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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Creating template


I need to create a template for part of the rear bulkhead panel as I don't want to spend 50 on a new panel as the whole panel just doesn't need replacing, just the last 4 inches.

I was going to pop down to Moss in Bristol with my cornflake box and ask them if they'd mind letting draw round the panel ends. (thought they should be happy to oblige, considering the amount of money they've had off me!)

But has anyone here got other ways / experience to produce accurate templates if there is nothing else to go on?

Also had an idea of fabric templates like you'd get in a dress making kit, anyone fancy going into business with me??

Many thanks


James Paul

Im not sure what you are on about, but I love cornflakes! MMMMM!
Steven Devine

One can usually make the card templates off the remains of the old piece that you are wanting to replace. And even if it is no longer there, then the space that it once occupied is likely to still exist, if only you can find it. (!) The other thing, is that these cars are for the most part symmetrical, so you can often make a template from the other side and reverse it.

I vaguely thought of making paper templates for sale. But then asked myself if I would buy them and the answer came back pretty clearly, - no! They are too quick and easy to do to warrant even the postage stamp and the wait to get hold of pre-made ones.
Guy W

Thanks Guy for coming back. It is going to be really hard to copy one side as it is nearly as bad the other.
All part of the fun!

Steven...glad I put a happy thought in your head! :-)
James Paul

James, which bit are you needing to make?

The other thing worth remembering is that when you buy panels, they rarely fit. You have to adjust and re-shape them to suit your car. You wouldn't have been any more successful had you gone and made a template off a replacement panel at Moss!
Guy W

If the bottom 4 inches of your bulkhead is rusted into the spirit realm, id say your rust issues are just beginning and are probably more extensive then you maybe witnessing

If your needing new floor panals, sills and what not...then 50 for a replacement bulkhead would seem really cheap to make sure everything is fitted and welded into proper spec

Got pics of the damage ?

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Hi Guy,

Take your pick!

Rear bulk head is the most important bit I need next as you can see from here. This is an older picture as there is not much left there now!

But the damage is the same on the other side.

More photos on the blog:

James Paul

LOL ! I have seen - and dealt with - much worse! Seems to me that you need a much larger patch panel than you have outlined in red though?
Guy W

Yes but I can't afford a new shell from heritage!
James Paul


Have you meet lawerance on this site...the 2 of you would make awsome mates...provided the 2 of you could afford the gallon of petrol for the gas tank.


This is a classic example of the most expensive midgets are free

I know you dont want to hear this but maybe its time for another re-evaluation of this renovation project...maybe this car needs to be a breaker parts car, so that other spridgets can live on

I fear that the time and money invested in this car may out pace what a good decent midget is selling for with little or no work is needed...I think thats called deminishing returns

Prop and the Blackhole Midget

Sure I've said this before, but it's not about the money it is about the experience. Nothing is impossible if you have the drive and desire to finish what you've started.

If i wanted a driveable midget I would have bought one and even the they cost money to maintain and run, so why not learn something new and have an experience along the way :-)

James Paul

Prop its not about the money, money, money.

That is perfectly repairable, and many of the panels can be made for zero cost. Even the sheet steel can be had for free if you know where to look. That rear bulkhead in particular is a flat panel, with folded flanges along the edges and a reasonably easily made stiffening channel formed along its length. Simple enough to make.

James, can you use a couple of the triangular stiffeners that go inside that rear bulkhead. I have a couple which you are welcome to have.
Guy W

The Kids got spirit Prop! Break him in easy... You dont want to discourage talent thats still blooming!
James go for it! Guy is a good mentor and great for pictures and advice. I agree 100% with your knowlege and experience comments!

Guy.. With car taken down as far as James, in your opinion should the car be on a jig to keep it square or does it matter that much?

Steven Devine

keep going james take it bit by bit i have just done this panel all you need is plenty of cardboard scissors and lots of patients dont cut out to much at once


It could be on a jig, but most of us don't have one!

