This isn't a total record of the rebuild of my 1978, just needing trim to finish, MGB. It is also not a
great example of web design, sorry. Rather it is a vague collection of pictures and comments just
to show friends what I am up to. If anyone wants more details of anything please email me at
jansens @ this domain

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Click here for pictures of the fly away style handbrake.

March 2004

1978 MGB as bought. Originally a US car it has been converted to RHD.
It has some weird Americanisms such as three wipers, way too many idiot lights, twin
cooling fans, extra side lights and wiring from hell for all the 'safety' devices.
All the engine emissions control rubbish was already removed when I got the car. It is
fitted with twin SU HIF carbs and a 25D distributor. The general plan is to lose the bumpers,
fit Sebring front and rear valences and change the wire wheels over for period 15 inch
Minilite wheels. I will also return the ride height to pre RB heights.

April 2004

The car in my carport as I stripped it down. Also my garage full of bits and a tired old engine.
Pulling them apart is amazingly easy. They take a bit longer to put back together however. The
shell is in my carport for now meaning I can only work on it when the weather is good. The
plan is to tidy up the engine bay and repaint that myself in body colour (probably a dark BRG)
myself. Then I can get the engine back in and winch the car into my garage to finish the rest.
Later I will get the rest of the car professionally painted.

May 2004

Some of the dodgy things done to the car to convert to RHD that I have fixed.
The pod where the steering passes through the firewall was a total mess so
I chopped it out and welded in a new one from another car. Inside the car the
mounting bracket for the steering column was welded into the car instead of
being bolted in. I am going to cut that out and bolt in a replacement.

The hole where the pedals pass through was just cut out of the bulkhead.
The proper hole should have rolled edges. I ended up cutting the hole(!)
from the LH side and welding it into the right. On the left I simply
patched the old holes over.

I have also fixed some minor rust in the sills and floors. The car is actually
very rust free and solid.

July 2004

Since the car is such a Frankenstein's monster I decided I didn't have to be original
and I can do a little bit of customising. The rubber bumpers (which weight 20kg each)
had to go and I am going to fit Sebring fairings instead. You need to chop away the
old front bumper mounts. This is just undoing the changes they made to keep the
septics happy.

August 2004

When you lose the rubber bumpers you have to fit a new grille. I decided to do
something a little different and fitted stainless steel woven mesh instead of
the black plastic grid material behind the grille. I had to get the mesh made
specially. I got the idea from Jaguars and afterwards discovered the new MGs
use a similar mesh.

Since the grille is now quite open I wanted to retain the twin cooling fans that
sit in front of the radiator. They should just be visible turning behind the mesh.
Only the US cars had twin fans. It turns out new plastic fan blades cost about NZ$100
each and new motors are NZ$200. Bugger that I thought, I am not paying $600 for two fans!
So I cleaned up the original blades with steel wool and soapy water then I machined new
hubs for them. Instead of original motors I went and found the most common, cheapest
Japanese fan motors at the local car junk yard. Two motors cost $NZ30. They fit nicely
into the original mounts and are easy to replace if they ever die. I may make an
aluminium shroud for them when I reassemble the car. There was no shroud at all in
the original cars so a lot of air just gets flung off the side of the fans and not
through the radiator.

With no rubber bumpers you have to modify the wings to fit the original style indicator
lights. You can see where the original pressing is in the wing so all that is needed
is to make a patch and weld over the hole the rubber bumper rails pass through then
cut new holes to mount new indicators. I also removed the US side lights from the
wings and welded up the holes.

September 2004

The dashboard was an interesting problem. The one in the car as I bought it was an
awful fibreglass thing. The instruments were all old and broken as well as half of the
switches. All of the idiot lights were unevenly drilled and fitted and the glovebox door, which is
supposed to be held by a magnetic catch, wasn't. I managed to get a late model RHD dash
from a wrecked 77 GT. This is similar to the early steel dashboards which I like the look of. I
stripped it down and removed the plastic cover. This leaves just the steel part. I found some new
instruments which are much cheaper than original Smiths gauges but that still have a very
simple, classic look. I am also fitting original style toggle switches. and a push button
starter. I am leaving out most of the US idiot lights and just having lights for indicators, high
beam and ignition. I think I can remember to fasten my seat belt and take the handbrake off

To fit the new instruments and switches I had to do some cutting and welding. To make the
indicator light holes smaller I welded washers into the holes the drilled out the middle
of the washers. I cut out the square switch holes and welded in a patch. The large dial
holes just needed a slight filing to make them big enough. The smaller holes I patched then
cut two where there was one before. The gauges are oil pressure, coolant temperature,
tachometer, vacuum gauge, speedometer, voltmeter and fuel gauge. I don't plan on having
a stereo so I used an original radio blanking plate. I am modifying the steering column
surround and switchgear by chopping off the wiper control and just leaving the indicator
and light flasher stalk. I will weld an extension piece to the dash under the main dials to
properly surround the new steering column. I need to do that before painting the dash. I
will also fit a different steering wheel. The scuttle top will also need modifying. I am
going to weld in the scuttle from a UK spec car and fit the padded rail above the dash.

The dash is going to be painted crinkle finish black.

Update: See Page 9 for how the dash came out.

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Copyright © 2004-2009 Simon Jansen