1973 MGB GT

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1973 MGB GT

Post by Mike MGBGT on May 17th 2012, 3:26 am

As promised in my introduction, here's my project page for the rolled-on Rustoleum paint job on my 1974 MGB GT. I gave a brief history of the car under my ownership, but here I'll give a little more background information. I know there are a lot of people out in the world who look upon old classics as things or rarity that should be preserved exactly as they left the factory, but the reality is these were mass produced cars based largely upon British Leyland bin part components, so any rarity or exclusivity belongs only to a very small number of over 500,000 of these cars ever produced. Despite their obvious charm and character (they're a real blast to drive along the 'twisties'), these cars were by no means perfect when they were built so, like many other owners I have carried out a few subtle modifications that improve the 'driveabilty'. This car is my daily driver so reliability and usability are both paramount, yet I want to preserve the spirit of the car as its design team intended. I'm a firm believer that Little British Cars (LBCs) like MG's, Triumphs, Healeys and so on, were built to be driven and enjoyed, not items of 'object d'art' to be carried around to shows on the backs of trailers if the prevailing weather conditions mean not a single drop of water will ever sully their gleaming, orange-peel paintwork.

I won't go into lengthy details here as it's not the purpose of this forum, but here's a short list of the modifications that I've done to the car (they're all reversible should any future owner ever wish to take themselves back to the dark days of 1970 strike-ridden British motor industry and the inevitable loss of innovation that this entailed):

  • The most obvious external mod is the K&N Minator alloy wheels. Although these are neither old nor genuine Minilites they capture the spirit of the time and being modern reproductions they are both safe (free of metal fatigue) and easy to replace should I kerb them. The car was originally fitted with all-steel RoStyle wheels, but these had rusted internally over the years and obtaining a good air-tight seal for the tyres was becoming a regular problem. It was cheaper to buy a new set of allow wheels rather than have the RoStyles professionally refurbished and besides the driving experience of the car is greatly enhanced with the alloy wheels - so they're a keeper!
  • The original sealed-beam headlamps have been replaced with H4 halogen units, these not only give much brighter light, it's also easy to find a garage selling spare bulbs should I ever have a failure when I'm out in the wilds.
  • When I bought the car in 2009 it still had the original factory exhaust (just about) attached. Being mild steel this was obviously past its best so I purchased a custom built stainless steel system that would not only extend the exhaust maintenance life-cycle but was also designed to enhance that distinctive and glorious MGB 'howl'.
  • Back in their day, cars of this era didn't enjoy the benefit of reliable electronics, so things such as the distributor, fuel pump and turn indicator control all relied upon contact-breaker arrangements which were never renowned for their reliably and ease of maintenance. Consequently all these have been replaced by their modern-day electronic equivalents.
  • Interior - the most significant change inside was the replace the 1970's nylon seat covers with a new set of OEM style black leather covers. The smell of hide leather really does add the the charm and character of these cars, besides it's also far more forging for the muddy paws and dog hairs of my faithful pooch 'Jilly' who loves to ride around on the back bench seat. If anyone's seen, or even dared attempt to sit on one of the MGB GT rear seats will know it cannot possibly have been designed for humans!
  • Finally, I replaced the long-defunct 8 Track stereo player with a modern Sony MP3/Bluetooth head-unit. I use this little car for work and the ability to have a hands-free phone system without adding a nest of wires is real handy. Besides this the ease of enjoying my favorite 'choonz' on non-tangling, non-jambing, MP3s make life just that little bit more pleasurable. For giggles I bought some of those CDs that look like old vinyl records - some are still convinced I actually have a working record player in the car!


Anyway, I don't want to bore with overlong posts, so I'll break down the rest of the history and project thread into smaller bite-sized posts (i.e. the amount of stuff I can type-up with sore 'sanding-fingers' in a coffee/beer break).

I've already made a good start to the repaint and grabbed some pictures so I'll update this thread over the next few days on progress so far.

The 'canvass':


Cheers,

-Mike


Last edited by Mike MGBGT on May 17th 2012, 3:28 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Typo corrections)
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Previous painting with cellulose

Post by Mike MGBGT on May 17th 2012, 9:54 am

When I bought the MG the paintwork left a lot to be desired. This was much to do with the early history of the car although a subsequent paint job left much to be desired.

