MGBGTV8 restoration

After 27 years stored in a garage, a restoration of an MGBGTV8 began in 2013 by Mike Macartney. Here he reports the work is done and another V8 is back in good condition and on the roads again!

Photo left: just arrived in June 2013 with Bob Collins (left) and Mike Macartney (right).

Photo right: the restored car at Skyton Goat in May 2014 looking very good.

See more photos of the restoration from Mike Macartney. More

Updated: 140604
Posted: 140602

Mike Macartney in Norfolk has been touch to let us know he has finished the restoration on Dugald MacNeill's 1974 MGBGTV8 (Teal Blue 1334) after it had been sitting Dougald's garage for 27 years. Mike says "he has now decided to have it back!. We will both be coming to MG90 Silverstone later this month with the V8". Mike has achieved the rebuild in less than 10 months as he was in touch with the V8 Registrar in June 2013 saying "I am a new owner of a MGBGTV8 - I recently attended a reunion of some college friends of 50 years ago and met Dougald. The last time I saw him as the owner of the V8 was at his 50th birthday party. He had the V8 in his garage then and was going to get it back on the road after it had failed the MOT on sills. Seventeen years later at the reunion I asked what had happened to the car: the answer was "Nothing". I then suggested that I would like to purchase it and the deal was done".

In fact Dugald MacNeill was an active member of the V8 Committee back in the late 1980s. He bought the V8 from the widow of the original owner in 1978 and took the car off the road in 1986.

Mike Macartney provides more information on how he came to rebuild this V8
Dugald and I were at Southgate Tech together doing an OND in Engineering. We kept in touch for a number of years, but children, work etc. got in the way in the 80s. I moved to Norfolk in 1973 and started Jaymic Ltd. an accident repair company that started specialising in the restoration of BMW 2002 and 3.0L CS models in the mid 80s. I retired 10 years ago and split it into three companies. My daughter having seen what happened to me just took over the BMW parts business.

I was invited to Dugald's 50th birthday party some years ago and we started talking about cars and he mentioned he was going to restore his MGBGTV8. I met him again at his 65th birthday party and I don't think we talked about the MG. Last year we met up again at another friend's reunion and that is when I asked him how he was getting on with the MG. Dugald informed me that the car had failed the MOT in April 1986 and that he had moved house at that time and had put it away in the garage. His wife had a daughter and all this and work got in the way of restoring the MG. Not wanting to see yet another old rare car eventually going for scrap I offered to buy the MGBGTV8 from Dugald and offered him first refusal if I sold it. We agreed a price and I went to see it at his house in Finchley. We opened the garage door, which promptly fell off as the cable holding the up and over door broke after not being opened for 27-years!

When the car was back in Norfolk I decided to free off the engine, that had seized, and attempt to start it. Unfortunately the engine only had good compression on two cylinders after having the a number of valves open for so long. So I decided to rebuild the complete car. Engine, gearbox and overdrive were lifted out and stripped and rebuilt. The only problems that I found with the running parts were as follows.The engine had been jacked up on the sump by some tyre fitter in the past and that had pushed the sump up to the oil pick-up. The main problems found were original BL faults - 3 thou shim on the crank thrust instead of 33 thou which it needed and a noisy gearbox bearings that turned out to be a bolt that had been screwed in by hand and not tightened but locked with a tab washer. The clutch on the overdrive had been drilled for rivets but the rivets not fitted. The body work was suffering from the dreaded rust spiders underneath the paintwork. I remember stripping the paint off nearly new BL cars in the mid 70s and respraying them for a local dealer. I stripped the bodyshell back to bare metal, ground out the rust and etch primed the shell. My old company, The Jaymic Workshop Ltd, then primed and top coated the rolling shell for me. Front and rear suspension were then overhauled and the parts all stripped and painted in etching primer first before the primer and black top coat.

After much deliberation I decided to use the existing brightwork, carpets and seats as I had seen so many BMWs that we had restored in the past become "museum" cars rather than being used. The MG had been bought new by the previous owner to Dugald and had been given the Zebart treatment hence the inner sills and floor pan were in pretty good condition. It appears I have got to keep the car until Dugald has his garage door replaced. I hope that doesn't take 27 years!

By the way the other person in the photo above standing alongside the V8 when it arrived in Norfolk is Bob Collins another friend of mine and of Dugald - we were all together at Southgate Tech many years ago. I have attached a few more photos. I look forward to meeting with you at the Silverstone meeting. If another MGBGTV8 turns up you never know I might be tempted to restore another, but with a 1903 Crestmobile a 1934 Singer Le Mans and numerous motorcycles dating from 1899 I have enough to keep me busy in my retirement. At least it keeps me away from housework and gardening.
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