The MGA With An Attitude
MGA Windscreen GRAB HANDLES - WT-106

Here is an interesting bit of trivia that may be good for the concours enthusiasts. Two photos on the left come from an eBay auction ad for an original in-box MGA Grab Handle (right side), never installed on a car. Center photo is a typical replacement part grab handle (right side). Photo on right is the right side channel of the MGA windscreen.
Windscreen right side frame channel

Now for the fun part. Notice that the frame has three round holes to accept countersunk head screws. In the center photo the aftermarket grab handle has three slots for the attaching screws. There will also be a thin plastic packing piece under the bottom foot. That packing piece is a paint protector, not intended to be a shim for alignment. During assembly the windscreen frame needs to be aligned fore and aft to appropriate angle for the side curtains to seal up properly against the windscreen frame. The slots are there to allow for this aligning movement before the screws are tightened.

Problem here is that the slots in the replacement grab handle are not spaced same as the holes in the frame. In particular, the center slot is so far out of place as to negate possibility of much adjustment range, or any adjustment at all (click for larger picture).

Now notice the original grab handle has only two slots and no center hole. Inspection of original non-tampered cars will reveal a small round center hole in the grab handle, which of course is not adjustable. Implication here is that the center hole was drilled in assembly
Windscreen left grab with two slots only
after the windscreen was properly aligned. In that case it would stay in alignment even if it was disassembled and reassembled. This also makes the original grab handle unique to a particular car and no longer an interchangeable part. So if the grab handle had to be changed, or if the car body might be repaired (changing configuration of the body), then a new grab handle would be needed, and it would need to be drilled in assembly after alignment just like the original one. Note photo at right shows an original type replacement part with only two screws installed, because the center hole has not been drilled.

Pity that replacement grab handles are relatively cheap. This is a good reason for replating the original parts rather than buying new ones. Good thing I'm not a concours guy, because I threw out my original grab handles a long time ago.

Thank you for your comments -- Send e-mail to <Barney Gaylord>
© 2010 Barney Gaylord -- Copyright and reprint information