Early vanadlism

The car was first registered on 1 November 1973 and was apparently the pride and joy of its new owner. Unfortunately after little more than two years the car was severely vandalised by having paint stripper/brake fluid thrown across the one gleaming Blaze Red paintwork and I suspect the bodywork was also gouged and scratched at the same time. Following this vandalism the owner parked the car in his garage as it was and there it sat until 1993 when it was bought by the lady and her husband I bought the car from. At this time the car had covered 20,000 miles from new.

The new owners completely stripped and restored the car over a period of a couple of years and I was told the car was then in 'museum condition' and 'too nice to use'. The car was kept in a nice warm garage and would only come out on warm sunny days and would typically only cover a few hundred miles a year.

Damaged in storage

Although now once again a gleaming and proud example of a 70's MGB GT, luck was still not on the side of this little car and in early 2001 the garage roof under which this car was stored collapsed causing serious damage to the car's bonnet (hood), front wings (fenders) and a broken windscreen. Once again the owners restored the car and kept it as a sunny day car.

As purchased by me in 2009

In the 2007 the couple who had owned the car since 1993 divorced and the MG became the custody of the lady, but in doing so she lost the luxury of a covered garage and the car deteriorated, not least because it was left in the rain with an open sunroof! Not wishing to see the car deteriorate further the lady owner decided to sell the car on in early 2009.

I saw the car advertised on a Classic Car classifieds web site advertised as a 'good, solid car, but in need of a now MOT* and some TLC from a genuine MG enthusiast. After viewing picture and history files of my previous MGB projects (I've owned three others since 2000), the lady was happy that I would bring this little car back to presentable condition and after parting with 500 the car now had its third owner.

With just 28,000 now on the clock the car was fitted with a new set of lever-arm dampers, a new exhaust system and along with a few minor adjustments the car was made roadworthy enough to qualify for its MOT test and now ready to get to work for me as a daily driver whilst the subject of a rolling restoration.


28,000 miles over 37 years!


Dull paint, rusty seams, micro-blisters, fish-eyes and lots of bad masking and overspray!

As part of this light restoration I decided to repaint both sides of the car. Not having facilities suitable for spraying 2-pack paint, i decided to spray the car in cellulose paint as would have been used in its initial construction. Getting the car ready for the partial respray was a fairly onerous task involving much filling, stopping, sanding and priming.


The paint on this wing was covered in microblisters and took a lot of sanding back to get to a smooth surface.


The fish eyes across this wing and the door were as large as one inch across and probably a millimeter or so deep. A leftover from the paint stripper damage?


Getting there...


After much sanding and three coats off cellulose laid on with a cheapy Earlex HVLP electric spray gun, I got to this.


...and finally (or so I thought) after much wet-sanding, cutting back & polishing I finished up with this. Not perfect, but a good ten foot car.

*MOT - UK statutory, "Ministry of Transport" basic, annual vehicle safety test for vehicles over three years of age.

More to follow soon...

-Mike
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Re: 1973 MGB GT

Post by rmdhokie on May 18th 2012, 6:49 am

Great looking car. Job well done thumbs up
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It didn't stay looking good for very long!

Post by Mike MGBGT on May 21st 2012, 5:26 pm

rmdhokie wrote:Great looking car. Job well done thumbs up

That's what I thought at the time, but the cellulose reacted to the underlying coat after a few months and I got shrinkage and previous sanding lines started showing through the top coat. I attempted wet sanding but had to cut so deep through the surface the primer started showing through.

The following year I consulted the guy at the local car paint shop and he advised apply a coat of Barcoat to provide a barrier layer between a fresh topcoat and the underneath layers


The worst affected areas were given a coat of Barcoat barrier paint.

A big problem with Barcoat is that you are supposed not to flat it back after spraying, it's quite thick so it's very difficult to get a decent finish on which to lay on a topcoat. Anyway, a best effort job was done and the topcoat was flatted back to once again look quite presentable.

Unfortunately, a year later the shrinkage problem was still reoccurring, although no as bad this time. Seeing a ray of hope I decided last Spring to add another layer of Barcoat and another topcoat as I figured I many not have laid on the original Barcoat thick enough. Sadly a few months in to the none-too-scorching British Summer sun the shrinkage again started to occur although this time is mostly manifested as a dulling of the paint, although the tops of the wings (fenders) and doors still shrunk quite bad.

