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After the Covid affected 2020, it was about February 2021 before I managed to muster the enthusiasm and the time to return to the car. A new WoF/MoT was sorted, the annual registration paid, so back on the road again, legally. As before - and for the last few years(!), attention returned to the fibreglass bonnet and boot (hood and trunk for the American followers). 


A return to trying to sort out the bonnet wasn't exactly something that inspired enthusiasm, it was more of a chore as progress had been so slow. I wasn't too happy with the locating of the removable panels, but after lot of thought, I hit on a method of holding the centre edges more securely and also tidy that central spine. Unlike those with metalworking expertise, I have to rely on fibreglass, wood and in this case, plastic, to achieve what I wanted. The solution was to use plastic strip, normally used in a household environment for locating the edge of cladding panels.

I then acquired a strip and cut two pieces to length, then cut down the width one down so that when butted together, they formed a new central spine, when glued and riveted to a strip of thin ply. Then it was a case of working out the fitment method so that the spine could be removed, without also removing the radiator grille and surround.  Access for maintenance or even engine removal is an important consideration.       

Work also continued on trying to match the panels to the fibreglass front panel, getting a decent close fit not just with the panel gap but also the contours. Fiddly work and still not complete, but the system works OK as far as the bonnet staying in place when on the move. What complicated this was slanting the radiator grille and surropund, back just a few millimetres, but this obviously changed the contours of the join!

A captive ferrule was incorporated into the top of the ply/plastic mix at the front and the centre panel can then be bolted from the underside - the photograph merely shows the location. Two bolts were also countersunk, on either side into a small panel that is part of the under-structure to form additional location.  These were skimmed over with fibreglass so from the top, the location attachments are invisible.

After some time messing about with the bonnet, my attention moved to the boot lid.


The original boot lid had been used to provide the basis for a thin skin of fibreglass, which was then reinforced, but neither the lower edge nor the right side had a lip of any sort, making the lid flimsy and I also needed to finish the bottom and sort out the locking and the number plate recess.

Once again, household plastic strip was used to form the base of the lid and this should also act as a drip rail. Edging strip was also affixed to the number plate opening, but the recessed plate design wasn't exactly working as I expected, An ex Riley Elf boot lock and exterior handle also needed properly locating. A previous attempt hadn't worked too well, but a flash of inspiration was that if I left the number-plate off, I had access to the boot interior to check out the locking mechanism and the location.

I mounted a couple of spacer blocks and glassed them in, with bolts from the outside, but somehow or other, I was a bit careless with the fibreglass resin, as when it came time to remove the bolts from the outside, they were stuck fast! it didn't matter what I tried, I couldn't shift them, so I had no alternative but to grind off the head and then skim over them, meaning nuts on the inside rather than bolts!

No big deal I suppose, but not the original plan. Before refitting the boot lid to the car to set the lock, I had to sort out the number plate recess. The aluminium framework ideally should be welded, but I no longer had access to a friendly welder as By'Gone Autos just down the road, who had started the project, closed (owner retired) and my other fabricator, has moved three hours north, so a quick rivet job had to do.

MG Magnette V8

I also had to put a lip on the right hand edge edge of the boot panel so I took a 2 layer, 5cm/2" mould off the original metal lid after a coat of 'Mold Release' wax was applied and just one layer wrapped around to form the lip.  This was reinforced later to give the lip some strength and thickness. Slow work but steady progress. This also made the lid so much stronger. Unfortunately, as this was done off the car, the bottom right corner doesn't sit as flush as it should, so more remedial surgery required.

MG Magnette V8

On a positive note, I was able to get the locking mechanism to work properly.

Whilst this was all going on, I was also diverted to the boot/trunk interior where I had built a tool box with proper location for the trolley jack, wheel brace, small tools, a set of screwdrivers - even a kitchen roll and a fuel transfer syphon hose.   


Onto the base, a strip of LED white lights had been attached, to illuminate the plate which is mounted above.  Above that, a strip of perspex. 




To be continued