Just a boy and his hood…

…to this

From this…

All tape measures lie.

I don’t care if you measure twice, three times, or ten time. They lie. I know. I have the evidence.

I measured the stack height of the Wieand manifold, the Autolite 4100 carb, and the drop-base air cleaner (including the nut) and my tape measure told me I had at least 1/2″ to spare between the top of the cleaner and the hood (bonnet). Not so, oh funky one. Not so.

In fact, not even close.

So, what’s a boy to do? Why whip out the old cutting tool and relieve the hood a bit, that’s what.

Could it be that simple?

No, it could not.

The first cut is the deepest

Oh, cutting the MGC hood along the lines of the ‘bubble’ was simple enough. It’s everything after that, that got complicated.

Wanting to keep things in proportion, I marked the rear of the new center section about 1.5 times wider than the sides. Unfortunately, this meant the cut line would fall right at the inside reinforcement. Not good. Moving it towards the front an inch would have solved the problem but it wouldn’t have looked ‘right’ so I elected to go ahead and make the rear cut where I had originally planned. This meant having to fiberglass some very complex curves which, in turn, meant finishing the result was going to be a chore.

No more ‘bubble’

Once the I had cut all around my perimeter, I went about cleaning up the edges and narrowing the top ‘slice’ just a bit so the sides would have pleasing slope rather than be vertical. All of this so the new hood would look like it belonged on the car and not like someone had just hacked it up (although I had…just hacked it up). After that, I propped up the center section and then put the first of three layers of glass down to fill the gap. While I was at it, I also elected to cut off the bubble, part of the MGC hood made to clear something on the original straight six power plant.

Once the exterior glass work was done, I moved to the inside. Glassing in the sides was pretty straight forward. Glassing in the rear of the new bulge proved to be less so as getting a decent transition between the underside of the bulge and the rear reinforcement proved a bit of challenge. Once the interior glass work was finished, I cleaned things up with a coat of plastic body filler and shaped it with some 80 grit paper. I wasn’t too concerned about the scratches left by the rough paper as I intended to apply a texture to the inside before painting it.

Texture layer down

After the clear coat

Once the texture was on, I primed the inside, and painted with two coats of finish color and two coats of urethane clear. Because this is the inside of the hood, I didn’t bother to cut and buff anything. I let everything gas off and fully dry (a couple of days in the hot weather), then reinstalled the hood blanket and went to work on the outside.

Boy oh boy, getting the lines straight and clean was enough of a challenge but my near undoing were the two rear corners. It seemed, no matter how many times I filled and sanded, filled and sanded, filled and sanded, I just couldn’t get the transitions from the top to the hood deck to be even. After several frustrating evenings repeating the previous night’s work, I finally managed to achieve a decent corner. Anything past my humble efforts will be left to the hands of the body man. As my friend Rick told me, “they don’t call it ‘body fun’ for a reason.” How true, how true.

First coat of filler goes on

Filling some of the low spots

Ready for primer

Here are a few shots of the outside progress from first filler coat to just before shooting the high solids primer. Before I laid the primer down I sanded everything down with 150 grit, then 220 grit to help take some of the deeper grooves left by using 36 and 80 grits to do the shaping work even though the primer/filler would probably take care of most of it. It will mean less sanding when I get to prepping the car for paint so it’s time well spent. Easier when the hood is sitting on a work surface and not installed on the car.

That’s it. And it only took a couple of weeks and a few hours every night to do it. Brother, do I ever despise “body fun’.

And the best part?

It fits.

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