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1938 MG TA special build

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craig.cootsona Avatar
craig.cootsona Craig Cootsona
Tacoma, WA, USA   USA
Hello group,
The forums on this site have been so helpful during the restoration of my ‘57 MGA Coupe, so I thought I’d share my latest project in a thread. 1938 MG TA chassis #2962. This chassis is among the 252 total TAs that originally received a Tickford body, but that body was sadly lost to history by the time I purchased the car.

I decided to build a TA special with an alloy pointed tail body based on the 1934 QA (Q-type) dimensions, powered by a supercharged XPAG motor, and sporting a pre-selector gearbox. The intent was not to create a replica Q-Type but a handsome T-series “bitsa” containing as many authentic MG bits as possible as one might have done with the available equipment in the late 1930s. With its original Tickford body lost, anything I build is a recreation so I chose this design. The purist might not appreciate this car but it’s a great way to get this MG chassis and collection of parts back on the road to enjoy it.

Attached are photos showing the chassis as received, completely worn out rear leaf spring trunnions, cord bound leaf springs.before antimicrobial/hardener trearment, and the completed chassis ready for engine. I’ll post more details on the work I performed for these subassemblies as time permits.

Craig



Craig Cootsona
1938 MG TA #2962 ("bitsa" special)
1959 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite
1957 MGA Coupe #36001
1977 MGB

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Mitchman2 Avatar
Mitchman2 Mitchell Andrus
Mills River, NC, USA   USA
I'm also building a Special, but on a TC chassis. It took over a year of looking, but I found a chassis missing it's body. I would have preferred an earlier year, but as you know, they're rare this side of the pond.

My body is from Stave Baker in England and will be in polished aluminum, no paint. Supercharger out front, side exhaust, Hartford shocks on all 4 corners, etc. I'm installing a T9 5 speed which will show inside the cockpit, no tunnel or carpeting. To make it look a little more authentic I made an "MG" cover for it in cast aluminum.

Project started in June '18. It'll roll out in April this year.

You're building yours on an Oriental rug, aren't you? And.... no Alfins?



The Flat Earth Society has members from all corners of the globe.

'30 Model A Ford Town Sedan
'48 MGTC Q Special
'58 MGA roadster
'66 Series 1, 4.2 Jag E-Type OTS



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-01-13 12:18 PM by Mitchman2.


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Mitchman2 Avatar
Mitchman2 Mitchell Andrus
Mills River, NC, USA   USA
i almost forgot an important tip: Have your seats and drive shaft tunnel on hand as you fit the body. As the body (mine is anyway) is a hollow shell, you CAN set the body so it's too narrow to fit the seats you've chosen. I came close to doing this. A little voice told me not to drill those holes yet.....



The Flat Earth Society has members from all corners of the globe.

'30 Model A Ford Town Sedan
'48 MGTC Q Special
'58 MGA roadster
'66 Series 1, 4.2 Jag E-Type OTS

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craig.cootsona Avatar
craig.cootsona Craig Cootsona
Tacoma, WA, USA   USA
Thanks for the build tips. I'll be sure to get the seat frames before I fit the body. It's great to know of others who are building similar projects. I just received my Steve Baker body three days ago and am still unpacking everything. I chose gloss black paint to offset the twin stainless exhausts. As an alternative to Alfins, found some12" brakes from an MMM MG or Wolseley Hornet Special that look the part and retrofitted them to hydraulic operation. I like the way they fill out the space behind the wheels.

I'm still finishing my motor build and will hopefully get some paint on it within a week or two. I have lots of parts to sort and will send pictures soon!

Craig



Craig Cootsona
1938 MG TA #2962 ("bitsa" special)
1959 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite
1957 MGA Coupe #36001
1977 MGB


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rustytriumphsrule Avatar
rustytriumphsrule Just The Brit
Get a map, MN, USA   USA
1957 Triumph TR3 "Tabatha"
1957 Triumph TR3A
1960 Sunbeam Alpine "ALFIE The ALPINE"
1960 Triumph TR3A "Terence"    & more
you guys are both way ahead of me, i have my chassis stripped and painted and am just starting to fit the axles and brakes, i am using a TC chassis, Mitch did you fabricate your front shock mounts?

the original would have had a casting that combined the wing bracket and the shock mount to make it thicker, concerned that just putting a bolt through the chassis will be too weak and pull loose with time,

i am thinking stock Xpag and stock TC transmission, if i can find one, blower will have to come later when funds are available,

thinking i might weld the tabs shown below into the frame first to provide some stiffening?


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Tpss Tim Parrott
Stroud, gloucestershire, UK   GBR
1938 MG TA
Craig
When you change the rear trunnion mounts on the chassis can you post some pictures please. Advice on removing/cutting the old ones off the chassis would be gratefully received. I need to fit the repair pieces as my tubes are worn badly. Home made steel trunnions had been fitted.

Andy King in the UK has the repair pieces for sale for £100 a pair. Buy now when the $ rate is in your favour.

plus4moggie Tom Lange
Bar Harbor, ME, USA   USA
Tim - measure the distance of the trunion opening to chassis very carefully, cut the stubs a little long, then grind to fit, welding as carefully as possible. Make siure the alignment of the opening on the repair pieces is angled correctly.

