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Morris' XI Build


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Hi Everyone!

I thought I would start off with good intentions and write a build thread for my XI!

I’ve been attracted to the XI shape for many years, even before I drove the old factory demonstrator many (at least twelve?) years ago, but it is only now that I have the opportunity to build one.

Simon Marks kindly showed me around his car before I visited the factory about four weeks ago. Having had a long chat with both Simons I was impressed enough to put down the deposit.

I went for all of the available options including the five speed box which comes with a new prop shaft (but not the polished bodywork or the post IVA steering wheel (which is rather nice but not really XI’esk)). Prospective buyers should take note though that the left side bullet mirror and bracket, and the head fairing cushion are not included in the standard options list kits and need to be added separately. Following discussion with Simon M I have also gone for the Protech shocks and springs (which I’ll buy myself), so Westfield was happy to deduct the cost of those included in the kit from the kit price.

I’ve been looking at engine options as I am concerned that the standard 65 odd bhp will not feel all that sprightly (comments to the contrary very welcome!). Even a few more bhp would be useful but the money being asked for a recon stage 2 engine does seem rather steep! I’ve looked at the BMW K1100 8v head conversion and it is a shame that it doesn’t fit under the bonnet. Also the Motus V4 looks (and sounds) very nice, but the cost of a crate engine…! I guess I’ll be going for the A-series perhaps with an MG Metro head to eek a little more out from the standard setup.

Before all this though I need to build my garage…!

I’ve levelled the ground in the back garden and I’ve put down the base - and my 230 kg flat pack metal garage has been delivered today! I'm sure someone will spot the fact that my car will be trapped in the garage once built - there's a cunning plan there which will involve demolition of the shed in front of it - at least no-one will steal the XI during the build without first disassembling it!


Soon I’ll be off to find a suitable Spridget and put my negotiating skills to the test (as learnt from watching ‘Wheeler Dealers…’!).

Anyway onwards and upwards and updates when I make some progress (with the car rather than the garage (unless you are interested!)).



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Love your commitment to demolish your shed when your car is done:)

For more hp on an a series there are a few supercharged ones built. Does this fit into an XI ?

Didn't one builder use a ford engine too, although think that was quite a lot of additional bodywork to modify ?

On a more practical level, I can highly recommend some form of foam rubber floor covering to make winter work more welcoming. Something like this.https://www.machinemart.co.uk/c/garage-flooringmatting/

Don't forget your air gap for insulation in your metal garage to avoid condensation.......

Hope you gave fun in your build,they are lovely when finished and the iva stuff removed.

Stephenh did a great diary and his car is beautiful so I'm sure this will help you. 

You might want to double check on dampers as I remember some discussion on this. 

Cheers Jon 

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Good luck with the build, sound advice from Mark on shock absorbers. I find the tonneau very useful. Mark Davis Racing/Jacob Engineering make a Springall steering wheel that’s the same as originally fitted to the Eleven (15”) or as fitted to the original Seven (14”).

The standard 65bhp should get a shift on as the Eleven is a lot lighter than a Midget and upgrades to the A Series don’t come cheap. MG Metro head, fast road cam and 45mm/1.75” carb should give 80+bhp which gives a nice car to drive although not overly fast by modern standards.

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Hi, Morris,

It is good to hear that your build is to progress. 

I don't know how long your drive is but I saw one kit car lifted out of a rear garden using a crane (I  have worked with the particular crane team who remember it well).  Nowadays, there are many large HIAB crane equipped lorries who may be able to do that work for you with less complication.  However, this would all be irrelevant if the XI is going to use the garage and you need to run its drive where your shed currently is.

Regarding alternative engines, you will probably need to get the car going first with the Midget engine (to keep all the numbers correct so that you can get an age related number plate) but once registration is complete, you could start to think "out of the box".  At the start of this year, I was involved with the Monte Carlo Historique Rally passing through a Control at Banbury.  The main organiser of this event has a Midget that is running a complete BMW motorcycle engine on an an adaptor plate in front of a (1500cc) Midget gearbox.  He reckons this unit has 120bhp and is a good conversion.  See: http://www.monte.scot/pictures/Classic Updates & Monte News Sep17.pdf  Page 5.  In this installation, the front of the engine seems to be hanging from a beam between the two inner wings.  I can't decide if the nearside inner wing has had to be pocketed to fit in the cylinder head so some measuring would be needed.

