Body modifications started long before the decision to install the 215. My son put a set of mag wheels and wide tires on to auto-cross the car and when I got the car I found that the tires were slightly rubbing, so I decided to flare the front and rear fenders. Fender flares are an art form and I searched for a long time to find the style I thought would look good on a BGT. They ranged from the pure ugly to fine. The most appealing to me were the Jag series 3 XJ-6.
This was easier than it sounds. To shape a fender flare from scratch would take a lot of skill as a body man. That was not necessary though, all I had to do was draw a line about 1/2 inch in from the lip of the fender from about half way down the back of the wheel opening, all the way up, over and down about half way down the front. Then I drilled several small holes in line and on the line. I then opened the holes to a slot with tin snips so I could start my cut saw. A small jig saw would have done just as well on a standard front fender but the rear is double walled and takes a little more work. My front fenders were even easier than a standard because mine were fiberglass. The 1/2 inch piece should still be attached to the car at each end. Now, all you have to do is pull the top of the rim out to a point depending on how much of a flare you want.
Now the inner and outer fender on the rear are no longer attached to each other so to get that corrected, make cuts 90 degrees to the lip cut. I found that if you cut about an inch and a half to two inches in and make them about two to three inches apart, you can then bend the outer one up out of the way to gain access to the inner fender. This only needs to be done for about a foot across the top. As you get further down the front and back, it will be very close to the lip. I used a torch and a hammer to bend the inner fender edge up so it pointed toward the lip that I pulled away. I then welded up the slits in the inner fender. (Putting out the occasional fire from the undercoating with a water spray bottle) I then bent the outer pieces down to meet the inner fender and to roughly the shape I wanted the flare to be. With snips, I trimmed the excess of the outer metal so the inner and outer were the same length and welded them together. This still left a gap, which I then filled in with scrap sheet metal. Look at the sketch and this will show what I am trying to describe.
The front fender was much easier. I did the same cut and pulled the lip out and pop riveted a piece of thin aluminum in as a filler and support. Then filled in with fiberglass to get the contours the way I wanted. If I had a standard front fender I would weld in a piece of scrap sheet metal to make the fill in then use fiberglass or bondo to fill in with.
It was necessary to cut the fire wall away to get the V-8 back far enough to be able to lower it. I had several good reasons to do this. Moving the center of gravity down improves handling as does moving the center closer to the center of the car. The design of the carbs dictated that I could not make my manifolds much shorter than I did and velocity stacks to be effective needed to be at least a few inches long to set up a laminar flow. All of this would make the carbs stick up several inches above the hood (bonnet). I did not want a big hood scoop on the hood so everything was forcing me to move the engine down and to the rear.
The heater on a "B" sits on a shelf and is up against a higher part of the firewall. I just cut away the lower section back to the level of the upper portion. As you can see in the photos. The odd shapes were not as hard to fabricate as they look. I made a template out of cardboard for just a piece of it. After transferring that to sheet metal and welding it in, I just made a new piece of cardboard and repeated the process until it was filled in. It almost looked like it was planed.
Because the steering shaft is now going to foul on the left head, I moved it over about an inch and moved the clutch and brake pedal mounting over about an inch and a quarter. This will make it necessary to add another "U" joint to the steering shaft. This was not much of a problem since the "U" joints were available in several sizes from most speed shops. I used a pair from Moroso because of the small diameter. I had to notch the left frame member to make clearance for the steering shaft. I welded in a half of a piece of steel tubing to keep the frame strength.
The hood has been modified since the velocity stacks come to within a fraction of an inch of the underside of the hood. Rather than a hood scoop, I decided on a raised center section like the hood of an "E" type jag and a friend gave me a chrome grill from the back of an "E" type as that is the size needed to get the extra clearance needed. The pictures show some of the contoured stays used to keep the center section and the hood itself to the original contour while welding in a transition piece on each side. This made it necessary to shape the transition pieces in a slightly curved convex shape, as also pictured. I was able to get the pieces close to the correct shape with a small home made English wheel. Because I had no experience using an English Wheel, I still had to make cross cuts about every 8 to 12 inches. I pre-cleaned the hood and transition pieces about an inch from the edge and used a pneumatic hole punch to put holes about 3/4 to one inch apart down both sides of each transition piece and inserted them from the bottom. Then I drilled and pop riveted the pieces in place. I did have to drill out several rivets and reposition the pieces then rivet again. After I was satisfied that it was in the correct position and the contours were correct, I welded in each hole from the underside. Some areas had to be welded from the top side because of the access at the front, the cross member and a little at the rear. I then welded in 4 plates to support the rods that are used to pivot the hood at the front. Rather than try to move the hood latch to the rear I opted for hot rod hood pins at each rear corner. So that I did not have metal to metal contact at the pins, I enlarged the holes in the hood and made two nylon bushings for the hood pins to go through.
Floor Pans, roll cage & seats
floor pans were rusted through in spots so I cut them out and made new ones.
Instead of welding them in I used
a new bonding agent that body shops have had good results with. Both surfaces
must be very clean and to be sure of a close fit it was
screwed down every
few inches. I plan to add a small cross member under the floor at the rear seat
mount as this is a weak point on the MG anyway. The seats are
narrowed TR-7 seats. Even though the "B" seats are lighter, the
"7" seats are more comfortable. I
a bolt-in full roll cage which will
have a 4 point belt system.
mounts had to cut off and new mounts welded on to the front frame members. To
make installation and removal easier I welded adapter plates to the frame and
made the motor mounts removable. I used the original Olds mounts partly because
they can be flexed a lot thus making it possible to lower the trans down so as
to make it possible to remove the trans from below. This will make the clutch
and/or the trans serviceable without removing the engine.
Trans Mount & Cross-member
The trans mount had to be completely redesigned including the cross-member. Also, a welded in frame cross member was removed to make it possible to remove the trans from below. I fabricated a bolt in trans mount that takes the place of the original bolt in cross-member the welded in cross-member and the trans mount all in one. Note the picture of the new mount. BMW trans Mounts were used and gave good support.
The front valance panel below the front bumper was cracked a bent up quite a bit so it took some welding and hammering to get it to even look like it did originally. It had been repaired before as it had a lot of bondo on it. I removed the bondo and hammered it roughly into shape. I plan to put my oil cooler (XJ-6 Jag) behind the valance panel so I modified the two air intakes already there, by opening them up a little and making a small scoop on the lower lip of each air intake. Now a smaller amount of bondo will make it look better.
Fuel Tank Mounting
Several conversions noted in the BV-8 news letter posting have centered their fuel tank so exhaust would have room to pass on each side. I liked that idea so I am moving mine too. This will put the filler neck over a little and I will fabricate a metal cover for the filler neck to help keep fuel fumes from entering the cockpit in case of a leak at the filler neck. This area will be vented out next to the filler cap.