Looking at the dull paintwork whilst the car was in raised up on a two-post car lift at a local repairer I decided that the jaded paint was something of an embarrassment and coating the car again with cellulose would probably be futile, so I started to look at alternatives. The most obvious solution would be to have the car stripped back and resprayed with 2-pack, but this is not a DIY option and a decent professional job would coat far more than the car's worth. Remembering back to my youth I recall brush painting an old Morris Minor Traveller (woody) with a a paint called 'Re-Paint' and it actually looked rather good. It whilst while researching for the availability of 'Re-Paint' that I came across the idea of hand painting a car using Rustoleum and a simple gloss roller and from there to this site!

Seeing some of the superb results online and with the hope that an oil-based paint will not react like cellulose, I decided to have a go on the MG using this method...
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Preparing the car for the Rusto

Post by Mike MGBGT on May 21st 2012, 6:14 pm

I had originally planned to start the Rustoleum job in early June, but the weather has turned ideal for rolled-on painting, and with work being very quiet I decided last week to get stuck in, beside which the test door panel I did earlier was driving my thirst!

First thing was to tackle the scabs, chips and scuffs. The rusted stone chip areas were blasted with a spot sand-blaster. If you have a compressor I recommend one these as besides being quick and easy, the paint edge around the damage is nicely feathered so you need to do a lot lest filling and sanding. One clean the rust spots were treated with a liquid rust kille and left until the metal turns black.





Other areas of minor imperfections were sanded back and and lows were filled with knifing stopper.



Once I was happy that all significant nasties were dealt with I wet sanded the whole car down with 240 grit ready for the first layer of paint.

After I finished the first coat I realised that I had the pint mix too thick and there was quite a lot of orange peel.









From 30 feet the car looked good, but close up it was clear it was a hand-painted job. Sad To compound matters and because the paint was too thick and hence to an age to harden off, the finish was damaged slightly by a light rain shower which left a light crater effect across much of the new paint. Another early lesson was no to try and hold the paint tray in one hand whilst rolling on with the other, it's far to easy to spill paint both on and off the car! (Anyone got a good ideas how to get dried Rustoleum off concrete?) Rolling Eyes

I left the car for a couple of days to allow the paint to harden off so I could flat it back down with 240 grit wet-and-dry.




When wet-sanding the first colour coat it's a good opportunity to fill in any other small imperfections using knifing stopper.

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With early lessons learnt, it's on to the second coat.

Post by Mike MGBGT on May 21st 2012, 6:37 pm

For the second coat I mixed the paint down to about 70/30 paint/thinner mix. This gave much better results than the first coat and the car was starting to look reinvigorated.


To prevent any more paint dripping on the concrete I laid down sheets which I also dampened lightly to help contain any dust.


Only two coats, but I can see the car is going to look good in this colour (RAL3020).


Still some orange peel, but much better than the first coat. I had cleaned it off here, but I had a problem with paint seepage under the masking tape.

After the second coat had hardened off over night I flattened the car back with 320 grit wet-and-dry.

For the third coat I thinned the paint down to about 70/30 paint thinner mix. After the problems with the masking tape I decided to abandon using it and instead cut in using a Harris perfection 1" brush. I tried the foam brushes but aside from quickly falling apart I find I get a much better result using the Harris brush. I also felt confident enough now not to bother with the sheets under the car and besides I was tripping on them too often whilst laying on the paint.






Still some orange peel, but it's at an acceptable level now.


The car is taking shape now, shame about the concrete! Embarassed


Last edited by Mike MGBGT on May 21st 2012, 7:07 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : Missed a piccy link)
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Coats 4 & 5

Post by Mike MGBGT on May 21st 2012, 6:58 pm

Today was a nice warm day and wasn't too sunny, so I managed to get two coats on. I flatted down the third coat with 320 grit and the fourth coat with 600 grit. Painting without masking tape is working out well, any paint that does get on the rubber is easily wiped off with a cloth dampened with mineral spirits.


The camera actually makes it looks worse than it actually is. I've had people stopping asking how I sprayed it! The neighbours are being very complimentary

The job's going well and I'm ahead of my planned schedule, I'm beginning to enjoy this job now! Smile


The perils of painting outdoors in the Spring, I've also caught a couple of bugs. Fortunately these seem to flatten off without leaving any noticeable marks.

Today I also removed the front and back bumpers and de-scabbed, keyed and degreased the front and rear valances. As these are semi-hidden areas and are already textured with Stonechip Shield I've brush painted these with a paint mix of 85/15. I got two coats on today and have got good coverage, but I'll add two more coats later.

