Inner sill repair
With the MGA the inner sills are not visible once the car is completely assembled. Still dirt and moist knows how to get there. The fenders covering the inner sills showed some rust damage and indeed as almost always in such cases, the rust damage was much worse than it seemed at the first glance. Both inner sills were so bad that they had to be replaced. First remove the old sill by dilling out the spot welds. On the right-hand side the panel, which the sill was welded on was also in bad shape and needed replacement too.
We painted the inside and the outside of the new sills to protect it from rust. The areas where the welds will come were covered with tape to prevent epoxy paint from coming too close to the welds. The welding area themselves got a coat of weld primer. The 5mm metal punch was a great asset when punching 5mm holes for the welds in the sils: Over a 100 plug welds per sill. I'm getting better at it and so the 2nd sill hardly needed any grinding at all. Enough wire speed and current to fill up the holes nicely. After the sill was fitted to the car, the lower-end of the posts needed to be reconnected. Formed a new piece from a 1mm thick piece of sheet metal.
On the left-hand side the A-post was bend due to a collision. It could not be straigted out while still on the car. So all the twisted parts were cut off and drilled out, hammered out on the bench and welded back in. The inside of the posted will be spray painted prevent further rust damage. The outside is painted with a 1K epoxy primer and few layers of paint. The paint layer does not have to be perfectly smooth and shiny, as long as it keeps the rust out. I did paint it in the final color just to get a impression how the new color will look on the car...
The story on the Upholstery
Although it is going to take a while before the seats can be installed in the car, we could work on the frames in the garage in the winter time. We had to clean the frames and make some modifications, because it turned out that the back of the seats were not the original ones. The ones in our MGA coupe came from a roadster. The roadster seat back has a vertical seam pattern, whereas the coupe has as pattern of 5 horizontal seams and 2 vertical seams on the sides. Also the frame is a bit different: A coupe has a horizontal top while the back of a roadster seat is slightly sloped down towards the sides of the car. The leather was too old and damaged to be preserved anyway so we decided to discard the old upholstry and modify the back of the seats to turn it into a coupe seat again. Since the leather seats had to be redone, we wanted the seams to match the original MGA coupe pattern again.
Sewing leather requires a special sturdy sewing machine and so we looked around for a person that could do the leather upholstry for us. After some reseach we contacted Bekleding Totaal in Ede to do this work for us. We could select the leather ourselves as well as the color of the piping. Once it was done we were very eager to fit the new seats in the car. Instead of putting the new seats in the car as it is now, use used Photoshop to test fix it. Much easier to move around, the comfort of a nice cup of coffee nearby and no risk of damaging the new leather on the sharp edges of the carrosserie under construction.
One of the first things we noticed on the car while it was still in San Francisco was the cracked and damaged steeringwheel. I was almost at a point to discard the steeringwheel and get a new one. A bit of research on the internet learned that some MGA fanatics were able to fill the cracks and make the steeringwheel look like new again. While I was in the US for work I picked up the 2 component putty several people used to do the job. What do you say? Much nicer to have a wheel in your hands that lived through all those year. If only this wheel could tell the tales of all the accidents it lived through...