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Jim Stabe
Jim Stabe
San Diego, Ca
(829 posts)

02/28/2009 10:01AM

Main British Car:
1966 MGB Roadster 350 LT1 Chevy

authors avatar
Jim Stabe's Wide Body LT1 Powered MGB "Part 3"
Posted by: Jim Stabe
Date: July 30, 2012 12:39PM

Link to part 1 []
Link to part 2 []

Link to Part 4 []
Link to Part 5 []
Link to part 6 []


I found that I had left the glass slightly large when I masked it and then I made sure to cut outside the line so it wouldn't end up undersize, anyway, the end result is that I have to trim about 3/8" off the end because the glass is too wide to allow the frame to insert into the slots in the car and to close up against the bottom rail. I was going to take it to a glass shop and have them do a professional polish of the edge and then sand the one end down so it fits but I'm also afraid that some $10/hr kid would break it. If I can't find a shop familiar with cutting auto glass for the hot rod guys, I'll probably end up doing it myself - have to wait and see. Anyway, here is the finished product even though it's not on the car yet.

Windshield 123.jpg

Windshield 124.jpg

Windshield 125.jpg


I got home last night and the Makita Glass cutting saw I bought off Ebay was there. I was a little disappointed to find that the diamond blade they come with had been replaced with a 24 tooth carbide tipped blade and there wasn't a battery or charger with it. I went back to look at the Ebay posting and they said it was tested with the battery but in the fine print at the bottom the battery and charger were not included. A new diamond wheel for glass is $90! I was bummed and probably won't be testing this cutting method unless all else fails. I'm now waiting for the 40 grit diamond router bit to arrive so I can experiment cutting thin slices off of my scrap Midget windshield. More to come, stay tuned.


A quick update. The Rotozip I bought came with a right angle drive and a diamond wheel so I put all that together to try cutting a scrap piece of windshield. The angle drive has some gear reduction built into it and by turning the Rotozip down to its slowest speed (15k rpm) the wheel looked like it was spinning at a reasonable speed. I set up the water spray like I used with the router bit and tried to cut a narrow piece off the edge of the scrap windshield. The wheel cut the glass like a hot knife through butter BUT it put a lot of chips on the edge and it did crack the glass. Probably not the weapon of choice for trimming my glass to size. I am supposed to get the 40 grit router bit next week and I'll give that a try when it arrives.

Windshield 131.jpg

Windshield 127.jpg


I found a glass guy in Vista (about 20 miles away) who cuts windshields for chopped cars all the time, he has been doing it since 1965. Just the kind of experience I was looking for. I took the windshield in to him at lunch today and he had the needed 3/8" sanded off in less than 10 minutes and I was on my way. He had a big 4" wide vertical belt sander that ran in water with rollers in front so he could roll glass back and forth and keep control. I wish I had my camera with me. When I got home it was really hot but I wanted to see it in the frame and in the car. I installed the rubber on the glass and then mixed up a batch of Dawn and water. Once everything was nice and slippery I could gently press the frame over the glass. When I tried the bottom rail I discovered that it didn't want to go on in a couple places. I measured the width of the slot and found it to be too narrow in a few areas and I will have to massage them out. Not tonight though, did I mention it was hot.

So now the glass was the right width to allow the frame to insert into the slots on the car where before the mounts were too wide. I just had to take a couple pictures sans bottom rail. Small victories.

Windshield 133.jpg

Windshield 134.jpg


Just a quick update. I got the 40 grit diamond router bit and tried it out on the scrap windshield. It cuts really fast and probably will meet or exceed the 7" per minute that C.R. Laurence claims it will do. I wanted to do a quick test to see how fast it was and whether I could get the glass to crack. I cut a hole next to the edge of the glass and it worked fine (the marks you see on the glass are not cracks, they are where the bit skipped across the glass due to my inattention). I then cut a triangle within 1/4" of an existing crack in the windshield and it worked with no problem.


If I ever break the windshield I'm confident I could cut another one out in less than an hour using the 40 grit bit. That's a comforting feeling.


This weekend I started the grille, since the car is 11" wider everything has to grow. I think the early grille is one of the styling features that really identifies the car so I wanted to retain the shape and proportions as much as I could. The grille will also be structural since the hood will be attached solidly to the grille and the whole assembly will tilt forward using "C" shaped hinges similar to the trunk hinges. The pivots will be underneath the front bumper attached to the bumper mounting structure. More on that as I get to it. The point is the grille has to be strong so widening the stock one wasn't an option. I started out by rolling some 3/4" 16 ga square tubing with my ring roller to match the curvature of the bumper and to flow into the body lines at the fender opening , this would be the lower bar of the grille. The vertical pieces on the ends are more of the 3/4" tubing with the tops rounded to match the opening.

For the top I wanted to get 3/4" x 2" tubing but it wasn't available, only 3/4" x 1 1/2" so that's what I used since it was only about 1/8" smaller that the center of the stock MGB upper bar. I wanted the 3/4" thickness because I want to use the stock grille bars and they needed to mount on the same plane all around. To get the curvature I made a bandsaw cut right under the top wall of the tube to within 1/2" of the centerline on both sides. I made another cut for the curvature from the midpoint of the height at the end curving up to meet the inner end of the previous cut. The top would then bend down and I tacked it in place. The top bar was then fit to the end pieces and tacked in place. I didn't take a picture of the grille that way but the top piece just looked too wimpy. I think it was a combination of it being slightly smaller than the stock one combined with the added width to make it look too thin. It really nneded to be 2" tall at the center to have the proportions look right.

