Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A very Merry Christmas!

To all, a very Merry Christmas!

May this festive season bring to you much joy, good health, and untold happiness when you find out that wrapped in the parcel under the Christmas tree is that long-time missing ignition switch, headlight lens, crank handle or other sought-after treasure for the classic beauty sitting in the garage, or under the tarpaulin!

May you find time this holiday season to work unselfishly and uninterruptedly on the restoration project of your dreams!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Front Grille Centre Trim

The same fellow advertising the front grille on eBay (refer post below) also has a centre trim piece, item no 130348151641 for auction. This item is described as:

"Morris J Type Van Morris Commercial Morris JB Front Grille centre. A FANTASTIC reproduction item, all curves there etc look great chromed. I do not make these panels, they are left over from my Restoration. Based near Gt Yarmouth if you wish to pick up. Would prefer cash or BACs as to any other method. No overseas bidders without prior agreement. Postage is to mainland UK."

Repaired Grille on eBay

Now these are few and far between, and but for the postage I would bid myself!

For sale on eBay UK at the moment (item 130348971941) is this no-reserve front grille, described as:

"Morris JB Van, Morris J Type Van, Morris Commercial Front Grill, all fully repaired, just needs Sanding or Blasting and Spraying. Doesn't come with furniture, just a basic excellent Grill. NO RESERVE. Based near Gt Yarmouth for pick-up, could post but would be expensive due to size."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Truman's Sold in the UK?

Was my prediction correct? In the post below I predicted that Truman's JB would have a high reserve, and that it would sell nevertheless. After little more than 36 hours, 5 bids, and a price of GBP 3,150.66 (A$5,801.99) the van was withdrawn from auction some 5 days early.

Does this mean that Truman's sold off-eBay at a price well above the reserve? Betcha it did!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Still more Headlights

Still more headlights are available for the J-van on eBay. This pair have a starting price of £25.00, with no bids yet.

Later: Auction ended with no bids.

Truman's for Sale in the UK

Listed today on eBay in the UK is Truman's 1958 JB Van. Starting at a low £0.99 and with an unknown reserve, after 4 bids the van is already up to £2550.00. This van is the same year/model as Bugly, and has been stripped completely before an in-depth rebuilding commenced.

There is a link to Truman's on the right side-bar.

The seller states: "Here we have for sale is potentially one of the best and original J Types you'll find anywhere - my beloved Truman's delivery van. Owned by me for the last four years, but now due to a change in personal circumstances I need to allow someone else to finish the old man off. Here's the deal... 1958 Morris JB van, released following 38 years of captivity acting as a donor vehicle for another JB van, which were both owned by Lester Stock from Croydon. Fortunately Mr. Stock never actually removed much from Truman's, so following his sad death in 2005, I was able to take this project on.

Upon removal from the garage in Carshalton Surrey, Truman's was despatched to Fairmile Restorations in Worcestershire for some relatively minor surgery to the bottom nine inches of the side and rear bodywork. Ian form Fairmile said to me at the time that he had never seen a better and more original van - the front end in particular was very well preserved. The van was purchased in 1958 as a delivery van for a Truman's and Schweppes franchise off-licence in Tadworth Surrey. I can give the whole history to the winning bidder - there's a fair bit of it!

Whilst the van was away, I set about dismantling and rebuilding the engine. Upon investigation, it was found that the bores were a little worn, so some +20 thou NOS pistons were sourced, cylinders re-bored, hardened valve seats fitted, new big ends, bearings, crankshaft checked, then reassembled getting as near back to original as possible. Other items sorted out were: The distributor was sent away for refurbishment, NOS cap fitted, dynamo rebuilt, starter motor rebuilt, New regulator (with original lid), new LA12 coil, plugs, NOS Champion plug ends, new AUA66 fuel pump, original Solex carb rebuilt, original air cleaner set-up, gearbox professionally rebuilt, new gearbox to chassis bolt machined up, new clutch, rear axle totally rebuilt, four brand new leafsprings from Brost Forge, new shackle pins all round, new axle u-bolts all round, new UJ and balanced propshaft, engine mountings, rebuilt water pump, rebuilt original brake and clutch master cylinders (not Morris Minor substitutes), clutch slave, new brake pipes (not yet fitted), new handbrake cables, new wheel cylinders, brake shoes all round, new kingpins, all trackrod ends, steering box rebuilt, radiator re-cored, new wiring harness purchased from Autosparks (fitted), all gauges restored professionally, All new NOS switches/lights, As you can see from the pictures, most of these items are fitted.

