Exterior Modifications

This section details modifications carried out to the exterior of the car

The grille

Due to the twisty nature of the front end (see restoration section), the newBay grille that was purchased to replace the bendy ‘old style’ one wouldn’t fit. (It will now the car is straight again.)

So a new grille was made from heavy duty chicken wire and aluminium Perspex window surrounds, with a DIY MG badge in the middle.


I think it goes quite nicely with the de-bumpered look

During the excitement of the K series build, some of the bits of mesh got lost.  I had to make another one, this time out of the bit of grill that used to be behind the Rover’s front bumper.

The stripes

I like the stripes. That’s all that is needed really, though they do make it much more obvious in traffic.

You’ll notice that the above valance has pressings in it, this is because it’s a 1500 valance.  It rotted away a bit so I got a better one, which is original without pressings.

After a run I popped the car in the garden and it ran really badly, making a big banging noise every so often.  Turned out that the old soggy engine mounts combined with a hole in the crankcase breather pipe (making the engine run badly) was hammering the dashpots into the bonnet.  The engine mounts and pipe were replaced, and a hole made in the bonnet with a little bulge over it so it didn’t happen again.  The bulge then had the front cut off it to help with fuel vapourisation issues and to get a bit of cold air into the area around the filters.  The bulge is made from the plastic inner wheel arch liner from a Rover Metro: the very top of this has a lovely teardrop shape.

The lights are very worthwhile additions; they are 75 Watts effective each and really make a difference.  They are wired into the full beam circuit and therefore count as Auxiliary Driving Lamps come MOT time.  They are switched with a relay to avoid large currents through the switches.  A large output alternator (65 Amp) is fitted to cope with the extra load.  This is no longer an issue with the modern alternator and serpentine belt on the K-series engine. These are the cheap Wipac lights from minispares, and lasted around 10 years before the backs deteriorated to a state where the earth didn’t work.

There’s also now another hole in the bonnet, because I fitted an alloy inlet manifold which has a MAP sensor on the front of it, which didn’t fit. I moved the bulge across and made a vent to go over the old hole location.  Interestingly, this has cut front end loft enormously; the car no longer fills the gear lever gaiter with air and the front stays glued to the ground at high speeds (up to 120mph at least!)

I’ve also taken the rear bumpers off to match the front.  The number plate is also now directly attached to the car and the light is from underneath with a Halfords aftermarket sidelight.  The big coachbolts are there to hold the internal boot buttressing together.

The mudflaps are also a DIY addition, as well as making the car look lower and wider, they also stop the muck going up into the intricate bits of rust-catching rear wing at the back.  The front ones go some way to stopping the whole side of the car becoming covered in muck because of the wider tyres.

An additional bonnet adjustment was required after fitting an alloy inlet manifold (the plastic one got a crack in it), so the original bulge was moved over to cover the new hole, and the old hole was made into an exit vent for hot exhaust air.  This works really well, and has stopped front end lift into the bargain.  Enough hot air comes out of the vent when driving along to keep the passenger side of the windscreen dry in light rain.

It’s also blue now.