To fix it I rolled the remaining piece of 3/4" x 1 1/2" tubing to match the curvature of the existing upper bar. I made the curvature the same way as I did on the other piece but this time it started 1/4" from the bottom giving it a little more curvature than the other one. I then cut off the top of the grille leaving 1/2" remaining at the bottom. I then tacked the new upper piece in place giving me the 2" I wanted in the center and the 3/4" height I wanted at the ends. The pictures probably show it better than I'm describing it. Here is the tacked together new grille compared to the stocker

Grille 001.jpg

This shows the piece that was cut out, you can see how much shorter it is that what is tacked in place on the grille.

Grille 002.jpg

The stock grille bars look good, I have another one for the other side. This one was damaged when the car got pranged in 1983, that's why the fenders don't match the car either. I cut some 2 1/2" exhaust tubing to get the pieces for the upper corners, I still have to fill in the front and back pieces with 16 ga sheet.

Grille 004.jpg

It doesn't show very well in this picture but this is how the grille looks in the car.

Grille 005.jpg

Hard to believe it took all day yesterday and part of today to get this far. I still From here on is a lot of welding and metal finishing and it is getting hot. I don't want to spend the afternoon in a welding helmet or grinding so I think I'll call it a weekend.


Someone over on the MG Experience asked what I had done for the windshield and I posted this picture to show him. After looking at the picture I noticed that the front bumper looked like it was sloping downward. The tape measure confirmed that was the case so I have to change the bumper brackets to get it where it belongs. That mod isn't that big a deal and I can probably have it done in an hour but it also means that I have to shorten the grille frame, cut and reweld the lower part of the fenders to match the new bumper line and reposition the frame I made for that lower valence and undertray. So I probably have half a day's work to do something I thought was already done. The lower fender panel is just taped in place so I could see the lines.

On the ground 050.jpg

The saga continues...


Here is a picture of the car with the bumper up where it belongs, doesn't look so droopy now.

On the ground 055.jpg

I also welded up the grille that was just tacked together and, of course, it warped so I got to spend an additional couple hours getting that straightened out again. The welding of the top curved edge apparently pulled the bottom up so the lower edge of the top rail wasn't straight anymore, it was curved up over 1/2" per side. I was able to get it back straight by clamping the center portion to the table and heating with a rosebud tip in the torch then clamping the outer edge gradually down to the table. Took a while but it is straight again across the bottom. You can see it in the opening in the picture above.

The next task is to make the radiator support/radiator ducting/undertray/lower valance/bumper mounting bracket - it will all be one piece. Then I'll tackle the hood and hinges.


I spent a couple days making the ducting for the air filter - what a PITA. I already had done the round metal that surrounds the element itself but discovered that I needed to lower it about 3/4" so I had to make a channel section to sit over the crossbar of the front brace and weld it in. I also wanted to have an angled approach under the filter for better flow so I cut out the bottom of the housing and fabbed up a curved floor and faired it in. The rest was making a lot of cardboard patterns, getting them to fit, transferring to aluminum and welding it in. I still have a couple small pieces left to add but it is essentially done except the metal finishing. It will be painted the same color as the car so it needs to look good. BTW aluminum TIG welding isn't one of the things I am very proficient at so all the welds need to be dressed - no "stack of dimes" look here.

If you can't figure out how everything works here, the top rear edge and the edge over the MAF will have a rubber bulb seal that will seat against the underside of the hood. From the vertical piece that the MAF bolts into there will be another vertical piece along the back side of the radiator going toward the passenger side fender that will seal against the hood also. So when I get everything finished the only place for air entering the grille to go is either through the radiator or into the air filter either over the top of the radiator or through the duct I just made. The opening below the bumper will channel all the air through the radiator. I'll take more pictures when I get there.

Vortech 004.jpg

Vortech 001.jpg


I'm fortunate to have Ecology Auto Wrecking in San Diego because they have 1/2 price sales every couple months and fans are only $15. I have been collecting electric fans for several months and thought I had the final answer with a dual fan set for a '93 - '97 Camaro. It fit the core perfectly but after I finished the air duct I found that there was some interference with the drivers side fan. I had previously bought a Lincoln Mk VIII fan because at 19" in diameter it moves 4,500 cfm of air, more than almost any other fan out there. I found that it too interferred with the air duct and blocked the passenger side radiator hose outlet. This weekend I got one of the highly touted 2 speed Taurus fans as well as a fan from a Volvo 740 that have the same motor as the Taurus (also 2 speed) but a smaller blade (15 1/4" vs 16 1/2" for the Taurus). The Taurus is rated at 4,000 cfm on high speed. The Volvo did come with a really nifty relay setup to operate the 2 speed motor and a set of rubber flaps that allow more air to pass through the shroud when the fan isn't running. I'll be using both the relays set and the flaps in my final setup. I also have a 13" single speed fan off a Chev Malibu if anyone is interested.

I did a "blow air in your face" test of the Volvo and the Taurus fans and the Taurus felt stronger so that will be the one I use. Neither the Taurus or Volvo shrouds covered the entire core so I cut the fan out of the shroud and made my own out of aluminum. The Volvo unbolts from its shroud and has a really nice mounting flange. FYI the Taurus shroud covers an area of the core 15" x 21" and the Volvo covers 17 1/2" x 22".

I got some .063" aluminum, transferred the shape from my cardboard pattern and cut it out. The fan will install from the inside of the shroud so I cut a 16 1/8" hole and then used my bead roller to make a 3/16" deep x 1/2" wide registration step around the edge for the fan to sit into. I made a mistake cutting the fan out of the shroud but I'll tell you about that at the end.

Fan 005.jpg

I folded the top and sides in the brake but had to form the returns that will sit against the radiator by hand over the edge of the table. Hard to explain why here but if you have used a leaf brake you know why.

