Restoration project: FGK Morris Restoration—Part 14

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Lyndsay Whittle

Lyndsay Whittle continues his restoration into part 14, confessing that he simply couldn’t see just how big a job this restoration was going to be!

I was looking back over the first restoration story I did for DOW, when I was working on my 1953 K Bedford, and I saw that by the time I was writing Part 14 of that article, the truck was almost ready for the VIN process.


Well, here we are at Part 14 of the current restoration and we still have a very long way to go before we get to the dreaded VIN.

While I suppose I really have come a long way since I tore the cab apart (so much so that is was an almost unrecognisable heap of rusted metal), my head still spins every time I think of how much I have to do before I can take a roadworthy truck to the testing station.
I’ve found that not all the work that needs to be done involves cutting discs, grinders, welding plant and putting spanners to nuts and bolts.

Finding the rare parts

There is also the seemingly unending search for rare parts of the equation, such as plastic badges, windscreens and the like. It gladdens my heart though when I put out a call to readers for help in finding bits and pieces that were either missing from the puzzle in the first place, or broken as the result of a second’s inattention by yours truly.

One such heartening case of someone coming forth with information on a similar truck they’d seen in a paddock, occurred just the other day when I had a phone call from Colin McKenzie in Balfour, near Gore. Colin had been following my restoration stories for some time, as he’d found my phone number in a photo of my previous restoration project in 2016.

He’d figured that the cell phone number on the door was genuine and gave it a go, which led me to thinking that had he tried to ring the ‘1125-J’ on the door of my other restoration, the K Bedford, he’d still be trying to get hold of me.

Anyway, responding to my admission that I’d foolishly broken the Morris’s windscreen during one of my previously-mentioned lapses of attention, Colin said that he’d always had an interest in FGK series Morris trucks since owning one a few years back as a spraying unit. He said it was an FGK60; the long-wheelbase six cylinder version of my FGK30. He’d shortened the chassis of this and removed the middle driveshaft from it.


Colin reckoned it did a far better job as a sprayer than the Land Rover it replaced. My apologies to any Landy owners who may be reading this, as being an ex-owner of a 1952 Series 1 that I should never have sold, I do have a soft spot for them, so please don’t shoot me – I’m only the messanger for this partiuclar opinion.

The upshot of Colin’s phone call was that he’d seen a derelict FGK60 in a nearby paddock, the owner of which said I’d be welcome to, as long as I was going to use it for something meaningful.

I’m currently figuring a way to get down to Balfour to remove the glass before the vandals get to it. I have a cunning plan to get it up to Auckland, one possibility of which is to get my mate Murray to pick it up in his 1931 W Bedford.

I know you’re all going to say "This guy must be crazy", and actually, you could be talking about Murray or me and be completely right in both instances.

However, as ludicrous as it sounds, Murray came up trumps recently, when he collected the winch that I’d bought for the Morris in Masterton and delivered it safely to Auckland – we have the photos to prove it.

Seriously though, I’ve had a word to Murray, who hasn’t written the idea off. So, perhaps that’ll be a story for another issue.

Other exterior bits and pieces

The -winch -before

The winch before...

Speaking of the winch, it has undergone some major surgery and is now looking resplendent in its nice green and black livery. It’s sitting temporarily on the back of the truck, awaiting a decision on its final positioning.

Winch -now

... and after

The front wings have been on and off a few times now and are almost at the point where they’ll be taken off (hopefully) for the last time, prior to getting a smear of filler, a coat of paint around the seams and being refitted to the truck before having the finishing touches added.

On other fronts, I’ve been working on a front bumper I bought, believing it to be off and FGK. It turns out however that although it has the same-sized mounting brackets and is obviously off a BMC truck of some kind or another, in actual fact it is about 110mm too wide for my truck, hence it needs a bit of work to not only address the incorrect sizing, but to get rid of a large amount of metal the ‘moths’ have gotten at.

I managed to find one of the original bumper irons, albeit in a badly twisted state, so Murray and I were able to straighten it enough to make a mirror image bracket for the left-hand side.

As a part of the mess of tangled iron that was once the aftermarket bumper, this is a panel that sits behind it, in between the wings. We’re currently endeavouring to recreate it in its former image, but that’ll be a story for later down the track as well.

The bodywork that sits around the winch and eventually the towing rig is a work-in-progress and is turning my mind inside-out trying to come up with a design that will faithfully represent a tow wagon of the era.

It’s unusual for me to say this, but on this occasion, I’m actually pretty happy with the way it’s starting to shape up. Long may it continue, I say. Oh, I almost forgot – I promised I’d tell all about the possibility of getting a plastic Morris badge made.

The answer is yes it can be done, but it’ll cost in the vicinity of $6000. That translates to around $3000 for the CAD drawing and about the same to make the first unit. Needless to say, further investigation is definitely required. 

Tip of the month

If you get stuck, ask for help

Coming up

Will this be the final fitting of the wings?

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