1954 Morgan with TR2 Engine (51 Views) M60 Home    Restorations Gallery

An early photo of the original owner seated in the Morgan, ready to race. Ed knew how to appreciate a Morgan. This much driven, often raced, and always cherished Morgan Plus 4 came from its original owner, Ed, a close family friend of Elliott's father. Wounded by a land mine in WWII, he survived and was clearly a fine fellow.

Ed ordered the Morgan through Windsor Motorcycle Sales in Windsor, Ontario, but the ship arrived at the docks in Toronto. The TR 2 engine is actually the original engine. Ed was considering several other sports cars, but ordered the Morgan because it had the best power to weight ratio in it's class. The car has the Moss 4-speed transmission, similar to what was used in the early Jaguar XK E's.

He purchased and imported the car from England. A brand new Morgan. Imagine!


Even the shipping tag has survived.
When Ed married, he and his bride not only went on their honeymoon in the Morgan, but they also shared an abiding love of racing and touring the car. Over the years the Morgan saw less and less time on the road and eventually began to vanish into obscurity under the usual odds and ends of garage life.
The Morgan may not have been driven much as time went by, but it was not neglected. Always stored indoors, it gradually became what so many older cars become, a shelf of sorts. With the car loaded on the trailer and almost ready to hit the road to its new home, Ed makes some last minute checks. Top up? Check. Side curtains mounted and taped down against blowing away? Check ... and etc.

Try to imagine this moment: Since your first issue of 'Road and Track', or 'Car and Driver', or when or wherever you saw a Morgan +4 and caught the fever for a Morgan of your own, you have fantasized about this day. Meeting Ed, a fellow who, like you, is avid about maintaining and above all, driving his car was a meeting of like minds. You know Morgans are quick and nimble drivers' cars. Now he has the comfort of knowing the +4 will be restored to original road condition.
You have spent enough time with the Morgan to know that when you have rolled it into your shop you are going to have a serious challenge ahead. Tinworm. Wood rot. Cut and paste metal repair, parts fabrication. What's not to like?

Filling an otherwise glaring empty space, we have a photo of the interior compartment of the Morgan. The red upholstery panels are installed with bright gleaming new screws. Yes, the Morgan is on track to completion.
While gassing up at the petrol station, other customers got this great view of the Morgan securely strapped to the trailer.
Here, the engine and bell housing are out and hanging in a sling at the lift. The grill, hood, engine, fenders and running boards have been removed, leaving the body perched on the frame. There is a large rectangular hole in the firewall, making the spindly frame and gaunt body an odd mix of joy and despair in the eye of a restorer.
In this photo, the body has been removed from the frame and becomes part of a pile of metal waiting its turn. The windshield posts, frame and glass are still in place. There is no floor and most of the body frame is either missing, rotted, or borderline for being salvaged. The cowl sides, the doors, and the rear body remain intact, if not in possession of an uncertain future. The seat is out. The dash is hanging by a few wires, and all the wires have been labelled. Frankly, it looks so delicate it is hard to believe this was and will again be a wonderful sports car. This is another view of the body off the frame. Rust at the bottom of the cowl and under the driver door reveals that nothing was safe from the might tin worm. Nothing has been done to the body yet.
The appetite of the tinworm has made a terrible meal of much of the Morgan With the body off and the engine out, the chassis is reloaded onto the trailer and kept outdoors over the winter.
Sections of the unrestored frame show the damage done to the rails by rust. Most of the frame will be replaced with or reinforced by new metal Though he used the same dimension metal on frame repairs/substitutions, an extra layer of security was added by welding on a second layer of metal to the frame.
This is a view along one side of the repaired frame, and looking at the frame photo above you can get a before-and-after view of the frame rails. By building new frame components rather than patching original pieces, the repaired sections look great and will hold up. The Morgan was and remains a wonderful motorcar. Not flashy or glamorous, but a very dependable performer. This photo at the next show the new cross members in place between the new frame rails.
Another view of the new frame rails and cross members. This is a photo of the fully repaired and primed chassis. Quite a lot of damage had been done by the tinworm, requiring fabricating and welding in some new frame rail metal and cross members. It is safe now, durable, and will handle well in road and rally racing.
A more detailed look at the restored frame and running gear at the rear of the car. The differential has been painted, the frame is relatively complete, and the brakes have been redone. But what is most interesting to me is the Morgan bracket for the dual spare wheels. Redone brakes are a thing of beauty, I believe, and this photo of the insides of a restored brake's works certainly reinforces my belief.
This is another view of the restored chassis and engine. Lovely.

