More Second Year, with a little less rust

I took the car off the road right after Thanksgiving, 2002 (wanted the extended family to see it in one piece), and didn't put it back on the road until Father's Day, 2003. I have a wood stove out in the garage and would fire it up if I knew I could be there for a while, which meant some evenings and just about every weekend. Spent a lot of time lying on my back under the car, grinding and cutting and welding, but it was exciting because I knew I was making progress. There were moments of despair, as mentioned previously, because it seemed the enemy forces in the rust Battle kept sending reinforcements. But I kept gaining ground, and I always held whatever territory I won.

I spent time every day looking for parts on eBay and reading the BBS's, particularly this one: MG Enthusiasts Club. And I spent time on the web starved for sites that didn't just show a car that was already perfect, or on the trailer coming back from the paint shop. I'd put more rust pictures here but I've only got 20Mb of free web space, and my photography seems a bit claustrophobic. So I want to show something else.

By the way, one of the sites I enjoyed the most was by a guy named Yuchol in Seattle. He started restoring a Sprite, and in my opinon he was doing everything right. Had the car sandblasted, built a wheeled stand so he could move the car around in his shop. His pictures were great: they were bright and open, didn't look like he was working in a dark cave, and his background was a spotless garage. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, he stopped the work and the site. I wish my pictures were half as good as his.

So here are a couple of pictures where the theme isn't oxidizing iron.

I waxed the car just because some of the paint responded well. This was fall of 2002.

These cars came with a center console that is often removed, probably because they get in the way of your knee and space is a valuable commodity inside. Mine was missing, so I made my own mini console to hold the flasher switch and indicator, lighter, and a row of four toggle switches. One toggle is for the interior light to turn it off when I'm working inside the car for long periods. Another is for the constant power to the radio that preserves the presets so I can turn it off for winter storage. And the other two are a half-baked security idea: they have to be in the proper position for the electric fuel pump to operate. If they're not, a thief (actually usually me when I forget) will only get about a quarter mile and the car dies after the fuel in the float bowls is exhausted.

The bent and drilled metal, and a piece of vinyl from the fabric store...

...become my new center console. Small enough so my knee doesn't touch it.

The dashboards on these cars seem to always be split. (This also shows my new console in place, just below the radio. The interior light is attached to the top.)

So an amazingly effective dash cap is available for less than $40. Makes all the difference in the world, and unless you're looking for it you can't tell it's there.

And it's rare, but there are actual photographs of me driving the car. Here I am leaving to get an extra large pizza. It wouldn't fit in the car. Anywhere. So I came home and made a second trip with the minivan.

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