Other work done to Truman's includes full re-paint of the interior using Tekaloid coach enamel (as per original), new sub-frame for the rear floor, sliding door mechanism re-built, passenger seat sourced, full set of wheels, a NOS set of rear doors. All removable panels (front panel, front doors, front/rear wings and rear doors) have been professionally prepared and resprayed in mid-brunswick green, in readiness for the rest of the van to be done. To the best of my knowledge, you have no more mechanical parts to buy or source for Truman's, and all handles, trims, switches and badges are present and provided. Sorry, but I'm not interested in splitting anything away from the van, so please don't ask! I have an extensive photographic record of the restoration so far, which will be included, and also an online blog covering my work so far. Find it here... .

OK, so work to be done to finish is: body respray, brake pipes, connect everything up and away you go. The van has a decent number plate, which I have attempted through the MO & 6/80 club to retain, and as yet I've been unable to convince DVLA to re-issue it. However, I have other avenues to explore on this, and I can assist with this part of the project. This van is advertised elsewhere, and I reserve the right to withdraw this item at anytime. I'd like a £200 deposit within 24 hours of auction end, plus balance (cleared funds or cash within a week). Obviously, you'll need to trailer this lovely van away, but I can assist in this if need be, as cost. No scammers or tyre kickers please. The van is located in South East London, 10 minutes from M25 junction 4. Please contact me either through member contact or on 07590 541 311 (sane times only please!) Happy bidding!"

Good luck Truman's! I'm picking that you have a high reserve, but that you will also make a sale.

This van is truly a little gem in disguise!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mr Magpie! Look at This!

On ebay UK at the moment ... a Morris J tipping pick-up. The seller is not sure of the year it was made, and thinks that all parts are there. He also states that the vehicle needs a lot of work to get back to its original state, but he is sure there must be someone wanting a new project. Starting bid is ten pounds. I've seen worse!

Updated Thursday 24 September: This J Van sold on eBay for £820.00 (approx $A1,542)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Kim's WA J-Van

There is another J-Van restoration taking place, this time in Western Australia. Follow Kim's progress at the link on the right as his J-Vans slowly take shape!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Morris Headlight Buckets

The parts are out there, just have to spend time hunting for them! From the US on eBay at the moment for $US99 are a pair of MGTD headlight buckets ... these are the same as fitted to the Morris J-Type and JB vans. I was lucky enough to find one out of the UK which I will use to replace one on Bugly that had been fibreglassed up.

Breaking News

Remember Andrew Blacklock's vans listed below for sale? Andrew emailed me today and said:

"I have sold the two vans and they are off to Sydney, hopefully next week. They are going to a company who plans to restore one to resemble one of their J vans that they had years ago."

Great news indeed, but understandably a little sad for Andrew!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Bugly's New Seats

When I bought Bugly last year, it had the remnants of an old Morris seat sitting loose on the driver's box, having had much of the support structure cut away. Last night on eBay I won a pair of seats, apparently out of a Morris Mini, that should be perfect for Bugly. With an adapter plate made up, the driver's seat should fit on the seat box, and the other seat will be fitted for SWMBO.

It's now up to my kind-hearted brother-in-law to bring them up to Darwin from Melbourne at Christmas time!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Other Morris Badge

As mentioned in the post below, I managed to find a flat chrome badge very similar in style to the front "Morris" badge. This will be fixed to the bottom right of the right rear door.

Two questions to all the J-Van enthusiasts out there:

1. Does anybody know what this badge is off?
2. If the J-Van front badge has a yellow background, should I paint the background of this one yellow too? It will be fixed to a maroon body, similar in colour to LDG584.