Fan 002.jpg

Now about the screw up cutting the Taurus shroud and why I will be attending the next 1/2 price sale at Ecology. I thought I would be able to retain the fan in the shroud with bolt in retaining clips but there just isn't enough material left in the plastic shroud to get a good grip on and the fan blade is very close to the edge. Rather than risk the fan coming loose inside the shroud and destroying the radiator, I'm going to get another fan and leave some tabs that I can use to bolt the fan in place with. Much more secure mounting.

Taurus fan.jpg

The weather has cooled off now so I should be able to make some progress in the coming weeks. Stay tuned


A quick update on the fan. Rob Ficalora came up with a suggestion that I'm going to use that will allow me to use the fan as is and not have to buy another one, thank goodness because I'm running out of places to store them all. Rob's idea was to make some angle brackets to secure the Taurus the ring of the Taurus shroud to the aluminum shroud. The brackets would have to be on the outside of the shroud because that is the only place I could bolt through the Taurus plastic shroud without interfering with the rotating blade. At first, I didn't want to do that because mounting the fan the way I am it is removable from the inside of the shroud once the radiator is out of the car so I would like the screws to remove it to be accessible from inside the shroud. Having brackets on the outside means that I would have to take the entire shroud out of the car to be able to remove the fan - more work. The shroud is actually a 3 sided box attached to the car rather than the radiator and the radiator just leans against it around the edges with some weatherstrip to seal it. The radiator sits in a cradle on the floor of the radiator inlet passage and the shroud bolts to the floor also. As I was writing Rob back to tell him why his idea wouldn't work I'm thinking how many times in my lifetime will I need to remove the fan by itself? Probably not that often, if ever, so what's the big deal about having to take the shroud out also if I ever have to? So that's the way it will be, thanks again Rob. I'll take a picture when I get the brackets made.

Don't touch that dial.


I was modifying my bead roller to run at a slower speed so I just got around to making the brackets to hold the fan like Rob suggested and they work like a charm. There are four of them and that fan isn't going anywhere.

Fan 024.jpg

I also cut the rubber flaps out of the Volvo shroud and installed them into the the aluminum shroud. As the car moves forward the air pushes them open allowing more airflow through the radiator. When the car slows up and the fan starts they are sucked shut so the fan draws through the entire area of the radiator.

Fan 017.jpg

I started making brackets to hold the forward pivot of the hood hinge. I'll post pictures when I get further along. The hood will operate like a BMW or Buick LeSabre. The hood latches in front. To raise the hood you pull forward and up on the front of the hood and it rocks up and forward on a pair of short arms disengaging the hold downs at the rear. The hood then pivots on the ends of the arms and raises vertical at the front. I got some scissor supports with gas springs from a BMW but the gas spring pressure may be too strong. Like I say, I'll post some pictures when I have something to show. I'm taking some time off before Thanksgiving and a couple weeks at Christmas so I should be able to make some good progress.


I made the upper support for the radiator last night. Finally got a chance to use the dimple dies I got from a friend in Canada. They use the same Harbor Freight pipe punch set I used for the door panels, these holes are 1.050" which is the hole size for 3/4" pipe to pass through. It will bolt into the fan shroud that is bolted solidly to the car and has rubber cushions at the ends.

Radiator support 005.jpg

Radiator support 003.jpg

Here is the website if you are interested in a set [] .

The prices are very reasonable even with shipping from Canada.

I like the pipe size set because you can use the inexpensive HF punches. Otherwise you have to buy very expensive Greenlee style standard size punches or use hole saws that are also expensive and a PITA to use.

I'm going to start on the hood soon and will be using them quite a bit on the fabricated under bracing. I have Thanksgiving week off and the 2 weeks around Christmas so I should be able to get a lot done.

Thanks for looking


Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. I didn't get as much done as I hoped (what a surprise!) because the weekend was all aboput getting all the Christmas stuff down and put up in the house. I did manage to finish the radiator baffleing and get it mounted with all the riv-nuts. In the process I managed to drop a hammer and when it bounced it put a dent in one of the radiator tubes and smashed the surrounding fins. I think I can straighten out most of the fins and I hope the tube doesn't leak. Good thing the garage door was shut so the neighbors couldn't hear me.

Radiator baffle005.jpg

Radiator baffle 002.jpg

Radiator baffle006.jpg


Merry Christmas. I have disappointingly little to report on MG progress after having a week off from work. I did get a lot of other things done but who cares. What I did accomplish is cutting and fitting a new dash insert so I can incorporate a boost gauge just above the two large instruments. The picture just shows cardboard cutouts representing the gauges because I want to look at it for a day or two to make sure the gauges are where I want them. The tachometer was sitting slightly low in the previous iteration. Gosh, I love making things twice.

dash 021.jpg


I haven't had much time to work on the car but I have managed to get the framework for the hood almost complete, the only part left is the piece of tubing that defines the front edge and follows the contour of the grille. That piece will be made from 1/2" x 1" rectangular tube and will have curve in two planes. I have it formed in the horizontal curve (fore and aft) but need to put in the vertical curvature that will follow the grille shape. I need to get the bumper in its final position and then mount the grille in its final position before I bend the tube.

The hood hinge and latch mechanism will be similar to a BMW, the front of the hood will pivot up and forward on the two arms. It has taken a ton of time to sort out the arm length and all the angles to make sure the hood clears everything while it is opening and closing. The final configuration is less than half the length that I started with. The arms are machined from aluminum and clamped to a piece of 1" diameter tubing that rotates in bronze bushings at each end. There is a stop attached attached to each arm that limits the rotation. I'll try to take a picture of the arms off the car so it will be a little clearer. When the arms reach their stops the hood then pivots on the heim joints to a vertical position and will be held up with a prop rod. It has been a PITA to make it this way but it gives great access to everything in the engine compartment.

