Newbie looking for advice

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    Sometime this week I’ll be looking at an unfinished MGTD kit car with a Chevette drivetrain. Don’t know anything else about it other than it is supposed to be complete and with two sets of books and extra fenders. While I’m new to kit cars, I’m very familiar with the real thing. I’ve had an original 1952 MGTD for decades. I’ve always wanted to modify a ‘TD but can’t bring myself to hack up an original. Visions of burning in h*ll if I did. This is why I’m considering this kit car.


    Other than making sure everything is there, can anyone offer any general advice on what to be on the look out for? Also, I’m in the not so great state of California, where the DMV seems to make up rules as issues come up. Will it be difficult to title, smog (or avoid this if possible) and register a kit car here? My long term vision is to beef up the suspension and chassis so it will accept either an aluminum block V-8 or a Jag V-12 that is taking up space in my shop. Yup….long term project here.


    Larry Murphy


     Hi Zarco, Welcome to the forum.

     There is a topic just beneath your’s that has a link to info on registering kit cars in all 50 states. I recently purchased a TD replica that was titled in NJ and had no problem titling it in NC. However, if the car has not been previously titled,be sure you get a ”manufacturers statement of orgin” or the process gets very complicated.

    IMHO the Chevette suspension as well as the chassis are going to need a LOT of beefing up for either engine you mentioned.Keep us up to date with your progress.

    edward ericson


    Here’s a little inspiration. This is the nicest V8 TD I’ve yet seen. Could a V12 Jag even fit in there?

    Post some photos when you get going with ‘er.

    Mark Hendrickson


    WOW! Buttercup is a saaaweeet ride



    Wow….very nice. This car represents a huge investment in time and $$$$’s. This is a project I’ve been thinking about for a long time and have complete front an rear suspension from a Jag XJS (almost identical to XKE) put aside. The Jag V-12 bare block is 3′ long so I doubt that it would fit without major mods. If I end up with this kit car I’ll probably finish it with the Chevette drivetrain (supposedly newly rebuilt engine) then decide what to do.




    Zarco, welcome to the Forum. There’s a lot of good advice here. I

    drive a BCW Chevette based TD replica and live in California. Try to

    buy a car that is already registered as a 1975 or earlier so you will be

    exempt from smog requirements. Failing that, try to get an SB100

    exemption. It’s a hassle but worth it. My car was registered as a 1976

    and was the devil itself getting smogged. A friend put me onto the

    SB100, California specialty car act. I Googled it, started the

    paperwork in October, got in line at 2 AM January 2 at my local DMV,

    and got one. You can do it even if the car is under construction.

    Now here’s the kicker. After I got the exemption, I ripped off all the

    smog equipment except the catalytic converter and tuned the car. I still

    had to take it in to a smog referee to activate the new registration.

    They tested it for emissions and it passed! But without all the

    equipment, it would have failed.




    Maybe I need to read your post again, but right now I’m confused.  If you ripped all smog equipment off and it passed emissions testing, how would could it be “without all the equipment, it would have failed.”?

    edward ericson


    I think CA law demands that all the OE smog junk be present and accounted for, bolted to the engine, hoses all hooked up, no matter what the sniffer at the tailpipe says.

    Because so much of ’70s smog equipment was nonsense (based mostly on the then-trendy principle of dilution–see, for example, the Air Injection Reactor Pump*), and because smog standards were pretty loose, we find the somewhat counter-intuitive phenomenon of un- or de-smogged engines of the era “passing” their respective smog tests with flying colors. At least when judged by the actual emissions.

    And yet they must “fail” those same tests because of the absence of the power-robbing, 35-pound-over-the-front-wheels-adding, A.I.R. pump and other dodgy period “technology.” It’s as good an argument for Tea Party style anti-“big gummit” whinging as I’ve ever seen.

    *I know these things are not really mere diluters, and are said to add oxygen to the exhaust upstream of the catalytic converter to aid in that device’s work. And I know the cats actually do reduce emissions. But that does not explain the presence of A.I.R. pumps on pre-1975, lead-gas using, cat-less engines, of which there were millions. The main result of those, it appears, was to put needless load on the engine and heat the exhaust manifolds enough to burn the valves.

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