Your comments would be appreciated.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Morris Badge

Couldn't help myself ... I just had to show off the new (re-chromed) Morris badge. I managed to find another chrome badge very similar in style, but which was made as a flat badge. I will fix this to the bottom right of the right rear door, for without it nobody will pick Bugly to be a Morris from the back.

While the badge for the rear is in great condition, I will now need to get it re-chromed to match the condition of the badge in front.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Bugly's Grille Chrome

I received a package in yesterday's mail ... Bugly's grille chrome trim was back from "A Class Metal Finishers" in Adelaide. What a difference! When I sent the three trim pieces and the Morris badge down for repair and re-chroming, I was hopeful (but not really confident) that they would be able to be properly restored. But how wrong was I!

The strips have come up like new, in fact with the re-metalling, coppering and chroming done, they are probably better than new, as there would be a greater depth of treatment than originally applied. I was also more than happy with the price of A$616, considering the condition of the trim ... A$220 for repairs, A$176 for stripping and polishing, and A$220 for chroming.

I will wait for the grill to be repaired and painted before I show off the chrome - it really will be the icing on the cake!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Morris J and JB Vans for Sale

Andrew Blacklock has decided to sell both his J Van and his JB Van. The top two photos are of the JB, the bottom two are the J Van and parts.

Andrew says: "Too many projects and not enough time, so looking at selling my Morris J (JB) type van & J van/parts etc. Vehicles located Newcastle NSW (Australia)"

If anybody is interested, I can provide Andrews phone number, or email address.

Friday, July 3, 2009

J Van for Sale

And on eBay at the moment from sunny Queensland in Australia comes this "original" J Van, complete with seized side valve engine and three speed gearbox. Price? $14,990. Will he sell it? I doubt it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Glass-out Restoration

Ok Mr Magpie, you've shamed me ... I have been a bit slow posting, but not much has happened lately.

I spent a little time on Bugly last weekend and removed the left and right quarter-light windows. I have decided to do a "window out" restoration, and also a "roof off" one as well. I was originally just going to tidy Bugly's body up, but I have now realised that for it to be done properly it needs to be brought back to the window and roof frames before preparation and painting. Guaranteed weatherproof then.

I have decided to manufacture bumpers front and rear in 50mm x 50mm galvanised SHS, to help protect the body from accidental damage. The rear bumper will also support a bracket on each end in which the tail/brake and indicator lights can be mounted on each end, along with a reflector. I should be able to retain the original number plate mounting and light in the centre. If the bottom of the front bumper is at the same level as the bottom of the front valance panel, I will still be able to hand-crank the engine.

The bumpers, being galvanised, can be powdercoated in black and should look quite smart set off against the (future) maroon body colour.

Still awaiting Iain (Fairmile Restorations) to manufacture a set of rear wings, and also the door shut sections for each side. Must be getting closer!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Victoria's Inner Front Wings - Nice!

'Victoria' (J-Van, left hand drive) has a photo on his blog ( showing his recently sandblasted inner front wings ... nice job! The question was asked which of the holes were standard Morris drillings, and which were added later? I checked Bugly (JB-Van, right hand drive) and found that the inner wings were identical, except for the additional holes. I have digitally altered Victoria's photo to show the original drillings. Hope this helps, mate!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cairns J-Van Sold

The Morris J-Van advertised on eBay and shown below attracted two bidders and sold for A$270 (GBP127.00). Perhaps this is another potential roadworthy J Van?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Rusty Right-Side Sill

I had a good look under Bugly this afternoon, to check the extent of the panelwork required. The right sill needs to be reconstructed with the lower side panel, to remove all of the rust that was simply panelled over. The biggest challenge is trying to figure out what was original and what was repaired, and then deciphering where it goes and how far.

The photo above is of the inside of the right sill, immediately in front of the rear wheel arch, looking towards the outside. Evident is the rusted out support channel, with the two bolts vertically in line. To the outside of this is the original outer panel which is rusted out on the bottom. To the outside of the original panel is the repair, simply welded to the original (the weld is visible at the top of the photo). The repair is bent at 90 degrees at the bottom, and tack welded to what's left of the original panel.

