The purchase: At the end of 1998 the virus reared up its head once more.
With the help of a wrenching buddy of mine (thanks Martien!), who's got the necessary knowledge on (old) cars, I decide on a thorough inspection of the MGA. It appeared there had been some repairing done on it in the USA , but without the proper know-how. We nevertheless positively conclude the inspection and quickly reach a price pleasing both parties. We arranged for a car ambulance to transport the MGA to a storage-garage of a friend of mine in Nederweert (NL), for temporary storage. I have to make the necessary improvements at home in my own garage, for example I have to expand it. Furthermore I of course need 380V power supply and a two coulomb car bridge…For now the A is stored under a big blanket…Being infected with the virus as I am, I cannot withstand the temptation of starting taking out the dashboard and sending the gauges (all Jaeger) to England for restoration…The result looks very smooth and slick. I bought some parts as well at an MG fare in Houten (NL), like original 1500 disc wheels, luggage rack, steering wheel and a new wiring loom (in the US they had replaced the old wires with merely black and red ones).
I had heard of an MGA, in need of some fixing, recently arrived from California , USA . A lot of work, but it was ‘solid' and almost complete with almost all original parts. No license plates, but accompanied with all necessary shipping docs and import custom papers. The chassis number had been quite rudely bashed in by the customs at the arrival in Holland (nowadays this is done pretty neatly by the Dutch RDW, though quite expensive). An acquaintance of mine in the US is still trying to track down former owners. With the help of some old bills I found in the car, it appeared the last former owner of the car had been
Mr. Rick Silva , born 10-31-1957 , 706 Maertin Lane , Fullerton , CA. 92631 .
He to this day hasn't responded though to my writings requesting further details…Of course there's the possibility of him having moved in the meantime. If there's anyone out there who is able to help me trace him, or anyone is familiar with this man, please get in touch….
nota from Mr Rick Silva
Through further investigation another former owner appears to be:
Mr . James Benton Wyatt , 1G118 Bellflower Bld., Bellflower CA. 90706 ,
but there's a strong possibility of him having passed away. I'm still eagerly looking forward to receiving any kind of information concerning these former owners…
-With the help of one of my technically gifted friends (thank you Martien), we decide to once again thoroughly check the MGA. Back in the US the MGA had been subject to a lot of sessions of wrenching, but none of that was done really neatly. After a thorough inspection we decide it to be worth the risc, and an agreement on the salesprice was quickly reached. We arranged for a car-ambulance(?) and the MGA was taken to a garage of a friend of mine in Nederweert for temporary storage. I needed to finalize my own workplace at home first, which came down to rebuilding my own garage and expanding it, setting up a 380V power network and a (2 koloms brug?). The MGA was carefully stored away under a nice warm blanket for that time. But as I was working on the garage itself, the virus kept rearing it's head so I just couldn't help myself taking out the dashboard and removing all gauges (Jaeger) and sending them over to England for full restauration. The result looked really top notch. I also purchased some other parts at an MG-fare in Houten, like the original 1500 disk wheels, lugagerack, steering wheel and a new (kabelboom?) (back in the US they had redone the original one but with red and black wires only).
Missing some parts.....
The restoration:I finished my own garage and am in possession of the necessary space and tools now. The MGA is brought in and dismantling can commence. A totally different story compared to the MGB though, a loose chassis with a separate body. The MGA is stripped completely, everything that can come off comes off, like the front and rear wings, trunk lid, the hood, front assembly, rear axle assembly, interior, the whole deal…until only a stripped chassis remains…
The chassis is cleaned and is taken away for blasting. After this treatment with glass pearl aluminiumoxide, the chassis appears to be in good condition, nearly no welding, except for the the battery frames and the welding nuts on the rails to which the floorboards are assembled. In the USA they had used metrical bolts (forced) or just drilled away the threat. So I welded original welding nuts with the original English thread. After doing this, the whole thing could go back to the blasting company to blast the complete set once more, have a zinc layer treatments and was finished with a neat powder-coating. The result looks very smooth, it's almost a shame it has to be covered with the body! Blasting and coating were dent with by:
The chairs were taken care of as well, it appeared the foam had totally dried up and apparently a big lizard had has his home in there, witnessing the skin it left behind! The chairframes were brushed clean to the bone and were put in hammerite after that. The wooden sittings were reconstructed, including the frame which was now made out of aluminum. Later on we assembled new interior coating and the chairs as well as the rails surrounding the seating, were covered with new leather.
