RAM­PANT RUST

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - LIVING WITH CLASSICS - JOHN LAKEY CON­TRIB­U­TOR

1973 MGB GT

The MGB GT gets used all year in all weath­ers, so some­times gets left out­side on the road. And if you are go­ing to use one ev­ery day, salty win­ter days in­cluded, you just have to keep on top of that and pay a good welder when you need to. It’s al­most part of the run­ning costs.

Luck­ily GAF is not an orig­i­nal car; it’s been re­built at least once (in 1999) and quite heav­ily mod­i­fied, so I’m not wor­ried about con­cours looks, just keep­ing it strong, safe and on the road – although I make sure any weld­ing is done to a good stan­dard, with whole pan­els if I can.

I was dis­mayed, but not to­tally sur­prised to find a hole in the driver’s footwell un­der the mat, rust­ing from the in­side-out. I think this is be­cause the We­basto roof has started to leak. That prompted a good in­spec­tion of the rest of the car and I was in some ways pleased to find only one other rust spot that might trou­ble the MoT man – un­der the off­side rear lights it looked a bit crusty and at­tack­ing it with a screw­driver proved crumbly over a much big­ger area than ex­pected.

So it was booked in with good friend and clas­sic cus­tom Ford Pop owner Dave Har­ries in Broms­grove. I do most me­chan­i­cal work my­self but I de­cided many years ago that weld­ing was a skill best left to oth­ers. Dave cut out the rusty metal in both ar­eas, more than an­tic­i­pated at the rear in the end, and used a com­bi­na­tion of MG pan­els and re­pair pan­els he made to pro­duce re­ally nice re­pairs to both ar­eas.

The car is solid and back in use, but of course now re­ally needs paint­ing again prop­erly. It’s nine years since the last re­spray. The car was van­dalised nearly two years ago and ev­ery up­ward fac­ing panel was dented very slightly. I touched up all the chips to pre­vent any rust­ing but it doesn’t re­ally match and now that it also has a big primer patch on the rear, I think a re­spray be­fore next sum­mer could be on the cards.

How­ever, GAF is fun­da­men­tally a good useable car, both me­chan­i­cally and struc­turally, and more im­por­tantly I’m very fond of it, so I feel a re­spon­si­bil­ity to not let it slide into banger sta­tus. Bet­ter ask the edi­tor for more work...

Floor af­ter Dave had un­picked the rust.

John now feels the MG needs a re­paint.

Rusty rear sec­tion.

Dave fin­ish­ing off as John went to col­lect the car.

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