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Well, guess what, the engine tag on my just delivered engine is not my original engine tag.  My original engine ended up being cracked (discovered after the fact), which was a big reason why the engine took so long.  The first thing I asked for was for the engine tag to be removed from my original engine and secured, to be put on the replacement block.  I thought I was pretty lucky, as these engines are not stamped with the engine number, but rather they have a riveted tag.  The engine was taken from the British Car shop to a machine shop for rebuilding.  The machine shop was the one who removed the tag and immediately gave it to the guy at the British Car shop who was managing my whole engine build.  He assumed it was the correct tag.

 

So, I have a huge problem, not having the original tag will degrade the value of the car, not to mention the aesthetic for me as the owner.  As we know, us AACA-type folks want originality and numbers matching.  Boy, you just can't trust anyone to do anything correctly.  Now, the British Car guy is going to go over to their shop Monday and figure out what's going on.  With any luck, they have it sitting around somewhere and that will solve most of the problem.  I'm guessing it was either lost or destroyed and the shop lied about it and thought no one would notice, or they are simply negligent.  Either way, I'm going to sue for damages if this thing doesn't turn up.  My weekend is completely ruined.

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Got a call from the British Car shop a few hours ago.  One of the other guys tried to call the machine shop, and luckily, someone was there working some overtime, as they are usually closed on Saturday.  They asked and the machine shop found it in a pile of other parts.  The indifferent employees there didn't pay any attention and provided the wrong engine tag to the British Car shop.  Although this is still a huge hassle for both me and the British Car guys, as the British Car guys will have to come to my house to pop off the rivets for the old one and re-install the correct one, I'm quite relieved that it wasn't lost, usually these things don't work out and the shops get defensive on their stupid mistakes, then you have to threaten legal action before they decide to right their wrong.  Been there before.

 

Been going over the engine with a fine toothed comb.  It looks like they did a good job, but their attention to detail is lacking and they should have asked me questions on things before installing some repro parts that I didn't ask for, as I had the originals at home.  There were also a couple parts missing that they forgot to install, but I was charged extra for them.  For example, they did not paint the nuts and bolts engine color when the head and other parts were installed, they substituted modern bolts for some of the original bolts I provided (for non-stressed parts, like the air cleaner assemblies), and they used modern clamps instead of the originals/original style repros I provided.  I'll have to keep going over it to get it up to my standards.  It seems that with any shop anymore, there is no attention to detail, even with specialists, and there is no communication as what the customer wants if there are any decisions to be made.  I usually have to undue or fix many small problems that these shops create thru indifference, sloppiness, laziness, or lack of research or communications.  I would assume that you all go thru this, which is why most of you do ALL the work yourselves.

 

 Due to the disaster that was the first engine, the second engine had just as many problems, just different ones, so there were a lot of unexpected costs.  I insisted on a discount of about 8% off my total bill, as they had exceeded the 20% range that the state of VA allows on auto repair estimates.  Although the bill was much higher than originally planned, I think we reached a compromise where we are both calling it good enough.  Now I'll be working some overtime to try to pay off my massive bill.  Okay, enough complaining, back to the MGA work again tomorrow.

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Unfortunately I believe your experience is going to become (if it hasn't already) the norm.  It is very difficult to find people with a passion for their work and willing to do things right unless that work pays a significant amount... and even then it is sometime lacking.  Doing some right only for the sake of it being right is a foreign concept these days.  I've preached this to my three kids since day one and, thankfully, they have taken it to heart.  

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Made it up to almost 70 degrees today, so perfect day to hit the garage.

