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Dan Wilson
Colorado Springs
(14 posts)

06/01/2010 10:09PM

Main British Car:
1959 Bugeye Sprite, 50's MG Special Toyota 2-TC 1600cc, MGB 1800

50's Period MG special, part 3
Posted by: ToyBug
Date: November 20, 2018 09:30PM

Welcome back to this ongoing project. It's now late November, 2018, and I have been working diligently towards the end. Parts 1 and 2 show the project from the inception, and stretch over six years of on and off work. Now that the motor is off to the wizard, Dave Headley, in Cortez, Colorado, it behooves me to get this thing done. Done is, of course, a funny word. Those of you who have built bikes, cars and airplanes, maybe a boat here and there will understand.
I'll start off the photos here with a car that I found in a German auto magazine some years ago that has served as an inspiration to me on this project.
Dargen MG-TC Spl .600.jpg
This is the Dargen MG-TC Special. To me, this car is a perfect example of the homebuilt MG special. Others that served to inspire me over the years are the Ken Miles R1 and R2, the Bud Hand MG Special, and the Cooper-MG. I saw the Miles and Hand cars on race tracks in California in the mid 50's, and have dreamed about them ever since.

My car is not meant to be a copy of any particular car, just my interpretation of an MG Special.
My car has been up on a build table, then on jackstands, and only a few weeks ago was I able to actually sit it down on it's own wheels. I'm happy to report that I like how it's turning out. That result is not always a given when working in a shop just big enough to move around the car, as long as you are skinny...
front end on the ground.jpg
left rear.600.jpg
After setting the car down, I turned it 180 degrees in order to work on the back end. The above photo shows the alloy panels that make up the bodywork. The smaller panel behind the rear wheel can be removed to access the suspension. The same panel comes off the other side as well. All the rest will be riveted in place once all the fitting is done, and they are primed.
The last week has been spent beginning to adapt the 1950 MG-TD rear fenders.
right rear fender 11.20.jpg
I made up a recessed box "the soap dish" to accept the fuel filler cap. It's steel, and primed red for now. I can access the rubber hose that connects the cap with the tank through the removable lower alloy panel.
right rear 11.20.jpg
The steel panel that fits between the fender and the body has been an adventure. Never quite sure whether to shrink, to stretch, or to wheel. It is getting close, though. I am thinking that I will roll a step into either my panel or the fender, lap the parts over and spot weld, rather than trying to butt weld and be able to have a fair curve. Making the other side to match will really be a challenge.
right rear fender fairing 11.20.jpg
8th of December, and the right hand rear quarter is coming along, slowly but surely.
8 december 1.jpg
In this photo, you can see the bare body panels. All will have to come off one more time to get cleaned and primed inside before being pop riveted back in place. The rectangular panel behind the rear axle will be removeable, as will the same panel on the left side. Both allow access to the rear coilovers and other gubbins hidden inside. The irregular oval cutout is to clear the passenger side shoulder belt retraction gear. I had envisioned a nice alloy bump cover for it, and so it was, only it turned out to be hidden under the fender...
8 december 2.jpg
Best laid plans etc....Ten of the twelve bolt holes where the fender flange bolts to the car are seen here in an arc. Two more will be following the same line into the rectangular panel. Twelve 1/4" bolts and one 5/16" to the little lower rear outrigger ought to be sufficient...
8 december 3.jpg
The black parts are 1950 MG-TD, and the transition panels are in three pieces, formed to shape in the English wheel. I rolled a step into the edge of the MG fender to accept the transition pieces, and spot welded them where I could reach. I am pretty happy with the shape, and think it will all look of a piece with the application of a little filler. I'm very happy with how the "shoulder" of the body and the fender all come together, almost like it was intended to look like that...beginners' luck I'm thinking.
8 december 4.jpg
8 december 5.jpg
8 december 7.jpg
Here you can see the '30 Ford taillight mounted in place of the MG lights. If you look close, you may see a small alloy bracket held to the rear body with clecos. This is to mount a rear fog light. An identical mount will sit on the left side for a backup lamp. Both will be just underneath the rear "nerf" bar, which bolts into place under the rear fender mount. I had built in a hard point to the frame for this purpose.
8 december 8.jpg
This view shows how the fender looks from the cockpit. The top line of the fender is just higher than the rear decking....makes the car look lower yet...
8 december 9.jpg
8 december 10.jpg
In the above two pix, the rear wheel is jacked up to approximate ride height to get an idea of how it will look on the ground. Happy with that look as well.
Mid January, not much progress due to the Holidays, travel and getting over the flu. If there is one thing I am good at, it's excuses....
I have been working on the left rear fender transition and think it may turn out ok. When I shaped the right side pieces, I did not take notes, just bashed at it until it looked right. trying to repeat that lucky performance in mirror image is not as easy.
I have heard from Dave Headley that my "hotrod" motor is ready to come home. While I'm not ready to bolt that one in until I have been able to do a little road testing with the stock motor, it will be nice to have the new motor here to drool over.

