Saved from the scrap heap

11th September 2020
Our MGF as auctioned by ASM.

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Everyone wants a bargain, its human nature. If I were to offer you an MGF with minor damage for £500 I bet a lot of you would snap my hand off, well they are out there if you know where to look. With many MG’s tucked up in their nice warm garages over the winter months it’s an ideal time to buy one and get it ready for the hot summer top down motoring months or even the Sprint or Race season.

The MGF arrives home for the renovation to begin.

We recently did just the above and the 1996 Flame Red MGF we purchase is all up and running and been used as an everyday car now. It all started whilst scouring the auction salvage web sites. There are many auction web sites out there and we ended up checking a local Oxfordshire one based in Thame, called ASM Auto Recycling. They had just the car we were after a 1996 MGF that had front end damage. You have to register on these auction sites to be able to bid, it’s very similar to Ebay, once the Salvage Company have authenticated all your details you are ready to go.

You can view the car before bidding and a colleague of ours viewed the car we were interested in and found that apart from the damage the car was generally in very good condition with clean interior, and only surface rust on the sub frames. It was as we expected, front end damage to the bumper, nearside wing, bonnet and front windscreen, but no structural damage to the cars body. Next the thrill of the auction, if you have ever used E-bay you know exactly what I mean. We placed a bid with 15 minutes to go and waited patiently for the end of the auction. An e-mail flashed up congratulating us on becoming the owner of the Category C MGF for the princely sum of £442.00

The Crush panel showing clearly how it took the brunt of the frontal impact.

Getting the Car Back on the Road

The first job was to retrieve the car from the Salvage Site. Being a Category C car meant that the vehicle has been written-off by the insurers because the repair costs are greater than the value of the vehicle itself, (insurers base their costing on new part prices and availability, plus current labour charges) but which can nonetheless still be repaired to a roadworthy condition. As we had a good MG ZT-T towing car fitted with a tow bar we decided to hire a trailer from a local company, Didcot Plant Hire, for about £55 per day and get it back to assess the damage it sustained and work out our shopping list to get the car back to a roadworthy condition. With the front panels all unbolted which is the beauty of modern Cars, no spot welds to drill out, the majority of the damage was superficial with no suspension or chassis damage the car didn’t need to be jigged or laser aligned so the shopping list and the repair cost was reasonable. It consisted of:

With all the damaged panels removed we were relieved to see that the crush panel did its job and the structure of the car was totally untouched.
  1. New Windscreen. There are plenty of companies out there such as Autowindscreen, Autoglass, Budget Windscreens etc willing to travel to your home or place of work to replace the windscreen and they all vary in price. Make sure you do your homework and make use of the Yellow Pages and of course your favourite internet search engine. The prices we were quoted varied from the extortionate £555.00 to the company we plumped for who used the same glass as the £555.00 company but charged us a very reasonable £155.00
  2. Front nearside wing, front bumper and bonnet. It’s a sad fact that there are plenty of older MGFs and TFs sat in breakers yards so you can afford to be fussy and shop around even our friend E-Bay throws up the odd bargain panel. We spent a while looking round for Flame red panels so we didn’t have to spend any extra on painting although if your car is an usual colour it may be worth buying a bargain panel and having them sprayed to match your car.
  3. Crush panel. This is located behind the bumper and is designed to take the brunt of a front impact. As you can see in the photos the one on our MGF did exactly what it was designed to do and took the majority of the impact. We were lucky to find a specialist who had a doner MGF which had had a rear impact so supplied the front crush panel, wing, bonnet and bumper.
  4. Nearside Headlight. New headlights are available from your local friendly XPart dealer or from Xpart dealer such as Rimmer Bros who advertise in Safety Fast! We were lucky to find a breaker with a good quality nearside headlight. The problem with a majority of older MGF headlights is the outer lens which clouds up over time and eventually becomes an MOT failure, you can remove the lens but they are not available for sale separately for some strange reason.
The donor car that provided the panels we required clearly showing its rear end impact.

Once we had accumulated all the panels it was a straight forward task of re-bolting them on to our timeless classic MGF so it again resembled the car it once was when it rolled off the Longbridge production line 13 years ago.

With the car nicely restored we now had the task of getting it legally back on the road. How do you go about this? There are two options you can follow:-

Option A. Arrange insurance, (note that some insurance companies will not insure a Cat C car that has not been Vehicle Inspection Centre (VIC) checked), and then obtain an MOT certificate. You can then arrange your appointment and drive your car to the VIC station for the check.

