Here’s what I did/had done to my 1962 SP250 to make it our “driver”:
- Performance– Hi-torque starter, electronic ignition, rebuilt carburetors, spin-on oil filter, radiator catch tank, aluminum air shroud for cooling. rack & pinion steering (also a comfort item), alternator, electric radiator cooling fans, replaced hot switches in the dash with relays (also a safety item), rebuilt all gauges, 5-speed transmission (Toyota W58), electronic fuel pump, in-line cartridge fuel filters, MGB rear and axles, tie-down hooks on frame at rear.
- Comfort– Miata headrest seats (1995), BMW seatbelt guides, electrical outlets for accessories, Triumph rack & pinion system with smaller steering wheel for additional seat room, zip-out window in soft top for increased air flow, insulation under the floor mats and transmission tunnel.
- Safety– Driving/fog lights under front bumper that can be used as daylight driving lights, high mounted 3rd brake light on the trunk (GM SUV part), emergency flashers, switched relays, light flash turn signal stalk, fender mirrors, 3-point seatbelts, adjustable seatback headrests, orange lenses for rear turn signal lights, replaced tires based on age, not wear, rebuilt wire wheels, and a really loud horn.
I guess it goes without saying that all the frame, body, dash, door hardware, trim, seals, gaskets, and whatever parts were stripped off and renewed or replaced. In my case, I also had to replace the outriggers the body rests on due to excessive rust.
This year will be when we find out if all the above were correct choices and if the car is up to extended use. We plan on trips from Baltimore, MD to NC, ME, VT, PA Rally 2011, and many other day/weekend trips to British car gatherings.
Addendum: Now the first trip has been taken, and 766 miles later we are even more pleased with the outcome of the restoration than ever. Driving to Williamsburg to see George & Linda Bennett (and display at the Williamsburg car show) and then to our daughter’s in Goldsboro, NC, we had all forms of weather, traffic, and even a ferry ride. Sure, there were a couple minor drips in the thunderstorms, and a small panic when the trunk didn’t want to unlock, but all worked out and all that’s left is washing the accumulated dirt off.
I should point out that I bought this car in 1969 from the original owner, and drove it until the late 1980’s (for at least 3 years, it was my only car). Then a broken tooth in the rear end had me garaging it for about 15 years. I then messed around with trying to revive it for about a year; then sent it off for what turned into a 5 year total off-the-frame restoration project.
I have always been a savvy collector…sold a lovely Alfa 1300 Giulietta in 1961 to buy my first SP and sold a big Healey 3000 to buy this one. Yes, they are both selling for more than an SP at the present.