The gearbox and the rear axle were skillful rebuild, such as new bearings, needle bearings, oil seals and axles. De complete front cross member also with parts, bearings, king-pin, bushes. Also the complete brake system, stearing system, fuelpump, stainles steel exhaust (Bell), new brake and clutch cylinder ofcourse filled with silicon brake fluid. New woorden floorboards were fitted, and the original shock absorbers (Amstrong) were rebuild in England. New springs were fitted and also the total clutch assembly. No risk, I learned that from the restauration from the MGB when I thouht the cluch plate was OK buth after some weeks this plate broke down and I had to remove the whole engine again. A lot of work for a (cheap) cluth plate. The old wiring loom had some strange colors, so I dissided to buy a new original with original colors.
Rear axle and cross front member complete new rebuild
Various parts were blasted, zinc layered and powder-coated, for example the heater which can be seen above.
The engine looked fine at first and had at one time been revised in the USA . As I want to make I'm not mistaken the whole engine is taken apart. It appeared a wise choice, as the crankshaft flywheel side showed some weird bumps, and after the dismantling of bearings , crankshaft and camshaft these parts prove to be inferior and in need of replacement. The crankshaft is totally curved and impossible to center. The sides of the thrusts are completely worn off. Apparently this crankshaft has been assembled with a sledgehammer (read: beaten!). Out goes this piece of junk. Finding a proper crankshaft is a pretty hard job, usually a few over measurements and very often of bad quality. At Upper Classics (check their website among my links at the links page) in Eindhoven (NL) they have some motor blocks which can serve as donors. Lots of 1600 MG engines, but unfortunately, no MGA 1500, and I definitely want to keep the A original, so that means it has to be a 1500 engine. I do manage to get a hold of a Wolseley 1500 block, and the crankshaft also fits a 1500 MGA…This crankshaft is taken to an engine revision company (Aalst-Waalrese Motoren Revisie-NL). The crankshaft is sharpened and centered after which it looked fine again. The camshaft of the Wolseley block can't be used due to the non-fitting on the tachometer. New pistons, main bearing set, big end bearing set, thrust washer set, were bought. The original MGA motor block was also taken to the revision company. The block was smooth planed, drilled and polished. That company is:
New , cranckshaft, pistons, bearings, camshaft and followers
Whilst grinding the top of the motor block a few other problems occurred. In the USA only one cylinder had been provided with a tube instead of all four. The cylinder had to be drilled out and a special tube was crafted and assembled. The other three were also provided with new tubes. Of course new expanding plugs were assembled to prevent the block from tearing might the cooling water freeze during hard winters. This might be a simple operation, but when the engine is assembled it's hardly impossible to reach the plug at the bulkhead side! These plugs only cost a few Euro's…
at the revision company
original 1500 block
At the top right you can see the concerning tube. The motor block was thoroughly cleaned (inside as well as the outside), then sprayed in primer and spray painted in color (maroon red).
Cylinder head: The cylinder head was also revised at the revision company. The head was planed , new valves, valve guides, valve springs were assembled in order to be able to run on unleaded gas. The head was sprayed in primer and then spray painted in color.
the result after rebuilding
Carburators: They were also completely revised. New disc throttles , axles, sprayers, gaskets, needles and yet bearings were assembled. The damper pots were also polished. The result's a sight for sore eyes…The original air filters were also renewed and powder-coated. All filter material is obviously new.
beautiful isn't ????
Crankshaft, camshaft, exhaust manifold , (new) oil pomp, water pomp, a new distribution chain, tensioner assembly and carburetors were ready to be assembled now. After all these parts had been assembled, the engine could be filled with oil. This oil (mineral oil 15W50, ACEA A2 API SJ) and oil filter are tapped off and renewed after the first 50 km., to be refilled again, with a new oil filter as well, and again tapped and renewed, this time after 500 km. It now can be tapped off and renewed after the regular 5000 km..
assembling engine block
new oilpump finished...
