28th December 2020

Just prior to Christmas I sent away to MG Sales Online for a new fan and demister tubing. I did not expect to see these items until some time in mid January. I was very surprised to have them delivered to me after 2 days - amazing service from MG Sales and Australia Post!

I had to make some minor adjustments to the case but now the fan is fitted and works perfectly. A trial fit in the car went well, my fears that it wouldn't fit were unfounded. I'll rivet on some new decal plates and once that's done it will be installed in the car.

21st December 2020

Over the past few weeks I've worked on numerous items, with the view that every little bit gets me a step closer to a completed car. The heater box is nearly finished, it's waiting on a new fan. I'm also making new timbers for the seat backs, which will take some time.

The exciting news this week is my new wire wheels have just arrived. I'll leave it until early in the new year to get them fitted with new tyres, but I am sure looking forward to getting the car mobile again and crossing off another major milestone.

7th December 2020

The seats bases and seat backs are home now and they look terrific. They were lightly sandblasted to clean off the remaining surface rust and then painted. I sprayed some rust proofing inside the frames to help prevent any corrosion from the inside.

The seat backs will need to have new timbers made as the originals fell apart when the seats were dismantled. This is what the upholstery is stapled to and gives the seat it's shape. I'll look at starting this work in the coming weeks.

30th November 2020

I spent several hours on Saturday making a new seat base. I made a cardboard template of the original, including the angles needed for the folds. I cut a new base from 18 gauge steel and then carefully folded it to the correct shape, trial fitting it as I went.

Once I had the basic shape and fit I trimmed it to the correct size and plug welded it to the frame. It now just needs to be cleaned up - it will be sent to the sand blaster - along with all the other seat parts after which they will all be painted in 2-pack black.

23rd November 2020

This week I stripped the seats down ready for painting and new trim. There was one small setback however, the seat base on one of the seats was partially rusted through. It was too far gone to patch, the whole seat base will have to be replaced.

I spent an hour or so grinding back the spot welds that held it to the frame so I could remove it. I am in the process of making a new base, and once it's welded to the frame it will be off to the painters for a coat of 2-pack black

16th November 2020

Earlier this year I had the radiator professionally overhauled with a new core. The paint job it was given however was not up to the standard of the rest of the car, especially as it's so prominent when you open the bonnet.

I've lost count of the hours I've spent this week hand-rubbing back all the paint and any signs of surface rust from the radiator side tanks and surround. It's now at the painters ready for a coat of 2-pack black.

9th November 2020

After searching on and off for 2 years I finally managed to track down a heater. It had been powder coated, but it was a bit rough and missing the motor and fan. So this week I hand rubbed most of the powfer coat off, filled in all the rough spots, and sanded the whole lot back so it's nice and smooth.

I sourced a fan from an MGC heater box I had previously purchased for spares, and devised a way of mounting it so it works perfectly and looks correct for an SP250. It's now at the painters being painted in 2-pack black.

2nd November 2020

Continuing on from last week's work where I removed the rear hubs from the rear axle shafts, the first job was to remove the front hubs. As for the rear, I first had to remove the brake calipers. Once that was done I was able to remove the hubs. I then fitted new bearings to the new hubs only to hit a slight snag in that the new hubs are not threaded like the old hubs where the rotor attaches.

This means I need a nut and a slightly longer bolt to attach the rotor. I should have these in the next day or so, and once done It's a simple matter to fit them to the car.

26th October 2020

After agonising for months about what wheels to put on the car I've decided to fit chrome wire wheels. I think this combination will contrast nicely with the colour of the car. The only issue is that I now have to replace all the hubs. The front ones will be no problem but the rears can be a nightmare. I've broken hub pullers before trying to pull the hubs off my V8250 many years ago, so I'm not looking forward to this. My only hope is that the hubs were removed several years ago when the rear axle was overhauled, and as it's not turned a wheel since then they may come apart relatively easily. And so this turned out to be, much to my relief.

19th October 2020

Wherever possible I am reusing the original parts that came with the car. It's immensely satisfying to take something that's grubby and worn and to make it look like new again. The plastic mesh for the scuttle was a good example of this.

The original was warped and faded, however it was easily straightened by careful use of a heat gun and polishing the plastic has made it shine like new again. The broken edges will be covered by the chrome surround, so it will look perfectly fine when refitted to the car.

