Following on from my initial disappointment, I started stripping out the bits. I have the use of a unit and so managed to strip the car down to the bare chassis, seeing it, that was the first blow. As I had never tackled a restoration before, I used about 5 rolls of masking tape sticking notes to each part saying what went where. It soon became obvious that the main body was really quite bad, as the pictures show. The inner shrouds were completely rotten. The outer panels looked ok but later, they were to show their true colours! I measured just about every apperture, gap etc. to make sure that it would go back the same way it came apart. I started life as a mechanic and am lucky, therefore, to have been able to carry out all the mechanical restorations myself, in the long run, I managed to save a fortune. I decided to sort out the mechanics first at home and then to concentrate on the body in between and when time allowed. I had originally thought it would take approx. 1year to get the car on the road, it's now been 2 and I have only recently managed to get it to a rolling chassis.

My initial inspection of the engine led to the second disappointment. Whilst the car had been standing, which I am led to believe was 15 years, the head had a hole appear in it below the thermostat housing. I thought about using these metal pastes as I had heard they were quite good. I changed my mind, however, when I decided to fit an unleaded one, I managed to get one from the MG show at Stoneleigh. I stripped down the engine completely, this was quite a job as the pistons were seized solid. It sems that the engine had seized previously, this, along with the very poor state of the bodywork, led me to believe this was why the car had been originally laid up. After copious amounts of releasing fluid had been poured into the bores and gentle easing with a 2 1/2 lb. lump hammer, I managed to remove the pistons and continue. I had the engine rebored by a local engineering firm, the camshaft refurbished by a specialist. Many new parts were needed including the timing chain etc. When it was completely rebuilt, I wanted to spray the engine to the original colour. This proved very difficult to obtain the paint. So, before I rebuilt the engine, I took the bare block around to a garage I know very well and tried to match the colour chip cards to the inside of the block where the paint was still in it's original shade. The best match I could find was the same as my company car, Bisque Red, on a Renault Laguna!

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