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The first real task was to create an inventory list of parts to be ordered and parts to be rebuilt. My goal was to keep her as original as possible
but get her to a state that I could drive her any time. The dual carburetor had to be rebuilt for sure. The old fuel in the carburetor was like glue. The gas tank had to be removed and sent out to be professionally acid cleaned. Steaming its interior was unsuccessful. The old fuel was thick as molasses. The plus side of these two ends of the fuel system was that the fuel line from tank to carburetor was still able to be used. By numerous jetting of cleansers back and forth through the line, it was clear and clean. I had the radiator sent out to be refurbished and pressure tested. All the welds were reinforced at the same time. It came back looking brand new.
While waiting for all the parts to be sent, some from England, others from various companies in the US, the brake system was addressed. As you could probably assume, the pads and cylinders had to be removed. Not so easy with some of them. They apparently were very comfortable where they had been for the last half century. Fortunately, other than the rubber components, the lines were usable and working. With there being no power breaks in this sixty-three year old, when it comes time to stop, you cannot be shy about pushing your foot down. Once all the parts arrived, things really started happening with the exception of a few more parts that were missed in the first inventory. Jacqueline was started with virtually zero problems. It was as if she couldnít wait to come to life again after a long restful sleep. Now I know how Prince Charming felt upon waking Sleeping Beauty.
The interior is almost all original. Carpeting, side panels, seat and pedal pads. The only thing that I replaced was the steering wheel. Itís the same original wheel type and color. Just new. The old wheel for some reason delaminated and was coming apart.
The body parts are all original as is the paint. The process of claying was initiated to clean the finish but not remove any of the color. Afterwards a light buffering was done to really cause one to have to wear sunglasses when beholding her. I know, a little
dramatic, but whatís wrong with being passionate about oneís girl? The only modification that I made to my TD was to put knock-off hub chrome wire wheels on her. I saved the original honeycomb rims, hubcaps and tires as well as all of the other parts replaced. From what I have learned, the wire wheels were an option in 1953, but not off the assembly line.
The original top and side curtains were sent out to have all the stretching redone as time caused some of the seams to be weak. The plastic windows were so dirty and yellow, but after some delicate cleaning they looked brand new. The top however was a different story. There are stains on one section that I just cannot get out. A pipe above the car must have had a leak for years. I, for the life of me, cannot remove the stains. But Iíd hate to replace the top as it is the original. Maybe Iíll just keep the top down and put a boat on it, nobody will know...right?
I would like to express my gratitude to two people who did the vast majority of the work to transform Jacqueline from where she was to how awesome she is now; Brian Paleczny and Mitch Peronto at HiLine Automotive in Westmont, Illinois. They worked long hours and were more than fair and reasonable. Clearly they had a lot of fun restoring my 1953 MGTD.
~~ Prince Charming, A/K/A Chris Edmonds