Restoration Project FGK Morris Restoration Part 10

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Murray Firth

It seemed like it’d been a long time coming, but the day when I would have to place the cab back on the chassis was drawing nearer and my thoughts were revolving around the different ways to get the job done and dusted

There were still a few more bits and pieces that needed to be attended to, such as fitting the cab mounts and getting the wiring loom back into position. Well, that’s the way I’d planned it anyhow.

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I’d sent the wings off to my old panel beater mate Tony Kemp because even though I’ll give most things a try, I could see that they were so badly bashed about that I’d never to be able to repair them properly in a month of Sundays, as the saying goes.

While I was at it, I gave him the radiator grille—an integral part of the front end of the cab—that would help him as a point of reference when piecing it all back together.

Unfortunately, Tony’s only able to work on this particular job in his spare time and considering the fact that the metal is badly stretched and requires an inordinate amount of reshaping, it’s safe to say that it will take an awfully long time to complete the job.

I was hoping to fit the wings onto the cab prior to lifting the entire unit back on the chassis but figured that it wouldn’t be the end of the world when it finally dawned on me that I’d be carrying out that part of the restoration later in the piece.

Back to the chassis

I’d agonised over the options of getting the cab back on the chassis for several weeks but had finally decided to bite the bullet and call on the services of the guys
at Hiab Transport, as the method used to lift the cab off a few months earlier was a little bit Heath Robinson to say the least. Those of you who’ve been following the story will recall seeing the photos of the cab lying on its back and being unceremoniously transported on the forks of my mate Murray’s tractor—not a pretty sight; I’m sure you’ll agree.

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While the method described worked well enough for the scratched and rusty cab, I wasn’t going to risk damaging the several months of work I’d put in, making it look relatively pretty again. Besides, I’d applied the finishing coats to both the roof and the back of the cab, making that the first part of the panel-work side of the operation to be completed.

Having said that, I’ll be pleased to see the day the wings come back home to be refitted to the cab so that I can give a final touch-up and cross off another job from the list of things to do. The decision to call in a crane truck was possibly one of the best decisions I’ve made to date with this job, as the $120 odd bucks I spent saved me a lot of heartache and quite a bit of valuable time.

The size of the rig they sent to do the job was a bit of an overkill, as the crane was big enough to lift half a dozen truck cabs at once, but it was the only one they had available at the time.

Bolting the cab back on to the chassis only took about half an hour—another
part of the job had been put to rest.

Tackling other jobs

In spite of the fact that I’m still waiting for the wings to come back from the panel shop, the job hasn’t come to a standstill, as there are always countless numbers of nuts and bolts that need to be cleaned, rethreaded, and painted, a job to which there seems to be no end.

A couple of weeks back, Murray and I had a go at setting up a small zinc plating bucket.

However, it appears we’ll have to go back to the drawing board on that one, as the success we’ve had has been limited to say the least.

It’s something that we must throw some more time at, as when we get it right, it will save a lot of time in the long run by not having to paint small parts.

Another job I’ve had to outsource has been a swaged floor panel about 300mm x 200mm that sits at the driver’s feet. It was rusted beyond repair.

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I’ve sent this panel to a guy who has a decent swage machine, but like the previously-mentioned wings, I’m having to endure a bit of a wait to get the job done.

It was a bit annoying that this panel was rotten while all the other removable floor panels were in surprisingly good nick and only needed a clean-up to put right.

While I had a bit of time up my sleeve, I had Waikumete Car Upholsterers make me some dust boots to go around the steering column and the pedals.

I also took the seats down to them to reupholster when they had some spare
time, and they were redone and ready for collection at the same time as the pedal boots.

Isn’t it strange that things that I’m not going to need for some time are ready for collection in the blink of an eye, while others that I could do with right away are taking forever. Old ‘Murphy’ at work once again I guess.

My chrome plater is only around the corner from the upholsterers, so I took him a couple of grab handles to make pretty again, and I suppose those’ll come back way before I need them as well.

Looking on the positive side though, I’ll have a whole lot of stuff ready when it’s time to fit everything later in the year.

But in the meantime, I’ve got to crack on with painting the engine cowling and getting hold of some soundproofing for the interior. 

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