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MG Magnette V8

After our planned long trip May to September 2011, we got suckered into another trip end November to end December.  No sooner had we organised our travel for 2012, than an invitation arrived to join an organised trip with the Bruce McLaren Trust, travelling to the Historic races at Monaco, to celebrate 50 years since Bruce won in the Cooper. This new travel addiction was obviously going to limit progress somewhat.


I needed to really get stuck into the bonnet and boot panels.  As usual, trying to make my own panels proved to be a long winded exercise and fraught with hiccups.  The main hiccup was the boot hinges.  Until I had sorted them out, it was pointless trying to finish the exterior panel and incorporate a number plate and lights. 


Oh dear!  I wasted untold hours thinking I'd be able to modify hinges from a Riley Elf bonnet.  It all went along quite well until forgotten grammar school geometry let me down - badly.  I initially thought I'd done well fitting clevis pins to some square section tube, but when it came to mounting them, I realised that the hinge shape was all wrong and the lid wouldn't open! They just weren't deep enough - or so I thought.
Back to the drawing board, or rather, the original hinges that weigh half a ton.  By replicating the hinge shape in plywood, I naturally assumed that the clearance would then be OK.  It wasn't...  I had overlooked the all important fulcrum or swivel point, which is tucked up high under the parcel shelf.

I dug out the original hinge mounting mechanism (which weighs a full ton) and attacked it with the angle grinder, cutting it in half. My thinking was that it didn't need the heavy spring or mechanism, so two bolts on either side were deemed sufficient for a fibreglass panel, rather than four.  This looked pretty good and appeared to be working well with the plywood hinges.
My next oversight, having temporarily located the new hinges and their mountings to both body-shell and boot lid, I found that the covered, hinged fuel filler/hi-stop brake light flap that I was so proud of, now prevented the boot lid opening - again...  Oh deep joy...

This was of course somewhat frustrating. There are of course several options but most revolve around the hinge design. If you look at many cars, they have a cantilever type of arrangement that pushes the panel away as it lifts. As I really wanted to sort out the overall fit and sort out the rigidity of the panel, I opted for the somewhat radical short term solution of cutting out a chunk of the lid to give it clearance. This was only ever going to be a temporary fix, but I did consider several options including attaching that part to the bodyshell, but sealing it from the elements wasn't going to be easy, so I left it on the back burner and headed for the front of the car instead.

The original Magnette grille has the well known and distinctive vertical slats, but almost from day one, I wanted a mesh grill, as it is less fussy and a bit more sporty. It is also smarter as several of the original slats are not perfect. Hanging up in Mal's workshop was a narrow strip of stainless mesh that someone had dumped on him, and it proved to be exactly half the width of the grill aperture. Using a thin cutting disc in an angle grinder, I managed to cut two peiceds to length and shape. Attaching them to the grille shell was done by using the original lower slat support, drilling holes into the base and just bending over the ends. The photographs just show the preliminary work.


This wasn't too easy and a strand of vertical mesh was removed at the centre so that the horizontals could be bent into place. Fiddly work and as yet, uncompleted.

Disappearing over the Christmas period once again slowed progress, but one has to keep a balance between family and household. Time marches on, but at least by the end of 2011, I had one year where I hadn't spent too much money on the car. The costs to date are somewhat horrific but as I don't drink or gamble, I suppose it counts as my hobby, or one of them.  Looking forward to 2012, planned holidays were going to take another chunk of time. The occasional illegal run up and down the street merely whetted my appetite. I was determined that 2012 would get the glass installed, wheel alignment done and a track test, before facing the inevitable red tape, getting it on the road, which I knew would cause me problems.