Restoration Project: FGK Morris—Part 24

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Lyndsay Whittle


Deals on Wheels writer Lyndsay Whittle on his latest progress with the FGK Morris restoration

After several months of broken promises to readers, the front and rear glass was finally about to be installed, as the Bespoke Auto Glass team had arrived a week earlier than originally scheduled and another part of the restoration was about to be put to bed, or so I thought.

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Jeremy (right) and Jaeden from Bespoke Auto Glass had a few issues with the windscreen

Having concentrated my efforts on the tow wagon part of the rebuild over recent weeks (months actually), it was a very pleasing experience to be cracking on with work on the cab once again.

Jeremy, the Bespoke Auto Glass boss, has recently employed Jaeden to assist him and they’d caught up on a backlog of work—hence their arrival a week earlier than expected—and things were looking quite rosy for getting the majority of the glass in on a fine morning.

Anyway, we all know that things seldom go exactly to plan, and it wasn’t long before we realised that the windscreen wasn’t going to get fitted on the day.

Front of the truck

It turns out that the cab had racked a few millimetres—enough to make it way too dangerous to squeeze the already compromised edges of the glass into the hole.

So, what was required was a bit of a nudge with the body jack on the corners of the cab to get us an accurate measurement.

Jeremy also made the call to get us some more-pliable TK Bedford type window rubber, which he’ll use when he finally fits the glass after I get back from holiday in October.

The good news from the day was that the semi-round windows fit nicely into their holes and will go in on the same day as the windscreen and the best news of the day was that the rear screen is in place at long last.

I mentioned last month about Cam Farmilo in Hamilton’s offer of a couple of sets of doors and other sundry items that he’s not going to use on the restoration of his ex-Mr Whippy ice cream van.

Just the other week, I went down to Hamilton to collect these items and was able to pick up some gear that I might be able to use to complete my restoration, or heaven forbid, to restore the FG K60 that’s currently being used as a donor vehicle.

Who knows, there may be enough parts remaining to consider doing a restoration on that unfortunate old beast sometime down the track.

As yet, I haven’t had the time to compare the condition of Cam’s doors against mine, so it’ll be interesting to see which set of doors will be used in the final fitting.

Back of the truck

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The towing rig is coming together well

Moving back again to the body on the back of the truck, we’ve also seen quite a bit of progress now that the towing rig that has been painted, reassembled and is finally firmly affixed to the deck.

Previously, as a final check to see if the crane worked after it had been assembled but prior to disassembly for painting, I called on my old mate Evan Taylor (aka the Colonel) to come and give me a hand to hook the crane up to the back of my Suzuki Vitara to see if we had enough strength to lift the wagon with the hand winch.

The test doubled up as a check to see if my ‘brilliant bit of engineering’ would hold together under the strain, because, of course, I wouldn’t want to be carrying out any modifications required once the whole thing had been painted.

The run-up revealed that although the rig was up to the task, the two aged forms of powerplant (the Colonel and myself) just couldn’t summon the energy to do more than to lift the Vitara off its suspension; there simply wasn’t the power there to lift the entire vehicle off the ground.

In any event, the set-up proved itself to be operational and would easily lift an Austin 7 or a Morris 8 at live static displays, thus deeming itself fit for purpose.

Perhaps I should explain, if only to preserve the ‘Colonel’s’ reputation, that the fact that the winch isn’t geared down must’ve been a contributing factor in not being able to completely lift the Vitara; just thought I’d better clarify that.

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All jokes aside, I’m not seeing the funny side of this getting old lark, as I’ve had to throw a few hours at making a set of steps to make it easier for this old fellow to get up and down on the back of the truck so as to not damage the recently painted interior of the deck and sides.

At first, it seemed like a relatively simple thing to make a set of steps, however, as we all know, things are never quite as simple as they first appear. Let me explain. I suppose
I could’ve simplified things by carrying a stepladder on the back of the truck and removed it as required, but no, I wanted the steps to be a permanent fixture, didn’t I?

I soon discovered that in order for the steps to be fixed to the deck and to be able to fold them out past the rear nudge bar and down to the ground, the mounting bracket would’ve needed to stick out at the rear creating a hazard, not to mention looking ugly as well.

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The only way that I could see to solve this problem was to attach the ladder to a sliding device affixed to the truck’s deck. I’ll let the attached photos show how the contraption works.

Anyway, I guess it all adds to the quirkiness of the vehicle and it’s given me something to get my thick head around along the way.

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A nice barn find

Well, my friends, that’s about it for this month’s instalment, as I’m off to pack my suitcase for the little cruise my wife Christine has organised for us, but before I do that, I’m going to show you a photo of my latest distraction—a barn-find Morris Minor.

What’s a barn-find MM got to do with a Morris FG K30 truck, I hear you ask. We’ll have to wait until next month to find out I suppose.

Tip of the month:

Always expect life to throw you a curve ball

Coming up...

The purpose of that barn-find Morris Minor

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