12th October 2020

Not a lot of progress this week due to work commitments. What did arrive in the post however was a set of new old stock keys, all the way from the US. My keys were either missing or badly corroded. Triple-C have a huge range of keys, key rings and accessories as well as stocks of original keys.

The result is chalk and cheese when you compare my original key and one of the new replacements. I now have two sets of original keys which will look right at home in the car.

5th October 2020

Another slow week as it's school holidays, so family commitments take priority. I did manage to find some time to start cleaning up some of the electrical components and refit them in the engine bay.

As with the coil, the regulator and flasher relay had some pitting and corrosion. After a good clean I was able to polish out most of the blemishes. The end result is what I was aiming for, with the original part now nice and clean and not too shiny like a replacement would be.

28th September 2020

A bit of a slow week this week. While I am still working on the dash I thought I'd start fitting the lights and wiring. So far I've managed to fit the front headlights and parking lights. The fitting was straight forward, I just need to hook up some power and test the alignment.

I also started work on fixing the engine bay wiring harness into position. So far I've located it across the firewall and connected up the coil. Next week I hope to mount the solenoid, fuse box and voltage regulator.

21st September 2020

This week I am working on the dashboard. I need to make a new facia panel that clips onto the timber dashboard. The original is in a sorry state and isn't really suitable to use as a pattern.

What I've done is use the actual dashboard timber itself as a template and marked out a shape for the facia. Once I've cut it out I'll overlay the top padded rail and trim down the facia so it fits neatly against it. Luckily the original plywood dash is in excellent condition and just needed to a good clean to remove 45 years of dust while it's been standing.

14th September 2020

As I am going to retain the generator I am conscious of how much current some of the ancillaries may consume. I will be running an electric fan, so that will be a significant additional load on the system. One area where I can reduce consumption is with the lighting, and in particular the headlights. I will be substituting the standard BPF incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs. They draw about a 10th of the current of the original bulbs (which wasn't a lot to begin with!). Every little bit helps, especially when driving on a rainy night with lights, wipers, and possibly fan all running.

7th September 2020

I wanted to reuse the original air filters but add some improvements over the oil soaked wire mesh originally used inside. I found some good information on the DLOC SP250 Forum about air filter upgrades, which I pretty much copied.

The upgrade shows how to use some modern filter foam inside, doing away with the steel mesh altogether. I deviated from this slightly by cutting down some of the original mesh and using that as an outer layer before using new foam. That way I have managed to retain the original look but with improved filtration inside.

30th August 2020

The set screws for the bonnet catch fittings are an old style British thread called 2BA. I tried to refit the screws but each of the threads were really tight, most likely from paint overspray. Where was I going to get a 2BA tap?

Then I remembered I had a tin of taps and dies that I had found in my late father's shed. Could I be so lucky? Yes! Amazingly I found both a 2BA tap and a die. With the threads cleaned up the fittings were quickly and easily reinstalled. On to the next job!

24th August 2020

As I put the car back together I try and use the original parts where I can, unless the originals are unsafe or unserviceable. Replacements may be nice and shiny, but are often not quite the same as the original. For example, a replacement mixture control cable knob is blank, the original has an 'M' printed in white. So for the bonnet and mixture control cable I decided not to risk pulling them apart to zinc plate them, but to simply clean them and to paint them in 2-pack silver. The knobs were very faded as well, but a few minutes on the buffing wheel has made them presentable.

17th August 2020

I have decided to run a remote brake servo while retaining the original callipers and brake master cylinder. I have decided to use a PBR VH-40 which was commonly used in the 1970's on cars manufactured in Australia. I have chosen to fit it behind the grille in front of the radiator on the right hand side - which seems to be common practice for the SP250 judging by all the forums I've read. l made a support bracket and backing plate and sandwiched the fibreglass between them. Now all I need to do is run the vacuum and brake lines.

10th August 2020

Now that there is some weight on the chassis I can finally fit the front shock absorbers. I have chosen to use Spax adjustable shocks to match the ones I've used on the rear. Once bolted in I then installed the rubber bump-stops.

I wasn't able to source any short thread ones so I simply bought a pair of long thread ones and ran a thread tap down to the base, then cut off the excess.

