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MG MGA - Forced Front End Restoration

Last 10 August that was my car.

I was returning from a week long trip with the Caledonian Centre of MGCC to the Orkney Islands. While driving out of Fort William in heavy traffic an oriental tourist did a right turn immediately in front of me to get to a hotel. At that time the Scottish Highlands were incredibly busy so at 6pm on a Friday night he was desperate to find rooms for the night for him and his family and seeing a vacancy sign he just tried to turn across me to get to hotel. Thankfully the police and my insurance both agreed I was totally blame free. There was no way I could have stopped even in a modern car, and certainly no wave to swerve. The police would have prosecuted the Korean gentleman but said no point as he would be out of country before he paid.

I got my car back last Saturday with only 6 days to go before I set off for a 500 mile trip to the MG Register weekend in Ilkley. The question is where did nearly 9 months go. There were a number of issues but 2 dominated. The first was the time it took for the insurance companies assessor to agree a price for the job with my preferred restorer. For instance the assessor thought 0.2 hours was the correct allowance to fit the front bumper!!! The other big issue was vital parts being on backorder everywhere. As well as some small bits the 2 big problems were the front chassis extension and the front shroud repair section. By the way the bonnet lid is the one that has been hanging on my various garage walls since I broke my first A in 1972. Never throw anything away with a replacement cost of £1000.

I will attach a photo of car today in next message. Keiran Boyle who did the rebuild has done a superb job and the car is definitely vastly superior to what it was before. I did pay extra mainly to get the whole car resprayed rather than just the front. By the way Keiran is a small operator but very well respected in Scottish MG circles. An MGA Deluxe that I know well that I think is best A in Scotland and Keiran did that too. By the way he thinks fitting front shroud repair panel is probably one of most difficult body jobs there is due to heavy 3 dimensional curves and interface with shroud, bonnet wings, valance and grill.

Despite what I say about their assessor no disagreement with my insurer that was Aegas via Footman James. By the way they never suggested they selected a restorer just happy to take my preference.

Photo shortly in next entry. I hope no one else has similar incident but if anyone wants more info let me know. Thankfully as it happened I didn't actually miss much driving.


Paul Dean

My car today with rebuild front end.


Paul Dean

Ouch! So sorry it happened but you're ok and the car looks great now.
Steve Simmons

That must have been a horrible experience Paul, heart-breaking to see that happen to your MGA.

It looks like Keiran has done a lovely job on your car though, it looks great.

Also good to know that your insurer has looked after you so well.


Colyn Firth


You kept that one quiet. Looks good now. Presume that's how the radiator issue came into being.

Steve Gyles

Yes I thought I would be quiet until all fixed although I wasn’t on list much over winter.
By the way no one was hurt although we did get at least one unsolicited call a week for 4 months trying to get us to claim for whiplash etc. My wife as a retired lawyer so disapproves of this sort of thing.

Paul Dean

12 minutes to fit the front bumper!! Just shows how out of touch assessors are with the demands of classic car repairs.
Looks good now though.
Allan Reeling

Looking good-
We get truckloads of said tourists here, they are a real danger
You can come round a corner and their renter will be empty, sitting in the middle of the road with the doors open while they are over the fence taking pictures of cows or grasshoppers or --
Or my pet hate is when they are halfway through an intersection and the lights change
They just pull up half way and wait till the light goes green again and continue on as if nothing happened while the rest of the traffic waits
Keeps you on your toes though
William Revit

Having seen your MGA in the last hour here at Ilkley on the MGA Register tour I can say that your car looks superb, I immediately noticed your new paint work.
Living in Indonesia I know all about the Asian style of (so-called) driving!
Doug Wallace

Your car looks great; glad for the good outcome. Yesterday my brother and I moved the body halves from a parts car we bought about 10 years ago from the rental house he is vacating over to my place. We've moved them 3 times now since we first acquired the parts car, and as always there was discussion as to just how long we would keep them around. I described to him some of the flaws in the currently available replacement panels, and we both agreed that we were better off keeping them even though it would be a pretty bad day if either of us ever end up needing those panels.

D Rawlins

Terribly bad luck Paul; you have my sincere sympathies.
I too know all too well how things can easily happen, but that these wonderful old things, in the correct hands, can be well repaired.
My wife and I were travelling home after a day out in our MGA in 2013. We'd been following an old faded purple Korean car for 20-30 minutes. The three occupants frequently turned around to look at our MGA, so they knew we were there. At one point the driver indicated "left" and began to turn off the road to the left, so I pulled out to the right to go around. To my horror, the driver then decided to turn right instead. We collided side to side. My wife in the passenger seat was badly bruised down her left side.
To add insult to injury I was nominated to be at fault, as the following driver always has to allow for the driver in front!!
Like you, the assessor was ridiculously unrealistic. For example two hours were allowed to take the paint off the damaged front guard, rear guard, door and sill. They objected to the use of better quality choices in primer, paint etc etc etc. In the end I told the repairer to do the whole car, do it well, and to choose premium quality products, and charge me the difference. I wound up paying just $500 less than I'd paid to buy the whole car about 5 years earlier over and above the insurance company's contribution.

The photo shows the damaged rear guard and sill. I had to pull the rear guard off the tyre to make the car drivable. (It was surprisingly soft and malleable!)

T Aczel

Here's the same side after being repaired. The door skin was removed from the door frame, and tapped and wheeled beautifully back into shape. Needless to say, all the guards, bonnet and boot lid were removed during the repair.

T Aczel

To be honest, my MGA is bodily now far better than when I bought it.
During the repair we found evidence of a previous very poorly repaired right front end collision (which I'd suspected), a well repaired minor left rear accident, and some poor alignment after previous rust repairs. I suppose one would be very lucky to find a 50 plus year old car without such matters, particularly in what was, after a cheap "everyman's" sports car in its time.These problems have all been dealt with competently now.
The finished car has also held up very well with the passage of the subsequent four years, vindicating my decision to have the work done well, and with better quality materials.

Come to think of it, I should of started my own thread rather than used yours Paul. My sincere apologies for this. It's just that your experiences "struck a nerve" with me, reminding me of what had happened to us in not too dissimilar circumstances.

T Aczel

Paul - so sorry to learn about your accident last August and good to see it back on your drive looking very nice indeed. Hopefully catch up with you at some point over the summer months. Cheers. Tim
Tim Prime

One really good thing about A chassis design is the use of a front chassis extension as in a situation like mine it takes the damage without affecting the main chassis. Of course same logic doesn’t apply to rear end.

Good to hear others experiences particularly with Korean drivers.


PS Tim, sorry I have been rather MGA antisocial since August but will be in touch.
Paul Dean

This thread was discussed between 10/05/2018 and 16/05/2018

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