 

I spent the last week, when I had time, pouring over the engine and I'm finding dozens of mistakes and missing items.  I don't expect  most people to understand what AACA guys want or expect when I farm out work, but I'm not too happy with the detail of the work done on my engine.  They most likely did a good job on the internals and getting it running, but not so much on the aesthetics and detailing.  Here are the issues I found so far:

 

- Missing water drain spigot from rear of engine

- Carb vent tubes  rotated the wrong way, plus vent tubes are on the wrong carb

- Missing carb vent tube bolt and clip

- Head and thermostat housing bolts not painted when they should be

- Engine ID tag is for someone else's car

- Multiple original bolts swapped for modern bolts (some for good reasons, others not)

- Incorrect air cleaner lid bolts (after I supplied the correct ones)

- Carb return spring bracket not installed

- Areas of engine block that were not painted at all

- Two bolt holes at bottom front of engine had bolts and bracket put on them, then removed.  Not sure what

is supposed to go there yet, but something appears to be missing or was not installed correctly and removed

-Two bolts missing from engine mounts (this could have been a real problem down the line

-Incorrect hose clamps installed, after I supplied originals and correct repros

-Oil gauge inlet threaded conversion attachment missing

-Repro heater control valve installed, while I have the original at home.  I was never contacted about it, but I was charged for it (I had the charge removed).

 

These are relatively minor issues, so I just fixed most of them all myself, but for the price I paid and the delays I had, I would expect better.

 

Anyway, I installed the restored transmission on the engine, and the assembly is ready for installation once I get a few of the other items above rectified (Photos 1 & 2).  Guy from the British Car shop is bringing by the missing parts and will re-install my original engine ID tag.

 

Also broke out the clogmaster 2000 to blast my primary headlight buckets and some hood attaching hardware.

 

Overall good progress.  Project is still consistently moving along, just very slowly.

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)
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Sad to see such carelessness from the shop, but REALLY glad you are beyond that and moving in a positive direction, especially where the identification tag is concerned!

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Got home with a enough daylight and some temps in the mid-50's, so painted my headlight buckets and decided to install the engine.  I got the two missing motor mount bolts and installed them.  I also touched up a lot of the paint that was scraped up with installing the correct  engine ID tag and other mishaps, like the British Car shop not creating a tall enough engine cradle for shipping, so the bottom of the oil pan scraped on the ground and the bed of the truck they used to ship it.

 

Anyway, got the engine installed after 16 months of waiting for the rebuild!  (Photos 1 & 2).  Will have some touching up to do, some adjustments to get the mounting hole aligned for the transmission, then lots of detail work in getting various pipes, tubes, hoses attached as well as continuing on fixing the few details left that were missed by the British Car Shop.  Next will be to install the floorboards, trans tunnel, toe board, upper half of steering column, and hook up the emergency brake.  After that, the lower half of the car will be virtually complete.  I will go back to focusing on the bodywork after that.  Almost have the hood finished and ready for primer. 

 

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No, was run on a test stand at.the British Car place, so it's in good shape now.  Will need to be brought back to life again in 2-3 years when the car is complete or mostly complete.

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Well, when I first saw you had the motor finally back, I figured no trip of the two Italian guys to the machine shop necessary and almost sent John an email saying so. Then I read a following post about the wrong tag and figured maybe the trip was back on! Then I read another post about the correct tag being found and the shop coming to install it on your motor, trip cancelled again. THEN, I read more posts about the lack of attention to detail by the shop and figure,,,,,TRIPS BACK ON!😂😂

 

Great to hear you’re pretty much squared away now. As most know, I’ve been through those same type of emotional  ups and downs with painters and it can really wear on us. With me, trying to get a few things done by others has gotten so difficult and it put such a bad taste in my mouth that I’m giving up restoring cars once I’m done with the 34’ pickup and 30’ 4dr. I’ve had enough aggravation from others to last me a lifetime. I’m going to enjoy driving and showing my cars and work on my RC planes and G scale trains while I move more into my golden years. 

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1 hour ago, chistech said:

Well, when I first saw you had the motor finally back...

Thanks, I'm sure this won't be the last aggravation, but I should be able to do everything else myself, except the gauges and what's left of the chrome, although I'm not sure about the paint.  I've never painted a whole car before, plus my garage is a superfund site; there's no way I could paint a car in there as is.  I've heard about inflatable paint booths, so may look into that.  Or, I may just farm it out to a shop.  Still have a long way to go on the body, so we'll see.

