Hurricane damaged RV8 restored
Hurricane Ivan hit the Cayman Islands in September 2004 with winds up to 150mph and sea surges which swept over cars left in car parks and on driveways. There were two RV8s on the Cayman Islands and sadly the sea surge went over both cars leaving them badly damaged. Ken Watson's son
Above: Richard Grey and Jim Duckett at Early BBBs at Verwood near the new Forest in Hampshire took on the restoration project and have turned out a very good looking RV8. (Photos: Ken Watson)

lives there and after the storm he spotted a damaged RV8 (Woodcote Green 1549) sitting on a driveway. He made some enquiries to find the owner who told him that following a sea damage insurance claim it now belonged to the insurance company. So he purchased the vehicle from the insurance company thinking he could just replace the battery and away it would go - but as he found it was not that simple. So then he rang his father in the UK to see if Ken would be interested in the car and restore it as a hobby project. Ken agreed and the car was shipped to the UK and so began an extraordinary restoration project. (20.8.07)

The car arrived in the UK on the 25th March 2005 in better condition than Ken had expected. Fortunately his son, Dean Watson, had washed the swamped RV8 thoroughly with clean water throughout to eliminate a great deal of the salt which had got into the car from the sea water. This was a good move at that early stage which helped the subsequent restoration.

Once the car was back in the UK Ken found that in the end he did not have the time to spend the time on the project that was required, so he looked up the MG Car Club Trade Directory for an RV8 restorer who was near by. He contacted Abingdon Sports Cars at Shedfield and they were very interested in doing the work. Ken visited them from time time but was concerned that the project was not underway and eventually someone at the Barn rang him to say they were returning the car, so he was back to square one without any work being done.

Woodcote Green 1549 stripped for a comprehensive restoration following sea water damage.

Ken says "after several weeks I saw an advert for Early BBBs in MG Enthusiast (which is now called R G Classics) who then discussed and assessed with me the work involved. Richard Grey the mechanic (with bags of enthusiasm) and Jim Duckett (the bodywork and interiors man) proceeded to completely strip down the MG and replace what was necessary and carry out repairs. When they took the engine and gearbox apart, they found a tide mark half way up the bell housing!"

RV8 wiring loom stripped for a detailed examination and testing, then essential repairs and replacements.

Interior is the original after a thorough clean and leather treatment.

Carpets inside the car and boot were comprehensively cleaned by hand and have come up very well.

"Richard gave my wife a small sea shell that he found in the engine on top of one of the pistons and also a jar of Caribbean sea water as keepsake. Jim being one of the old school brought up the leather interior with Leather Forever and scrubbed the carpets by hand on a concrete floor.

I sourced many of the parts myself and travelled here, there and everywhere to barter and collect them, with great satisfaction. The car has the registration K700 MGR."

Engine restoration, both inside and out, has been thorough and looks like new.

The now Woodcote Green 1549 has returned full circle, after leaving the Factory in the UK to go to Japan, then on to the Cayman Islands and finally back to the UK. The restoration is now very nearly complete.

Woodcote Green 1549 should be seen at V8 events later this year - the Goodwood Revival at the end of August 2007 for example.