I am making an assumption that the original outer side panel had a flange at 90 degrees at the bottom which was bolted to the support channel (evident in the photo with the two bolts horizontally in line). Can some kind soul please confirm that this is correct? And of the length of the turned-under flange?

Also, can somebody please advise whether the sliding door recess has an open pocket below the track, just inside of the outer side panel? If this is so, it must fill up with debris (or water in heavy rain) and would need to drain somewhere. Does this drain to the rear, coming out where the support channel ends in the photo? Or is it supposed to be a sealed sill area, with any debris or water draining forward to the step?

Any comment would be much appreciated.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Brown and Burns Bakery - Subiaco

I was lucky enough to find tucked into the recess at the top of the windshield some old bread delivery dockets from Bugly's early days. After restoration, the Brown and Burns Bakery logo will be applied back onto the sides of the van. I will leave off the name of the locality "Subiaco", as this will then make Bugly non-specific as to origin. Subiaco is a suburb of Perth, in Western Australia.

Right Side Door Off

All was quiet on the fire front today, so I was able to take the right side cover panel and door off Bugly. This side too had had a previous rust repair on the lower side panel, and not too tidily done on the inside. Both sides appear to have had their repairs undertaken without the sliding doors being removed, so it ended up being just a cosmetic repair on the outside of the van. This side too will be redone.

While the drivers door was off, I noticed a dent right on the horizontal swage, which had been 'bogged' on the outside to hide it. The outside also showed a longitudinal depression on the swage line, which extended through the repaired dent. By removing the filler in the dent, I was able to panelbeat the swage back to an almost perfect alignment. Very pleasing.

Now that the cover panels, sliding doors and tracks are removed, I can start on a few simple panel repairs. This will allow me then to paint the inside, which had been painted black. I need to paint it a light colour, to tone in with the ultimate maroon exterior (to be similar to LDG584) and to introduce a bit of light into the rear of the van.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Left Side Door Off

I managed to spend a bit of time on Bugly this afternoon. I finished taking off the left sliding door cover panel, and removed the door and sliding track. I found a few items in the lower recess that were stopping the door sliding right back, so removed them.

I also found a previous rust repair in the lower left side panel ... in the photo of Bugly above a slight irregularity can be seen in the lower body which is the welding line of the repaired section. I might take this out and redo it while I am working on her, as the rusted panel is still in place but covered over. Not so good for long term peace of mind. The photo shows the rusty bit on the bottom.

Now time to disappear outside and crank up the barbeque!

New (?) J-Van on eBay

On eBay at the moment there is a J-Van from Cairns, in Queensland Australia. The starting price is A$100 (GBP46.59) and the description reads:

Here we have a slightly weathered Morris j van.
It has a 4 cylinder side-valve engine and a 3 speed gearbox.
The chassis is in excellent condition but the body is quite rusty as you can see in the picture.
There are quite a few new panels that the previous owner had fabricated and was going to use in a restoration project that ground to a halt before I acquired it.
Also not shown in the picture and included are the rear doors, side doors plus numerous other bits and pieces.
It would not be out of the question for a really keen enthusiast to restore, however it would be a big job indeed!!
As is where is.
Happy bidding!!

Yes, it would be a big restoration but no, not impossible! Value in spares for Bugly? As Bugly is a JB Van, the value is in other than the engine and gearbox. But Cairns is more than 3000km away! Might let this one go.

It demonstrates that they are still out there though!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bugly's Rear Wings

Well, I have bitten the bullet and asked Iain MacKenzie of Fairmile Restorations in England to manufacture Bugly a set of rear wings. Iain is about to do a small production run of J-Van wings, so hopefully they will soon be on the way. Meantime, not much progress has been made on Bugly's restoration, as too many other things keep cropping up. And I guess we need to be realistic with our priorities.