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19 hours ago, chistech said:

I’ve had enough aggravation from others to last me a lifetime. I’m going to enjoy driving and showing my cars and work on my RC planes and G scale trains while I move more into my golden years

Ted, I was thinking along those same lines a few years ago.....I got done restoring my Black '69 Impala ( 14 year process ) and for my 50th birthday, I was going to get a new Dodge Challenger....nope. I ended up getting the "69 Super Sport. It must be some kind of sickness within a person to go thru this process again....lol

 

Steve

Edited by STEVE POLLARD (see edit history)
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21 hours ago, chistech said:

Well, when I first saw you had the motor finally back, I figured no trip of the two Italian guys to the machine shop necessary and almost sent John an email saying so. Then I read a following post about the wrong tag and figured maybe the trip was back on! Then I read another post about the correct tag being found and the shop coming to install it on your motor, trip cancelled again. THEN, I read more posts about the lack of attention to detail by the shop and figure,,,,,TRIPS BACK ON!😂😂

 

Great to hear you’re pretty much squared away now. As most know, I’ve been through those same type of emotional  ups and downs with painters and it can really wear on us. With me, trying to get a few things done by others has gotten so difficult and it put such a bad taste in my mouth that I’m giving up restoring cars once I’m done with the 34’ pickup and 30’ 4dr. I’ve had enough aggravation from others to last me a lifetime. I’m going to enjoy driving and showing my cars and work on my RC planes and G scale trains while I move more into my golden years. 

Ted, I can use a trip. Let me know when you're ready. I happen to like Virginia. Mix business with pleasure. 

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20 hours ago, hursst said:

Thanks, I'm sure this won't be the last aggravation, but I should be able to do everything else myself, except the gauges and what's left of the chrome, although I'm not sure about the paint.  I've never painted a whole car before, plus my garage is a superfund site; there's no way I could paint a car in there as is.  I've heard about inflatable paint booths, so may look into that.  Or, I may just farm it out to a shop.  Still have a long way to go on the body, so we'll see.

Hursst, it is frustrating to say the least, but now that this is behind you,  keep on it.The car is coming along nicely.  Really great work. John

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Thanks John.  Pressing ahead just the same.  Didn't really lose any time with this, as I was able to work on all the other parts of the car, so not too upset by it, it's just kind of a shake your head thing.

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Another weekend at home, so another weekend with the MGA.  I got the transmission bolted in (Photo 2), all the engine mount bolts bolted in, and the driveshaft bolted in.  I kept going and got a battery cable hooked up, the exhaust hooked up, the vacuum advance assembly almost hooked up*, and a couple wires hooked up.

 

*The British car shop rotated my distributor 90 counter-clockwise, which threw off a lot of things.  The adjustment wheel is now touching the starter, and the vacuum advance unit is directly in line with an oil tube, blocking the vacuum advance tubing and reservoir.  I brought this up to one of the owners when he was at my house installing the engine tag, so they will have to move the interior pin, or whatever it is 90 degrees in order to get it correct.  I can't understand why they wouldn't have just done this correctly the first time, as it's caused a lot of problems already and I don't know why they would think this could work, considering it's not really functional in that position.  Very frustrating.

 

I then moved on to installing the lower firewall panel (Photo 1), the steering column, the transmission tunnel, and one of the floorboards (Photo 3).  I thought this would be the easy, fun work, because it's all the original parts and it should just go right in.  Of course, that wasn't the case, so there was a lot of minor adjustment needed to get everything to fit correctly.  I'll have to do a lot of touch up work, as there was a lot of scraped paint and cursing going on.  No big deal, it's easy to touch this stuff up, though.  I was able to get one floorboard installed, but it was very difficult to fit, as the transmission tunnel mounting rubber bushings in the middle (repros) are new and slightly too hard, so the whole thing is difficult to seat.  Still good progress when I look back at the day, but I could have done much more.  Spent a LOT of time just making slight adjustments.

 

Also discovered I am missing my clutch slave cylinder tubing and that I had the incorrect setup on my slave cylinder (I had some 1500 parts that were removed with the 1600, simplifying it).  Easy fix.

 

Also, ordered a repro clip from Moss for my valve cover vent tube.  This is was the wrong color, the wrong shape, and was 3x as thick as the original.  I real piece of crap.  I wended up going to the junkyard Friday and found an original clip from an MG 1275 (ADO16 car), which is the exact original part.  No substitute for original parts.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm back.  Had a nice vacation to northern Sweden racing Jaguars and Land Rovers on frozen lakes.  What an experience.  Then, back to work, so only got bits and pieces done on the MGA over the last 4 weeks, until today.

