .

Right now I'm using the stock frame because of the special configuration that is has with regards to the body shape and fitment. Luckily, it a ladder-style frame which will allow for a marrying 2X4 steel to the sides to form some "frame connectors" and has room as well for a simple X-Member. In addition to these simple mods, the frame also has a forward halo up front passing under the cowl in stock form. The VW front axle came with mounting tubes that will run to the forward boxed steel frame diagonals, so the front will be well supported and stabilized as well. I kinda thought that with these stock features along with a few mods and a four point roll bar, that I would be fine for the car's intended use.

I just lucked into all of this, the frame came this way, I had the forward mounts and front beam and the roll bar was left over from a V6 MGB project. Sort of "Shopping for Free" in my cellar, really.

As I said, bold talk and no serious welding yet, but the plan makes some sense and the stuff is just lying around.

I picked up a really nice running '83 Mustang GT convert for the Summer, ended up inheriting my father's '09 Mustang when he died, so I let a buddy use the convert and got it back when the exhaust fell out of it. I have the 302/automatic from that along with some old long tube headers out of a former Comet Gasser. I have a nice ancient pair of Weiand valve covers and intake, but also have an Edelbrock intake and the turbo set-up from the first gen 3.8 V6 Buick turbo sedan, so I'm still bouncing through the parts right now. I want the automatic trans both for the consistency at the strip and because of my knee operation. Really couldn't use a high performance pressure plate/clutch these days. I have a decent B&M cable shifter for the trans, so that's all set.

Anyway, THAT'S the plan for now, just making do with what I have around the house. Building a very low buck.near no buck Gasser-style ride while the Austin is in deep storage. Again, just keeping busy in the off-hours. Winter's almost here and I don't want to waste it watching TV and shoveling the drive.

Been playing Body Boy down cellar this week, I'll post some pics of my panel progress on Sunday/Monday.

Oh, here's s pic off of the internet of a bare MGA frame, just to give you an idea of what it looks like:

http://britishsportscars.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/1959-MGA-Restoration-2.jpg

Simple and strong—

But still all talk and a cellar full of parts . . . you know?
 

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Looks Good! Anything can be saved. Some just takes more than others. Glad to see your going with a 302 Ford. Something different!
 

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I thought the standard MGA was steel, and the alloy bodies were extremely rare versions? Didn't realize the standard used any aluminum in them?
Can't say as I'd have the guts to take on such a project, but glad to see someone does!
 

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Holy cow! I saw those first pics and was thinking "no way that's just garbage, can't save it". Boy was I wrong, looks like you've got a handle on it. I can hardly believe those progress pics are the same car! Congratulations on having the huge balls to take this on. Good will come of it. Good job, keep it up!
 

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I agree. Nice work Tommy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Thank you guys ! I rather love doing the body work on these sort of almost scrap metal kind of junk projects, the Hillman was a bit better off, but still a parts car in most folks eyes.

I had a really fun past week and a good start on this one as well, managed to get nearly all of the aluminum panels in shape, as simple as could be as they're SO much easier to work with than rusted/rotted steel and much more forgiving as well. Dents almost come out on their own with a little heat and ice water. I'll snap some pics down cellar and post them later today/tomorrow. The rear clip on the saw horses is indeed the original in the before pics, but I may have to stop work on it and use the other rear clip pictured below instead. The original one has a LOT of metal missing from the forward area where the rear fenders mounts are located and the door strikers would be. It wouldn't be a big deal, but I don't have those extra parts on hand and the reproduction pieces are a fortune. I could remove them from the other rear clip, but they're nicely rusted in place and removing them would most likely destroy the mounting flanges.

A last ditch alternative would be some sort of fabrication. maybe use brackets rather than stamped sheet metal and re-configure the door locks/striker plate from another car (Jeeps are simple and parts are cheap, same with VWs and MGBs) so the decision will be left for another time. Like to continue on with the panels and fenders for now. The Hillman and Austin are coming "home" soon and I'd love to get the body sorted out on the MGA first.