All the effort to determine which parts were with the car and which were missing and presumed lost must have been tiring, but the patience, concentration, and hard labor required to organize the restoration so that it could be done? The end vision was in place even before leaving Canada with the Morgan. By the time he and the car were home, he must have had the crowded workspace, the tables and floorspace, the tools on hand and work to be sent out mostly sorted and settled.

He's not one for a spotless shop, tools gleaming on pegboard hooks, filtered air. It's all about the work. So, what next? That comes almost from instinct, from a massive mental library of experience - mostly solo experience. The disassembly and making the space work have yielded a lovely chassis. Now, the wood.

This photo of a classic frame at the Morgan factory, taken not long ago, gives you an excellent view of the beauty resident in every Morgan frame.
This photo is of the transmission with shift lever, mounted to the housing connecting it to the flywheel housing. The shift tower and gearshift lever with the shiny black knob are in place. The fender well and lip for the rear fender are formed around a wood panel cut with a triangular opening for the rear axle. This photo shows the pieces being cut from wood stock.
Here we see the rear fender panel (wood) attached to the side body panel (including the fender lip). Just a bit of the fender panel behind the fender can be seen. As with much of the Morgan's metal, that closest to the road fed the tinworm well. What we see here is the work underway to fit new metal to repair that which was lost at the bottom of . Extreme patience and natural skill cutting, shaping, and fitting show promise for a  strong, seamless repair of the driver side door frame.
The nearly finished lower door frame. This is a view along the whole of the door bottom and up the rear of the opening.
This is a view of the rear side panel with loer frame in place. The With the entry repair complete, new interior door wood repair, fitting and installation begins.
In the early days of the automobile, the exterior metal might mistakenly have been taken for the strength and regidity of the vehicle. The early -- no, not just early, as wood was the bones of many cars and trucks well into the 1930s --  so then, with their dependence on wood for strength not yet available through metal technology, automobiles were pretty much 'horseless carriages. As for Morgans, though legend has it they were made entirely of wood, that never was true. The body was, then and now, but not the chassis or drive train. The skill that goes into each operation, whether building new at the factory or rebuilding in an owner's garage, is made obvious in this door and frame photo. Lovely work, lovely photo.
This photo gives a better sense of the side assembly. The cowl, now with the entire firewall housing removed, sweeps down then back about half the width of the door. It is joined to another metal piece that is a transition between the bottom of the door and the rear side panel. These two pieces appear to be welded together. The entire lot is screwed to body wood.

Good time to take a breath and look around, to enjoy the work done so far, and shuffle the welding stuff against the walls and into closets and boxes, all the while finding where and what the woodworking tools and equipment are to be hauled out, piled up or spread around and about, on, and under the ... wood. The measuring gear. The cutting and drilling and shaping gear, and the sanding and smoothing and ... stuff. Oh, and the broom, the dustpan, and that little piece that you attach to the end of the air hose, point, press the button and create massive clouds of mystery dust. And the mask to filter the air you breathe, fer God's sake don't be too cool for the mask!

Woodworking, to me, is one of God's mysteries. I clicked through this series of restoration photos, despite having experienced The Pontiac Woodie, and what I found amazing as each step followed the other was how natural and simple it all seemed, how little the man credited himself, and how much happiness it gave him to bring a Morgan back. If you really love old cars regardless of condition, regardless of market conditioning, regardless how daunting, then your mind will take you at least into the neighborhood of a car guy's Zen state.