3rd August 2020

First up this week was to fit a brand new fuel pump. I've decided to keep it period and run an SU pump, although I have opted for the electronic version rather than points. I've decided to run the same model as used in my Daimler V8-250 as as opposed to what was originally used in the SP-250 (the housing is different) as I have numerous spare parts and can interchange them easily if something goes wrong with either one in future. I also installed a new steel fuel line, and installed an in-line filter between the fuel tank and the pump. This will prevent any contaminants affecting the pump, leaving the traditional engine bay filter more or less for show.

27th July 2020

I took the opportunity this week to install the clutch and brake master cylinders. I am using the original (rebuilt) brake m/cyl with a VH40 servo, so hopefully that combination will work adequately. For the clutch, the original m/cyl was missing so I am using a reproduction. Hopefully that will work out too. I am using adjustable rods in each to allow me to set the pedal heights.

The only other change I expect to make is to re-route the clutch flexible hose away from the exhaust. The standard set up looks a little too close for my liking, so I'll move it as far away as I can.

20th July 2020

As most of the more difficult jobs have been dealt with I've now taken the car home so I can finish off the assembly. This week I installed the petrol tank, using self-adhesive felt strips under the tank and on the metal straps to help keep it secure as well as protecting the paintwork.

I also found time to refit the boot lid. I used thin gasket material to make some gaskets to go under the hinges to help seal against water leaks, as well as to prevent scratching the paintwork. Mastic around the studs should also help stop the ingress of water.

13th July 2020

Having taken the chassis to All Classic Cars last week to reunite it with its body, the focus for the first few days this week was on fitting those items that require two people - such as fitting the sceen - before I take the car home to finish the rest of the assembly.

The plan at this stage is to take the car home on or about the 22nd of July, where I will continue the refit. Once done I will then take the car back to All Classic Cars to complete two final pieces of work which should be to refit the doors and set the gaps, and to make and fit a new exhaust.

13th July 2020

The first item to be fitted was the windscreen. I'm using the original glass along with the original screen surround which has been re-chromed. After cleaning the old sealant from around the edges we fitted the rubber surround to the screen.

The frame was then assembled around glass and rubber, and screwed together. It wasn't without some effort, but it was all together in 40 minutes or so. It was then fitted to the car, which was a straightforward process. The only deviation from original was to install 3 large steel plates to help distribute the load to the scuttle.

13th July 2020

Once the screen was installed in the car I moved onto several other items which I expected to cause problems, but in reality turned out to be quite easy. First of all was the wiper motor and the wiper mechanism. As the dash is yet to be installed this made access easy. The wiper motor and mechanism were installed without a hitch. The next challenge was the wiring loom. The old loom was quite tatty, and given it's 60 years old I opted to replace it with a new one. Installation proved quite straightforward as I had left a rope in place when I removed the original loom. I simply attached the new loom to the rope and pulled it through the car. Too easy!

13th July 2020

Installing the pedal box and the accelerator linkage proved to be straightforward. All the parts had been painted in 2-pack black or zinc plated. I did a trial assembly to confirm that the pedals and other parts were moving freely before lubricating and final assembly.

Once the pedal box was screwed into position I installed the accelerator linkage, pedal and return spring. I also did a trial fit of the clutch and brake master cylinders. I will fit them in place permanently once I've made up the brake and clutch pipes for the engine bay. .

6th July 2020

As I am now ready to reinstall the engine I needed to finish off a few small jobs first. One of these was making and fitting new brake lines. Using the old lines as a pattern made the job much easier, but it still took the best part of a day, as I trial fitted each pipe pretty much every time I made a bend.

I used a hand-held brake flaring tool which lets me make both types of flare needed, along with new fittings and new high quality brake tubing.

29th June 2020

Since installing the axle back in the chassis (last year) I've noticed an ever increasing pool of oil underneath it. I know British cars leak oil, but this soon? Time to sort it while I have easy access before I fit the body.

Off with the diff cover, as this was where the leak was coming from. I quickly made up a new gasket, refitted the cover and filled up the oil. So far it's nice and clean. Let's hope it stays this way!

22nd June 2020

I finally completed the porting of the inlet manifold, a job I started a couple of months ago. I've only now found the time to finish it off. I didn't want to deviate too far from standard, simply smoothing out the radius in each side of the intake to improve airflow.

