This week at the AMMO Studio we have a 1950 MG TD affectionately named “Maggie” that has been sitting in a barn since 1988. The MG is owned by Derek’s father who’s Triumph GT6 was detailed on the channel earlier this year. These guys love collecting and restoring vintage cars while leaving the patina intact for originality. Since my detailing buddies Kevin Brown and Jason Rose are in town, I thought the MG would be a good challenge since Derek’s father will be surprised by the restoration.
We pushed the MG into the studio and underneath the Scangrip lights, without a doubt “Maggie” was in rough shape. The paint is covered in dust, spider webs, and rusted on several panels. The interior was also covered in dirt but underneath the grimy dash, the gauges still looked recoverable. Jason started by power washing the paint with the pressure turned down as the paint looked pretty sensitive. After the thorough rinse, we were confident with the integrity of the paint so Kevin foamed with AMMO Foam + Boost Anti-Salt which has a low pH… perfect for this delicate wash.
While we let the Foam soak, we agitated the panels, trim, and badges with AMMO Dual Density Brushes to effectively remove the dirt. Dual density brushes use a unique combination of bristles at different lengths which alter the stiffness of the bristle. Much like a polisher, the pressure exerted on the brush determines the strength of the bristle used for controlled cleaning. More on this to come, but needless to say Kevin and Jason made quick work of the tight spots with these tactile brushes.
After scrubbing the wheels, I rinsed the paint and the MG literally lost 5 pounds after we removed all the dirt. I guess “weight savings” by detailing is a thing. All jokes aside, we opened up the hood to reveal an engine covered with old rodent nests. The inline 4 cylinder with dual SU carbs looked like it had some potential so we started with a vacuum to remove the nests. Jason covered the sensitive areas with foil while I pressurized the Pro Foamer to spray down the engine with Frothe Anti-Salt. We agitated the engine with dual density brushes and the years of grime were scrubbed off the block. The valve cover’s silver finish was restored and much to our surprise, the engine block was red after the final power-wash.
Kevin focused on the MG’s brightwork next which was a mix of chrome, stainless steel, and aluminum trim pieces. He opted for a “safe” but effective polish (Rupes DA Fine) which uses advanced abrasives to cut without scouring the surface. On the chrome headlamps, the cut of DA fine with a microfiber towel wasn’t enough, so he increased the abrasion by using super fine steel wool instead. The brightwork was absolutely gleaming when Kevin finished with the hand polish.
As for the paint, Jason opted to hand polish on the rusted panels with the DA Fine and yellow foam pad. The strategic hand polish shined up the paint nicely while the rusted areas were left uninterrupted to avoid causing more damage. We machined polished when possible on the cleaner panels and the old oxidized paint quickly turned our pads green. On old soft single stage paint, it’s a good rule of thumb to blow out pads frequently. Once the polish was completed, our goal to preserve the patina was intact, while breathing some new life into the paint.
The following day, I wished Kevin and Jason a safe flight as they were headed home while I finished the MG project. It’s always an absolute pleasure to work with these amazing detailers who are also good friends. Stay tuned for much more educational content with the boys. Plowing ahead, I finished hand polishing the bright work and used Kevin’s method on the dull hubcaps. As I hand polished, my reflection got clearer in the hubcap and with clarity restored, the hubcaps gleamed under the Studio lights.
Amazing enough, the top on the MG was rather easy to put down which gave me better access to the tight interior. After the quickest vacuum ever, I sprayed down the dash with Lather and proceeded to scrub with a Dual Density Interior Brush. The dash came right back to life as Lather effectively lifted the dirt with the agitation of the brush. It was super cool to see some old Lime Rock stickers on the dash as the MG was probably the perfect car for that track. For the doors and seats, I again used Lather followed by the AMMO US Steamer to increase the cleaning power for the stubborn grime. On the door cards, the results of Lather and the AMMO Steamer were apparent as the blackened surface returned to it’s original cream finish. Steam is highly effective for cleaning bacteria, mold, allergens, and viruses which ultimately creates a safer environment for the continued restoration of the MG.
The interior looked, smelled, and felt much better, so I replaced the worn top which also required a deep clean. I steamed the roof and hand polished the plastic window to clear up the years of fading. With the top clean, I massaged AMMO Mousse into the material as this conditioner has UV inhibitors for additional protection. I buffed off Mousse after a few minutes for a clean matte finish and the material felt much more supple to the touch. As a final step, I used Reflex Pro Finishing Wax (“Blush”) which is a mix of Carnauba with Reflex Pro Coating. It felt just right to wax this vintage car, and as a finishing step, I always find waxing a car to be so satisfying.
The last step was to add Mud Tire Dressing to the thick sidewalls and they contrasted nicely with the shiny chrome hubcaps. While certainly far from perfect, “Maggie” the MG looked revived, cool, and most importantly original after the preservation detail. I was super excited for Derek’s father to see the MG shined up and hopefully inspire a full restoration. The reaction was priceless and to hear Derek’s father say “this was the incentive” to get “Maggie’ back on the road was worth the detail. Huge thanks to Kevin Brown and Jason Rose for their help on the MG and stay tuned for many more exciting detail stories.
Written by Larry Kosilla & Jordan Walker