Restoration project: FGK Morris Restoration Part 7

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Lyndsay Whittle


Part 7 of the FGK30 Morris truck restoration brings us past the halfway point, showing what has happened in the past seven months

While it’s now about a year-and-a-half since I made the trip to the deep south to collect the two funny old trucks—one Morris and the other an Austin—it was only late in 2016 that I actually plucked up the courage to start on the restoration.

Truck -restoration

As the smaller truck, the FGK30 Morris was the better of the two condition-wise and so I made the call that it’d be the lucky one to get done up.

The jury’s still out on whether the larger FGK60 Austin will ever be the recipient of similar attention, as I’m not too confident about the state of the engine or the rest of the rig for that matter.

In any event, once I’d made the decision to start work on the smaller of the two trucks, I felt confident that I’d made the right decision.

The first do-up

I got to work on the easiest part first, which was the section of the chassis from the rear of the cab back.

Everything was removed, such as brake rods and lines, along with the diff, and even the retro-fitted Bedford fuel tank was taken off the chassis.

Everything was given a good-old clean and repaint, with brake components being refurbished and a genuine BMC fuel tank, taken from the bigger truck, fitted to the chassis.

The greatest cost in this part of the exercise was to have the entire set of spring shackles manufactured, as it’s impossible to get new parts for these old fellas anymore.

The truck was then turned around in the workshop and the cab was undone and flipped on its back on the now finished rear section of the chassis.

The next step

Steady -she -goes

Before removing the engine, my restoration buddy Murray and I spent a few hours prepping the motor to see if it would start and run, which it did with great alacrity.

Knowing that no major work would need to be carried out in the engine department gave us a real boost, so the next step was to remove the motor and gearbox before undoing the front suspension and going through the same rigmarole with the front spring hangers as we’d done with the rear set.

Once the engine and gearbox were cleaned and painted and the new hangers had been collected from the engineers, it was a relatively simple matter of putting it all back together to complete the rolling chassis.

With the rolling chassis complete, the next thing to consider was the radiator, which seemed to be in good nick until we fitted it to the engine and filled it with water, only to find that the only way to describe its real condition was to use a naughty adjective.

I have to say that every major expense of this particular journey (spring shackles front and back and the radiator) has involved a figure of approximately 1000 bucks a pop—funny that!

Back in the workshop, we had a leaking water pump to attend to and a new alternator to buy and fit.

All right, I know it would have originally had a generator or a ‘dynamo‘ as the manufacturers called it back in dear old Blighty, but it was fitted with an alternator when I took possession of it and that’s what it’s going back on the road with.

Dealing with rust

The -rust

Now all this playing around with the mechanical side of the exercise is all well
and good, but I just knew that sooner or later, I had to bite the bullet and tackle the cab rust.

The first step in this most dreaded part of the job was to get the cab from the back of the chassis and into an area in which the mountain of work could start.

The method employed to achieve this result was a Heath-Robinson affair and was described in last month’s issue. Grab hold of a copy and have a laugh at Murray’s and my expense!

Getting down to the serious business of assessing what exactly needed to be cut out in order to get at the rust in the cab’s subframe was a head shaking affair.

I started undoing the right mudguard, or ‘wing’ for the benefit of any British readers.

The old truck’s life

Now, although I’m just itching to tell everybody all about what happens next, there’s something equally as important that  I need to share before I sign off.

In the April–May issue of DOW (#285), I put out a call to see if anyone might possibly know anything about the old truck’s life back in Winchester in the South Island, only half-expecting to get much of a response.

Well, it didn’t take long before I received a call from Edgecumbe farmer Peter Berryman who had driven the truck a couple of times when he worked in Winchester in the 1960s.

Peter was able to put me in touch with Alister Gray, whose father was the original owner. A day or so later, I had another call from Shane Stockdill of Methven, who is Alister’s son-in-law.

Now there is more to this part of the story, but that’s going to have to wait until next month.

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