1996 UK 1.8is restoration

So I’ve finally started to strip the car and start the restoration that I’ve been promising the car for the past 3 years. Surprisingly, I have found no rot so far. I think that the remedial work I carried out about 7 years ago has definitely helped preserve the car. There is a tiny piece that needs repaired on the rear panel but so far, it’s all surface rust. I’ve been tapping away madly with the hammer expecting to go through but nothing yet.

Good luck! I hope your tapping is rewarded with a solid body…Unfortunately mine was not so lucky and is currently having some rust/panel replacement work done

That is almost identical to what I found after removing the old body sealer. I’ve managed to fabricate the lower end piece of the sill and half of the sill end plate so I’m in the middle of welding it all back together. Lucky for me, I’ve done my time working with really rusty crap as I’ve restored loads of Minis, Triumphs, Rileys etc over the years. The MX5 is a lot easier to work at. What I will say is that because of discovering this bit under the sealer, I’ve started removing all of the under seal under the car. Good luck with the repair. I’ll post a couple of pics of where I’m at to give you an idea of how I went about it.

As promised, this is the repair I fabricated. It still needs dressing with a flap disc but it’s all solid now.



Thanks for the pictures, it does look similar - The garage has made all the metal to weld in and will be doing it over this week. There is a bit more to do, including the sills themselves, but apparently the current work will get through the MOT and I can get it back and use it over summer. Then at the end of the season I will send it back for the rest of the work, which is not as bad and a full repaint…giving me time to put some money to one side. Hopefully then I can not worry about it for a while.

The actual sill replacement looks handy enough. The piece that’s gone on yours is called Sill end plate. It’s about 95 quid per side which I thought was very expensive for such a small piece of metal. If the garage doing your repairs has access to a spot welder, the sill will be easy peasy for them. I dont have a spot welder so I always plug weld panels along the seams with the MIG.

Thanks bigsam. Unfortunately this piece (on both sides) is only a part of the work they are doing, as there are a number of holes on the underside - the MOT failure mentioned 8 distinct areas, plus suspension arm ball joints and brakes sticking… Went to see the car yesterday and it is not far off being done.

You will be on the road a lot…and i mean a lot sooner than mine will. If its ready for next summer 2021, i’ll be happy.

So, i’m not sure whether or not to post this on here but its the only way i can think of getting an answer to my question. As some will have read, i am in the middle of restoring my 1996 Chaste white 1.8is. I bought the car in North Wales off eBay in 2010 and tbh, i never really looked into the cars history. Having started the restoration, ive had a chance to look at some of the documentation that came with the car. To cut a long story short, i’ve discovered the original bill of sale and it seems that i may have Rod Graingers car that he featured in his book. If anyone on here knows anything about this car, i would really appreciate any information. I have absolutely no intention of ever selling the car, its my wifes “baby” but i have discovered a number of documents in the handbook that all indicate that this is the 1.8 that Rod used to write his book. Fair play to him because this car has gone on to do another 100k since he stripped and rebuilt it, testament to his skills and proves that the book is the definitive guide to 1.8 NA MX5’s.
As i said, any information would be appreciated purely to satisfy my curiosity.

So its been a while since i put anything on this post. Main reason for that was i took a lazy turn and didnt touch the car until this June. Ive now got more time on my hands and i’m starting to make good progress.
This is a complete resto so i fabricated a roll over rotisserie to make life a bit easier.
Since June, i have removed the engine and gearbox and mounted the car on the spit.
Its been much easier to remove all the crud from underneath.
Thankfully, no more rust other than a small piece at the bottom of the sill end plate again.
I’ll post pictures in a separate post as they are on my phone and i’m typing this on the laptop.

1 Like

After removing the underseal, I painted any rust spots with rust killer, then anti rust primer. I’ve tried to replicate the original body sealant using Wurth spray able sealer.

Then 3 coats of primer.
I decided to use a product called Cobra, similar to Raptor which is a very hard schutz and it can be tinted the original colour.
Wasn’t happy with how it turned out so ended up scotch brightng the finish and gave it 2 coats of the original colour which is PT, Mazda Chaste white
So this is as far as I’ve got this evening. I’ve already finished the engine bay painting but don’t have any pics of it.
I’ll try and get a few tomorrow.


Looking good!

Thanks for that. Did you get yours back on the road again?

Bit more progress today. The car is now back level but still on the rotisserie.
Unfortunately, good as the spit is, it’s not really balanced and when the pins are removed, I need to be careful that it doesn’t flip right over.
I then dug out the rear subframe and suspension arms that I’d rebushed last year with IL motorsport fast road bushings. Gave them another coat of satin black so that’s all ready to refit now.

1st thing though is to refit the fuel tank and fit the new fuel filter.
I also managed to give the boot interior a blow over of original colour

Probably won’t get much more done this week but I promise to post any progress made at the time it’s made rather than months later.