Bespoke Steel Scuttle

Hand-made Scuttle

I wanted a steel scuttle but the MG Midget has a bolt on aluminium item designed for a soft-top roof. A lot of custom sheet metalwork would be needed.

MG Midget Windscreen Surround
Apart from using the side pillars as hammer dollies, it was of little use to me. I needed to integrate mine into the bulkhead.

My windscreen is canted back 40º from vertical and blends into the bonnet that is 2º from horizontal. To get the approximate co-ordinates I placed the wireframe over the chassis. At this incline the windscreen sat 70mm higher than the bulkhead at the edges and 138mm at the centre.

Hand-made bodywork wireframe

Mahogany Former

I measured the radius I needed at 60mm. With that, I cut up some old mahogany floorboard to use as a former. This wood was probably 150 years old and was incredibly hard, so it makes excellent formers.
Hand-made Bodywork - formerThe Midget screen has a double curvature but with the curve into the bonnet that’s a triple curvature.

With the mallet, dollies and a shrinker I created the curves I needed. It was far easier than I expected. This curve forms the rear curved edge of the bespoke steel scuttle.

Hand-made Windscreen surround

Midget Screen

What I did find surprising was that the original OEM screen not only had crooked edges, it also wasn’t symmetrical side to side. My modern EC43R German made replacement was much better quality. The odd shape of the 50+ year old screen may explain why the U section channels it sat in sprang out of shape once removed.

I’m using windscreen rubber from Merlin Motorsport so the windscreen will sit 6mm higher than this curved plate in a slight recess.

Merlin Motorsport - des_wI’m putting a rain water channel at the back of the bonnet opening, which I rolled with 3/8″ dies. Next to that gutter with be a 12 x 14mm D shape foam rubber seal.

Hand-made bodywork - windscreen
Even with a triple curvature this panel has a tendency to twist end to end. Until it was welded to the bulkhead it was quite flimsy.
The intention is to hide as much of the BMW e46 hinges as I can, so I will drop them into a 50mm slot.

Hand-made bodywork - windscreen

Panel Beating The Steel Scuttle

As each piece is added, things become distorted. The triple curves I spent ages perfecting were now twisted and distorted.
Hand-made Scuttle
Whilst welding, it was relatively easy to keep the bottom square with powerful magnets, but the curve of the scuttle was much harder to clamp. Instead of a 90º angle, I had anywhere between 50 & 90º. The last few inches are particularly twisted as they are unsupported.

Hand-made ScuttleThe reason why the bulkhead ends 3″ short of the curved scuttle is the slot I’m cutting for the hinges. 

Hand-made ScuttleThere’s still quite a bit of tweaking and panel beating left, but the basic shape is there.

Hand-made ScuttleWith the rear dimple die’d plate in place the shape was much closer to what I required, but there is still a fair bit left to do.

Hand-made Scuttle

 

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