Where possible I’ve tried to use as many of the original parts as possible, but as the car stood unused for 33 years, nothing could be reused without a lot of work. Here I include some of the projects along the way.
The renovation is straightforward, starting with the removal of the existing perspex. In my case most of it was in poor condition or broken, so removal was simple. Note that the fixed forward pane is held in place by a crimp in the aluminium channel. This needs to be carefully opened up to release the perspex. Otherwise, the perspex comes out by bending in the centre line until it releases from one channel.
Removal of the brackets is obvious, but after 40 years or so the screws are tough. Next is the removal of the aluminium strip that runs along the inner lower edge and secures the rubber seal in place. This is held by tiny screws that are difficult to remove without resorting to drilling. Once these are removed and the remains of the felt channel inserts are removed, the hard work begins, which is bringing the aluminium frames up to standard. In my case, they were both badly scratched and scored and in a couple of places worn away.
Fellow MGA restorer Andy Kenning gave me the tip for restoring the frame surfaces, which is based on plenty of elbow grease and rubbing down with increasingly fine grit paper/water, until an acceptable finish is achieved. this is then finished off with Autosolvol or similar and a buffing wheel. The finish achieved is a bit shinier than original, but looks pretty good.
The building up is straightforward using the Todd Clarke kit, which has every bit including all the tiny screws. Care needs to be taken getting the new perspex into the runners, as the new felt channel liners make it a very tight fit.
Dual gauge renovation
The Smith’s heater unit, like the rest of the car was complete but in very poor outward condition. The construction of the unit is very simple, basically comprising a box containing a water heater matrix, a 12 volt motor driving a hamster wheel fan and inlet and outlet vents.
Dismantling is simple and the main elements requiring careful examination and probably remedial work are the electric motor and the heater matrix. Unfortunately, I failed to photograph the detail of this work, but it is straightforward and logical.
Dismantle the motor and check the bearings and brushes and repair or replace as necessary. In my case the bearings were good and only needed cleaning and lubricating. The heater matrix can be checked visually for external damage and then by connecting a hose to one pipe and blocking the other, put the matrix under pressure to check for leaks. Also the hose will show how well the water flows in and out of the unit. In the worst case new matrix are available and not too expensive at around £60 (Moss). Upgrades can also be made to the fan performance by replacing the original metal one with a modern plastic unit.
The main work was cleaning back the rusted box sections, treating and painting. As it was the outward facing side of the box was in a very poor state and was replaced by new one found on eBay for £20.
Heater control unit.
Throughout my ownership, the original heater control panel had the righthand side section missing and therefore no cable control over the demister/cabin flap. New panels are available and all are quite brittle. There are also two types, one marked on the upper left ‘Push & Turn’, for early cars and another with just ‘Push’. Mine came from Moss and strangely was marked with the very early Push & Turn. Being thrifty, I scraped off the ‘& Turn’, leaving a very acceptable ‘Push’.
Overhauling the controls behind the panel is a simple dismantling and cleaning up job, other than making sure the various spacers and washers are fitted in the correct order and that the finished control is fitted the right way up in the panel. This is where before and after photos pay dividends.