The weather's forecast to continue good over the next few days so I'm hoping to get all paint on this week. I had originally planned for six coats, but I may go to seven as it's apparently a lucky number! geek

I'm out on site for most of tomorrow and I'll let the paint harden off some more before proceeding, although I will probably add another coat to the rear offside wing as I pretty much flattened this back to the old paint after the second coat.

Although there's still much to do, I'm starting to see the finish now! cheers

-Mike
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Re: 1973 MGB GT

Post by cac1967 on May 21st 2012, 10:15 pm

Looking very good ,keep up the great work!!!!!!!! thumbs up
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Re: 1973 MGB GT

Post by 63Falconconvert on May 22nd 2012, 9:15 am

thumbs up thumbs up thumbs up thumbs up Looks fantastic.
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Re: 1973 MGB GT

Post by crerus75 on May 23rd 2012, 6:15 am

Excellent job on your MGB. We used to see these cars quite often here across the pond, but sadly they are just about extinct now.

A pressure washer may remove the majority of that spilled paint. The really high pressure ones that are powered by petrol engines will put out about 3500 PSI. They can often be rented from hardware stores or the like. Be careful if you go this route as that is a LOT of pressure and you can make a real mess of anything you hit with it, including the concrete itself. Start at lower pressure (there will most likely be a pressure regulator on the machine somewhere) and work your way up.

If that doesn't work or you can't find a pressure washer, try using muriatic acid. Over here it's available at most hardware stores in gallon jugs. I've cleaned concrete by working the acid into the surface with a stiff-bristled push broom. It will remove some fairly heavy oil stains and may just do the trick. The only trouble is that you need to clean the entire concrete slab or you will be left with one gleaming clean spot in the middle of a grungy plot of concrete. Work a small patch at a time, rinse with plenty of water when done, and make sure to wear gloves and eye protection. Make sure to use lots of water to rinse, as you want ALL the acid neutralized, lest the authorities pay you a visit for contaminating the city drains or you defoliate your neighbor's garden. Good luck and keep us posted on this excellent project.
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Re: 1973 MGB GT

Post by Mike MGBGT on May 23rd 2012, 2:14 pm

Thanks crerus75 for the tips of removing the paint from the concrete, there is already a largish oil stain under the car - the result of 12 years of classic MG ownership! I have a small pressure washer, but I doubt if it'll be up to the job of removing the paint. I'll consider the options once I've finished painting and flattening down the paint. I'm thinking acid paint stripper and the domestic pressure-washer might be the way to go especially as I have both already available. The car will be taken well away from this operation!

As regards the project progress today, I spent 3 hours this morning flatting back the paint ready for thinned-out final coat(s). I had just started laying paint onto the roof, C posts and rear hatch - the paint was laying down lovely but things went wrong when the next door neighbour decided today was the best day this year to have the grass cut on the bank outside her house. Even though I immediately stopped painting and moved the car to a safe area, it was too late to prevent the paint getting messed up by seeds, grass specks and escaping bugs. Crying or Very sad

I've flatted back the roof tonight, with the Webasto roof (a pain to paint around BTW) this isn't too big an area to do. I've also flatted back the C posts and the rear panel below the boot hatch. The paint on the hatch had gone on beautifully with almost no orange peel, but I'll wait until tomorrow when the paint has hardened overnight to see if it can be salvaged with wet sanding alone, or whether it will need another coat. I did successfully manage to get another thicker coat of paint on the front and rear valances, they seem well covered now so I think that's them done.

Such is life with painting outside, but the weather is remaining on my side, although I'm going to be out on site most of Friday so I'd like to finish laying on the paint tomorrow.
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Re: 1973 MGB GT

Post by Mike MGBGT on May 24th 2012, 7:24 am

Well the sixth and final coat is on!

Good painting weather this morning (save a few bug attacks), the weather is reasonably warm and the full sun is being held back by a layer of thin cloud. I'm hoping the sun will break through this afternoon to help bake the paint off a bit.

