Restoration Project: FGK Morris—Part 27

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Lyndsay Whittle

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

I guess I at least owe it to the readers to give an insight into why it’s taking me so long to get the restoration over the finishing line.

The $250 find arrives from Awakere

Firstly, I will cut myself a bit of slack and say that I’m not working on the project full-time but it’s fair to say that I usually throw around 20–25 hours a week at it on an average. That adds up to around 2000 hours that I’ve spent on the job so far, but you have to take some time out of that for the odd holiday here and there.

Also, it’s surprising how much more time has to be taken out of the equation for running around to get bits and pieces needed for the job.

A perfect instance of that arose the other week when I had to take a Saturday off to attend an auction in Awakere in the Bay of Plenty where there was an FG K40 Morris up for grabs. I was particularly interested in the truck because of its near-perfect grille and a bumper that was heaps better than the one I was currently trying to resurrect.

The upshot of it was that I bought the truck for $250 plus GST with the only problem being that I’d have to get it up to Auckland somehow or simply take what I needed off the truck and sell what I didn’t need to a local scrap merchant, but that was unlikely to happen.

The fact of the matter was that the truck itself looked like it’d only need a battery and some fuel to get it up and running, so the decision to transport the whole unit up to Auckland was made. This, coupled with the fact that I’d also bought a fairly tidy S Bedford half an hour later, made the decision easier.

Masked up and ready for some more yellow

While I had access to a truck that would carry one truck at a time, I figured that it’d be more economical if I could find someone with a truck big enough to do the two trucks in the same load. Enter OTS Auckland.

A call to Leison Howell at OTS helped me to get the show on the road, and at a reasonable price, if I may add. Leison put one of his master-operators, Cory Gutsell, who is particularly interested in old school trucks and machines on the job.

Cory did an outstanding job of transporting the two old trucks, even to the extent of removing a loose window from the Morris before it got broken. The entertainment of watching him reverse what was a pretty big rig, through a 90-degree turn from a narrow road into an even narrower 100-metre-long tree-lined driveway was a sight to behold. Thanks heaps, for a job well done Cory. 

As if having not just one but two trucks to get back to Auckland wasn’t enough, on the way home from the auction, while passing through Mt Maunganui, my usually trusty old Mitsubishi Diamante blew what turned out to be a heater core, making it now three vehicles I had to get home.

I broke down at around 6 o’clock at night on a long weekend, with all the accommodation in the Tauranga area booked out and it was looking like I was staring down the barrel of a night in the car.

However, thanks to towing company Rowe Motors (TGA) Ltd and their driver Lloyd who went the extra mile in making sure I got to a place where I could comfortably wait a few hours for my mate Gareth to come and collect me.

A grille swap-over

Well my friends, there are just a few examples of how I’m able to spend a lot of time involving myself with things that are purportedly associated with my restorations.  Well that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Now, just to prove that the trip to Awakere was indeed a part of the current restoration, I’ve managed to strip the grille from the FG K40 down, clean it up, and get it ready to be fitted to the truck.

There’s a bit of a back story to that tidy-looking Morris badge, too. Three months ago, I wasn’t sure where I would find one in good enough condition to finish the truck off, as they’re hard to come by.

Currently, as this story goes to print, I have two beauties to choose from, thanks to reader Colin McKenzie who spied one on e-bay and more recently to a gentleman—who wishes to remain unnamed—who had one salted away and which he swapped me for a Morris 8 leaf spring.

Swap-over completed

On top of that, the Awakere Morris came with a faded but complete badge that I’m sure could be revived with a bit of creativity. Aside from thinking up alibis for my inactivity, I’ve actually been putting in some hours fitting weather strips to the bottoms of the doors and getting the bumper from the Awakere truck straightened.

Another one of those jobs I’ve been putting off is fixing the wings to the body.  About 10 issues ago, I’d stated that the wings were originally fitted to the body by pop rivets, and because that’s how it was done originally, then that’s the way I was going to do it this time around.

However, having seen the Awakere truck’s wings spot welded in place and how much better that looks, I made the call to unpick about 15 pop rivets per side and go about re-welding the job.

Well, folks, we’re getting down to the wire on my self-imposed 30-instalment deadline with there being only another three stories to go, and there’s an inordinate amount of work to do yet.

As it currently stands, I still have those dreaded quarterlight windows to do, plus a whole host of little niggly mechanical issues to sort and also painting the whole thing, completing the wiring and lights, sign writing, and upholstery. Having just seen what is only a part of the list, I guess I’d better get a move on, so until next month.

Tip of the month

Spend more time working and less time dreaming up excuses

Coming up...

Reviewing the last 27 months of restoration

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