First greasy weekend
Daan and I had a long week-end of disassembling. The approach is simple: You scan the car, under the bonnet, in the dash, under the car, and do a pattern-recognition: You look for a hexagon shape, determine the size and grab a wrench. Believe me, there are a lot of them: everything is bolted together, very often with a pile of washers. The interior is kept in one piece, so that matting can be remade by using the old dirty one as an example. As much as possible, we grouped and labelled all the components. We even used different colours of labels. Red labels for the brake parts, white labels for the engine parts etc. The brake wheel cylinders will need replacement. They are completely rusted and seized. We are not going to take any chances with that. The brake shoes still look decent: with new liners, they will be as good as new.
Next was the dashboard and the electric wiring boom. Here we found a first interesting thing. Some modifications were done, because the original cotton braided wires was extended with some plastic insulated wires. There was some evidence of bad wiring, given a completely fried wire behind the dash. After all electrical components were removed, we went on to the starter, the generator and the wiper motor. Daan in de meantime took the carburettors and the exhaust manifold off. Everything came off fairly easy. The water pump appeared to be stuck. But after careful disassembly we were able to get it going again. The next step was the bumper and the grill. The shape of the bumper tells some story of all too common traffic mishaps. But with the bumper removed, it appeared that some of these encounters left more scars than just the famous few scratches. A panel behind the grill is supposed to be perfectly straight, but this one had some ripples… Not good, but we will worry about that later….
What was funny by the way: The bumper still carries a sticker: a Parking permit of PANAM: the employer of the previous owner. These days people would try to peel it off not to pay a parking fee. But I suspect it is expired. Taking an engine out of the engine bay is something we have done before. So we used the proven method: removing all parts to make the block as light as possible. So we removed the cylinder head and lifted the block by attaching a puller on a wooden beam of the roof construction in the garage. Once the engine cleared the engine bay, we pushed the car back and lowered the engine again. You may not want to do that with a huge V8 engine, but for our 1.5 litre four cylinder it worked like a charm. The engine itself looks ok. The crankshaft turns smoothly. The camshaft appears in good shape: no worn cams or cam followers. It seems we’ll only have to replace the piston rings and seals and do some more checking, but then the main thing we’ll have to do here is give the engine its original colour again…
Picking up the car
Today we picked up the car. The weather was very Dutch: rain showers all day. Carla and I picked up a trailer to carry the car back home. Our home town Wijchen is about 100km away from the port of Rotterdam, where we would pick up the MGA.
It was funny to see the car again half way around the globe.
We needed a bit of help to get the car onto the trailer. One wheel appeared to be stuck. Looked like the seized brake. We got the car on to the trailer without a problem, while I was thinking how to get it off again. I do not have a fork lift. But let us worry about that later. After we secured the car, we were on our way back through the drizzling rain. Welcome in Netherlands.
So how did we get the car off the trailer again? Well, put the garage jack on the trailer, remove the wheel, and with some persuasive hammering, the drum gave way and the wheel was free again, and the rest was down-hill.
A lasting souvenir of our 2010 vacation
"Daan, Check this out: Found this on Craigslist: a '59 MGA in San Francisco". That is how it started. An MGA not used for 30 years, has been sitting in garage under a Victorian style San Francisco home on a steep 15% sloped street The engine seems in decent shape. No signs of hidden disasters there. However you would not dare to crank an engine with 30 year old oil in its belly!!! The body (MGA is not a unibody but has a real chassis) definitely shows some signs of a bug well known to the car owners in our low land by the sea: the rust bug, but nothing that cannot be fixed: Let's do this, let's wake up this sleeping beauty from hibernation.
The title transfer was a pleasant experience: many stories of the owner and his wife. They are curious what will become of their coupe. Soon after we boarded the plane for Europe and the MGA went into a container and on the Hapag-Lloyd vessel Leverkusen Express for Rotterdam: Have a good trip!