It's laborious work, but it's now done and I'm happy with the result. It's been washed clean internally to remove all the dust and grinding particles and is now fitted to the engine.

15th June 2020

This week I managed to find the time to finish the water pump rebuild. Several weeks prior I had fitted the bearing and pulley, which left the fitting of the seal and the impeller. Pressing the impeller onto a steel shaft can be a bit tricky, so I decided to heat the impeller in the oven first so as to expand it slightly.

So into the oven for 20 minutes at 220c, and while I was waiting I pressed the seal into the housing. Twenty minutes later it a quick and easy job to press on the impeller. The fully assembled pump is now ready to be installed on the engine.

8th June 2020

This week we finished assembling the engine. Once the tappet block was in place we installed the heads (with new bolts) and then set the valve clearances. Next we installed the oil pump, the sump, and replaced the crankshaft spigot bearing. With the flywheel in place we bolted on the new diaphragm clutch pressure plate and then the gearbox.

Somehow amongst all that work I managed to find a few hours to polish the tappet covers. It came together really well, and will be installed in the chassis over the coming weeks.

1st June 2020

The engine is now back from the machine shop. I have to say that MIA Engine Services in Cromer, Sydney NSW have done a terrific job. The crankshaft was reground, all bearings were replaced, new 9:1 pistons were fitted, new valves and valve springs were fitted as well as new cam followers.

We'll be doing the final assembly this week refitting the heads, setting valve clearances and the timing, as well as refitting the flywheel.

25th May 2020 (updated 14th June 2021)

When I first wrote this post I talked about restoring the mirror. I had new glass made and the mirror frame was carefully cleaned and painted. Unfortunately I discovered some time later that the mirror is not the correct one for the car.

I searched high and low for several months but could not find an original one. Luckily Bryan Purves in the UK saved the day again. He is able to make exact reproductions of the original. It will be painted body colour at the next available opportunity.

18th May 2020

This week saw the return of more chrome from the platers. This included the windscreen frame and the latches for the hood. As can be seen in the before and after photo, the latches were very rusty, to the point where I was expecting them to be beyond saving.

Depending on the supplier, the cost of new latches can be in the order of $240 each, so I figured I had nothing to lose by attempting to replate my existing ones. I am amazed at how good they have come up. The result has certainly exceeded my expectations.

11th May 2020

This week I worked on the starter motor. On first appearance it looked like it just needed a good clean and new paint. When I disassembled it however I found that one of the four vertical posts that secure the brush springs was broken. These are riveted in place, and I was not sure how I was going to rivet in a replacement.

Luckily I had another starter in a box of spares, so I swapped over the end plate and soldered in new brushes. Once that was done I cleaned the commutator and reassembled and painted the casing. It's now ready to install back in the car.

4th May 2020

This week it's the fuel tank, as can be seen in the before and after photo. Thankfully it was nice and clean inside, however the outside was covered in surface rust and needed to be sand blasted to get it clean enough to be able to paint.

The fuel pickup was zinc plated and the fuel level sender was soda blasted to clean off years of dirt before reassembly. It's now safely packed away ready to be reinstalled in the car.

27th April 2020

This week it's back to the sand blasting cabinet. I still have a number of small parts that need to be stripped and painted, such as the headlamp buckets. The great think about this car is that all the parts are in good condition, and any rust is only minor surface rust which cleans up easily with sandblasting.

Once clean, depending on the part, it can then be sent off for zinc plating or painted in black 2-pak. Even though many of these parts will never be seen, at least I know the car has been done properly and there should be minimal deterioration over the coming years.

12th April 2020

As the engine should be back from the machine shop any day now I need to make sure everything else is 'ready to go'. This way I can get the engine and ancillaries assembled, and then install everything back in the chassis. This needs to happen before the big eureka moment - when we reunite the body with the chassis.

So the current focus is on the inlet manifold. I'm cleaning out the casting imperfections inside and opening up the airways a little to improve gas flow.

20th April 2020

Most of the chrome has arrived back from the platers, so this week I'll be reassembling some of the smaller items like ashtray, glove box lock and so on. I've already made a start and assembled the boot lock as per the picture.

The chrome has come back looking particularly amazing, especially the ashtray which was badly pitted and rusted. Other parts that also came back include the front grille, door frames, and scuttle vent surround. I can't wait to refit these to the car at the appropriate time.