 

Ordered a lot of smalls from Moss over the last few weeks.  Here's the carb drain tube line clip (brass colored) that I got from Moss to replace the original that the British Car shop lost (Photo 1).  Got my gauges back from Bob's Speedometer.  They did an excellent job of revamping my original gauges, I'd recommend them, although I won't be able to find out how well they work fro another year or two.

 

Today, I got back to it and continued to install floorboards and misc engine bits and pieces...but ran into a big problem.  I got 3 of the front floorboards installed, only to find that the transmission tunnel was positioned too high in the rear, about 1" too high.  I thought I could press it down and it would work, but it was way off.  I had to take up all the floorboards, gas pedal assembly, and steering column to figure out the problem and fix it.  It turns out that the repro rubber grommet from Moss that go between the middle of the transmission tunnel and the chassis are WAY WAY too thick to work, so the trans tunnel was teeter-tottering about an inch too high on these grommets, so you could not get the whole thing flush with the rest of the chassis members.  Another repro piece of garbage.  They are twice as thick as they should be.  I ended up making my own out of old garage door weather stripping.  They fit perfectly after I did some cuts here and there.  That wasted about 3 hours of my time.  It's clear that they did not test these repro grommets, pure garbage.

 

Here's a few photos of the floorboard work in progress (Photos 2 & 3).  Have just the one large one left on the driver's side and the floorboards are complete.    I also connected the parking brake and assembly in the center.  Still have a few bits and pieces with the engine.  I was missing a few tubes and brackets, so I'm finishing up on some of those.  Also got the headlight assemblies 100% complete.  I couldn't believe how many parts there were just for the headlights.

 

Once I finish the floorboards and other engine parts, it will be time to move the chassis out, clean the garage, and swap its position with the body, then really get into that.  It would be nice to have the body finished and in primer this year.

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Made some more progress today, finished the floorboards (Photo 2).  Had to resize the holes a little on the last floorboard and grind off a little wood on the side to make it fit.  Seems they have swelled up slightly after I put on the wood treatment when I first got them prepared.  I'm going to go back and spend a little time putting some seam sealer among some of the cracks and crevices between the floorboards and chassis members to ensure that it's fairly weatherproof from the bottom.  The original layer of felt was really not up to the task.  I used some Eastwood seam sealer between the floorboards and chassis members as a moisture barrier and sound deadener.

 

I also spent some time installing the hydraulic clutch pipe, adding some clips to the firewall, and trying to sort out the other pipes to get them routed correctly (Photo 1).  I still have some fine tuning to do.  I also dug out the accelerator cable and got that partially installed whilst I clean/prep/paint some of the hardware for it.  It's quite a mess in the engine bay with everything being mechanical.  Glad I took a lot of photos on disassembly, it's been really helpful in piecing this back together.  Almost time to get back to the bodywork. 

 

Have a good and productive President's Day!

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I hadn't thought of sealing the floorboards and since my car long since lost something like that... I didn't even know there was supposed to be something.  Glad you posted about that, will certainly save me from having leaky floorboards.

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hursst,

Hope you don't mind but I noticed something that may present an issue with a jittery motor or cause an issue if you attempt to remove the Engine sometime in the future. Or, it could simply be just an optical illusion. Regardless, I noticed a rather long bolt shaft protruding from the Transmission to firewall connection just above the Transmission bell housing. Could a shorter shaft bolt be used here instead of the current one? See the attached photo where I circled the spot. Other than that potential annoyance your work is admirable. Thanks for posting.

--

Mike

Hursst-Long Bolt Issue.jpg

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Thanks for pointing that out, always looking for tips or issues I missed.  I took a look at it, and it's a little of an optical illusion, it's about an inch way from the transmission and is at an angle, so it wouldn't be much of a problem to take the engine out again if I had to.  It is also the correct size of screw.  there is one in the kit that is even longer.

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On 2/16/2020 at 9:37 PM, Luv2Wrench said:

I hadn't thought of sealing the floorboards and since my car long since lost something like that... I didn't even know there was supposed to be something.  Glad you posted about that, will certainly save me from having leaky floorboards.