These photos show the trick LS based rockers that are part of my new engine. The advantage is better geometry allowing improved valve movement over what the cam is offering. Said another way, a milder cam can be used for the equivalent lift and durations. The installation includes an external pressure oil supply to the rockers. Not inexpensive, but I'm hoping that it will be a marked improvement over the stock MGB bits. I have seen too many BMC engines with severe wear patterns within the valve train to be happy with.
Fab-Tek rockers 1.jpg
Fab-Tek rockers 2.jpg
Fab-tek rockers 3.jpg
I'll have more on the motor pretty soon. It was built for reliability, and a broad torque curve, not for high rpm maximum power.
The basic specs are plus .060 bore with J&E pistons for 1868 cc. Forged rods, the LS rocker setup and a cam chosen for the mid range torque character desired. Larger valves in a Dave Headley 80/20 head prep. Balanced throughout. It will get my lightened flywheel when it goes into the car. That started as an MGB, and was turned down in diameter to have a 300zx ring gear fitted, further lightened to about 13# and balanced. An MGB clutch pressure plate traps a Nissan clutch disc.
Intake will consist of a Cannon 801 long manifold with a weber DCOE 45 carb. Air cleaner undecided as yet, but probably either a K&N or ITG foam. Ignition by a Schlemmer modified 25D distributor.
I am guessing at about 120 bhp. That should be plenty for a 1600# street driven car. My Toyota powered Bugeye has less than that and is a handful. Maybe I'm getting old...
I just talked to Dave at Fab-Tek, and he mentioned that my engine is the subject of a thread on the MGExperience Performance forum.
Above, I related that the engine was at .060" over, but that was in error. It is .070" over, for a 1879.9 cc nominal displacement. Call it 1880. Sounds better...
At the moment, I'm recovering from a minor surgery, so that's my excuse for no progress on the car....
If anyone has comments or questions, I can be reached at jbrwky64atgmaildotcom
I just received a single 16" Kirkey Classic Roadster seat and upholstery from Speedway, and did a quick test fitting. First, I test-fitted my behind to the seat.....JUST fits. The the seat into the car....ALMOST. I bit of massage with a hammer and it JUST fits. Funny how those extra inches can just fade away...
It also turns out that for me, the seat is going to have to stay almost all the way to the rear of the Miata slide travel. Shorter drivers will be able to adjust the seat forward. The same seat will NOT it on the passenger side as the MGB emergency brake lever intrudes on the width needed. I may be able to move the brake lever in a bit and save some fraction of an inch. I will look at fabricating a new lever out of flat stock with the release rod inline with the lever to save space. After all that, I will still probably have to cut away some of the seat side and make a new section that can be riveted in to clear the lever.
A few pix:

drivers seat 1.jpg

drivers seat 2.jpg

drivers seat 3.jpg

drivers seat 4.jpg
In this last photo, the drivers' side door frame is in place. Yet to be skinned.
Sitting in the seat appears to be comfortable. Some additional padding will have to be added in the bottom, but I am liking the look and think it will work pretty well. I think these seats have been used a lot in Cobra kit cars.
Hoping that my hand will get healed up soon so I can get back to the meantime, I have designed the rear muffler and pipe mount and have the u-bend sections to make up a turn-out/down tip as well. I had planned to rout the pipe behind the left rear wheel, but again, we are dealing with fractions of an inch that seem to be elusive. The left fender sections are pretty close to be able to be spot welded together, but they will have to wait a bit.
Over the last few days, I made up the exhaust turnout, cut and fitted from a 2-1/4" header u-bend, and the rear mount. Looks like this...
exhaust 1.jpg
The rear mount comprises an .062" stainless wrap around which bolts to two 1" diameter rubber mounts, commonly called "Lord" mounts in some circles. These have a 5/16"-18 stud on one end and the same size threaded socket on the other. They bolt into an angle plate cut from a section of 2x2 x 3/16 aluminum angle. The angle in turn will get bolted into threaded inserts through the body panel and into the lower frame tubing, which is 1-1/2 x 3 at that point.
exhaust hanger  from above.jpg
exhaust hanger from below.jpg
exhaust pipe.jpg
exhaust pipe 2.jpg
I have a few welds to touchup where I had to pie cut the header in order to gain clearance, need to add the lower front connector tabs, a dab of black paint on all but the stainless rear mount wrap, and the exhaust is done. .and the threaded inserts into the frame....always something.
March First, the midst of the Covid-19 panicdemic.
Health and personal issues have precluded any work being accomplished on the MG until now. Managed to get out in the shop and dust it off and see what can be done. Started to finish up the hood/bonnet, and have the center section all fitted. It plugs into two sockets at the radiator hoop, and locks into two more sockets located on the firewall with sprung plungers sourced from the local salvage shop. Measured up and drew patterns for the hood/bonnet sides, which will hinge upwards and found to my amazement that they are substantially the same size and shape. The left side will be made up to clear the SU carbs for testing,
and a second panel will be made to cover the Weber on the tricky motor. The alloy piano hinge pins can be removed quite easily, so the panel can be exchanged when needed.
After having fitted both seats, I found that the passenger side instrument panel is a bit too low, so that and the center dash panels will be remade. Pictures tomorrow.
bonnet center section.JPG
This is the center section of the bonnet in place. It pegs into two Delrin sockets attached to the top radiator mounting, seen here:
bonnet front mount.JPG
The rubber grommet in the center is the top mount for the radiator itself, while the bonnet pegs into the two black blocks on either side. The rear of the bonnet center panel plugs into two receptacles bolted to the firewall, which are adjustable up and down a little to adjust the fit. The bonnet pegs are spring loaded as seen in the next picture.
bonnet rear mount.JPG
100_683bonnet rear latches.JPG
Each side panel will hinge to the center and be held down with latches along the lower edges. The entire bonnet assembly can be removed quickly by pulling the two spring loaded pins, lifting an inch or so and pulling to the rear by an inch to release the front pegs.
first test fit of left bonnet.JPG
As you can see, the front curvature is not correct and does not lay down nicely just yet. It will....I have hammers....big ones....

Edited 9 time(s). Last edit at 04/03/2020 07:37PM by ToyBug.

Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4578 posts)

10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: 50's Period MG special, part 3
Posted by: Moderator
Date: April 03, 2020 05:16PM


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