I was just out looking to see if I might not have some striker post panels, but no luck there. Thought that I should snap a pic of the frame while I was out there to help illustrate my plane for the VW front axle assembly;




The MGA spindles locate right along the line that would pass through the middle of four (per side) shock mount studs, essentially along an imaginary ;line that would pass through the two threaded holed on either side of the front cross member. with the VW front beam just placed in position, it's easy to see how easily mounts can be put in place to support it. (These four tubes and brackets are already available for sand rails in the aftermarket or easily fabricated with some old roll bar tubing.) The upper and lower trailing arms mount to the torsion bars pointing rearwards and carry the spindles placing them in the exact same position as the stock spindle orientation.

Easy Peasy ! All of the adjustability that you could ever want including a 3 inch up and down option, plus a sort of "Alternate Earth" tube front axle look in the end, A much cooler look over the stock coil springs for sure.

Just wanted to show what I was talking about in an earlier post. It's going to work out just fine and save a FORTUNE over stock front suspension/brakes or an aftermarket tube axle/springs/brake assembly. Again, trying to do this one with parts-on-hand, but NOT end up with an unsafe drag car in the process. Treading a fine line over all.



At least it's now a commitment and well beyond my usual "big talk" stage.

Alternate rear clip posted below. Other than the big rot/rust hole smack dab center in the rear cowl area, it's about the same starting point as the other so I'm not scared off by it.


 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hey Road Angels—

Look what I just found ! I was down cellar moving the fenders around so that I could hit the trunk with one more coat of primer and found this on one of the bottom shelves covered in grime and sanding dust.

Did a quick clean up and shot a pic to show you, obviously re-painted a some point, it's over 60 years old, my father kept it safely fastened to the wall in his cellar work shop for as long as I can remember. It's the club plate from a local car club that my father belonged to after he came home from WWII (he drove a 20's cut up Cadillac bodied hot rod, followed by a '41 Chevy convertible, I saw the pictures as a kid.) The plate's made of aluminum and looks like the lettering was cast in or baked on and the winged chopped Model "T" rod was made up of repeated applications of welding rod, then ground down and filed into shape. Crude and wonderfully vintage, a perfect example of what went on WAY back then when dinosaurs ruled the world.


Considering your "handle" I thought that you might love a look at it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Someone came by this past weekend and bought some of my MGA parts, I managed to trade some of the metal fenders for fiberglass as well.

Getting serious about this build I guess.

I now have a pair of fiberglass front fenders, a pair of fiberglass rear fenders, a fiberglass "LeMans-style" front valance, a fiberglass hood scoop, and a pair of fiberglass rocker panels. Also have a pair of fiberglass 356 Speedster replica seats and an aluminum Kirkey racing seat. With the stock aluminum hood, doors, and trunk I now ought to be pretty far ahead as far as weight savings go and WAY far ahead on the body work as I now only have to deal with the front and rear body clip and none of the other panels.

Of course, I know that there's still the frame and mechanicals, but at least I've got a bit of a head start now with the body panels and all.

I'll post pics tomorrow, kind of excited about this one now that I've scored all of this good stuff !
 

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I am in fact a recovering Aircooled VW addict. I must say, I've seen a ton of solid axle swaps into a VW volksrod, but never the other way around. This really grabs my attention. I myself have narrowed several of these VW tube axles, and welded spring adjusters into them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Same here, I've always owned a Ghia as my Daily Driver, looking for another one right now. The beam set aside for the MGA has adjusters already welded into it so I can set the ride height between regular road driving and nose-bleed Gasser stance. I have a set of front tubes from a rail buggy to mount it to the MGA frame and also have the first five inches of the front of a Beetle spine if I want to do it that way. Pretty much have everything covered, just need to find some extra time to bring everything around behind the house and get started.

Quick shot or two of my last year's Ghia, I stripped all of the paint off of it and saved my pee in a coffee can each day to pour over the bare metal, only took a week to rust to perfection as pictured . . .




 
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