I read this on the MGA Guru site.  I'm mainly concerned with moisture getting between the wood and the metal and getting trapped, moreso that water splashing into the passenger compartment.  I have no plans to ever drive this in rain or wet, although it could happen.  It will also help with vibration and rattles, I would think.  Just put a thin-ish strip, I went fairly easy to start.

 

-Chris

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Beautiful weather this weekend, so got a lot done for the most part.  I put the original wiring back in my headlight buckets, finished up some misc work on the floorboards, and hooked up the throttle cable assembly to the gas pedal.

 

The big activity was that I moved the chassis and body out of the the garage and cleaned the whole side of the garage where the MGA work was being done.  Here's the chassis, chassis with body, and the empty garage, pre-sweeping it clean.  Took me most of the day, but now it's fairly clean, better organized, and I swapped out the positions of the chassis and body, so I can easily move the body in and out of the garage for when I get it blasted.

 

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)
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I couldn't get thru the weekend without problems, of course.  When I moved the chassis out of the garage, I noticed that what I thought was neutral was not neutral, but 2nd gear.  I shifted it into neutral and here is the position of the shifter (Photo 1), way up front.  There was no way to shift it into 1st or 3rd, there is no room.  Luckily, I was able to move the chassis around in the meantime.  Here's the clean garage and where I placed the chassis for now (Photo 2).  

 

I went on the MGA forum to ask for any ideas on what may be causing this and I got some ideas about the split ring that connects the shifter unit to the internal linkage.   I had to take apart my nice work on the trans tunnel to access the shifter unit.  I took it out and took some of it apart to see if I could figure it out, and everything looked fine.  I then went to the trans itself to see if an adjustment could be made on the  paw and main shaft, to allow the shifter to get a central neutral position.  It was easy to adjust as THE REBUILDER FORGOT TO PUT IN THE BOLT THAT SECURES THE PAW TO THE MAIN SHAFT! ( you can see the hole at the bottom of the assembly on Photo 3).  A forum friend was able to locate an original bolt for me, so I'll have that fixed soon.  So disappointed that nothing, just nothing is done correctly by these people that you pay a good sum to, only to get shoddy, half-hearted work.  I wonder how the inside of the transmission is now.  Anyway, this should fix the problem once I get the bolt in there.

 

Once that got squared away, I got right into the body work again.  Starting back on the bonnet (Photo 4).  IT's been sitting for a while, so some flash rust has come back on the steel areas, so I cleaned up the steel section around the outside and sprayed it with some rust inhibitor to stabilize any remaining rust.  I'll have to do that with most of the steel frame, as it was all a little rusty and it flashes back pretty quickly.  I'll leave the aluminum alone and hit the whole thing with good primer once I clean up all the steel frame.  After the bonnet, I'll do the doors, which are half-way completed already.

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)
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Thanks.  When you have to do everything yourself, you improvise.  The skateboard is the perfect dolly.

 

No hole in that bolt.  Nowhere for the slide on the shaft to really go, the trans may just stick in gear.  I don't think the bolt will go anywhere.

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Posted (edited)

Got out to the garage this weekend a little.  Has been harder and harder to find time to work on the car.  

 

I was able to install the missing bolt in the transmission and get that all sealed back up.  Hopefully I won't have to mess around with that again.

 

I broke out the bonnet again and completed metal-prepping the steel portions with rust inhibitor (Photo 1).  Looks fairly good.  Next step will be to clean up the rest of the aluminum portions and spray the whole works with some of the good etching primer to prepare it for paint.  On the other side, I cleaned the surface up to remove any old primer that was left over from when I did the surface work months ago.  It is pretty much ready for primer as well.

 

I then started on the boot lid (Photo 2).  First round was to use paint stripper to get rid of the original paint.  The original paint looked like it was painted during a dust storm, it was almost like sand paper!  I'll be doing the same procedure here, with cleaning up the steel first.  Most of the steel portions still had paint on them, so I should be able to get to bare metal easily, then just hit it with primer, no rust inhibitor.

