Re-made in the USA
A sketch of a two year project
This project, begun primarily for my own ends and edification, is one that I believe may have some use for others interested in apprenticeship learning and vocational education. See the page LC0cM4 Learning about Learning Something for a discussion of the issues.
Long Ago and Far Away
This MG, TD20099, was a toy my family grew up with. The car’s main use was our many jaunts around the Connecticut countryside: to the playground, into Guilford to the library, to Bishop’s Orchard, or to Jacob’s Beach to prospect for shells and sea-smoothed stones.
With the car passing forty years and a hundred thousand miles, increasingly serious problems forced a critical decision: either declare the car unsafe and unusable or fix it right. We decided to put the effort and the resources needed into rebuilding this reminder of days gone.
Tearing it down
As I proceeded with diagnosis, repair and discovery, I repeatedly felt impelled to seize the opportunity to fix each additional problem uncovered. Piece by piece, the car was reduced to a shell and boxes of parts.
Front Suspension After Sand Blasting
Having peeled the car all the way down, I sand blasted the frame in preparation for painting it. The frame was then painted
with Wurth’s Rust Guard. The sheet metal was protected from rust with a zinc chromate wash primer.
Even with the car raised on jack-stands, spray painting the frame from the underside was a bloody challenge.
What a mess
What was the original color? Red as in the first picture of this set? Or the green, black, blue, and ivory colors I found in successively deeper layers of paint? The original body color was ivory. After stripping, the residue was removed by grinding with a metal brush.
One Trial Fit During Body Work
Put it together. Take it apart. Make an adjustment. Do it all again and again and again, too many times to remember.
Tub in Primer Covered With a Guide Coat
With the body work nearly done, finishing begins. All the painted parts are covered with coats of primer. Between coats, a dark colored “guide coat” is sprayed over the primer to be uniformly and gently sanded away.
Newly Painted Tub in Final Color
The ivory of the original body is restored — here shown immediately after the finished color is put on the tub. Sometimes I
despaired of ever reaching this point.
Getting It Together
Here’s where the excitement really began to build. The mechanical work was nearly complete. Every trial fit seemed closer and closer to a permanent assembly.
Help is on the way
Once the car has been painted, a dropped tool or a careless move can break your heart. Especially one needs help with large, heavy pieces such as the windshield. The helper here is the lad seen in the first picture of this set.
On its wheels, with engine tests and rewiring complete, the car is once more ready to go on the road for a test run.
On the road again
The car is now road worthy, but the engine still needs to be broken in and the interior has yet to be completed. The passenger here is the lass appearing in the first picture of this set.
Did I ever finish the project? Yes. Below see Peg learning to drive with the help of our Scotch Terrier.
That year, 1994, the car won “first place” as the popular favorite at the Purdue Spring Fling.