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November 2009

A long time between updates sorry. A lot has happened. First the chrome parts came back from the chrome
platers. They look great! I reassembled the quarter light frame using stainless steel pop rivets
instead of the original blind rivets that were used. It's a minor difference no one really notices.
I also replaced the pin holding the quarterlight window handle on. These can be hard to remove. I
found I could use an automatic centre punch to slowly pop the pins out. I made new steel pins and
slightly flattened one end so that once they were tapped into place they held firmly. The quarter light
glass was installed with new rubber. I think you can buy this now but years ago when I did my GT it
wasn't available so I ended up making my own from old tyre inner tube rubber. I used the same trick here.
I just cut a strip from the inner tube and wrap that around the glass edge then push it in. Once
in place you simply trim around the edges with a sharp (very important!) razor. The rubber will blunt
the blade rapidly so use several. I then used a little black RTV to neaten up the edges and around the
bulge the handle passes through. Also note the stainless steel mesh under the air vent. This isn't
fitted as standard but if you want to keep leaves and rubbish out of the heater box air box it's a
wise idea to fit it! You can buy this as an aftermarket part but I happened to have some suitable mesh.

While the car was away I also painted the fibreglass valences. I used white body schutz which is sprayed
using my undersealing gun on the air compressor. This gives a nice textured, rippled finish. I then
sprayed that white with a top coat to get the final colour. Since I want my valences to definitely
not be blended into the body the texture and contracting olour (to the green body) make them stand out.
I find the all one colour Sebring style MGs a bit too much myself. I think they look too modern. This
isn't a bad thing if you want a modern looking car but I want my car to retain the 60s look. Along the
edge of the valences I glued a black strip of 3mm fenderwelt. That gives you a 3mm diameter round bead
between the body and the valence to further seperate them and to tidy up the gap. I would have
preferred to use white but it just isn't available here in 3mm. The oil cooler intakes are backed by the
same stainless steel mesh I used on the chrome air grille.

Finally the car was ready to be prepped for paint after the painters sprayed her in several coats of primer.
I took two days off work to go and sand her in a process called flatting which you do before putting on
the final colour coats of paint. It is a very laborious process! First the whole car is block sanded with
240 grit paper on a long block. You do this by hand and the idea is to get the car mostly flat. To help
find where the low and high spots are you use a guide coat. The old way to do this and the way most
home painters still use is to lightly dust on a coat of paint in a contrasting colour, often black over
the usually grey primer. You use a normal rattle spray can of paint for this and lightly spray it over the
whole car. You sometimes see cars driven around in this condition (not good as the primer may absorb water
causing problems later). The idea is when you block sand the guide coat rubs off the high spots first and
remains in any hollows so you can easily see the low spots. Hopefully there aren't many if you've done
previous filling and long board sanding steps properly! This is where you learn hours spent in the previous
steps saves untold time in these steps. One thing about doing this at the paint shop is you get to use their
tools and supplies which helps a lot. Instead of spray can guide coat they use a special 3M powder with a
foam powder puff thing. You simply wipe that over the panels and it leaves a black dust over them as the
as the guide coat. You can see that in the picture above sitting on the boot lid. The left hand side has
been dusted already. When you start sanding you can easily see the highs and lows and the ornage peel effect
from the spraying as shown in the bottom middle picture where I had started sanding. After the whle car was
done in 240 grit by hand, which took over a day, I was then able to power sand with 400 grit using a DA
sander. This is to remove the 240 grit sanding scratches and further smooth the surface. After going over
whole car with the 400 you then sand the entire car again by hand with 600 grit but this time you sand it
wet. Literally you sit with a bucket of water and wet sand the car to remove the 400 grit scratches. The
water makes the car very glossy and at this point you start getting to see how good the reflections look.
Finally, after about three days of work, all the sanding was done and it was ready to be masked and painted.

At last she is painted! I wasn't able to be there for the actual painting but I was there to help unmask and
reassemble. The panel shop guys in teh picture gave me a hand to put on the seals and doors, boot and bonnet.
Not much to say about this except it feels good to see a car you have had in bits for years finally staring
to come together. The paint came out great. Not show finish but that wasn't the aim. Just good, solid color
and a nice, fairly straight finish. I cann't capture the actual colour with my camera. It just won't do it
no matter how much I fiddle about with white balance and exposure and so on. The green is very bright and it
changes depending on the light. She really stands out and in bright sunlight it jumps out at you. I am
very pleased with the result. And it was worth all the hours (several hundred all up I think) to get her to
this stage.

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Copyright © 2004-2010 Simon Jansen