The body: The body, including the front- and rear wings and front valance were also blasted by the Gritstra company. The punctuous way of blasting makes it possible for the wings to be blasted as well. Of course it's not possible to blast the doors, the hood and the trunk lid as they are made of aluminum plate work. The hood lid and the doors were stripped from paint and primer and they appeared to be in bad shape, especially the the steel frames from the hood lid and the aluminum plates from the doors. I bought some used ones at Upper Classics. The hood lid seemed to have quite a tear in it though, but it seemed possible for it to be repaired and welded. New aluminum door- and hood lid plates can be bought, but it's quite a nasty job getting them to fit in the frames. It's pretty hard getting them to fit in all existing body, adding up to lots of steep fossils or that it's just too tight. With the use of thinner, sandpaper, and a lot of patience I manage to strip all paint. One door takes me a whole day as I don't want to scratch or damage the aluminum plate work. The sprayer won't ever forgive me! Luckily for me steel framework is in good condition and not stained at all…
front and rear wings after blasting
aluminium boot and doors, remove old paint with thinner...., no sandpaper !!!!!
the fork lift driver had forgotten to lower the spoons, result a sharp cut through
the aluminium and the steel frame........thank you !!!!!!!
Apparently the craft of plate worker is extinct in the USA . The A had a reasonable amount of plate damage in the front nose (I challenge you to find one without a damaged nose!), probably as the result from a crash. The bumps had been filled up with some kind of rock solid substance, sort of a component primer. Some spots had that stuff on them for a couple of inches thick! The nose was in such bad shape, that it was taken off through drilling out the welding points in the wheel arches. After a good search a used MGA coupe body was found. This had some minor damage as well on the right side, but it could easily be bumped out. Furthermore this nose was in good shape, except for the radiator under plate (with the cross). Later a new plate was made therein. The original radiator was provided with a new cooling block with a bigger cooling capacity by a company in Eindhoven (NL). All of this without damaging its original integrity. Also the necessary chrome work was taken out to be unchromed, grained, and then rechromed…
The old "nose" Lots of filler
The new"nose" from an MGA donor coupe
The inner-, outer sills were also dismantled after a stability frame had been placed, so that the body was unable to come off. These sills are very important, after all they provide stability for the roadster body. They weren't in such good shape, so away they went and were replaced with by original Rover inn- and outer sill bodywork. I will soon start on assembling all bodywork (point welding and CO2 welding) and the engine will be assembled on to the chassis. After this the body can be hand fitted , after which the sprayer can start on the fine bodywork and spraying. Then I can start on the interior and finalizing the assembly.
the rotten innersills
the new inner & outer sillsnew battery cover and radiator duct
In the meantime I had gotten in touch with a company that handled complete and partial restauration operations in Poland. The company's name is:
After they had come to my place and taxed the whole operation, we spoke through the details and reached a deal on the total costs on forehand. The company provided for the transport to Poland and back. at the end of January 2006 the MGA is on it's way to Poland.
on route to Poland
Some pictures of the bodywork New "nose" fitted
Old paint and filler removed
Sprayed epoxy primerfinished layer Orient red
Nice skillwork from Poland Polen, I'am pleased !!!!!!
The MGA back home........fire away....
In the meantime the softtop was made fitting and the moment of truth arrives....
START THE ENGINE....
The engine sounds very good.....
To obtain a dutch licenseplate for the MGA, the car was inspected at the RDW in Veldhoven. Given the state of the MGA, I didn't expect any trouble. Too bad, this wasn't as easy as I expected it to be, and there were some additional problems. You can read more about this in the REGISTERS section.
The MGA runs as smooth as a newborn's bottom, but fate was once again a spoilsport. I took it for a spin on a warm sunny day, when all of a sudden I heard a lot of little noises and ticking where there shouldn't be any ticking. Quickly turn off the engine. I found a neighbour willing enough to tow me back home, and a quick inspection learned that there probably was something wrong in top of the engine. After the rock cover had been lifted, the cause was quickly found, a broken rocker arm. Luckily I had turned off the engine very quickly, so no additional damage was done to the camshaft, pushrod or the follower. Using a special wrench the lid was reassembled back on the motorblock so that I didn't have to dismantle the whole in- and exhaustionunit. Placed the follower back in it's rail, applied some gasket cement in between the lid, screwed the whole thing back tight, and that was that. Assembled a complete new rocker gear assembly, valve timing and give it a spin once more. And yes, the MGA was back in optima forma!
In the old rocker arms are oil channels drilled. The oil runs through that channel into the head from the pusrod. New rocker arms don't have that oil channel because this is not nessecary, the pushrod head is formed like a bowl and oil stay's into that bowl, so there is always lubrication.
The original 1500 disk wheels, exchanged for wire wheels