Tom Lange
MGT Repair.

craig.cootsona Avatar
craig.cootsona Craig Cootsona
Tacoma, WA, USA   USA
Tim,

To add to Tom's great tips, I did as he described, and measured very carefully. Before welding, I thankfully fitted up the leaf springs and found that they were impossible to slide into the trunnion if the slots in the tube were dead level to horizontal across the tube. They had to be slightly angled down in front to align with the spring. I reasoned that this is also the furthest the suspension should ever go in that direction because trunnion will rotate to center the spring in the opening when weight is placed on it.

Also, when you weld them, be aware that weld can pull things out of alignment when it cools. Best to tack it at opposite points around the outside to counter the cooling/pulling effect. Then continue opposite sides around until it's all welded. It would be frustrating to run one beautiful continuous weld bead around it and find it pulled out of line when it cooled. See pictures attached.

If you have further questions, please feel free to send a message.

Craig



Craig Cootsona
1938 MG TA #2962 ("bitsa" special)
1959 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite
1957 MGA Coupe #36001
1977 MGB


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craig.cootsona Avatar
craig.cootsona Craig Cootsona
Tacoma, WA, USA   USA
Here is an update on my progress on fitting the body. I have the radiator and shell mounted and leveled. Then I added the bonnet landings followed by the main body tub. Lastly, I fitted up the bonnet and shimmed as needed to get consistent gaps. In my case, I found that the chassis was dead level and square but the radiator cross tube was slightly low on the driver's side, introducing an unsavory twist that threw off the bonnet alignment. The addition of a small washer revealed the excellent craftsmanship used to construct Steve Baker's car bodies, and I am well pleased with the result. No cutting necessary, as they are built on a straight donor chassis and sent complete with the radiator shell as part of the kit.

I followed Mitch's advice and used wooden sticks with padding to prop out the body tub in the seating areas to be sure I had the correct width to the transmission tunnel. Once set, I will drill the holes for the rear body mounts. I should note that the current bodies are made such that they attach on the outside of the chassis rails just ahead of the firewall, and at the rear where the tail cone attaches (see second picture). This allows chassis flex without stressing or causing oil-canning of the alloy body.

Craig
TA2962



Craig Cootsona
1938 MG TA #2962 ("bitsa" special)
1959 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite
1957 MGA Coupe #36001
1977 MGB


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Tpss Tim Parrott
Stroud, gloucestershire, UK   GBR
1938 MG TA
Craig/Tom

Many thanks for the advice. I did have some instruction on welding 45 years ago but my skills are not up to this.

I will do the parting off and hand file the ends correctly. I note that you did not chamfer the edges to ensure that the weld penetrates the full material thickness or is that from days prior to Mig and Tig welding?

I will check the clearance between the underside of the spring and the aperture in the tube when the spring is disconnected from the axle. I will also check the aperture dimensions between new and old.

I also have cracks from two bolt holes on the rear passenger side axle spring plate so will get four plates welded on the axle as well The guy who re-skinned the body tub has a mobile welder and will do it in my garage for me. I will pass your advice on.

craig.cootsona Avatar
craig.cootsona Craig Cootsona
Tacoma, WA, USA   USA
Hello Tim,

I forgot to mention the chamfer in the message, but I added that after I took the test-fit photo for structural reasons as you mentioned, and to get nice clean contaminant-free surfaces to weld. I also turned the chassis on its side because I don't like welding upside down.

Craig



Craig Cootsona
1938 MG TA #2962 ("bitsa" special)
1959 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite
1957 MGA Coupe #36001
1977 MGB

Tpss Tim Parrott
Stroud, gloucestershire, UK   GBR
1938 MG TA
On the should have, could have, would have, I didn't and am now regretting that misjudgement. The trunnion tubes are worn and have lost around 5 thou at the top. I packed the tubes out with some shim material as a temporary measure and just have the notion that I should make a proper repair. I have penny washers spreading the load over the cracks in the back axle spring bolt holes and whilst I check for movement regularly, these need a more substantial repair.

The TA is fully assembled and driving. Hopefully my friend can weld upside down.

craig.cootsona Avatar
craig.cootsona Craig Cootsona
Tacoma, WA, USA   USA
For those familiar with pictures of QA 0257 and other factory built Q types, they used a Zoller supercharger. Some included a beautifully jeweled (machine turned) front mounting plate. I like that look so I had a go on my Volumex front mounting plate. I cleaned the mill scale and imperfections off of the plate with a flapper wheel and then used a 3/4” Cratex abrasive impregnated rod chucked in my drill press with an adjustable fence to create the overlapping pattern. A shot of clear coat finish will protect from rust.

Next up is the firewall. It will be done on a milling machine with enough reach to get across that large piece and I’ll use the micrometer adjuster to dial in precise overlapping rows.


Craig
TA2962



Craig Cootsona
1938 MG TA #2962 ("bitsa" special)
1959 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite
1957 MGA Coupe #36001
1977 MGB


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MGTF1500 Ardeche France Avatar
MGTF1500 Ardeche France Thierry SUCHIER
TOURNON SUR RHONE, Rhône-Alpes Auvergne, France   FRA
Magnificent !
You make me want with your reconconstructions ...
Sincerely, Thierry de l'Ardèche

Tpss Tim Parrott
Stroud, gloucestershire, UK   GBR
1938 MG TA
When I was trained as an engineer this was known as "Engine Turning" in the UK. We used a pillar drill with a wooden dowel with valve lapping paste or carborundum to get the pattern.

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