The time came to tackle some bodywork ‘issues’ that have been on my mind since purchasing the MGF back in November. Throughout the winter, the car was stored inside but even so, the few rust bubbles that adorn nearly every panel had gotten bigger. I had to act.
The idea was to sand down and remove the rust, treat the metal, prime, paint and top coat the areas affected. For this, I purchased everything I needed, including some paint in the same colour code (MNX) and some top lacquer. In my best efforts, I brought everything I thought I needed in quantities I believed I needed. (In hindsight, I rather underestimated everything.) I went around the car, inspecting each panel like some kind of professional, and noting down that I had maybe one or two small bubbles per panel. Easy. I began the rub-down..
Soon I realised that I was swimming out of my depth. The rust was far more than just surface blemishes, and I ended up sanding back huge areas in the hope that I would eventually find solid, shiny metal. In the case of the offside sill, I found no such metal, or any metal at all really, just interior. Oops. I now realised I couldn’t swim at all.
The sill is in a bad way. This goes for quite a lot of this poor car. After sanding and treating everything I could with Jenolite Rust Treatment, I proceeded to prime and sand the areas I had rubbed back to metal. It is probably worth noting at this point that I started to run out of sandpaper and primer, and I was feeling a bit low after the sill incident – so my efforts started to wane somewhat from this point onwards. But I still needed to get everything painted, even if it was going to be a poor job, just to stop the rust from causing any further damage whilst I save for a proper bodyshop visit. So on I battled.
With the whole car now primed where it needed to be, I waited for daylight for the silver paint. Walking around to the inspect the car, I noticed that the front nearside has obviously had a close encounter with something solid as the bumper mount was bent a further 45 degrees than the offside. So that’s something else to add to the ever-growing shopping list. Sigh. But how cool does it look without a front bumper? Immensely cool. Perhaps I’ll just leave it off.
The following day, after much worry and anxiety had me awake most of the night, the silver MNX paint was applied, dried and then some clear lacquer gingerly applied on top of that. So how does it look? Fucking awful. The new paint has been too thinly applied, mainly because the can was running out and I had to finish that very day, along with the top coat (again, the can ran out) and its a totally different shade to boot. But looking on the bright side, it is rust free for now, despite a hole in the sill that the Titanic would be jealous of. So now it will sit outside in the elements for a while until I can once again muster the energy (and cash) for more fixes. God help this little car.
Next up is an uprated head gasket, water pump and timing belt change, and a new alternator.
Further along are the refurbishment of larger stock alloys and new rubber, and the ‘tarting up’ of the lacklustre and now mouldy, interior.