Union Jack

Restoration of My 1967 AH Sprite MK4

Chapter IV -- Some More Body Work

Enfo Logo

Note: Each photo below can be clicked for a larger view

Bonnet Back Boot lid back Well, after ordering the 5-speed adapter in the last chapter and before it arrived, we started on Dick's Model A. Being the main body guy, it has taken pretty much all my time. This past weekend, I finally took a little time to work on my own projects and these two pieces are the result. Since the paint booth is in the same area we were building the Sprite and it is filled with Model A body parts, there is no place to work on the Sprite. Therefore, it is in the common area and covered in tarps. The new 5-speed and engine will have to wait for a while. Meanwhile, when I get these little breaks, I need to get the bonnet, boot lid, front wings under sides and the doors insides ready for epoxy then the Anchor paint. In removing the rattle-can primer, it become apparent that the DPO intended to eventually paint the car blue. Both these pieces had a solid coat of blue under the primer. It seems there is a pretty good coat of primrose under that. There is still a lot of paint prep needed on the Model A so not sure when I will get to those next pieces, but soon, I hope.

It is just too cold to paint right now so I get a little more time with the Sprite. This is a pretty complex piece that covers the slam panel and all the structure between the front wings as well as the outer skin and grille surround. It is also in primer and at least part of it has the DPO's blue paint too. The lower part of the front apron had a large bondo patch that made it difficult to straighten the bottom seam. After removing the bondo, I found a dent that almost extended from end-to-end and was a little more than half an inch deep. Access from the back side to straighten was impossible due to a structural backing panel that would be impossible to remove without pretty much dismantling the whole nose. The photos show my solution, drill a few holes in the backing panel through which I could insert a screw driver as a lever to somewhat push the skin closer to correct alignment. This will still require significant filler and, of course, the holes will have to be welded back too.

Nose dent Holes for access Screw driver as lever

After levering the dent as well as I could, I applied a layer of Metal Fuzion, a polyester filler that uses aluminum as filler instead of whatever typical fillers use. This makes it quite tough but also tough to finish nicely. I expect a thin coat of regular bondo will be in order over it. So, the weekend came and the weather is cooperative so I finally got some primer on the backs of the bonnet, the boot lid and the nose. The nose also includes the slam panel.

Bonnet back Boot lid back Nose back

The weather cooperated both days so I got paint on the backs of all three.

Bonnet back Boot lid back Nose from back

Nose in bondo Primed A couple of weeks later I got a little more free time and decided to work on that bent area in the lower valence of the nose. I sanded the all metal to fairly smooth and applied regular bondo over it then sanded some more. The left photo shows it ready for primer. Next, I spent several hours masking the already finished back side of the nose (see above) to prime the front without getting white epoxy on the already yellow paint. Finally I was able to prime the front side. The right photo shows that same area in more of that 20 year old PPG white epoxy. The next 3 photos show the nose in primer from different perspectives or angles. You can see a small part of the masking in them. There was no primer on any of the yellow after I took the masking off.

Off side From above Near side

Grind weld All metal applied I got another break from the Model A and put in a little more time on the Sprite. This time I worked on that bad wing that I helped Harold repair. I had previously done most of the grinding on the weld but determined I could get it a little flatter by some more careful grinding then finishing off with a 40 grit disk on the die grinder. After a little hammer work (access from behind for a dolly was not possible) it was ready for a fairly thin coat of the all metal filler over the joint. These photos show the seam after grinding and sanding then with the filler applied. This filler is difficult to work with and pretty much impossible to apply smooth. It is also darn hard to sand at all.

Wing in epoxy Wing closeup A week or so later the Model A cowl and gas tank were ready for the polyester primer. Since that would only take a few minutes, it seemed like a good time to move the body out of the paint booth and move the Sprite in to get some epoxy on that rear wing. So after covering all the already yellow nearby, I got two good coats of that same 20 year old PPG epoxy on it. Now it will be ready for any remaining metal work and filler. In the closeup, you can clearly see the flaws remaining in the all metal filler. Meanwhile, at some time in the last couple of months, I had filled some holes in the fascia that the DPO had made. He mounted a pair of later MGB tag light fixtures presumably for interior illumination. I got a more proper under dash light for the purpose. I finally got around to priming that with epoxy and it will also need some filler work.

Fascia Wing body work After several sessions of guide coat, sand, reapply filler as necessary, I finally got it to the point that it shows no high or low spots after guide coat and sanding with 180 grit on the 18 inch rigid sanding block. So it is now ready for another session of the same: coat of white epoxy, black guide coat and block sand with the 18 inch block. I think it will prove to be acceptable and ready for the high build primer this time.

Fascia primed Wing primed Another couple of weeks and I got the next epoxy on the repaired wing. I also decided to strip the fascia to bare metal and start over on it. Meanwhile I determined that the DPO had cut yet another hole in it for a cigarette lighter that I wanted to patch. Compare this photo with the one above to see where it was. Then I got a good coat of epoxy on it too, both sides. Meanwhile, I found all the small parts removed from the bonnet and boot lid before painting them and applied epoxy to all. Finally, I finish painted the hinges and small parts and the back side of the fascia with the Anchor matching paint. The face will require some filler and prep work then will be painted with the outer body paint; the match is really close but not quite perfect. The boot latch is simple but the bonnet latch is made up from several pieces. Painting all the little pieces is really a pain. The photos below show the latch pieces hanging in the foreground with the hinges and support rods in the background (left), The boot hinges closeup (center) and one of the bonnet hinges closeup (right).

Small bits Boot hinges Bonnet hinge