Hood hinge 010.jpg

Hood hinge 009.jpg

Hood hinge 008.jpg

At the rear of the hood there will be rollers mounted that will engage rails in the car that will guide the hood to to the closed position and locate it to keep it from coming open. I'll try to get those made tomorrow and post some more pictures


The BMW rollers mounted to the rear of the hood frame.

Hood hinge 013.jpg

This is what the rear retainer plate looks like. It is pretty big right now and will likely get trimmed down and lightened up a bit after I finalize how I'm going to mount them.

Hood hinge 015.jpg

As the hood is tipped down from vertical the wheel engages the track. As the front hinge is rotated rearward the wheel rolls back into the slot and the rear of the hood is lowered and locked into position. The front hood latch will be mounted horizontally rather than vertically since the motion of the hood is horizontal at the point of full closure.
Hood hinge 016.jpg

March 3, 2013

How to ruin a perfectly fine day. I started out to remove the engine and trans and all was going well when I noticed the windshield. The lower coner on the drivers side has developed a crack. I'm not sure why it happened but that really takes the wind out of your sails.

Windshield 138.jpg

I'm going to complete the fitting of the windshield and the powdercoating of the frame with this glass since I don't have to worry about cracking it now. I'll cut another windshield after the car is painted and I'm ready to install the windshield for good. Good thing I have the glass cutting process down so I should be able to cut a new piece of glass in a day's work.

I had to take the engine out to drill the holes for the nutserts that hold the rear hood retainers. Once those are mounted I can finish the frame and form the skin for the hood. If all goes well the engine will only go back in the car one more time.

April 2, 2013

I'm finally retired - Hooray!!! As long as I attend to the domestic chores around the house I have 7 hours a day, 5 days a week to work on the car. My wife says she is going to work another 2-3 years - that remains to be seen.

I took the engine and trans out so I have some room. I made some 1/2" spacer brackets for the rear hood catches so they line up with the rollers. I attached them to the body with nutserts and milled slots in the brackets so they will adjust forward and back. The hood catch bolts to the spacer bracket and the rear mount is slotted so it can adjust up and down.

Hood latch 002.jpg

I spent a couple hours tweaking the curvature of the hood frame tubes so they match the fenders. Very labor intensive and boring but necessary. I mounted the front bumper and I hope to get the grille permanently attached tomorrow so I can fit the tube that will form the front edge of the hood.

Posts should be coming more regularly now that I have some time. I could learn to like this retirement thing.

April 9, 2013

I actually got quite a bit done today but my camera is dying a slow death. All the pictures I took are black in half the frame except this one. I assembled all the coilovers with the springs and bump stops (the red things just onder the top spring retainer).

Hood latch 010.jpg

What was in the pictures that didn't come out was the grille mounted and the tube that forms the front edge of the hood bent and welded in place with a perfect 1/4" gap between it and the grille. I left a 1/4" gap because the .060" aluminum will wrap around the front and under the tube to close the gap down to 3/16" which should be about perfect. I also had to bend a new cross piece that the hinge pivots attach to because I couldn't raise the hood to it's full open - the straight tube would hit the top of the grille. I bent a new tube and welded it over the top of the straight tube and then cut out the center section of the straight tube. This would have been perfectly clear had the pictures turned out.

I also made some parts for the emergency brake system but I will have to wait for a new camera before I can show those. The Corvette cables were only about 2' long so I did some research on Rock Auto for ones with a similar caliper end that were longer. I found a 1995-96 Impala right rear cable that had the right end and has a 7' long housing - $16 and change for each one. The Lokar cables I looked at were $120 / set and you needed to buy some Corvette adapter clevises for another $30 to make them work. If anyone knows of a car with an emergency brake lever that mounts on top of the tunnel with the pull arm below the level of the tunnel could you PM me with the info. I currently have the stock MG lever mounted on the passenger side of the tunnel, it works fine but it is kind of a long reach because of the width of the tunnel.

Got to get a new camera so I can keep up with the progress now that I have time to work on the car.

Stay tuned.


I took a short break and borrowed my neighbor's camera this morning and snapped this quick shot. I finished cutting out the blank for the hood skin and decided to lay a stock hood on top to see the size difference. The blank is oversize in all directions by a couple inches but this sort of calibrates you on how much wider the car really is. While I had the camera I shot a picture of the front of the hood and grille showing the gap and the tube about 6" back that had to be curved to clear the grille when the hood is open.

I also found out last night that my wife gets to pick a gift from a catalog because she just had her 10th anniversary at work. As luck would have it, one of the gifts is a digital camera. Life is good.


Hood latch 012.jpg


Had a great weekend but didn't get much done on the car. On Saturday I visited a friend in Irvine and we went to the Irvine Cars and Coffee. Mike has a really nice Factory Five Datona coupe car he built and we went in that. It's great being noticed but getting my aging 6'4" frame through that rediculously small door opening and into the racing bucket seat was a sight to behold. There were people actually taking pictures of the exercise. I had never been and it is a good show with a great tunout. After that we went to a lunch Mike goes to every Saturday with a group of his friends. Among those in the group are Dan Gurney and Reeves Callaway so it was interesting conversation to say the least. It also happened to be Dan's 82nd birthday so that made it extra special for me.

So now the boring stuff about the car. About all I got done was tacking the strips of 18 ga sheet metal to the edges of the frame that the hood skin will wrap around. I still need to scribe the steel and cut it to establish the gap between the hood and fender. I'll wait to do that until the fenders are in place for the final time and the seam between the fender and cowl is welded.

