Morgan +4 Forum

Suggestions for an East-Coast Interim-cowl Body Tub Rebuilder?

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plus4moggie Tom Lange
Bar Harbor, Maine, USA   USA
This Winter I hope to begin work on my interim-cowl +4 (made in late '53, P3010), and need to find someone experienced to re-build the body tub. The wood and metal are rotted away at various places including the bottom of the bustle, and I am not at all sure how they should be shaped.

Can anyone give me a good recommendation, either professional or a home-craftsman with experience? I really want this to be right.

Also, has there been any attempt to gather the chassis numbers of these interim-cowl cars? I get so tired of hearing that "19 were made and only 2 survive", when neither number stands the slightest chance of being correct. I know that some were soon re-cowled to comport with the final cowl-shape, but it would be interesting to do a real census, if nobody has yet.

All help and advice is very much appreciated.

Tom Lange
Bar Harbor, maine

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54morgan Gary A
Perth, WA, Australia   AUS
Well, I've got a 1954 high cowl with faired in headlights. Is that what you mean by interim cowl?

plus4moggie Tom Lange
Bar Harbor, Maine, USA   USA
By interim-cowl I mean the short run of cars between the flat-rad and the complete, water-fall cars. Mine has a crescent of chrome across the top, with a very small amount of curvature. The headlights are the short-lived, low "bean-can" lights.

Here is a photo of a well-known car:

Tom Lange

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ascari T M
Axton, VA, USA   USA
Unless I'm missing something (which is very likely) this is steel and/or aluminum panels over an ash frame just like any other Morgan four wheeler, right? In other words apart from the unique styling there's nothing about the actual construction that's peculiar to an "interim".

If that's a correct assumption the good news is that Morgan tubs are just about as simple as they come and more or less anybody who builds panelled wood bodies should be able to handle it, especially is there's enough old metal and wood left to use as templates.

Short of sending the car to UK where those kind of guys still grow on trees I'd try to find one of the "oldtimers". They're all retired and don't have web sites, but ask your local Rolls Royce/Bentley/Jaguar/MG/etc club people they will know where they are in your neck of the woods. Most old school hot rod shops would know where to find those guys as well. I'd venture you'd get the most bang for your buck and absolutely best craftmanship going that route. Let's face it, they're the ones who taught the current batch of coach builders.

These days it seems the bigger issue is to get hold of really good quality ash so make sure whomever you choose has a good supply. Nothing worse than a perfect frame that warps after two winters.

plus4moggie Tom Lange
Bar Harbor, Maine, USA   USA
TM - you are correct, in that it is the original steel and wood body. My problem, and reason for writing, is that the ends of the wood and metal are gone at the back, and I don't know how to replace, shape and fit the ends correctly for this scarce car.

I am hoping that someone can recommend an experienced craftsman on the East Coast of the US to do the necessary repairs, and prepare the tub for paint. I suppose I could purchase new wood wheel arches (etc.) from Uncle Melvyn and fit the metal to it, but I want to be sure it is done right.

Tom Lange

ascari T M
Axton, VA, USA   USA
Have you asked the factory if they would share photo copies of blue prints or templates? They're usually very forthcoming and it seems they save everything. Direct your query to Mr. martin Webb, the archivist.

They might be able guide you re. the second question as well, i.e. how many interim cars left the factory?

Santa Cruz, California, USA   USA
This guy seems to do everything.

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plus4moggie Tom Lange
Bar Harbor, Maine, USA   USA
Phil - thanks for the information; he sounds like a good person to be in touch with, and get to know!


DuncanCharlton Avatar
DuncanCharlton Duncan Charlton
Elgin, Texas, USA   USA
1931 Morgan 3 Wheeler "Gwenda (Sold)"
1967 Morgan 4/4 "Toly's Car"
1967 Unknown Unknown
1970 Mini Countryman    & more
Check with Don Simpkins of Georgia. He welds up new Morgan chassis frames in the winter and builds wood body structures in the warm months. He also will make individual wood parts. Due to the nature of Morgan construction, the parts are not cut to exact measurements and will need final fitting work. Better hurry, though; I'm not sure how long he wants to keep doing this. He's about 80 now. Contact him through his Facebook page:

Ron Garner in Hull, MA (he's the madaboutmorgans guy) has a good reputation in the Morgan world and is know to do very good work.

Given that some flat-rad Morgans were sent back to the factory to have the front redone with a high cowl waterfall grille, I suspect that the rear of the body was no different during the period when the cars had two spare wheels and trunnions (rather than shackles) at the back of the rear springs.

According to Gerry Willburn, some of the cars during that era were dispatched from the factory with different combinations of grille, headlight nacelle shape, etc.

In one of the books about Morgans, the guy who soldered up the grills said he made only 20 and that one was meant to be a spare. Using Tony McLaughlin's online Morgan registry I count eight interim cars in north America (one is a 4-seater, and chassis 3031 was originally fitted with a later style grille) plus two in the UK -- but I don't know how many are running and whether there are any duplicates.

I know of an interim car (3034) near Georgetown, Texas that is not yet listed on the morganville site. It is in pieces and has been that way for over 20 years. I went to see it and took photos, but unfortunately it was stored in a windowless, unlit back room at a mechanic's shop and my photos were taken by the light of a flashlight, so they would be of limited use to you. The chassis, wood and sheet metal were solid (the mechanic who is storing it said he was painted during restoration but that the restoration had been done rather poorly, leading the owner to ask it to be stripped down and done properly) and most of the parts were there (I noted missing dash instruments and mismatched front brake drums). I tried to arrange for a friend to buy it but after all those years of storing it the family said they wanted to have the mechanic restore it, thinking that due to its rarity they could sell it for much more.

Elgin, Texas

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