James, I fastened my car down to two long straight 2" X 8" wooden beams, running along under the chassis rails the full length of the car and levelled up with a spirit level. And before starting to weld in the side panels it will need supporting on blocks and shims at the outer ends of the three transverse box sections, and with a vertical brace added between floor and the underside of the scuttle. Then fit the side panels with self tappers or lots and lots of mole grips.

And do fit the doors first,even if just propped in position,to get the sill and post angles right!

Another trick is to use a series of "winding rods". Simply straight 5' lengths of dowl or something similar. Lay them across the width of the car so that they are resting on pairs of positions that are supposed to be level, from side to side. e.g top of both B posts, top of rear wings, windscreen top corners etc. Then stand well back from the rear of the car and squat down so that you can sight from one rod to the next. Squint with one eye and it will show up if there is any discrepancy or twist in the shell. It sounds primitive, but is extremely accurate. If one side is low then correct it with jacks, rope tourniquets, wedges, BFH or whatever works. Then Weld.

Welding is quick and final, so just tack weld a few points first and then double check. Joiners always say measure twice cut once. I think for car bodywork you measure 10 times, tack, measure twice more and then weld once!
Guy W

Hi Guy,

The separate triangular stiffeners are in good nick, just the suspension mount reinforcement needed replacing which was purchased today!

I too have it placed on front to rear 2x4 timber with supports between. The gaps on the other side remain the same.

We have had a brief chat about your winding rods which I will probably be needing (thanks for the tip!). But just for everyone here a PO made a right mess of replacing the sills and other panels which put everything out of alignment(doors didn't shut when I got it). Most of what has been removed was what was bodged in the first place, so I will be taking to rebuild the car around the doors.

I am very lucky to have some experienced restorers and welders around me who have been giving me plenty of advice. I would be just a little happier to have more to measure against!

All good fun and I respect all of you and thank you for all your comments, even Prop's!! ;-)

James Paul

Hi Guy,

do you know what thickness of sheet steel I would need to ask for?

Kind regards

James Paul

James, the place l get my steel sheet (for free.) quotes it in metric rather than gauges. I get 1.0mm and 1.2mm for the thinner panels and 1.6mm for brackets, inner sill and a few other bits and pieces.
Guy W

Hi Guy,

Thanks for that. I popped down to a local steel supplier and got told basically where to go!

Keep hunting
James Paul


Fairly sure the car spares place behind the VW camper repair - Clevedon Auto spares - sells steel in fairly large sheets (think about 4x2 feet) will check with a mate when I see him on Sunday - hes doing a TR2.

richard boobier

Hi Richard,

thanks very much for that.

Kind regards

James Paul

Hi James,

Only just noticed this thread. That is a fair project you have there! I have jumped (still going...) some probably equally sized hurdles on my resto too.

Don't listen to Prop, yeah it will be a money pit but it's all about the fun of doing it. Everyone has to have a hobby.

In terms of the bodywork, Guy is God! Take note of everything he says! I use similar thickness steel for repairs. I get mine from B&Q. Probably pay a premium but hey ho, it's just down the road.

I generally use 1 mm for "structural" stuff and 0.6 mm for "non-structural"/tricky curved sections (these are the two thicknesses in B&Q). However, I do find 0.6 is just slightly too thin to seem properly sturdy (hence non-structural, although it has to be better than just rust!) and also its slightly too thin to weld easily without blowing holes in.

The sills and things are thicker but I just bought them whole as you have done.

Picture of my car at it's worst just to show you aren't alone!


Malcolm Le Chevalier

Hi Malcolm,

Thanks very much for the advice, I did think about B&Q, good to know as an option.

Good luck with yours, it does look all too similar!!

Many thanks

James Paul

Look on Ebay for mild steel sheet. You never know what might come up.

I bought a 35M x 150mm x 1mm roll of sheet steel. It was close to me so no postage. Cost me 25. Chap was having a clear out in his garage and didn't want it. I got it for way less than the scrap value I reckon.

Lawrence Slater

This thread was discussed between 13/06/2013 and 27/06/2013

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