Hood 004.jpg


For the past couple weeks I have been working on a bunch of little stuff, none of which is worth taking a picture of. Today I started on the front fenders. I needed to reshape the openingbecause the front tire is shifted rearward 3/4" from the stock location. Why you ask? Because there is something about the Corvette front spindles that I didn't discover until after I had made all the framework that mounts the front suspension. The Corvette spindle not only has caster but also has the axle centerline offset 3/4" to the rear of the ball joint centerline to provide additional trail and straight line stability. When I set up the front suspension I aligned the center of the lower ball joint over the old MG axle centerline - thus 3/4" front wheel offset to the rear. I also wanted to eliminate the parking light openings since the headlights I have have built in parking light/turn signals. While I was at it I flared the bottom of the opening outward to cover more of the tire tread and give the car a beefier look from the front. The picture shows the comparison before and after although you have to look close at the drivers side to see the flare, it is about 1 1/2" further out at the bottom.

Front fender 007.jpg

I'll remove the fenders to finish the welding and do the metal working to smooth them out. While the fenders are off I'm going to strip the inside and paint with epoxy primer. I'll then weld them permanently to the car so I can metal finish the seam under the windshield since the new frame I built doesn't cover it. I'll post some more pictures as I finish the fenders.


It took 6 hours yesterday to finish the drivers side lower rear fender panel. The thing that takes so long is getting an exact fit between the upper part of the fender, the strip of fender just in front of the door and the rocker panel extension. You want a really tight butt joint for welding so you don't have to try to fill gaps - that just causes you to blow holes in the metal which take a lot of weld (heat) to fill in warping the metal. The panel is also curved in two directions so if you just make a flat pattern the part will end up undersize after wheeling it into shape. So you start with the panel oversize and work the edges one at a time on the belt sander until you get a perfect fit all around. The welding you see on the top and rear edges took about an hour to do because you have to skip around to prevent local heat buildup. The small red magnets are some I picked up at Harbor Freight and they are quite powerfull. They work really well for holding the panel in place and flush with the fender for fitting and tacking. I have used them a lot more than I thought I would when I bought them.

Front fender 003.jpg

Front fender 004.jpg

Enough of my "poor me" story, at least the pattern I made for the drivers side I can use on the passenger side so that will save a little time. I'd like to have both the fenders done tomorrow - we'll see how that goes. Once I have the fenders complete and welded into the body where they will stay, I can make the final trim on the hood frame for the gaps and roll the skin. It should look like a real car once that is complete.


I sure hope the paint I put on the car sticks half as well as the stuff I tried stripping off today. After I finished the passenger side fender I tried stripping the paint fron the top portion of the fenders. After 2 sessions with the stripper I still had a pretty much intact grey primer layer remaining. I think I'll attack it with 80 grit tomorrow. The fenders were not original to the car due to the crash in the early 80's so uncovering the layers was quite interesting. The drivers fender was originally the reddish maroon MG color later painted with resale red. The passenger fender was also originally the same maroon color but had a life as yellow, turquoise and finally brown. All the respray layers were well applied and had terrific adhesion.

BTW, both fenders match really well and the passenger side took less than 4 hours so I must be getting better. Even monkeys can learn. I'm going to get some epoxy primer tomorrow and shoot the insides of the fenders since I won't be able to get at them after they are welded in. It is actually starting to look like a car - and I like it!

Front fender 014.jpg


I got the front fenders epoxy primed on the inside as well as the parts of the car that I can't get at after the fenders are welded on. The fenders are welded on at the top seam that used to have the bead and at the bottom where they join the rocker panel. I also spent some time in the last few days adjusting door gaps - not very glamorous but it makes the finished product look a lot nicer. It took me two days of cutting and fitting to do the passenger side lower valence panel with a couple scrap pieces to get it where I think it looks good. I had the assembly on and off the car numerous times in the process. The cutout at the top is to clear the end of the bumper and I still need to make a recessed fill piece to go in there. The lower rear corner radius was another hour and a half with masking tape until it looked right. The return at the wheel well edge is a separate piece that was welded on.

Front valence 002.jpg

Now I have make a mirror image piece for the drivers side and get it welded in. Should go quicker since I can take a pattern off the passenger side and reverse it.


I just finished the front valence / undertray / radiator mount / bumper mount / upper and lower grille mount / power steering cooler mount. It is the most complex part on the car and probably represents over 100 hours of work to make everything fit and look right and be symmetrical (at least to my eye). I made the sides of the undertray out of aluminum since the structure was starting to get a little heavy at 30 lbs. I wish now I had made the whole thing out of aluminum but it wouldn't have been as strong and bump / scrape resistant as the steel is.

Front valence 003.jpg

Front valence 004.jpg

I put everything back on the car for one final fit before I epoxy prime everything. The lower grille is made from 1/4" x 1/2" aluminum that I rolled to the same contour as the lower edge of the valence at the radiator opening. I used a Harbor Freight ring roller with dies for rolling 1/2" square tubing. The dies were only $24 with a 20% coupon - I couldn't have bought the steel to make them for that. With two of the bars sandwiched together they fit in the groove perfectly and they both came out exactly the same. I used 1 x 2 furring strips which are actually 3/4" thick to space the bars apart for welding. While I had the stack clamped together I also milled a 1/4" droove about 3/16" deep in the center for a support. The center support and 1/8" thick ends were TIG welded together. I will be painting the grille bars satin black which should look good against the red paint and will also match the stock MGB upper grille bars that will be satin black as well ( I'll have to use 2 sets of upper bars). The lower grille is only 4 bars high to leave room for the power steering cooler to mount behind the bumper. The 24" long cooler is a automatic trans cooler for hot rods that is designed to fit inside a channel frame rail.