Now you've started on a build, the daydreaming will run amok!

All the best - if you need anything of me, by all means, shout.



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:ww: and good luck with the build. Good to see a build thread, found it was a great way to tap into the expertise available in the club.

Understand your thoughts on power, but having both followed (trying to keep up with!), and been ahead of Jon on runs, I can vouch for the fact that his A series powered car is far from slow, particularly on twisty bits!

Enjoy your build.

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Interesting Simon what you said about craning the car over from the back garden – I saw this on a TV programme many years ago and from what I recall it was lifted right over the house itself! I bit of negotiation was required with my wife as the shed currently houses the freezer, so this will no doubt need to move into the garage once demolished to keep the XI company – mind you it will come in handy to have an ice cold bottle of Arak to hand whilst tinkering in the evenings ??? !

I think, yes, keeping things pretty standard until after the IVA is a good policy as everything is so accessible on the car. It's very easy to let the imagination run riot!

I looked up the Springall steering wheel on the Jacob Engineering website – very tasty indeed. I’ll give them a call to see what the price is.

Thank you for the link to the garage flooring. I was lucky enough to get all I needed from work as they were clearing out one of their workshops – it’s proper stuff and very hard wearing although not all that comfortable to kneel on.

For anyone who is interested, my garage base is constructed from ‘EcoBase’. It is a recycled plastic (polypropylene by the looks of it) moulded into interlocking tiles which allegedly are capable of supporting 60 tonnes per tile even when not filled with 10 mm pea gravel! Once the garage shell is built I’ll lay sheets of OSB3 over the 'Ecobase' and then the workshop tiles. The plan may well change once I start as it's my first attempt at garage building! The 'Ecobase' is of course very good at draining away water(!), so my intention is to fill the plastic cells beneath the garage walls (and outboard of them as a 'French Drain') with pea gravel, then add a strip of damp proof course and then the shed over that - drilling it into paving slabs at each corner (to prevent it from blowing away in the wind...).


Anyway, that's it from 'garage building weekly' for today - not the most exciting of projects but it helps to keep the 'eyes on the prize' i.e. what I am going to put in it in about 8 weeks time...:d!

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I managed to start on the shed build on Friday after lugging three 65 kg boxes into the back garden.

On opening the boxes I realised that this is flat pack Meccano on a grand scale (just looks at the quantity of screws). Thankfully the figures in the instruction manual are straight forward to follow - unlike the words that must have been conceived in another language followed by conversion to English via 'Google Translator'!


I made good headway over the weekend having completed the two doors; the roof trusses; gables and longitudinal roof beams and also the front frame assembly.


My next opportunity will hopefully be next Friday afternoon so that'll give enough time for my blistered hands to recover from all that screwing!

What did strike me though with this garage is that to break in, all one has to do is unscrew the self tapping screws and remove a panel...looks like I'll replace some of the screws with pop rivets to make it a little more secure.

Nothing happening on the car front this week, although I'm keeping a good look out for suitable Spridgets.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Well it's been quite a busy couple of weekends with the flat pack garage coming along nicely.

Last weekend I ended up with all the panels being complete and strewn around the garden - the best excuse I've had so far for not having to cut the grass! At this point the panels were incredibly floppy and preferred not to be moved unless absolutely necessary. It was at this point that I prayed for zero wind the following weekend, especially as I would most likely be assembling it myself!


It was about this time that I had a brainstorm and thought that pro-activity would be better than passively looking for a Midget on Ebay (etc.). I put messages out on Facebook, LinkedIn and on this forum. The former two drew blanks (so much for networking), but the Westfield forum came up trumps with Al from Kent contacting me with a car that was lazing about in his garage and looking for a good home. I duly spoke with Al and to cut a long story short I am now the proud owner of a very nice blue Midget.

