MG’s are such fun cars! It’s a simple car that provides a feel for the road that even many sports cars lack today. The manual transmission, low body profile, and convertible top gives you total control of the car. People stop and smile when you go by; cars honk and other drivers wave to you!
Before you buy your MG, find a good, local mechanic, if you want to restore only the interior of your car. Many people don’t have the necessary tools to completely rebuild an MG engine, even though the mechanics of the MG are relatively straightforward. Many cities have one or more shops that specialize in British sports cars, including vintage models, and are more than willing to help you do as much or little as you want to tackle.
Next, spend some time online. There are many sites dedicated to the MG, including clubs, mechanic shops and parts companies, that provide a wealth of information on all aspects of the car. Doing your homework here saves you time and money once you decide what you are going to do for your restoration.
Your research will tell you to watch for rust – do not underestimate this car killer! The MG is prone to rust because of the low profile, the age of the cars, and owner negligence. You’ll likely see pictures of MG’s folded in half on a hoist where the car was rusted at the door sills, leaving no support for the structure!
Then, set a budget. There are hundreds of things you can do with your car. Are you going to try to re-use as much of the existing parts on your car, or replace everything? Will you stay “true” to the original look, or make the style your own? Will you need to have the car painted? Researching parts and prices will help you set your budget – and you can plan a restoration in phases, setting spending limits for each, doing the restoration in a logical order.
Now, armed with information from online sources on what to buy and what to watch out for, and understanding the costs involved in a restoration, go look for your car! The more restored a car is the less you’ll have to do yourself, of course, but you’ll pay top dollar for those cars. Fully restored MG’s can run $15,000 USD or more. Your best approach is to look for cars where the engine, transmission, exhaust and brakes are in good condition. Look on club websites, local newspaper, even eBay for your MG.
Ask questions, inspect the car, and have your mechanic go over the mechanicals. Expect the interior and top to be in marginal shape, to have parts missing or damaged, to smell bad, and to be dirty! If the mechanics are in good condition and there is no killer rust, you’ve found a car that you can bring into fabulous shape!
Whether you are a male or female, have lots of car experience or none at all, you can do this! All you need is patience, time and some basic tools and equipment. In my next article, I’ll get you started on gathering what you need, and getting started!