|LIFE OF A GT
|April 11, 2008 - Meet the newest member of the fleet - a 1972 MGB GT.|
This little car is for Janel. At a track day in Pueblo a month or two ago, I had to chance to meet Curtis Jacobson and his V8 MGB GT. I'd already been thinking about GTs, and having all day to look at his car didn't do me any favors. More importantly, Janel fell in love with the look and the sound of the little critter. She started to badger me for a "fun car". Something small and cute with a big noise under the hood.
The car's also going to save me a lot of money, because she's a fan of the Porsche 911. The shape of the MGB's headlights and hood seem to hit the same chord, so now we have a 911 substitute. Sort of.
entry 1 - tags: intro
|April 11, 2008 - The car was found on eBay.|
It's a "blue plate" car from California, meaning that it's always lived in that warm, dry climate. It's avoided the biggest curse of the Little British Car (LBC) almost completely. No rust! That's a big plus. The fact that the car is black is also a plus.
So, time to get to know the car. The paint isn't perfect, with a big burn on the roof and little nicks and cracks elsewhere. But overall, it looks pretty good. The biggest problem is with the brakes. They have a hydraulic leak somewhere.
The plan for this car is to sort out its various problems and run it as-is until after the Targa Newfoundland. Then, take it off the road for a while and stick a Ford 302 under the hood.
entry 2 - tags: intro
|April 11, 2008 - Like any 36-year-old British sports car, it's seen some modifications over the years.|
The repaints and the questionable wheels are just the beginning. Underneath, there's a set of telescoping shocks in the rear as well as a long pair of shackles. The broken exhaust system doesn't really count as a user modification, though.
entry 3 - tags: intro
|April 11, 2008 - Discovery time.|
Shortly after the car arrived, I was swarming over it (if it's possible for a single individual to swarm) and exploring. There are lots of little problems to deal with, as expected with an LBC. The right rear running lights appear to be stuck on. There's a mysterious battery drain which is probably directly related. The right turn indicators don't work. There are random loose wires under the dash and underhood.
The good news is that with the car idling (a little fast, probably due to the higher altitude), nothing dripped on to the driveway!
entry 4 - tags: intro
|April 11, 2008 - The stance of the car is a bit off.|
Those spring shackles in the rear are likely at fault. I can easily raise the car more, or drill a couple of holes and drop it down. I'll try to find out what the stock center-to-center distance should be and try that. It's hard to say what springs are under there.
See the Aqua wheel wells? That's some sloppy work in the paint booth. 5 minutes with a can of black spray paint and that'll be solved.
entry 5 - tags: suspension
|April 11, 2008 - Not only are the wheels cosmetically challenging, they're also the wrong offset.|
The tires and the inside of the fender lips were not getting along, and the steel was winning the battle. New wheels and tires are on the way soon.
entry 6 - tags: intro, suspension
|April 11, 2008 - Whoops!|
The mirrors aren't a great fit on the doors, leading me to believe they're not original. The fact that you can't really open the vent windows would seem to support this.
|April 11, 2008 - The car's fitted with air conditioning, which I believe was a relatively unusual option.|
It's not working right now but it's worth rescuing.
entry 8 - tags: intro
|April 11, 2008 - The biggest problem is this.|
A Viper alarm system. I hate car alarms. They're designed to make cars not work. And some cars - especially LBCs - don't need help. The first thing I did was pull this accursed box out.
entry 9 - tags: intro, electrical
|April 11, 2008 - The biggest modification is the tan interior.|
As much as I can tell, the dash, console, headliner and other interior trim was all painted tan some time ago. Our mysterious interior decorator actually did a pretty good job until it came time to do the dash. The masking job there wasn't quite as well done as it could have been.
entry 10 - tags: intro, interior
|April 11, 2008 - Here's the problem with the dash painting.|
Some parts were simply painted over, others were not masked well. It's possible to scrape the tan off the hard plastic parts with your thumbnail. The current idea is to de-tan the dashboard ourselves. I'll see if I can repair a crack in the top pad at the same time.
entry 11 - tags: intro, interior
|April 11, 2008 - There's a battery drain somewhere.|
I'll have to hunt it down. But pulling out the rear seat does a good job of illustrating the original color of the car!
entry 12 - tags: electrical
|April 11, 2008 - One of Janel's comments when viewing pictures of the cars online was about the bumper overriders.|
She's not a big fan. Thankfully they're not difficult to remove. Will they stay off? Hard to say, the front does look a little better with them in place. Time for some looking and thinking.
Another future plan involves a different grille. I'm not sure if it's going to be the earlier or the later design yet.
entry 13 - tags: styling, bumpers
|April 12, 2008 - The rear seat belts were looking pretty scruffy.|
They wouldn't retract all the way, the belts were discolored from sun and some sort of liquid, the receivers were AWOL - and we're never going to be cruel enough to put someone back there anyhow! So out they come.
entry 14 - tags: interior
|April 11, 2008 - The heater knobs are broken and/or missing.|
I understand they're not hard to find though.
|April 11, 2008 - It's like some sort of sad commentary.|
The badge is oozing.
|April 11, 2008 - This is the perfect set of keys for this car.|
I suspect that key fob has been around since the car was new.
|April 11, 2008 - It's like a 60's revival in the back yard!|
And two of the guests aren't even here. When I finally get the Cadillac, the GT, Basil, the Seven and the Mini together for a picture it's going to be fun.
entry 18 - tags: other cars
|April 13, 2008 - Typical of the little things that need attention are the rear hatch springs.|
The teardrop-shaped cover for the coiled spring is missing. Also typical is the fact that I can pick up a brand new one from Moss Motors.
|April 14, 2008 - The best part about British cars is the parts catalogs.|
They're fantastic. Every section has an exploded parts diagram with arrows pointing to each little gubbin and knob, so you can happily order a lower trunnion bush kit without having the vocabulary beforehand. How else could I identify the teardrop shaped cover for the rear hatch supports? I used to carry a Rovers North catalog in my old Land Rover simply because it was a great way to see how everything worked at a glance. I expect I'll do the same with this car.
I put in an order for a number of parts today at the B Hive. Just little trim bits and switches to freshen up the interior - and a rebuild kit for the master cylinder.