On the plus side, the ’55 Morgan does seem pretty solid, for Morgan values of solid. The car is amazingly, amusingly simple–the top frame is comical. I rather like the whole thing.

The interior is all original, I think, except the dash itself…maybe. They all had cubbies on the passenger side, didn’t they? This one does not. But who knows?

The paint looks ok after polish (certainly plenty fine for a driver), though the light spots on bonnet won’t come out–that’s not a big deal. You can see it arrived with plenty of filth on it…for a machine which was transported across the country in a covered truck? I have my doubts it came the entire way enclosed. Between that and the delivery driver not having a single clue how to start a car with SU carbs, and showing no respect in their treatment of the car, I was not impressed with Autobahn.

Apparently I’m the first owner intending to actually use the car in a long time. So I get the “recommission list”.

  • The battery, a single twelve instead of twin sixes, is held in by one bungee cord. I don’t mind the single battery, but the bungee has got to go.
  • I think this car has a home-made wiring loom, it should be cloth covered…and every single connector is a hardware-store crimp on. I also suspect the car originally didn’t have turn signals, but those can stay. On the plus side, it probably means I can bring the various electrical failures back to life. These include the headlights, temperature gauge, fuel gauge, brake lights and one taillight.
  • The radiator needs repair or replacement. (I’ll do hoses/thermostat at the same time.)
  • The sender for the brake switch is new, as is the rear flex line, which says someone was trying to figure out the brakes. They failed–there are no brakes to speak of. So I’ll run through the whole lot.
  • Tires are on order. There was a pretty good vibration at about 35-40 mph, which could be many things, but they’re the place to start.
  • There are lots of loose screws and fasteners.
  • All pedal pivot bushings are worn out. I think I can get a bit more foot room when fixing those. Did 1950s people all have 2″ wide feet? I think the transmission tunnel can be narrowed a bit, too. (See final item.)
  • The speedometer doesn’t work because there is no speedo cable. (See final item.)
  • The handbrake doesn’t work because there are no handbrake cables. (See final item.)
  • The Big Bodge: The rear cover of the gearbox broke at some point, and the owner at that time needed 500 Bodge Points–which they earned, and howdy.

The rear engine/transmission mount is cast into the rear cover of the transmission–there are two “feet” out the back which go over mounting points on the cross-member, I’m sure with some rubber mounts so your placid (!) Morgan Driving Experience is not interrupted.

Rather than fix it, or make an elegant substitution, BODGE MODE was enabled. I will post a picture soon, but it’s really hard to believe what they decided was the best course of action: welding some scrap steel to the cross-member in a sort-of triangle loop thing (I cannot describe exactly how cheesy it is) that tries to use a couple of the rear cover bolts as substitute mounting points. All solidly mounted, with no rubber isolation.

Those rear cover bolts have now caused the rear cover to fail at those points, too. I can think of at least two or three different ways to do something given the original failure which would have at least mimicked the intent of the makers. I’m not sure how those original mounts would break,  perhaps they’re just fragile–or the transmission was dropped on them during a clutch job? Dunno.

The bodge means the speedometer gear takeoff cannot be used, and there is nowhere to run the handbrake cable. It’s super-hacky–weird given the rest of the car seems pretty intact. Another weird thing is the design of the bodge is completely without elegance, but the welds on it are pretty nice. So strange.

I’m guessing at the end of the day this will mean a 5-speed conversion, since a poke around the web shows that Moss box parts are hard to find, and Morgan Moss parts–especially external castings–are impossible to find.

I’ll have to grind the bodge off the cross-member, which will be fun.