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MG MGA - A new hood

I will be after a new hood for my '58 roadster shortly and will be fitting it myself. I would be grateful for some reccomendations with regard to type and supplier, bearing in mind that the hood will be down most of the time, but when it goes up, I want it to look good and work properly. Thanks.
Lindsay Sampford

Lindsay, I got a hood earlier this year from PJM. The material was blue Everflex and although I haven't fitted it to the frame yet,which is being repaired, it looks good with neat stitching.

The main central seams are double stitched and the hidem banding is a perfect colour match. My only reservation is that a tube for the front frame bow isn't sewn into the roof. I think for the earlier 1500 there were three frame bow tubes. It might be worth asking whoever you decide on whether they include the tubes.

PJM do both the single and triple window hoods and also a mystery Mk.3 version. I asked about this version when I was there but noone seemed to know what it was!!..........................Mike
m.j. moore

Thanks for that Mike. I noticed that Dominic had recommended PJM for upholstery on the 'interior trim' thread. I had a look and saw their hoods, the prices look good. I shall wait to see what others say, thanks again.
Lindsay Sampford

By coincidence I have been out tonight with the roof up for first time this year. I had forgotten how bad visibility was. In particular the sidescreens were so bad I had to remove them!
As I dont use the car in the wet, I quickly decided I would rather be cold than drive with the roof on. So whilst not wishing to put you off, I am just suggesting you think carefully before spending money on it. If you use it in all conditions, then fair enough. But if you are like me, and you keep away from the rain, I would think twice.

Graham M V

My hood was supplied and fitted by Les at Bob Wests, Lindsay. It fits and looks very well (apart from from a few drips through the join above the windscreen in heavy rain)
Dont know how much they charge for one though but Les is a first-class upholsterer.
Colyn Firth

I am not put off by rain, and have often driven in it with the top down until I start to get more rain on the inside of the screen than on the outside! Then (it should, in a perfect world be shortly before 'then' but rarely is!) it is time to get the top up. I want one that allows me to proceed on my way without it flapping about, letting water in or looking like a badly erected tent. My existing one does all three of those things, so it is time for a new one!
Lindsay Sampford

Any MGA hood or top, depending on which side of the pond you are on, will have leaks. You need to be sure that the wooden header rail follow the contour of the top of the windscreen as closely as possible. Sand and shape as required. Also, make sure that you install a flexible gasket to the bottom of the wood rail where it meets the top of the windscreen. The gasket goes under the rail wrap so you don't see it when the top if complete. Even a well made top will have gaps where it meets the side screens. My wife keeps a roll of paper towels under the dash board to plug the gaps in heavy rain.
Keith Lowman

A properly made and installed top should not leak. My top keeps us dry even in heavy rain. Kieth's comments about fitting the wooden header and the foam rubber gasket are right on. Pay a lot of attention to the fit of the finishing strip that laps over the front of the top windshield frame. Another thing that helps is having the latch in the center of the top rail like the later MGAs had. The weak point on my MGA in rain is the wipers. Sometimes it's better to leave them turned off and let the Rain-x do its job. Here is a link to Barney Gaylord's excellent instructions on how to install a new top. I followed them when installing my top.

Ed Bell

How about trying this?

Graham M V

I have just had my hood fitted by Les at Bob West's. Its a really good fit and very nicely made. I haven't tried it in the rain yet. Les also managed to solve my frame problem where it didn't seem to fold out onto the windscreen and line up with the pegs. With the hood on it drops on nicely now. He also did the sidesceens, rail trimming and the carpets and all are really good. Price was reasonable too.

One small annoyance with the hood is the length of the lip inside the sidescreens which is longer by about 30mm on one side and closes onto the screen between the sidescreen. The other side doesn't reach the screen. Oselli commented that they always have a problem making them exactly the same length. There are a series of pictures on photobucket,

John Francis


When I had my MGA (the one John Rush used to own when we first met) I changed the hood & found that the header rail had so many nail holes that it was almost impossible to fit a new hood. Heaven only knows how many times a hood had been nailed to it. A new wooden rail might be worth considering.

The new hood was probably from NTG and never leaked. Some amateur botch artist called Prewer fitted it.

John Prewer

John (Francis) looks a really nice fit. From the pictures, it looks like you have enlisted members of the local Caribean community to do an engine tune-up for you. Am I right, and if so, does it now sound like a steel drum band when it goes down the road?

John (Prewer) I was thinking the same about my header rail. I think it has been to the cobblers a few times. I hope it's OK because it fits the screen very well and I have heard of new headers not being so good straight off the shelf.
Lindsay Sampford

I hope you were not offended by my earlier comments. I just stumbled across the following amusing article thanks to the MG Experience website. Worth a read if you haven't seen it
Graham M V

If Lindsey or another one of you gets a new top, can I have the old one? I have no top - so anything is better!

AJ Mail

To be honest Graham, I was seriously considering the suggestion in your previous posting. Having read that article you found on the MG Experience website, I have placed an order with an eBay company for a couple of the devices in the attached picture!
Nice one Graham.

Lindsay Sampford


I didn't actually change my rail, I removed it, filled every hold I could find with wood glue, painted the rest, and re-used it!

If modern ones aren't the right shape this could be an option and the reason why mine didn't leak.

John Prewer

What are the current thoughts on the best way to fit the 'lift the dot' fastners to the new hood?
John Bray

For the tonneau cover I put masking tape in the area where the fastener would be. Used a pencil to mark where peg would be coming thru the cover. Placed one half of the lift the dot (the one with the tabs) over the pencil mark and pushed down firmly. It left 4 little marks in the masking tape. I heated a very small screw driver tip to "melt" a small hole for the fastener. Worked well.

Put some chalk on top of the posts then pull the hood into position over it and touch it to the post to transfer chalk to the hood. Install the fastener and move on to the next one. I started with the one nearest to the middle of the car and worked out towards the edges, alternating from side to side as I went. Came out looking very good in my opinion.
Ed Bell

I like the heated screw-driver approach...JB
John Bray

My 2 cents. I fitted the hood by attaching the rear with the rail into the chrome rail slots first. Center the top then attach the lift a dots. I had a canvas hood so the reated screw driver approach probably would not have worked. I used and exacto knife and it worked quite well. When attaching the top to the front rail, I made sure that the very last top bow in the rear was folded up. I then scretched the top as much as I could and attached it to the rail. After this was done, I folded the rear most bow down to its correct position and the top was nice and tight, so tight I could bounce a quarter off of it. We made the mistake of attaching the top to the rear bow before attaching the front to the rail on my dad's car and the result was a loud buzzing sound when driving with the hood up.
DB Brough

This thread was discussed between 05/10/2010 and 12/10/2010

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