The final coat has gone on really well with a nice finish with an acceptable amount of orange peel. No runs in the paint although there is slight evidence of a minor paint dag on the rear nearside wing which I could live with although it'll be easy to sand out once the paint has hardened off. There are also a couple of minor areas I will go over again later either with a small HLVP gun or air brush, but these are very minor and do not distract from what has turned out to be a very nice paint job. I have no regrets about giving up with the masking tape, cutting in with the Hamilton's brush has worked a treat. I have cot a couple of over-brush(?) marks on the fule filler cap and on the headlamp glass which I replaced after the first couple of colour coats. These should be quite easy to clean off, although I notice the Rustoleum really does 'stick' once it's been on a couple of days which bodes well I hop for the longevity of the paint job.

Happy to put down the roller for now, although I must admit it's quite a rewarding process applying paint this way, it looks horrendous at first with small runs and a zillion air bubble, but these really do pop-out quickly on their own and are noting to worry about if you have the paint the right thickness and once leveled-out the Rustoleum paint can really look the business

To get to this stage I've used about 3 litres of thinned paint, but bear in mind it's a small car with a big hole in the painted roof.

Anyway enough of the chat, here's a few pictures of this latest stage:



I had considered spraying the bonnet (hood), but it's worked out really well rollered on.


It's when you get to this stage the laborious preparation work starts to show its worth.


It's going to look the dog's danglies once the chrome is back on.


For a forty year old car that was beaten as a child, it's still looking remarkably straight. Shiny paint hides no sins!

No plans to do much on the car until the weekend, but this afternoon I'll paint the bumper irons with black anti-rust Hammerite and start cleaning up the trims ready to go back on the car.

More to follow...

-Mike






Last edited by Mike MGBGT on May 24th 2012, 7:26 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Typo corrections)
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Re: 1973 MGB GT

Post by Mike MGBGT on May 27th 2012, 2:55 pm

Decided to let the paint harden off before I wet-sand and polish, so on Saturday morning I decided to refit the trim and clean off the sanding detritus from the windows, Webasto roof and tyres.

I went out in the car in the afternoon (the Olympic Torch came through the area) and got a lot of admiring glances and comments. I stopped to take a couple of photos in a small village nearby and the owner of the cottage came over for a chat and was so impressed with the result he said he was going to repaint his land Rover with this method.

This afternoon I started work on the shut lines. I degreased and flatted back with Scotchbrite dampened with mineral spirits and treated an rust scabs. So although the car is now starting to look more finished there's little yet worth photographing. I'm brush painting the shutlines using my trusty Hamilton's brush and a 10% thinned paint mix. This is the same mix I used to brush paint the front and rear valances and three coats gives a deep colour and I've no plans to flat back these areas although I will probably flatten back to more visible door jamb areas.

Anyway, here's how she now looks with the trim back on. The photos were taken with my phone (HTC XL) so aren't the best and are a bit oversaturated:









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Re: 1973 MGB GT

Post by e34touring on May 27th 2012, 3:19 pm

wow, this really looks great!
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Re: 1973 MGB GT

Post by cac1967 on May 27th 2012, 11:32 pm

omg that is just stunning!!!!!!!!!!
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Started flatting back

Post by Mike MGBGT on June 4th 2012, 4:05 pm

Since I put the last coat on we've been fortunate to have some nice warm sunny days in which to bake-off the paint. It's been a wet weekend so I've not been able to do anything much to the MG until today (a public holiday in the UK). It's been dry and overcast today so ideal for cutting back on the paint.

I wet-sanded the paint first with 1200 grit, then 1500 grit and finally with 2000 grit. I then polished-up the paint with Meguiar's Ultimate Compound. There's still some way to go and there are a few areas that could do with a bit more polishing, but so far it's looking really good. Unfortunately there's a couple of places where I've gone a bit too far through the paint and these will need blowing-in with a touch-up gun later, but they're not that visible from 5 feet so not too upsetting.

Anyway, here's a video of how she's looks so far. The Union Flag was left over from the Olympic Torch relay last weekend and I left it in the car today as it's Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee:




I'm going to try and pop out that shallow dent on the bonnet, I can probably push it from underneath as there are no supporting braces on that part, but the sound insulation felt makes it harder to locate it accurately from underneath.

Still to do: more flatting & polishing, another couple of coats on the shutlines and paint the engine bay with satin black.

Well pleased with the job so far, when I started out I hoped for a ten foot car, it's already a five footer (three if you disregard the thin paint areas sigh)

Rain is forecast for tomorrow (and the rest of the week by the looks), it's another public holiday and my local has cheap beer on offer tonight, so it's job done for today! beer
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