We always carry a stock of cars awaiting restoration/improvement to varying degrees. For the customer who requires a car restored to their own individual requirements they can select a base car, specify colours and standard required for which we will provide a written quote and time scale (usually 6 months to a year). The customer is more than welcome to visit and inspect progress and see their car evolve into something very special and unique of which they can be proud.
It is important to select a suitable vehicle from the outset. Full restoration depends on the condition of the project car and can take 500 hours and more of work. This can sap enthusiasm so it is important to select a car, both make and model, for which you have a consuming interest. In addition, it is also wise to select a model that has a ready supply of reasonably priced spare parts. The cost of the restoration will invariably be more than originally estimated and it can be frustrating having to search out an elusive spare part that is holding up progress. It can be satisfying to choose a model where you can recoup your outlay when it is sold, although it is extremely unlikely that you will recoup the cost of your time. For MG enthusiasts, the MGB fulfills many of these requirements.
Many older classic cars, whilst having many endearing characteristics, are often slow by today”s standards and were not built to withstand long motorway journeys. The MGB, especially when fitted with overdrive, is well up to modern standards both for speed and long distance motorway journeys.
Once you decide on a make and model, looking for the right example is important. A car that has been written off or involved in a serious accident may have a shell that is out of alignment. The body can be straightened but only with the correct jigs, which the average DIY enthusiast may not have access to. The car should be as complete as possible and you should be confident that you have the necessary skills to carry out the work required. Whilst some models may have good spares availability, there are always some parts which are not available. However, a front wing missing should not be seen as a disadvantage if the wings are to be replaced anyway.
Cars that have had their steel outer panels replaced in fibreglass should be regarded with suspicion. They may hide problems under the surface and will in any event need replacing. Originality is important and can add value to the vehicle. A car with a racing or rallying history – especially ex-works – would make it much sought after and add value. Alas, most of these cars have already been snapped up but keep looking. A car that can reasonably be proved to have low mileage and an original engine is also more desirable.
Being unregistered with the DVLA (applicable to UK only) is not necessarily a disadvantage. In most cases, provided there is suitable documentary evidence, the car can be registered with the help of an owners club dedicated to the make and the MGOC is most helpful in this respect. Evidence such as the original green logbook where engine and chassis numbers match those on the car is ideal. However, be careful and check documentation before you buy, especially with imported cars, otherwise you may simply be buying a basket of spare parts. Original optional extras can also make the car more desirable.
An overdrive was an optional extra on early MGBs. In the 1960s, to have an overdrive fitted to a new MGB as an optional extra cost about £60.00 whereas the second-hand value of an overdrive car was about £100.00 more than the equivalent non-overdrive example so it made economic sense to have overdrive fitted although not everyone did. Once you have found your car the fun begins.