Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hot Off the Grill

The chassis is back at Pro Automotive for mechanical improvements. The front disk brake conversion is complete with the transaxle out and over to a transmission specialist for inspection and rebuild if necessary.

I had to order a few parts I'd overlooked, like brake light switches and new clutch and throttle cables. Once those are in hand, I expect Keith will have the chassis prepped and ready to mount the motor next week. After the motor is in place, I need to install the Helwig H60 Brush upgrade. Meanwhile, Robert is painting the rest of the body and will be ready to reassemble it on the chassis.

I've been busy with the detail and trim, this week working on the grill. The chrome was in pretty good shape when I got the car, but it needed a good cleaning and some repair. One of the slat mounting posts had broken away from the weld, but a dab of J-B Weld put that right.

The false "nose" went together real nicely as well. The MG emblem is a reproduction of the gold over ivory badge that graced every MG TD that left the Abingdon plant. It's a real touch of authenticity that is missing from most of the TD kits. Masquerading as a radiator cap is the chrome gas tank cap from the Bugeye Sprite that went into storage after it was replaced by a Marinco charging port.

It took a while to settle on a paint color for the slats. Shopping the auto parts stores turned up lots of "Candy Apple" this and that, but nothing that really picked up the color of the dashboard.  Hitting the home improvement stores produced a Burgundy Rust-oleum that is a perfect match. Notice my sanitary paint booth. OK, it's just the utility area outside the garage, but it works.

The finished grill is a real jewel and will present a very good first impression as the car approaches.

Now we're cooking!

Saturday, July 21, 2012


While the final fabrication on the battery and controller supports is in process, I've been working to get the dashboard completed and ready to drop in when the body gets back from the paint shop. Along the way I've discovered a new favorite power tool, the router.

The dashboard is 5/8" plywood, and the Speedhut Tach and Speedometer are quite slim and needed a recessed area for the attachment ring. A 3/8" rabbet bit routed the clearance and it's a pretty good looking cut. Works just right, too.

The emergency contactor slap switch also needed some clearance which was equally easy with the router. It was done freehand, so not quite as elegant as the round rabbet, but just as effective. Nobody will ever see the back of the dashboard anyway.
The dash was originally finished with a dark veneer that was peeling off and generally pretty scruffy. Original MG TDs had a dashboard covered in the same material as the seat backs and door panels, so I found some marine grade vinyl in a dark red color at a local fabric store to cover the dash. The seat vinyl is quite faded, so it will be dyed to match, again using marine grade finishes. Lots of upholstery adhesive and many staples secure the covering:

The result is quite stunning:

After adding the gauges, switches, lights, and radio, it's nearly ready to mount on the body. Oh, and just a bit of wiring ...

The vintage looking radio is from RetroSound and was recommended by my future son in law, Erik Buscha, who sells and installs high end home theater and mobile sound systems. Thanks, Erik - hope it sounds as good as it looks! I'm adding a bluetooth device so I can stream music from my iPhone and hopefully handle hands-free phone calls if the wind noise isn't overwhelming.

The wife just can't get over the goofy face with the "clown nose" in the middle of the dash.  Guess I'll have to paint the slap switch a darker red to change the effect.

Also had a visit from Fiberenew to discuss dying the seat and trim. Turns out the owner is another retired IBMer with lots of questions about these electric cars. He's going to get me a quote on the dye job, and asked for a ride when it's all done, so the EV story is getting out one car at a time.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Motor Arrives and Controller Mount

The Netgain Impulse9 motor arrived from Rebirth Auto and it's a beauty!  The adapter plate is milled from aluminum billet and it is a work of art.  They installed the adapter and added a Kennedy Stage 4 clutch pack, so the motor assembly is ready to install.  You can check the specifications here:

Robert Juarez is wrapping up the fabrication and has welded up a very elegant support for the Soliton1 controller.

 The controller platform will span the space over the motor in the rear of the car and give good access to the wiring connections.

The platform will be welded to the rear subframe.  The areas on either side of the platform will be filled in with diamond plate shelves and provide space for the emergency contactor and coolant pump.

The battery platforms are also nearing completion, so it looks like the chassis will be ready go back to Pro Automotive next week for the brakes, shocks, and motor installation. Stay tuned ...