 

In between, I've been restoring all the various brackets, hinges, hardware, and prop rods.  Here's the bonnet prop rod and hardware (Photo 3).  These were originally in black medium gloss primer and installed and painted while on the body, wit h the bonnet and boot propped open.  Only a little body paint got on the tops and bottom of these, they were mostly left in black.  I'll try reproduce that when the car is painted.

 

Last, I reached out to a mobile sand blasting company to try to get an estimate to blast the body.  Will probably wait until the summer or even fall before I do it, as I'm pretty much out of money for the MG.

 

Cheers.

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Edited by hursst (see edit history)
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Unfortunately you are having many of the same problems with repro parts as I have had over the years. I generally avoid Moss parts except as a last resort. My cars are always just drivers so I try to find the best used example I can out of my MGA parts pile when something needs replacing.

I have parted 3 of them over the years so I can often come up with something. But my stock has definitely run down considerably from what it once was.  A good friend also runs an A and we dip into my stash as necessary.

 You will find that the more you can do yourself the fewer mistakes will be made. Your engine problems are unfortunately all to typical these days. I never send anything out except as basic parts , for example the head with valves by itself , the block as a piece for boring and piston

fitting, the crank for inspection and polishing.  If balancing is desired { a good idea } I take the necessary parts to the balancing shop myself.

And re -assembly I always done by yours truly. These are very simple engines , no reason why a first timer that follows the factory manual can't successfully do a re- assembly themselves. All those  " British car " mechanics had to learn somewhere myself included. 

I did my first engine , a MGB 3 main at 17 . It gave years of service afterwards. By age 20 I had also overhauled several gearboxes both for myself and friends. The manual is very well written, just follow it closely and use intelligence when working around NLA special factory tools.

Very few of the "British " shops have them these days either. 

It looks like things are moving along. Just remember the skills you master now will put you in a good position for the rest of your life. 45 years since I bought my first A. I am hoping for another 20 years before my MG days are over.

 

Greg in Canada

 

 

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17 hours ago, 1912Staver said:

Just remember the skills you master now will put you in a good position for the rest of your life.

 

A excellent and useful post. There are many of us who have trod Greg's path and gained a lot of skills on the way.

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Thanks for the tips and encouragement, gentlemen!

 

Saturday was a pretty good day out in the garage.  I got the hood in primer, so it is now ready for a final sanding, I think, before paint (Photos 1 & 2).  I'll be putting all the hardware back on today, as these parts were originally painted as installed on the car.  I'll be setting it aside and continuing on the trunk lid.  Want to try to get the hood, trunk lid, and doors in primer before I tackle the body, although it will probably be delayed due to pollen season.  Hood turned out very nice overall.

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Later in the day, I decided to primer the front valance panel and see how it looks (Photo 2).  It certainly turned out better than I thought it would, with my limited hammering and metal skills. It's far better than where it started, looking like a pretzel, but it's not quite there yet, not ready for prime time.  Still has some issues from the metal being effectively folded and it has some contour inconsistencies.  I think "good enough" may work eventually, as you can't really see this piece when the car is together, but I don't think it's good enough yet.  I'll set it aside and revisit.  I may pass it to a professional if I can't get it to where I want it.

 

I also continued to refinish and rust encapsulate, prime, and paint all the hardware (Photo 1).  Some of the original bolts, washers, and nuts, being tucked away in the latch mechanism, are in mint condition and need no refurbishment.  I think these are the only pieces on the car that will not receive restoration or replacement. 

 

Pretty sure at this point that I will have the car professionally painted.  I think I have the skills to do it, but I do not have the proper facilities and equipment to do a show-quality job.  I'll try to deliver a perfectly primered body that will need minimum handwork to be ready for paint.  I plan on having the body blasted around May, then get it in primer ASAP.  Got what I think is a cheap quote for a mobile sandblaster service.  Once the body is blasted, I'll be able to see the full extent of the rust damage to the trunk and some minor issues above the rockers.  The rest of the body is a mess, but appears quite solid.  I think I can have the body generally finished by the end of the year, then get it painted early next year.  After that, it's all down hill.  I'm quickly running out of other parts to restore.  I think there's a possibility I can have the car finished around Spring 2022.

 

Cheers!

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