The last time I rented a car transporter was about 20 years a go when I collected my Marlin, so I was a little apprehensive about driving and operating the vehicle. Anyway, armed with my eight year old son (who luckily for him was off school ill last Friday) we went on an adventure to collect the car with him becoming the chief electric winch operator and extra eyes when reversing the transporter down a very narrow track to get to the garage. As an addendum to this experience, who would believe the paperwork required now to rent a van - national insurance number, two proofs of address, copies of back and front of driving license - all to be emailed through in advance of the booking being accepted...:(

More importantly though, a couple of pics of the Midget:


One could say that the Midget came at an inopportune time given that the garage still needs finishing! My son was desperate to hear the engine running (to hear how 'loud and poppy' it was!), but this is unlikely to happen for at least a couple of weeks as there currently appears to be no spark at the plugs so a little tinkering will be required before it bursts into life. I have to say though that I am getting quite attached to the Midget and it will be a shame to 'break' it - of course I won't be saying that once the xi arrives!

Finally for this weekend, the garage progressed well (despite 15 mph winds) with only limited help from the family. My wife did assist at one point but wandered off to tend to some plants mid assistance, but at least my son continued to hand me screws and things. The main structure is now up, with just the roof panels and doors to screw on. To be honest I'm quite pleased with myself for getting this far by myself without it all coming crashing down on me in the wind or with hands torn to shreds by the sharp panel edges. They say that war is the mother of invention, and I can add to that now by saying that putting a metal garage up by yourself is the mother of  ingenuity (or blind stupidity):(! Anyway, here is a pic of the garage's current state (taken in the dark so a bad photograph if the truth be known!). Hopefully it will stay up all week with no weather damage for me to complete it next weekend baring the floor and 10 mm pea gravel around the edge.





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Building the shed to build the car in is all part of the fun ;)   Your prayers for a calm day obviously fell onto the same deaf ears as my prayers for a dry one when I built my shed :(

Don't forget though, a shed is for life, not just Christmas :D

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You will definitely find life easier registering the XI  if you stick with the A Series.  However, that still leaves you with a wide range of options.  MED do some nice engines, and Specialist Components do a nice 7 port head that you can order with full EFI setup.  If I was to build again I think this is where I would go.

My engine had a relatively stock bottom end, just wedged crank, centre strap and lightened flywheel (if you exclude the DIY oil spray jets) coupled with a ported head, mild road cam, Paul Ivey valves and 1.5 roller rockers with a 45 DCOE and Megajolt.  On Northampton Motorsport rolling road I was putting out 99.5BHP.  I did fit a supercharger for a while (the reason for the spray jets) but that gave me heat issues and no noticeable power gain, torque was up as I could smell the clutch in pretty much all gears!  I never got around to having the car set up properly as I took the blower off again.

Things to consider when building:-

I fitted a Metro radiator, bought new from Ebay for peanuts it did a much better job than the stock Midget item and wasn't too hard to plumb in.  I also panelled the gap between the front of the chassis and the radiator to stop the air taking the easy route and avoiding the radiator.

Halfshafts, if you increase the power then these become an issue as they snap like carrots.  The issue is that when you look at the shaft the narrowest point is the splines. so any torque load is focussed there.  You can buy uprated shafts but I had mine machined down between the splines to allow the torque to be spread along more of the shaft.  It worked for me.

Front bearings

  1.  much has been written on this subject, but it boils down to the fact that the original specification is not available now.  The problem is that the replacement bearings don't have the same tolerance as the originals which means unless you do something it feels like the bearings are loose and the wheel can wobbled.  The "face adjusted" original meant that the inner race and outer race were in the same plane when fitted, on the replacements the inner race sits very slightly proud of the outer so when fitted with the spacer these allow slack in the system.  I fixed this by measuring how much proud the inner bearings were and had this machined off the spacer. 
  2. In most cases, the inner radius of the bearings also does not match the stub axle to upright radius, this means that there is a small gap between the bearing and the upright.  This means that there is a failure point that is introduced into the front stub axle that isn't usually there, you can counter this with fitting shims between the bearing and upright.  I have never heard of a Midget stub axle breaking there but I don't like it.

           Both of the above apply to all MG Midgets not just the XI.