My excuse is that my other half and I are volunteer firefighters in our local rural community, and we are rostered on call for one week in four. This is on top of our normal day-jobs, so we can find ourselves rather busy on weekends, especially from now on as we come into our fire season. As Captain of the Brigade, I also need to fill in for other crew members on their shifts if they are unavailable, just to keep the wheels turning.

I am also an accredited trainer/assessor of volunteer firefighters, and often need to commit time to these functions. No rest for the wicked, as they say!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Look what I found on YouTube!

In "googling" around for Morris J Van information, I found this on YouTube ... it is the very photostory I compiled based on photos of LDG584's restoration supplied by Graham, the previous owner. I had sent Graham the photostory, and I guess he must have posted it on YouTube. An earlier post on this Blog shows that LDG584 is certainly an inspiration!

Although I can't claim ownership of the original individual photos, I can certainly claim ownership of the moving photo montage on YouTube set to the sound track "I'm So Excited!"

For the story of LDG584's restoration, visit Magpie's Blog at

Monday, March 23, 2009

Removing the Doors

I managed to spend a couple of hours on Bugly in the weekend. I removed the rear doors, and started removing the sliding door cover panels. As predicted, most of the cheese-head bolts unscrewed OK, but there were a couple of stubborn ones. Murphy's Law, I suppose. I may yet have to cut the bolts off, but I'll try some more yet with WD40 soaking into the threads.
A previous owner (presumably the bakery) had installed vents in the outside of the rear doors, and drilled lots of holes on the inside for ventilation. These will now need to be repaired, so will be a great chance to christen the MIG welder.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bugly's Restoration has Commenced

The shed is cleaned out, Bugly was parked in it this afternoon, and the fun begins!

I have stripped the chrome trim off the front grille, and it will be sent south to 'A Class Metal Finishers' in Adelaide for restoration. There are quite a few rust holes to be repaired, but the trim itself is quite straight. The front panel has quite a few rust holes along the bottom, and where the chrome trim was bolted on. The previous owners 'cosmetic touch-up' hid much of this with a not-so-perfect bog job, so all the filler will need to be removed in order for the damaged sections to be re-metalled. There is enough of the original struts and brackets left to be able to remake new bits.

I received a Lincoln PowerMIG 180C last Christmas, so now I need to learn how to drive it!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bugly's Grille Chrome

The three chrome strips (left, right and centre) around Bugly's grille are quite tatty and in places have rusted through. I would be very interested to find out from other restorers whether they have had similar chrome strips repaired. It would be nigh on impossible to find replacement strips in good condition, so am hoping that the originals could be repaired and re-chromed. Any comment in this regard would be much appreciated.

The chrome on LDG584 (pictured) was replaced by Graham with chrome from a spare vehicle he had, and it really does set off the front end nicely, especially against the maroon colour.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bugly's Inspiration

I would be a very proud man if Bugly finished up looking like LDG584, an English restoration by Graham. In fact, we have decided that this colour scheme looks so good that Bugly will be painted the same colour. For those who are interested, the paint colour is Ford Lacquer Red, and the Ford paint code is L5. Graham sold LDG a while back, and it now sports the blue livery of the new owner, the RAC. Grateful thanks to Graham for the photos!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


As the first post on this Blog, I wish to acknowledge all of the other restorations taking place by van owners around the globe. I almost feel guilty when I speak of restoring Bugly and I look at the condition of some of the other Morris J, JB and Austin 101 vans under restoration and repair. Taking Victoria in Canada as a typical example, her restoration will be a monumental task indeed. But I guess the body and mechanical parts are all made of steel, so what is missing can be manufactured. Thank God for people like Iain McKenzie of Fairmile Restorations! I too am looking at obtaining some parts from Iain, as I only realised the other day that Bugly has no rear wings! The assistance advice and guidance provided by other van owners is also acknowledged, in the manner of photos, measurements and advice. All help to make the restoration task a little less daunting.

Undeniably, my inspiration is Graham's LDG584. As can be seen by the photos that Graham posted on the MCJTV site, LDG was certainly transformed into quite a show-piece!