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MG Magnette V8

immediately before the three month spell overseas, a few issues with the other car tended to slow matters too.  I trailered the Marcos up to Paul Madeley for a freshen up in the suspension department and a few niggling issues such as an oil leak.  

MARCH - MAY 2011 - just before the trip away... 

Working on the interior was at the stage where I needed to address one or two issues that had been on the back burner.  First of these was the operation of the scuttle air intake.  The original lever system was quite sophisticated but also cumbersome for what I now needed, but more importantly, the dashboard redesign meant the original system would have looked out of place. The original swivel plate was removed and replaced
by a fixed panel, (see part 20) with a hole for a flexible air pipe that was to lead down to the lower centre console. This also means that I only needed one lever to operate the exterior flap for cool air to either enter the car cabin or the heater/demister (the radiator of which was boxed in under the rear of the left front wing if you remember).

For the more mechanically or engineering minded, my operating system may well appear crude but it works, with the operating handle terminating just inside the glove box!  A simple length of threaded 5mm rod that was rescued from an old mitre hacksaw device proved ideal, with a 90 degree bend on the end and a slotted arrangement to lock it, using an off the shelf threaded knob.   This all had to be completed and sorted before I could get the dash top finished.
The picture on the right shows the spanner access for the dash top, accessed via the glove box. I used an old furniture castor fitting which is no more than a plate with a thread. I'll post a picture of that at a later date and just before the dash is bolted in but when the glass is in, just in case it need a modification.

The glove box lid isn't as good a fit as I would have liked and a redesign would probably make it a bit narrower giving a measure of support on the right side, but having said that, reusing the original stainless trim dictated its size.

The dash top was removed ready for covering. I wasn't keen on a polished wood top, even though those who have restored Magnettes have made a stunning job of their woodwork. A black padded top was my choice, based on looks and also a padded top goes well with the rest of the interior. All personal choice of course.  The instrument binnacle was first and received a foam covering, glued straight to the binnacle.

The new dash top had been made years ago (yes, years ago...) with slots for the demister vents. Once again, raiding my boxes of old Mini bits unearthed the vents and the tops so securing these to the dash was going to be straightforward - until I realised that the Magnette slots were longer than the Mini ones.  A clever use of a rivnut a s a stepped washer resolved that one easily enough then the vents were painted black and the top covered with a mix of vinyl and leather - the latter courtesy of a dismantled leather easy chair - for the binnacle.  Although I do own an industrial sewing machine, I haven't managed to transport it home yet, so the vinyl was folded and stapled over the leather. From a discreet distance, it looks passable, though redoing the total dash once the car is on the road is still on the cards. 

This was covered using the scrap leather from the old chair. A length of fibreboard as used for door panels, glove boxes etc was cut to size specifically to tidy up the slots and to go around the roll cage.  It is also more easily removable than gluing straight to the wood.

Stapling and gluing the vinyl was straightforward enough and the finished result more than passable.  Some vinyl at the end was left untrimmed as this would be pulled past the roll cage and secured later. Although not mentioned earlier, the centre console sides that had been initially cut out of thin ply, were changed to a thicker ply as can be seen in the final pic.  These still have to be covered and they need to be padded to line up with the upper centre console.

Also on the list to be done is a proper gear knob, carpeting etc.  There is little point in bolting in the dash just yet and just hoping it will clear the steering wheel!

At this point, the major jobs to be completed before it was ready for a (private) track test/road test, were the glass, a wheel alignment and yes, those dratted fibreglass panels... But there I had to leave it for three months, as we were away, celebrating our Silver Wedding and also reaching the milestone age of 65. This was deemed to be the trip of a lifetime, but I had a sneaking suspicion that we'd probably enjoy it so much, that it wouldn't be the last trip, not by a long chalk.


And so it turned out. We had a fantastic trip on the Dawn Princess cruise ship. But, by the time we disembarked, early September, we had not only booked for the following year, but also a trip from Singapore back to Auckland, over the Christmas period. Not much progress was made on the car before the end of the year, but I was rapidly coming to the conclusion that I really needed to farm out one or two bits of work and also push the project along, otherwise I'd be confined to a mobility scooter before it was finished and road legal. I had one or two niggling premonitions that the red tape required to actually get it on the road might throw a bit of a spanner in the works, but I'd just have to sort those out as best I could.

So as we headed towards the end of 2011 with several jobs completed and the car almost looking like a car. Was there really light at the end of the tunnel after all these years?