Front valence 007.jpg

Front valence 006.jpg

Front valence 010.jpg

Front valence 011.jpg

Front valence 016.jpg

Because the valence ended up 1 1/2" wider per side than I originally planned on the ends of the bumper now sat inside the sheetmetal. I made two quick and dirty hammerforms to make 20 ga recesses to match the shape of the ends of the bumper out of some scrap wood. about 30 minutes per side of trimming the valence sheetmetal and the recess parts and they were ready to weld in. Gives the bumpers a nice "tucked in" look.

Front valence 005.jpg

I rolled the car out to clean the garage and take a couple shots of it on the ground. The front wheel is now nicely centered in the new opening.

On the ground 061.jpg

The car has a nice "husky" look to it.

On the ground 064.jpg

After Memorial Day weekend, I need to gather 2 or 3 friends and attack the hood. It is a big, unwieldy piece of aluminum that needs a lot of hands to form in the english wheel and to tip the edges. More to come.


Disaster struck today. I had two friends over to help manage the panel as I ran it through the english wheel. All was going well and the curvature was raising nicely but I noticed that the edges needed to be shrunk. I tried my hand shrinker but it would not go deeply enough into the panel so I broke out the reciprocating machine with thumbnail shrinking dies I built a few years ago and had a go. What I should have done is practice with some scrap to make sure it was working properly. Of course I didn't do that, and I discovered that instead of shrinking the edge it stretched it - A LOT! I hope I can salvage the panel. If I can't, I hope the metal dealer I got it from still has the other half of the 5' x 10' sheet I got it from. 5' wide material isn't that easy to come by. I knew I should have bought both pieces to ensure the first one would come out perfect.

hood shrink 001.jpg

hood shrink 002.jpg


I have been working on 3 things that have been bugging me but I haven't devoted the time to fix.

First the decklid - it never fit very well when the body was stock. The edges never layed down next to the fender and the gap wasn't consistent and adding 11 1/2" to the width didn't make it any better. I previously had made the filler piece for the skin and had it tacked in place but the whole thing wasn't very stable. I started making the inner structure of the deck lid. I spent about 3 hours stripping the layers of paint, primer and bondo until I reached bare metal on the inside and outside - terrible job! Then began the process of forming the pieces to join the deck lid frame together spanning the 11 1/2" gap. It was terribly time consuming because the hat sections had to curve to match the curvature of the skin and they also had a cute little 1/4" 45* return formed along the inner edge. Once formed then came the job of tacking them in place and trial fitting the lid in the opening to make sure all the contours matched the body. I can't count the number of times I had the lid on and off the car. After it was all welded up it -of course- didn't fit again so began the less than elegant process of beating it with a large hammer and a 2x4. I'm sure the neighbors love me but after several hours it now fits pretty well. It also took a 3/16" spacer between the hinge and decklid to raise it up level with the body.

Trunk lid 002.jpg

Trunk lid 003.jpg

Trunk lid 004.jpg

With the decklid attached it was time to install the gas springs I got from Rick Ingram (Pieces of Eight)a while back. I followed his measurements for a stock vehicle but since my lid weighs 25 lbs vs about 21 lbs for a stocker, I moved the attachment points about 1/2" to the rear to give the spring a little more leverage. It works perfectly! Thanks Rick.

Trunk lid 006.jpg

The next thing was the gas spring to make the hood rock forward on the hinge when the hood release is pulled. I need that because I can't get my fingers under the nose of the hood if it doesn't move forward away from the top of the grille. I have some small 25 lb gas springs and I originally mounted one on each side parallel to the groung and it did push the hood forward. The problem was it took so much force to push it back to the latch I was afraid that it would leave dents in the front edge of the hood. I tried it with one of the springs removed but it didn't have enough push to get it moving. I then lowered the mounting point on the car so that it was pushing at a right angle to the arm, it was almost strong enough but not quite.

Trunk lid 007.jpg

I then put a compression spring on the shaft of the spring so that it compressed in the last 3/4" of travel before it latched. Ta da! it worked.

Trunk lid 012.jpg

Just to give it a little margin I redesigned the brackets at the firewall so that it was more of a straight pull instead of the roller having to climb a 45* ramp when the latch is released.

Trunk lid 016.jpg

I also made a fixture that I can clamp the aluminum skin to for the next attempt at wheeling a hood skin. I'm taking Lloyd's advise and prebending the front to rear curvature before I start and then will clamp the skin to the frame and hopefully keep the edges under control.

Trunk lid 014.jpg

Next is seeing whether I get to buy yet another sheet of aluminum for a hood skin or if success finally arrives.


I got the trunk latch today from Sachse Rod Parts in Texas. It's a slick unit that mounts to a horizontal surface and has the control cable underneath. I cut a slot in the hump that covers the muffler in the trunk and attached it with a couple 1/4" rivnuts. The cable is the old hood release from the MG and it is just the right length, doesn't have a plastic coating on the housing (it runs right next to the muffler) and it has a B on the knob - for boot of course. The pull is up high on the bulkhead between the passenger compartment and the trunk (boot). More original MGB content for the project.

Trunk latch 3.jpg

Trunk latch.jpg

Trunk latch1.jpg

I made a coolant recovery tank, it holds about 1.3 quarts. I TIG'd the top and bottom onto the square tube but since I can't make the pretty stack of dimes beads, I just sanded down the welds. Only had two pinhole leaks - not bad for me. The tank will attach to the fan shroud but I have to wait until I take all the radiator sheetmetal out to be able to drill the holes in the shroud for the rivnuts. The clear tubing is for a coffee urn type of level gauge. There will be an overflow tube at the top where the black dot is and the bottom is tapped for the entry point from the pressure cap.