Brakes, I had to fit a restrictor as at the IVA the rears were locking before the fronts.  If I built again, I would fit alloy 4 pots to the front mostly to save weight and because I like the look.  The correct pads (IIRC Mintex 1144) get the front braking much more effectively and a good fluid stops the stuff from boiling when on track.

Gearbox, I went 5 speed after the IVA and I had BGH change the 1st gear to one a bit taller otherwise first is pretty useless.

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I did pretty well with my donor as it is bored out to 1293 cc, has a lightened flywheel, enlarged inlet ports and the equivalent of a 286 Kent profile cam. I don’t know how much power it will push out, but I shall be stripping the engine anyway to replace seals etc. and to have the head converted to run on unleaded. In addition the car has an oil cooler and Minilite replica wheels.

I have ordered the 5-speed gearbox (and adaptor) from the factory which I’ll fit with its standard ratios and see how I get on with it. In addition, the Midget has been fitted with a non-standard lower ratio diff (I don’t recall the ratio but I’ll find out when I remove it) which should give improved acceleration but coupled with a more frantic top end. The fifth gear might help to counteract this though!

Does anyone know what the 5-speed box ratios are as supplied by Westfield?

I also have the standard diff so I can always swap this in if the engine shows signs of throwing a con rod through over-revving at 70 mph!

I agree with your theory for modding the half-shafts to smooth out the stress transfer along the shafts – mechanically stressed components are only as strong as the most compromised design feature. Many years ago I was researching designs for the joining of composite drive shafts to steel couplings using only adhesive bonding. It was amazing how much torque could be transferred across the bonded joint through correct design of the joint, i.e. tapering of the steel substrate, moulding a fillet into the adhesive and adjusting the overlap length to reduce stress concentrations at the ends of the joints. Unfortunately the punters were not happy seeing a purely bonded joint so the addition of four pop rivets around the circumference allayed their fears…!

Interesting about the front bearings and their tolerance. Modern machining tolerances should be much tighter and reproducible than they were 50 odd years ago, so back then it would have been hit and miss whether or not components went together tightly or not! I’ll have a read up about this as it is certainly food for thought.

It is interesting MK11 that your car details say ‘Ultima GTR’. I love the shape of the Ultima (and I drove one at ‘Drift Limits’ a few months ago). Before deciding on the xi I was seriously considering the Ultima Evo, but after speaking with the factory and adding up all the ‘standard’ options in their price list I almost fell off my chair at the final cost. It would be very interesting to hear your comments on comparing the relative driving experiences of the ‘GTR’ versus the ‘xi’.

Finally ‘corsechris’, surely you meant ‘a shed is for your wife (and her freezer and mops)’, not just for Christmas’…:d!

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Regarding the front wheel bearings, if you buy the (relatively) cheap bearing kits they will allow too much front wheel wobble, to the extent that they probably wouldn't pass an mot test. You can buy better quality ones (I got mine from Peter May) which are better. However the best solution although not straight forward is to convert to tapered roller bearings.

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Hi, Morris,

With the hired vehicle becoming a terrorist weapon of choice, it is not really surprising that the hire companies are collecting all that information before letting their vehicles out.

Good to see progress being made on many fronts.

That Midget looks fine - you'll probably be able to sell the bodyshell and leftovers for a reasonable sum.  I fitted my bodyshell on to my 6'x4'6" small box trailer and towed it all the way to Barnsley when I sold it.  Four of us lifted it off at the other end.

I'm very happy with my standard diff (3.92?).  This gives good cruising and there is still plenty power for low range acceleration.  The standard Type 9 gearbox (which is what mine was) has the bottom four rations exactly the same as a Midget box iwth 4th being 1.0:1.  Fifth is then a nice overdrive 0.82:1.

I have fitted the taper roller bearings to the front of my Westfield XI.  I got the parts from Speedwell Engineering in the States.  Though quite expensive, it was a straightforward swap and the control over the hubs/discs manage run out and keep the brake pedal constant.




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+1 for taper bearings ~£60 from Moss and setup following MGB hub installation procedure.  The gearbox from Westfield will almost certainly be the standard Type 9 ratios so would benefit from a longer 1st.

The Midget looks very nice.

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