The MGA With An Attitude
MGA Guru Is GOING MOBILE - (June 26-28, 2014)
MGA Body Work Tech Session, Lyme, NH
This was entirely unexpected. Just prior to retiring the night before, there was a little meeting of the vehicles, rather physical in nature. The rear bumper of that White 1963 GMC Delivery van had an intimate encounter with the front of my MGA. The MGA grill was crushed. Otherwise it was a nice clean hit only affecting the grille surround panel on the body, no touch on the bumper or wings or lights. So today a new grille is on order for next day delivery, while disassembly and body work and primer are order of the day.
Start with one crushed grille. Remove bumper assembly and grille. Inspect damage and consider approach.
A little creative levering pulls the nose back to correct general configuration.
A bit of sanding and some hammer and dolly work get it to final shape (within reason). Thanks to the local body shop for loan of the tools. Here we take a break to run up the road 30 miles north in search of top coat paint. Unfortunately the intended paint supply store didn't have the paint type to mix in the required color, so that was a couple hours wasted.
Back at the MG a little filler and sanding (multiple passes) makes it smooth. Mask anything not to be painted before spraying first coat of primer. The gap under the drop cloth is intentional to allow feathering of the overlap paint. That's as far as we got with the first day's work.
Second day our host makes a trip about 50 miles south to another paint supplier (after a phone call to assure the correct paint is available), while I continue work on the MG. The new grill arrives mid morning, and it fits well (great relief).
Sand and prime and sand again a few passes. A touch of spot putty to fill pin holes and few scratches, sand and primer again. Last primer coat is applied just as top coat paint arrives, so we take a lunch break. After lunch, wet sand, wash clean, blow dry, and the top coat is applied. An hour or two later the masking is removed. End of work day, as the paint has to cure overnight.
Third day is time for reassembly of the bumper and the new grille. We didn't like a few bugs and dirt in the paint, so we wet sanded the new paint with 1000 grit, power buffed it with coarse rubbing compound, then finer polish with a slow orbital buffer, followed by a wash down. Like magic it looks good in pictures and in person 10 feet away. Ready for the road again. Not bad, considering it was done in a barn.
There was one overlap spot that had a bit of primer showing after wet sanding (too aggressive), so we masked it off and re-sprayed a small spot in the transition zone. No rush here, so we left the tent in the back yard for one more night.