The woodwork is finished. Next up, the metal!

The driver-side front fender is shown here, repairs completed, with its surface sanded and in contrasting red and grey primer surfacer. This is a stellar Morgan photo. Taken head on, with the paint-ready gray front fenders mounted on the restored chassis. Nestled between, seated between the frame rails, the rebuilt engine sits and waits for its future.
The cowl is taped off. The engine compartment firewall, the scuttle or bulkhead and the fender panels are ready for black paint. This is a side view of the front of the car as it sits today. Shown are the firewall in brown paper preparatory to painting, the engine in place between the fenders. All is in light grey primer.
A side view taken farther back along the passenger side looking at the cockpit. The dark red seat is installed as is the steering wheel. On the seat is the dash panel complete with instruments. More photos are needed to show the running boards, rear fenders and back of the body, but enough is shown to get a bit of the Morgan feel. Also, it appears no upholstery is installed, though a bit of the upper door panel received some grey primer. The magical part begins: This is a view of the gray primered car with the body on, viewed down the passenger's side. All the fenders and runningboards have been mounted. A spare is sitting upright in the two back-to-back spare tire wells at the rear of the body.

With seeming endless hours of hard labor, intense concentration, and devoted attention to detail upon detail completed thus far, disassembly, parts and materials inventoried, seemingly endless hours of cleaning and surface prep done (for now), and here we are ready to paint the chassis, drive train, and body, continuing with cleaning and fitting as painting proceeds.

Tick tock!

This is a view of the gray primered car with the body on, looking down the driver's side. The gas tank and cap have been installed, upright and hidden by the body sheet metal behind the seat and cargo area.
At last! We have a lovely coat of a very exciting red! This is a view taken of the body from the front. Another great view, this taken from the rear. The protective running board strips and the rubber welt are in place.
This pic shows the interior with the steering wheel and beautiful dash in (taken from the rear quarter). Almost the same as the previous photo this one is taken over the seat looking toward the front. One can just see the engine.
A dramatic closeup of the interior taken from just above the right passenger door. Here, a photo of the car from right front (the car is left hand drive) to left rear. Wiring and carburetion are underway in the engine compartment
An exterior close-up of the passenger	door with hardware installed. The leather door frame welting (matching the bright red body color), the fender and runningboard black rubber welting, and the anti-skid bars (my words, not Morgan's) hope to help against moisture and awkward entry on rainy days. The front of the Morgan is, like the rest of this beautiful sports car, impossible to ignore. Aggressive, low slung and muscular, with bulbous headlight buckets swept back and integrated into the long sweep of the fenders that rise from just above the roadway -- it is  gorgeous. Tucked between the fenders'curve and the headlight cones welded into the fenders, the radiator shell with its gleaming red paint wraps around narrow, vertical, chromed bars and looks for all the world like a fencer's headgear. There are turn signals atop each fender and a Morgan emblem atop the the shell.  The fenders'gleaming finish, so curvacious and silky smooth, runs below the doors all the way back to the rear fenders.
A photo of the ash wood frame shop helps understand the loving craftsmanship that Elliot, like the factory, puts into every step toward a Morgan +4.

I've known Elliott for a very long time, and have spent many hours driving around with him in his unfinished and finished project cars. Never enough hours, though! As for the Pontiac woodie and the Morgan, I have never been in either one, which has made presenting them here on the website especially challenging. Knowing the man under, over, and around other works in progress,and knowing the beauty he brings to life from his cello, it was certain, as usual with any of his restorations, the finished automobile would be dependable, fun, and beautiful. And so it proved to be.

A photo of the finished Morgan during a trip to the mountains
The plated bits back from plating. The original sales card of the Morgan Motor Company Ltd Works. Line art of the 3-wheeler is at the upper left, the Morgan logo at top center, and the Plus 4 line art at upper right.
Ed Hebb with his Morgan. A fine man.

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