The Rebirth of a 1948 MGY Sedan

The Rebirth of a 1948 MGY Sedan

MGY 2007 was first born at Abingdon in about August or September 1948 and was destined for the export market to Australia. It was delivered to the dealership of Lane Motors in Exhibition Street Melbourne Victoria probably soon after.

The car was last licensed in Victoria in the late ninety eighties so it is reasonable to believe it spent the first forty years of its life in that state. At some point during this period the car was modified with the fitting of a larger 1600cc engine with a matching gearbox, probably from an Austin Lancer or Morris Major, front suspension and brakes from an MGA and a 3.9 differential from an MGB. It also had 14” wire wheels. It came to Western Australia for an MG Car Clubs National Meeting at Easter in 1987 and never returned to Victoria. It was sold to a local MG enthusiast but was de-licensed the following year and shortly after that completely dismantled and never rebuilt. Only the chassis had been cleaned and painted and most of the chrome ware redone.

It remained in storage and untouched for the next eighteen years before being sold on in July 2008.

It was then the restoration process began.

The car at that time was best described as a basket case. It required five trailer loads to move and apart from the seat frames and the wooden window surrounds nothing from the interior could be salvaged. The dashboard had to be replaced as were all the floor boards including the boot area.

The motor was in poor condition and was discarded but the gearbox and differential were sound.

The chassis, body, doors and glass were surprisingly in quite good condition with only a small amount of rust in the lower left corner of the boot and rear seat base due entirely to the perishing of the left rear drain tube from the sun roof which allowed water into these areas.

The fuel tank was leaking in several places and had been poorly repaired previously but was made good by first resealing the inside with a good slushing compound and then several layers of fiberglass over the front, bottom and rear surfaces.

The chassis and running gear were the first part of the rebuild to go back together. The 14” wire wheels were replaced with 15” to better suit the gear ratios and give a more balanced look under the wheel arches.

The engine was next but rather than go back to a smaller capacity an 1800cc engine was sourced from an Austin 1800 and reconditioned and matched to the existing gearbox. This decision created a number of problems, although none that had not been solved by others before, not the least of which was a lack of room on the off side of the engine for the steering column to pass clear of the distributor and insufficient room on the near side of the engine for the fitting of air cleaners.

The ignition problem was solved with the fitting of a crank sensor ignition system, doing away with the distributor altogether, and the air cleaner problem with the installation of a small bubble in the LHS bonnet panel.

The body and all the associated panels were stripped back to bare metal, repaired where necessary, primed, undercoated and given as many as eight coats of gloss finish. The car was originally Almond Green all over but is now two tone with a combination of a much brighter green and a very light grey.

The seat frames were stripped, repaired and repainted before being passed to an upholsterer for recovering. The seats, recovering the new interior panels and installing the new head lining, which was purchased from the UK, were the only part of the entire restoration not done at home.

Y 2007 was reborn on the 1st November 2012, four and a half years after being purchased. The restoration was at the point of completion and the car was driven for the first time in about 24 years. Some teething problems were experienced with tuning but these were easily overcome and the car has quickly settled down to become a reasonable highway cruiser and a comfortable car in which to ride and drive.

The modifications that have been made to Y2007 are not for the purists but they have brought the car to a point where it can run with modern traffic with a degree of confidence for both driver and passengers.

It has been a worthwhile project.

CJD May 2013.