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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Bonnet sourcing

Hi all,

Finally getting round to the bodywork on her now. Took it to a body shop and he said the bonnet, although solid (welded patches in the front, usual area) it is too distorted to get a good fit. So I started trying to source a decent bonnet or repair panel or anything and there are NONE! New bonnets are 400+ so not an option.

A fibreglass frogeye front end did catch my eye though! 😨🤑😵

Anyone know any solutions that are slightly more cost effective!

PS. This is the first body shop I have visited and won't be going there for work anyway. Others may have a different opinion on it!
Karl Bielby

What car is it. I have a frogeye and it came with a bare FB bonnet which I ran with for a while then decided to replace it as it sagged above the engine as supplied, the replacement was the same so I presume the shops mould was bad or they pulled the moulding before it was completely set to improve turn around times and it sagged subsequently. Remedial work with heat setting and reinforcing inserts improved it no end but taught me that in future I would like to see an example of the product I'm buying first before handing over the cash. This all happened in the late 1980s so contact was by phone and post.
David Billington

I dont know that id go fiberglass ...granted 1/ 2 the cost but in my opinion it takes a lot of work and seems to flex around alot based on enviorment conditions

have you tried the bbs for sale section

most likely your just going to need to bite the bullet or spend about the same to fix what you have

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Oh definitely, fibreglass is a last option. I want to keep it all metal ideally!
Karl Bielby

Karl as David asked what car is it
There are a few people on here that offer second hand parts, I even think I have a second hand one but it's off of a 1500 I'll have a look to make sure.
Dave Pratt

My experience of bonnets is they are a pig to mount the same twice. Its not much experience (3 times) but what looks like a good fit on mine is still a compromise. The wings are not the same both sides so the 'gaps' can't be perfect anyway.
Dave Squire

Get your bonnet mounted to your satisfaction - and I agree it is very difficult to get them really well positioned. Then drill a small pilot hole through each hinge bracket into the mounting plinth and insert a SS self tapping screw. This will fix the position. Next time you need to remove and replace the bonnet you just put the 4 hinge bolts in each side, leaving them slightly loose,adjust the hinge position to line up the self tapper hole and refit the screw. Then tighten all the bolts up. Its quick and simple to do and the bonnet will then sit exactly as previously positioned.

The other tip is use packing washers under the hinge bolts to adjust the height of the bonnet relative to the scuttle - they are often a poor fit here. But don't put washers under all 4 bolts as surprisingly this doesn't lift the bonnet as one might expect. The trick is just pack 2 bolts on each hinge. Packing under the rear 2 lifts the bonnet; under the front 2 lowers it.

I had one on my hillclimber and ended up with six bonnet pins in it to hold it from looking like a banana at speed. Honestly ,I would be sticking to steel for a road car-
William Revit

Frogeye bonnets were an almost hand fitted part at the factory. The build tolerances were quite large and it was not unusual for a bonnet to be put on one side waiting for a suitable body to come down the track.

Even fitting a bonnet off one Frog onto another can be a challenge.

You need a body shop who is used to fitting Frogeye bonnets.

Rob aka MG Moneypit


I just remove the bonnet hinge bolts under the dash and lift the bonnet off with the hinges attached. It saves all that alignment.
Bob Beaumont

Thanks Guy, great thinking.

Its always the simple things isn't it?
Dave Squire

yes l have tried that method too, but for some reason l found it difficult to move the bonnet into exact position at the front, whilst locating the pins under the dash. Mainly 'cos my arms weren't long enough, or l didn't have enough of them.

Ah ha yes I see that. I make sure I have a suitable assistant which helps. I have also put a 'tapered lead' on the bolts to help the line up.
Bob Beaumont

Thank god im an american

were very spoled with sissor hinges easy peasy to remove and reinstall... it is litterlly a 10 minute job to reinstall and aline

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

I don't think it's an issue with the alignment, it's the shape of the bonnet itself. The curve front to back is too tight.

Is it a 1500 Dave, are there differences between the models??
Karl Bielby

For what its worth, I had a similar problem and adjusted the bonnet curvature by placing a substantial timber wrapped in cloth across the wings and gently leaning on the bonnet to ease it into a better curve.

Not absolutely perfect but acceptably better than before.

I don't think the single side bonnet stay helps the alignment either.

Peter Blockley

I made an engine crane that will extract the engine from a Frogeye without the need to remove the bonnet. It has served me, and several other Frogeye owners, well over the years.
Alan Anstead

Ah is that with the bonnet open Peter? Then close the front to rest on the timber then lean in the middle of the bonnet to flatten it out a bit.. I might have a go, nothing to loose!!
Karl Bielby

Just recently I had to slightly tighten the long bonnet hinge bolts which was a real PITA job so I can thoroughly recommend Guy's method. Although I've never got round to drilling and fitting the self tappers as the 'Tipex' marks are still so visible but it's an excellent idea to have the screw holes to line up.
Nigel Atkins

The curve of the bonnet is quite hard to alter. Maybe it can be done that way but I found it too rigid to bend and would be afraid of putting dents in the top of the wings with a beam laid across them. The problem is that the vertical flanged edge of the bonnet is double thickness and quite strong. And this is what keeps the curve in the bonnet so that is where the adjustment needs to take place.

One might do it with a shrinker/stretcher but I didn't have one at the time I was trying this. What I did was to cut a series of slits in that edge flange with a grinder slitting disc. This allows the curve to be altered and I then welded up the slots again. It worked well but I don't think I would bother again. And its certainly only worth doing as part of a rebuild project and before respraying!

I had a right game with my Frogeye bonnet. First of all it had been nerfed above the nose and I could not get the depression out by shrinking - the badge hole just allowed the metal to expand. I had to cut out a rectangle and weld in a flat piece (joddled joins of course). More mysterious was the way it sat too high at the back, at the sides next to the screen corners. I could not work out what was going on. I tried bending the back edge but as someone said here that is very stiff as it's double skinned. I eventually took the headlamps and their buckets off and peered inside at the hinges. These were the problem - they had distorted over 56 years. I cut slots in them and refitted the bonnet, which now sat down properly. Took the hinges off, which were now the right shape, and welded up the slots. Frankly the fit is better now than it was when I bought the car in 1978.

I did all this without help. I suspended the bonnet from the garage roof on ropes, lowering and raising as necessary.
L B Rose

This thread was discussed between 14/09/2016 and 23/09/2016

MG Midget and Sprite Technical index

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