BOB WEST        -    Tel. +44(0)1977 703828
 
     
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This very early MGA 1500 was campaigned by Reg Harris the famous Lancashire Cyclist. - more about Reg Harris >>

Over the next twelve months we will be totally restoring this very tired 1955 MGA Rally car back to its former glory.
At the moment we are doing research into its history,we know that Reg used it on the 1956 RAC Rally,and that his wife ran the car on the 1958 Monte Carlo Rally. The car is fitted with very rare Dunlop four wheel disc brakes,it also has Andrex front friction dampers, a works style oil cooler, and a special steering column.The good news is that all of the important parts have survived, the bad news is the body and chassis have suffered badly, mainly down to the British weather and salt damage, and also many years of cosmetic bodging!!

But so be it, we can't be restoring Californian rust free examples all the time ( sorry James ) this one takes me back to the 1970's when I bought my first MGA a very tired 1500 roadster RWF 707.

Most people back then would have dug a hole and buried it, but it was all that I could afford I think £150.00 was the going rate back then. It was a very enjoyable and rewarding time I had saving that old car, and I am pleased to say that RWF 707 is still in superb order, and cherished by its new owner (If you should read this Andrea please give me first option to buy that old car back if you should ever decide to sell her!)

Back to SND 8. So please if anybody has any information about this very interesting old Rally car please get in touch,any info would be greatly appreciated. We will be featuring this rebuild and showing lots of photos of the restoration as it progresses, so any of you out there with seriously rusty old MGA's don't despair they can be saved. By the way when I purchased this car it was advertised as a restored example, so beware! When you look at the following photos and remember that old saying, if you don't know a lot about old cars, take someone with you who does!

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SND 8 body removal from the chassis

Well its February 2012 and we have removed the outer body panels from SND 8, and no surprises here, bodgery at its finest! The previous so called restoration in 1994 is horrific! A patchwork of plates, tubs of filler and newspaper (dated 1994) bridging the gaps that they couldn't be bothered to patch with metal. Both front and rear shrouds are very bad, but still saveable. All the paint and filler will be removed, they will then be carefully sandblasted and put into an etch primer and stored until we repair the chassis. The body will then be repaired on its original chassis. See the following photos of the body.

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Dismantling the Chassis

Well the body as gone off for sandblasting, so we will now take the chassis appart. Yet again more horrific repairs, but the good news is that there are no signs of serious accident damage, and it appears to be straight. So engine and gearbox are removed, along with all the steering and suspension assemblies. The brakes on this car are very special, it's fitted with four wheel Dunlop disc brakes, I believe that these brakes were fitted by the comp shop down at Abingdon, more than likely in 1958 for the Monte Carlo Rally, I have only seen one other car fitted with these special brakes andthat was LBL 301 the EX182 car that we restored in 2006-2007 for Jon Savage in America. LBL 301 and LBL 303 were both fitted with these brakes for the 1957 Mille Miglia a road race in Italy. Could these brakes have come off the wreck of LBL 303 when returned to the factory in late 1957? It is impossible to say for sure, but they are identical to LBL 301 brakes, and they are definitely not a D I Y conversion everything is very special, the hubs discs and caliper mounting plates are all unique development parts
that later would have been modified to run on the Twin Cams.

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Special Dunlop Brakes
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Chassis Repairs

Well it's now the end of February 2012 and the chassis has returned from the sandblasters with a few more holes. The next job is to put it on to our Car Bench Jig and check it out for damage, and to remove all the corroded metalwork and repair. The chassis as I thought was straight, so fastened and supported on the jig James cuts out all of the previous bodges and rust, and welds in new chassis side rails floorboard strips and battery boxes, a very long winded and time consuming job, but also very satisfying to save an original chassis. Now repaired the chassis will be used as an assembly jig for the bodyshell repairs.

