How my 1967 MGB GT restoration and a large tree have much in common

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My MGB GT parts make an interesting journey similar to what happens to a tree when I cut it down for firewood. Are you lost yet!

Let me try and explain. The MGB GT lives in my barn at the bottom of the property close to some of the trees that keep me warm during the winter. The MGB is 50 years old and while the age of the trees vary a little many of them are about 50 as well.

As a bonus in this early morning ramble I’m going to keep track of how many times each piece is handled in this journey. As they say with firewood, it heats you up many times by the time you actually burn it. Can the MGB GT restoration offer competition to this idea?

Trees have more in common with the MGB restoration than you think
Trees have more in common with the MGB restoration than you think

When I cut down a tree on my property it’s still a whole unit although it’s no longer functioning . This unfortunately sounds like the MG. The first step is to take either the tree (1 firewood) or the MG (1 MGB)and break it down into small enough parts that they can be moved. Of course with the tree I’m using a chainsaw and I’m a little more careful with the MG and tend to use wrenches and sockets.

These parts are moved to a new location, my 18 inch rounds of wood head (2 firewood) over to me sheds and the MG components (2 MGB) are moved to my basement in the house. Further work is performed with the rounds of wood being split (3 firewood) into burnable sizes and the MGB larger assembled pieces (3 MGB) taken apart for cleaning.

Filthy MGB GT transmission
Filthy MGB GT transmission

The rounds of firewood are loaded into my trailer (4 firewood) and moved over to my wood shed to be stacked and dry out a little (5 firewood). In the case of the MGB the small parts are labeled and stored in boxes (4 MGB) in my basement.

Boxes of MGB parts
Boxes of MGB parts

This is where the journey changes a little. I’m quite happy to have time and the weather dry my wood so it just sits outside for a year or longer mellowing out waiting for a cool day. Life is only beginning for the MGB parts. When I start working on MG parts they generally head back down to the barn (5 MGB) where I clean them well (6 MGB) before either media blasting, polishing or using paint stripper to prepare them for new paint. They tend to be put back into storage (7 MGB) at this stage waiting for whatever finish will be applied.

Cleaning MGB GT parts
Cleaning MGB GT parts
Painting MGB parts with primer
Painting MGB parts with primer

If I’m painting the smaller pieces they go to my painting rack (8 MGB) and typically get about 4 coats of paint. These parts are brought back to the house (9 MGB) in a heated environment where they can mellow for a few months. If I’m polishing parts they are brought back to the house for polishing and once again put away in storage.

Painted 1967 MGB GT parts and yes, a deer skeleton in a box
Painted 1967 MGB GT parts and yes, a deer skeleton in a box

By now it’s getting colder during the winter and I bring some firewood to my front entrance (firewood 6) and stack up a supply to burn. Finally I set a fire (firewood 7) and enjoy a pleasant evening with a glass of wine and some nice heat, thinking about what needs to be done on my MGB. Just like the firewood mellowing my MGB parts in the basement are happy to vent fumes into the house, get dusty and wait for something to happen.

Nothing better than having a fire and thinking about the MGB restoration
Nothing better than having a fire and thinking about the MGB restoration

You would think that the firewood handling would be over by now but… that’s not the case. Every once in a while I bag up the ashes (firewood 8) trying not to lose half of them inside the house and either dump them in the yard (firewood 9) or take them away to be recycled.

The MGB parts still have journey as the smaller parts need to be assembled again (10 MGB), put away and wait to be installed. At this point they are still in my house so when the exciting day arrives the parts are taken down to the barn (11 MGB) and if everything has gone well installed (12 MGB) on my lonely MGB that now is beginning to look like a real vehicle again.

So, let’s do the tally. The firewood has been handled about 9 times by the time it has gone from being a live tree to be put back in the earth as ashes. If anyone has ever hauled heavy wood around you know that this is serious work, part of the reason I can drink beer and stay skinny.

MGB engine block holding a cold beer
MGB engine block holding a cold beer

The MGB parts are handled more often with a tally of 18 and although in general the weight isn’t as much per part the distances the parts move is really pretty impressive. From my house to the barn is about 400 feet and with the many journeys to the barn and back, up and down stairs, to painting areas and other moves within the house form my office to the basement I expect each piece travels around 1 mile before it’s back where it belongs. Fortunately I cheat a little as many small parts can be boxed together and I use a lawn tractor to haul stuff between the barn and the house if required.

My John Deere lawn tractor is almost as big as my MGB GT
My John Deere lawn tractor is almost as big as my MGB GT and has wider tires!

There you go, over 1,000 words of wisdom that you can use to explain to your wife why you can drink way too much beer and wine yet still look like a healthy guy that’s half your age. And, as a bonus, your house is warm and a happy wife makes for a happy life. Remember, whoever dies with the most unfinished projects wins! The 1967 MGB GT restoration will be finished in the spring, perhaps it’s time to look for a Lotus to restore.

 

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