Fi­nal as­sess­ment of the MGF, post-MoT, re­veals good newsÉ and bad

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - MIKE LE CAPLAIN PRO­DUC­TION ED­I­TOR

2001 MGF 1.8i

I con­cluded my last re­port on the MGF won­der­ing whether it would get through an MoT, de­spite hav­ing been off the road for more than 18 months. As it turned out, the an­swer – per­haps un­sur­pris­ingly – was a re­sound­ing ‘no’. How­ever, all was not lost for the stricken MG – as long as I was pre­pared to spend a healthy wedge of cash on get­ting it a fresh ticket. Hap­pily for the ’F (if not for my bank ac­count) the an­swer to that ques­tion is an equally re­sound­ing ‘yes’.

Weirdly, three of the four fail items are at the car’s off­side rear, in­clud­ing a rot­ten sub­frame mount­ing and brake pipe and a brake cle­vis joint – what­ever that is – with re­stricted free move­ment. Not for the first time, too, the hand­brake is in need of ad­just­ment, and while the front brake discs have con­sti­tuted only an ad­vi­sory, I don’t take risks with my cars’ an­chors, so they’ll get changed, too. Steve Hall at Hall’s Garage in Mor­ton, Lincolnshire, costed the work needed to get it through an MoT (and se­cure a pair of re­place­ment front wings) and hav­ing knocked back a quick for­ti­fy­ing snifter, I gave him the go-ahead. Hav­ing money is so last year any­way.

In the mean­time, I paid the old boy a visit to see what sort of state it was in af­ter spend­ing so long snooz­ing un­der a car cover. The scabrous front wings were no sur­prise, but the bot­tom of the driver’s door turned out to be a bit more cor­roded than I re­mem­ber. Hope­fully, a sal­vage one in the right colour won’t be hard to find or fi­nan­cially ru­inous to buy. That done, it should be a sim­ple mat­ter of swap­ping over the in­te­rior door trim and lock.

Bet­ter still the hood – which for some rea­son I thought was quite lit­er­ally com­ing apart at the seams around the rear win­dow – just needs a damn good clean, and I’ve no doubt that Hall’s will be able to coax the loose driver’s footwell car­pet back into po­si­tion. The leather seats look like they need a good dose of hide food and the rest of the by now rather mouldy in­te­rior – cur­rently a rather sickly green­ish hue – needs a thor­ough clean. I think it’s fi­nally time to ac­cept that the scruffy two-tone steer­ing wheel re­ally needs to be re­placed by a stan­dard all­black rim, too, though I will cer­tainly keep the orig­i­nal in hope of get­ting it pro­fes­sion­ally re­fur­bished at some point in the fu­ture.

I plan to ad­dress the rest of the body scabs over the next cou­ple of years – the worst cul­prits are around the rear air in­takes, and there’s an­other on the bootlid. But that lot can wait. Wth a fresh MoT and new wings fit­ted – and fol­low­ing a se­ri­ous valet in­side and out – I just want to drop the hood and drive the wheels off it as of­ten as I can this sum­mer. I can’t wait to get back be­hind the wheel.

Mike’s MGF ner­vously min­gles with as­sorted other ‘Fs whose fu­tures lie in the bal­ance.

Once-smart in­te­rior is now cov­ered in a thin coat­ing of mould. Time for a clean…

Tired ex­haust will be binned in favour of one with proper oval tailpipe fin­ish­ers.

Crusty front wings will soon make way for sal­vage re­place­ments in the cor­rect colour.

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