MGA Race Car
Used By Famous Racer At An Anniversary Event.
Unfortunately, due to the lack of footage taken at the time, not too much of this project can be shared.
Several years ago, while in high school, I was fortunate to work on this car during work experience.
The car is a classic British MG-A, selected for a nut-and-bolt restoration to star in an anniversary event of a famous racetrack. When I was involved in the project, the car was already painted and mechanically rebuilt; however, the wiring system was still to be fitted.
Compared to the general repairs I performed during my work experience, it was clear how far cars have advanced since the release of this car. Nowadays, all road vehicles tend to be fitted with electronic control units (or ECUs) to run and manage the various functionalities of modern vehicles.
Since 1996, most counties by law have required new road vehicles to provide support for CAN-Bus diagnostics. This diagnostic aids vehicle testers by supplying live emissions data and repair technicians with a list of detected faults.
However, a car for this age does not have electronic control units, with its simplistic functionalities achieved through more mechanical means.
This car originally used a cloth/string-like material to insulate its wiring; this material would also be dyed according to a colour chart, depending on the purpose of the wires. Though suitable at the time, with age, this type of material degrades, falls off, and exposes the wiring. Due to this, shorts and corrosion become common with the metal fibres now exposed to humidity and other conductive surfaces.
With this vulnerability, the chance of failures increases along with the risk of a vehicle fire. In many cases, the integrity of the insulation may not be the issue, but the colour instead. Over time, the colouring of the wires can fade, which leaves them a tanned white colour, making repair work increasingly confusing.
A sleaving material is also common, bound around groups of wires, which helps keep them organised and further protected. Unfortunately, this sleaving can also degrade or even harden over time. Sleaving and wires can often be discovered as painted over due to previous restorations, where the wires were not removed beforehand. Paint on wires can cause future issues, such as finding the original colours of the wires more difficult or making them harder to remove. Additionally, paint can affect various wiring insulation over time, causing it to dry out and crack.
A new wiring harness was produced for the vehicle. The wiring was a close replica to the original, excluding some added functionality and the modern alternative materials used. Wires were now insulated with rubber and bound with a fire-resistant, protective, current cloth tape. The cloth tape can stretch while wrapped on the wires, which provides a more compact form factor. The cloth tape also offered a more authentic look though not original, compared to plastic tape that was not used at the time.
Plastic tape is a helpful alternative, but when stretched, it can become weak and tear and does not match up in durability. Due to this, the cloth tape was perfect for protecting the wires around possibly rough surfaces without standing out as too modern.
My role was to fit traditional style brass-bullet terminals on the wires and then aid others in connecting them to the various component of the car.