Recovery tank.jpg

That's it for today.


Here's the striker part of the trunk latch. I had to cut and weld it at an angle to mount it.

Trunk latch3.jpg


The car is back on the rotisserie for the final few things left under the car - e brake, finishing the dash, final fitting of the windshield, making the floorboards and installing the reservoir for the alcohol/water injection that will (hopefully) keep the 11:1 compression engine alive with the blower.

Today was e brake day. The '88 and later C4 Corvette brakes work the e brake by mechanically clamping the regular brake pads to the rotor. The Corvette cables were way too short so I looked around for some GM cables that had the same end on the caliper but were longer. I didn't care about the other end since I was going to cut them to length anyway. Thanks to Rock Auto for publishing the length in the description and having a good picture of both ends of the cable. What I found was a '95 Impala cable with the right end and a length twice what I needed and they were only $16 each delivered from Amazon.

I had previously mounted the stock MGB e brake lever on the passenger side of the tunnel in the original location but with the wider tunnel it was too much of a reach to be able to do handbrake turns. I moved the assembly to the drivers side of the tunnel just behind where the shifter will be and it is much more comfortable now. I have a flyoff pawl in it so it will be perfect for the tight turns in the autocross.

e brake 6.jpg

The cable housings end in an adjustable bracket at the rear of the trans tunnel, the bracket allows each cable length to be changed separately. The cables extend forward to a yoke block that pulls both cables when the lever is pulled. The center of the block is threaded 5/16-24 so the clevis with thread into it providing another adjustment which adjusts both cables simultaneously. The arm on the lever is fabricated and welded to the lever since it has to come out on the opposite side than it did originally.

e brake 3.jpg

e brake 4.jpg

The spring you see going to the rear is to maintain tension on the lever and hold it in the down position so it doesn't rattle.

e brake 8.jpg

You gotta love the brakes. 12" vented rotors in the back - and those are the small ones. The fronts are 13" diameter and 1.1" thick with 2 piston floating calipers.


I needed to make the trunk lid pop up out of the latch when the release was pulled so I added a spring on a stand that compresses when the lid is pushed shup. Works like a charm and raises the lid about 1/2" when you pull the release handle. Simple and doesn't stick up very much.

Trunk latch4.jpg

I tried to get the water/methanol tank installed through the shelf behind the drivers seat. I need water/meth injection to hopefully keep the 11:1 compression engine alive with the supercharger. After cutting the hole I found that I can't get the tank in from the top because of the 7" I added to make the cockpit look more roadster like.

Water meth tank.jpg

The only alternative I have is to make a section of a structural member under the tank removable and the tank install from underneath. If I do it right the structural integrity shouldn't be compromised. I'll post some pictures of how I do it but this weekend we are having record setting high temperatures and I don't feel like being in a welding helmet.

Water meth tank 1.jpg


Been working on finishing a lot of details so I can paint the underside and interior of the car and start assembling. Most of it is finish welding joints that were tacked together so it doesn't make for very interesting pictures. Everything is off the car that can come off except the door hinges. I made the removable section of the frame support I talked about last time. The holes through the rectangular tube are reinforced with welded in tubes to keep it from crushing when the bolts are tightened. The 3.5 gallon tank now slips in from the bottom and has aluminum brackets that hold it in place. I will use some small rubber U channel on the sheetmetal around the hole to seal everything up when it goes back together for the final time. I have the 250 psi pump on order that will spray the water/methanol mixture into the intake. It will mount to the structure right next to the water tank.

Prepaint (5).JPG

Prepaint (7).JPG

I cut rough blanks for the floorboards out of 18 ga and now I need to lay out the pattern for the reinforcing beads. To do that I have to have the seat tracks mounted to the seats. It appears that the Corvette seats are mounted on a 9 degree angle with the front being higher so I have to make some ramp-like structures that the tracks will bolt to. I guess that's a good thing since the seat will then also rise as it goes forward and give a better driving position for shorter drivers. For me at 6'4" I want to be sitting as low as possible in the car so I may make some recesses that will allow the seat to be as low as possible in the rearmost position. The floorboards in the car are only 5 1/2" off the ground.

Prepaint (8).JPG

I added a small reverse bend to the lower edge of the rear valence panel and it sets off the body line much better now. Unfortunately, the picture didn't come out well enough to show it so I'll have to take another one and post it. I'll also take a picture of the handheld tipping wheel I made to produce the bend - it works pretty slick.


I took another picture of the rear valence and the bend shows up a little better.

rear pan 006.jpg

This is the tool I made to bend the flange. I used a vice grip and welded on a lower shaft that takes a skateboard wheel with bronze bushings pressed into the center. The upper has a steel bushing welded on that has an axle mounted tipping wheel with a hex drive so I can turn it with a ratchet. The tipping wheel pushes the sheetmetal down into the skateboard wheel and forms a sharp bend. I did it in two passes with more pressure on the 2nd pass. Straightened up the edge with a hammer and dolly afterward.
Hand tipping wheel.jpg


I got the 250 psi pump that powers the water/methanol injection so I made a bracket to mount it. It is a fairly heavy pump so I made the bracket out of .090" aluminum and put several holes in it so cooling air can circulate, the pump draws 10 amps so I don't want it to overheat. I will also attach a relay to the bracket to run the pump.

Water meth pump bracket.jpg

Water meth tank 2.jpg

Water meth pump bracket1.jpg

I also started on the floorboards today and will post some pictures when I get further along.