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Body Shell Repairs

Well its now April,and with the chassis fully repaired we can concentrate on repairing the shell.The main body sections are carefully sandblasted and put into etch primer,we then place the front and rear sections onto the chassis,and carefully position them. Because of previous bodged repairs we decide to replace both front inner wings and wheel arches.The shroud edges are also in a bad way,so we make new edges and weld in place,this is a very time consuming job,but its also very rewarding to be able to save the main shroud and bulkheads of the car,we then fit full inner wings,wheel arches,duct panel and front door pillars. With the front shroud finished we concentrate on repairing the rear shroud.This actually is not to bad for a British car It needs both front forward inner wings and door pillars,also repairs to the rear of both inner wings,a boot floor repair and a new back valance,and localised holes repairing. With both shrouds repaired the inner and outer sills are fitted,followed by repairs to all four wings to complete the shell. We lightly sandblast everything again,and put the shell
into primer. Its now ready for the paint shop.

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General Reassembly

Well its now August 2012. While the repaired body shell is away at the paint shop,we concentrate on the reassembly of the chassis,and all of the reconditioned running gear that we have restored over the last few months,and also refit the fully rebuilt engine, gearbox and carbs etc. This stage of the rebuild is always really nice and very rewarding,and it doesn't take very long before the chassis is back on its wheels awaiting the return of the body shell.

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Refitting the Body Shell

Well at long last the repainted shell is collected from the body shop. Finished in its original colour of Old English White and it looks superb ! The chassis is fitted with new sponge and gasket mounts,and very carefully the body is lowered down onto the chassis and bolted back together.The doors are refitted along with all four wings ,bonnet and boot lid.This is a very time consuming process and a lot of care and attention are needed to make sure that all of the gaps are nice and tight and equal,and obviously a great amount of care is needed to make sure that you don't damage the paint.

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Engine Gearbox and Ancillaries

We normally fit the engine and gearbox into the chassis before the body goes back on,but we had a few delays with the engine,so we have to be very careful in lowering it down into the engine bay and reuniting it with the rebuilt factory close ratio gearbox,a three branch replica of the works exhaust manifold is then fitted along with rebuilt carbs and distributor, a new wiring harness is fitted, and all electrical items are overhauled including the instruments.This car is running very special four wheel Dunlop disc brakes fitted by the factory,and because these discs are not available we have had four new ones made,all of the wheel cylinders have been renewed,these are the same as the ones used on the MGA Twin Cams,and new fast road Mintex brake pads are now fitted.The brake hoses and pipes have all been replaced along with the master cylinder,the brakes are bled and we now have brakes.The fuel system receives a new fuel tank,pump and pipes,the carbs and ignition timing are adjusted,the rebuilt radiator is filled with Evans waterless coolant,and Millers running in oil is put into the engine,the batteries are connected,and with the plugs out we crank over the engine to get the oil pressure up,and we instantly see sixty pounds of pressure,so plugs back in,a quick check around and then we fire it up,and it sounds fabulous,we keep the engine at around two thousand rpm for the next fifteen minutes or so to allow the cam to bed in,keeping an eye out for leaks etc,but all is well. We also check that the clutch is working ok and clearing all gears. All is fine SND 8 lives again!

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Brakes

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Interior Trim and Chrome

Because SND 8 is an ex International Rally car,we decided to keep the trim pretty basic,no carpets are fitted,and likewise no hood or hood frame,so the transmission tunnel is covered in black hydura to keep the heat down.The seats are Microcell period Rally seats,these were used in many competition cars,and give you a lot more support when cornering hard,the trim panels and cockpit rails are all standard,we intend to fit some map pockets to the main door panels for extra storage, and eventually some period Rally gauges.The steering wheel is a Derrington wood rim.The photos show the car with two different windscreens, a works short screen, and a standard assembly.The standard frame will be used when a period alloy hard top is fitted.The car is fitted with standard bumpers,and a pair of period Lucas fog and spot lights.

Well it's now December 2012 the car is almost finished,we have had a small road test and all is well,but unfortunately the winter weather has arrived,and worst of all salt on the roads,so that's it for this year!

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Finished

Looking forward to doing some serious testing and development in the Spring of 2013.

Hope you all like the finished car,and wishing you all the best for 2013.

Kind Regards Bob West.

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