FGK Morris Restoration—Part 18

By: Lyndsay Whittle


The next chapter in Lyndsay's FGK Morris restoration project

It appears that it’s going to take me a lot longer to get back into the swing of things than I’d hoped after the unexpected holiday I recently had in North Shore Hospital.

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On top of that, my glass man Jeremy from Bespoke Auto Glass is still off work following another operation—this time on his other hand—and my restoration buddy Murray has inconsiderately taken five weeks off to go travelling around the country with his wife Penny in their 1950 RM Riley. The temerity of the buggers!

It’s all in the name

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Anyway, getting back to the brochure Barry kindly bought for me. I found out a few things about these weird and wonderful pieces of British engineering that I never knew before, the first of which is a minor detail regarding the dedicated model identification numbers given to five sizes of truck in the range.

Over the past 18 months, I’ve been referring to the truck I’m restoring as an ‘FGK Morris’, and it’s only since reading the brochure that I’ve discovered that all trucks in this range (both Morris and Austin) are, in fact, ‘FG’ Series and not ‘FGK’ Series.

A small detail I know, but nonetheless one that shouldn’t have been overlooked by someone who purports to be somewhat of an expert on the marque. I feel a little embarrassed by my lack of knowledge and, perhaps, some would say I should be.

Also, I’ve heard many different names to describe these trucks that I guess were modern in design for their day.

Some call them ‘glasshouses’ while others have dubbed them ‘thrupenny bits’ due to the plan view of the cab having a similar shape to the British thrupence (threepence) coin and not—I must add—because of any reference to the cockney rhyming slang version (look
it up online if you’re interested).

Another terminology I’ve heard is ‘kerb-finders’ because of the ability of the driver to see the kerb, courtesy of the glass panels fitted to the lower front quarters of the cab.

In fact, I drove an FG K60 Austin-badged truck commercially for a couple of months back in the late 1960s, and I found the truck fantastic not only for manoeuvring into tight spaces on Auckland city streets but also for getting in and out of when making deliveries, as the doors didn’t open out into the flow of the traffic like normal trucks.

I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Bedford enthusiast but even I have to say that the pendulum did swing right into the quarters of the BMC camp during those two months behind the wheel of the Austin. It’s worth noting that the only difference between an Austin and a Morris was the badge on the front. Weird, eh?

Of course, one has to realise that this all took place back in the days prior to the Japanese invasion, which kind of threw a spanner in the works of British-manufactured vehicles.

Aside from the unofficial names I’ve just mentioned, the glossy brochure produced for the launch of this latest technology has a terminology I’d never heard before: ‘angle-planned vision’—a term, which I guess explains it all in a nutshell.

Note: In the spirit of a ‘picture painting a thousand words’, I’ve included a few pages of the brochure to give a first-hand view of some of these new-fangled comfort devices on offer, along with some other potentially interesting information.

By the way, do you recognise the suave gent in the upholstery-matching tie on the cover? It’s the writer in his younger years. Believe that at your peril!

Back to the restoration

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Coming back down to Earth on the restoration front. Nothing much has happened in the last 30 days or so other than to set up the grille with the wings (a bigger job than it looks) and to untangle that panel that sits behind the bumper.

It was a right mess when I pulled it out from under a pile of bits that came with the truck and which I almost threw out as scrap metal, as it was twisted almost beyond recognition. 

Tip of the month:

When sifting through parts received with a new project, identify every piece of apparent junk before throwing anything out.

Coming up...

I promise there’ll be some progress either on the wings or on building the deck and sides, depending on what I’m allowed to lift due to my earlier operation.

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