TALES OF THE MONGREL
"Mongrel Gets A New Coat Part II"
By Ralph Arata
Well, Phase 4 of giving Mongrel a new coat is underway. Phase 1 was disassembly, Phase 2 was cutting out Mr. Rust and Phase 3 was the body shop..for the things requiring the real "skill" work!!
Now its Phase 4. Its funny that no matter how many MGs you have had and how many years you have worked on them (as the preverbal hobbyist) when you get into something like this you decide its time to do something else, then something else and then still something else! In other words while the darn thing is apart why not do all those little things that you have thought about for so many years!!?
Wiring became one of major projects. Cleaning up 30 years of visits from Rube Goldberg became not just a part of the work but a crusade. It is just amazing how much junk wire was behind that little console. The pile of old wires on the garage floor when I finished was incredible..And very satisfying. Of course, will everything work when I go to turn it all on?????
There were also all those things I always wanted to have with an MGB. One is to de-identify the car. Take all the badges off (and even the side lamps) in order to maximize the "clean lines" of the "B"! I also wanted just a single door mounted rear view mirror. So the old holes for both of the former mirrors were welded closed so I could start all over again. I also wanted a rear mounted radio antenna, which I am now wiring in place.
It was 4 weekends of work but the end was is in sight. Not quite my "dream-B" i.e. British racing green because I will still have that stupid orange color, but I must admit it looks pretty good!
Well, the interior was done and I was re-assembling.
Got down to the last part i.e. the front grill. Hey, wait a minute, this thing doesnšt fit???? After 20 minutes of pushinš and shovinšI took the grille away from the car and looked down at the front end. And now the rest of the story!
The passenger side fender was pushed in just under the headlamp. Looked like the car was backed into at the paint shop!? They fixed it but not very well.Back we went..and hoping they wouldnšt give me a hard time. They DIDN"T!!! They took the car and fixed it again and a week later I went back to pick it up. The grille fit beautifully. As I went to get in to drive it away something struck me! I stepped back and looked at the car. They had repainted not just the fender they fixed, but the whole front half of the caragain orange. The only problem was that is was a different shade of orange. One shade of orange on an MGB is bad enough but 2 shades of orange
I called out the owner who looked at the car and freaked out. He couldnšt believe his paint man could be so stupid. Well, another week goes by and its time to pick the car up. This time it looked pretty good. As a matter of fact it looked great!! They went as far to identify all the little flaws in the paint I am still looking but havenšt found one yet!
Now I am back at it. Working on the details to get it ready for the rally season. A saga with a happy ending.
Its kind of funny when I think how long this restoration project has taken. The front suspension rebuild was done in 1994 followed by the rear suspension in 1995. Then came the braking system in 1996 and the engine in 1997. Of course the body is being done in 1998-99. By the time I get this ALL done it will be time to start all over again!? You knowthat might not be so bad! Isnšt this part of what owning a MG is all about?