I made the floorboard for the drivers side. It is 18 ga with some beads rolled in to stiffen it up. I ended up making it in 2 pieces that join just in front of the seat mounts with a stepped lap joint so the bottom stays flat. They attach to the car with plug welds every inch on the inner and outer rails then they extend clear to the pinch weld where the outside edge is also welded. I wanted them secure since that piece of 18 ga is all that is between my butt and the road 5 1/2" away. The seats sit very low in the car.


Floorboards 2.jpg

Floorboards 3.jpg

Floorboards 7.jpg

I'm going to be using 84-87 C4 Corvette seats that I got from Lloyd Faust - they are really comfortable and don't weigh much of anything at all. The front needs to be hogher than the rear so I made some wedges out of a 2x4 and kept trimming them until the front bolster felt right under my thighs - turned out to be 9 degrees. I cut some mounting stands from a piece of 2x3 rectangular tubing. Originally I welded the stands directly to the floorboards along with a 3/4x1 1/2" piece of tubing to reinforce the mount but it warped them badly. I cut out the stands and reinforcing tube along with a 3/4" flange from the floorboard. That is when the decision to kake it in 2 pieces came in.

Floorboards 4.jpg

Floorboards 6.jpg

I remade the rear half and spot welded the seat mount structure to it, this also allowed me to make a bead pattern in the new rear half. Three of the beads extend under the square tube at the rear to provide drains in case the cockpit gets full of water. I am only making the drivers seat adjustable and the tracks are mounted at the 9 degree angle so when the seat is slid forward, it will also raise up. It will rise about 2" over the full adjustment range. Besides the tube at the front, I also added some braces at the rear of the seat mount that attach to the tunnel. The seat mounting is VERY secure. When I finish the passengers side I will epoxy prime everything and fill the seams with seam sealer. When I get the floorboards done I want to weigh the monocoque and see how it compares to a stock MGB. Anybody know what a stock MGB monocoque weight?

7/26 2013

Here they are, both floorboards done. I should count up how many plug welds I did to get them in but I don't really care - it was hundreds. The dark spots you see are temperature marks from the shrinking disc I used to tighten up a couple small oil cans in the metal.

floorboards 002.JPG

The car is really flat on the bottom which I hope will reduce turbulence under the car and reduce lift, the faster air moves the lower the pressure. Bernouli or Pascal or one of those other guys figured that out a long time ago.

floorboards 001.JPG

Just have to weld up a couple openings in the body work and it is ready for a coat of epoxy primer.


As promised, here is the epoxy primer. I wanted to do the whole car but I was too cheap and only bought one quart. That's OK though because after I got done and looked at it, there are a couple things that still need to be welded. It's such a pain to set up the garage to paint that the next time I'll probably epoxy prime the outside of the body and then shoot the red on the rest. A little overspray on the primer won't hurt anything because I have so much bodywork to do.

Why does beer taste so good after you have been painting?

primer 1.jpg



After a couple days of frustrating work the front suspension arms are together with new poly bushings, grease fittings to (hopefully) prevent them from squeaking. I'm using a really sticky, nasty green -marine grease that was recommended by the company I got the swaybar for my motorhome from. it has been on for 10 years and no squeaking yet. The product is called Aqua Lube and you can find it online. I got some of the marine grease from Walmart and it nothing close to how sticky this stuff is.

I was surprised how much stiction there is in the bushings but that should get better as they bed in with use. I used #3 steel wool and brake cleaner to clean up the aluminum and it came out pretty nice. I'm putting new hubs on all around, the ball joints were in good shape so just new boots for those.

Poly bushings (8).jpg

I have to get some body filler and do some smoothing out in the engine compartment and then I will shoot the interior, trunk, underside and engine compartment with the Southern Polyurethanes red and start putting the car together for the final (maybe) time.

Since I have to remake the windshield, I have also been thinking about building the bottom channel for the windshield glass into the cowl to give a larger glass area since I will be sitting so low in the car. Have to see how much hassle it will be to do.


I found out why there was so much stiction in the top A arms after putting in the poly bushings. Lesson for the day - Pay attention to the way parts are oriented when you take them apart. You can see in this picture that the inside washer is dished and the convex side is toward the bushing. It fits nicely into a concave recess in the end of the bushing. That's not how I put it togethet the first time, I had that washer reversed so that the outer edge was cutting into the bushing and it reduced the amount of room available for the bushing to reside.

Poly bushings (9).JPG

After drilling out the bushings and getting new bushings and sleeves from Prothane, I found it went together much better and the stiction was greatly reduced. Two days work down the drain.

I got some seam sealer and went ober all the joints in the car and sealed them all up. I tried not get the stuff everywhere with moderate success. After that I shot some stone guard into the wheelwells. The stuff gets applied with an undercoating gun that splatters the material and gives a nice uniform texture. I will paint red over the top of it so it should have a factory look to it. I also masked off the support structure on the inside of the trunk lid and shot the stone guard on the inner side of the skin. Main reason was to cover up the metalworking sins of widening it so I don't have to do a ton of bodywork on the inside. The support structure will be smooth and the skin textured - should look good.

Seam sealer.JPG

Stone guard (3).JPG

Stone guard (2).JPG

I don't think I will be able to extend the windshield glass down to the cowl because there isn't enough glass available in the '67 Impala windshield. You can see how the bottom cut comes almost the the bottom of the Impala glass.

Windshield 124.jpg

I'm at my 100 picture limit again so I guess the next installment will have to be in Part 4

Edited 58 time(s). Last edit at 03/15/2018 04:17PM by Jim Stabe.

Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4577 posts)

10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

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Re: Jim Stabe's Wide Body LT1 Powered MGB "Part 3"
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Date: March 10, 2022 03:21AM


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