|The MGA With An Attitude|
REPLACEMENT BODY PANEL FRUSTRATION - RT-401
Due to limited market demand and market pricing pressure there will be very few stamping dies available to make perfect reproductions of original MGA body panels. Most of the larger replacement panels will be made by hand in small quantities with widely varying results, depending on the creativity and skills of the makers. Some replacement panels may fit reasonable well while others may lie between difficult to work with and blatently terrible. A few may be such a bad fit that you could be better off making your own panels from flat sheet rather than spending too much time trying to repair and correct badly made commercial parts.
Some panels on the MGA that rust out first and worst are the easiest to make from flat sheet. The body sills (below the doors) in particular are assembled in box sections where multiple inner surfaces were never painted and do rust badly in original form. These pieces are also mostly flat panels with some simple bends and flanges, fairly easy to form by hand from flat sheet. Unfortunately this does not automatically translate into good fit for commercial panels. Some of those end up made from thinner and weaker material, missing some internal gussets, and still badly formed. Fortunately, you may be able to make your own panels that will fit much better and can be very cheap for materials. The down side is that it requires a certain amuont of sweat equity (your personal labor time). You can find good documentation of this procedure in the "Page 1" section on Body Sill Replacement.
Forming contoured panels of any significant size is lilely to be beyond the skills of the novice do-it-yourself car owner. Sometimes the best solution there is to cut and patch smaller parts of the the original panels rather than trying to install replacement panels that may not fit. When you conclude that the original panel cannot be saved, you may be looking for a commercial replacement panel. I once purchased a fiberglass valance panel that worked reasonably well for my daily driver car. I once purchased and installed outer rocker panels that were ill formed, difficult to install, interfered with door alignment and gave me great grief for more than 20 years until I had the opportunity to rework the body sills again. I finally found new rocker panels that were much better fit, worked well, and were fairly easy to install.
This secton of the web site is an attempt to help you wade through the mire and confusion of good or ill fitting panels to make more informed decisions on which to buy or which to avoid. Decisions here will be different for various people depending on personal skill levels, available funds, or the quality demanded of the final result (show car or daily driver for instance). Aside from the afformentioned front valance and rocker panels, I have not purchased any other commercially produced MGA body panels. Most of what will appear in the following pages will be contrubutions and reports from other people resulting from their experiences. We hope you may find this information useful, but there are no guarantees of accuracy, so accept it for whatever it's worth. Additional reports and photos are welcome. I will post as much as I can in these pages whenever new information may be available.