Option B. Arrange for your VIC Check and take you car on a trailer, we hired one for £55.00. Either way you will need to fill out the VIC1 application form and make your payment of £41.00. This can be done online or by post. You will then be contacted by phone to make an appointment at the VIC Station of your choice.

The MGF showing the new crush panel and headlamp in place. Whilst it was easily accessible we decided to replace the radiator although the old one was serviceable.


Form VIC1. This is an application form to have your vehicle identity checked. You can download this form from below where it also gives full details of the procedure you will need to go here.

Then find your local Vehicle Identity Check Station from the list here.

When taking the car for a VIC the following must apply:

  1. repairs must have been conducted and the car must be roadworthy and capable of being driven under its own power
  2. if over 3 years old, the car must be covered by a valid MOT if its to be driven to the VIC
  3. the person driving the car must be insured to do so the car must display front and rear number plates if its to be driven to the VIC- for assistance in obtaining number plates, contact VOSA on 0300 123 9000
    a car can be driven directly to and from a pre-arranged VIC without road tax
The new windscreen being fitted. Remember to shop around for the best quote.

Make sure you arrive in good time at the VIC Station as they will take a dim view of bad time keeping and may refuse to carry out the VIC. We arrived half an hour early and they did the check straight away. You can not be present while the check is carried out which takes around fifteen minutes. On completion of the check you are issued with a letter confirming that the check was successful. The DVLA computer will be updated which could take a few days so don’t try and obtain your tax disc straight away.

If you take option B, which we did, you will now have to book your car in for its MOT. Cost at time of writing is £54.00. You will have to obtain insurance cover before you do this and of course it’s well worth shopping around to get the best quote. Be completely honest with the insurance company about your car, although they can check details from the registration number, and inform them that your car has been VIC Checked. You should not be paying a premium because your car is an ex Cat C car.

The MGF about to be VIC checked at a local VOSA station.

Once your car has passed the MOT you then need to fill out Form V62 downloadable from here. This is an application for a vehicle registration document, as your Cat C cars original registration document would have been surrendered by the previous owner when the car was written off.

The final form you will require is a V10 which is an application for a tax disc this is downloadable from here.  This of course is your road tax and can be of either six or twelve months in duration. You are now ready to go to your local Vehicle Licensing Centre and obtain your tax disc, so make sure you take the following with you:-

  1. The letter confirming your vehicle has passed its VIC Check. They will confirm this on their computer hence waiting several days after the VIC check to make sure it has been updated on the DVLA computer.
  2. Your application for a Vehicle Registration Certificate. They will take this and process it for you. It normally takes around a week to ten days before you receive this in the post.
  3. Your V10 application for a Tax Disc. You can check the cost of this at http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/OwningAVehicle/HowToTaxYourVehicle/DG_10012524 Our early MGF was £190.00 for twelve months
  4. Your MOT certificate.
  5. Your payment for the road tax.
Some of the paperwork you need to complete to enable you to get your cat C Car back on the road.

The Cost

Cost of Car – £442.00
Panels – £465.00
VOSA VIC Check – £41.00
DVLA Road tax – £190.00
MOT & Repair – £137.00
Front Headlamp – £50.00
New Front Windscreen – £155.00
Hire of trailer – £110.00
Total cost of getting our MGF on the road was £1590.00

Specialists Used

MGF Centre – Telephone number 01902453100
Summit Motors – Telephone number 01628629707
We Love MGF’S – Telephone number 01543377174
J.H.Pratt Motor Engineers – Telephone number 01865 341503

The result of all our hard work, the finished article.

We now have a car that is used everyday and we have had the satisfaction of saving one from the scrap heap and the pleasure of doing it ourselves. This would make a great winter project for those looking for something different from the normal MGB restoration etc and can be put back on the road for a much lower cost. We have seen F’s for sale in the classifieds for £1500, but they normally have high mileages and suspect body conditions. Ours had done just 60,000 miles and although we had no service history with the car, on inspection we found various components to have been recently replaced.  Overall this was a very enjoyable project which we can highly recommend. If you do undertake such a renovation please contact us at Kimber House if we can be of any help, we are always keen to here of any ongoing MG projects.