Thoughts on Restoring a Morgan
Some comments about the interior
©By: John T. Blair (WA4OHZ)
1133 Chatmoss Dr., Va. Beach, Va. 23464; (757) 495-8229
Originally Written: Circa 1997
Last update: June 17, 2009 - Reformatted page & corrected my email address
Thanks to all that have contributed questions and answers to this FAQ. While
I have put this together, I have pulled much of the wording from numerious
Greg Solow, Jeff Webster, Chuck Vandergraaf, Stephen Stierman, Nelson Warner,
Cables run inside the car - Are there meant to be any wires, fuel lines etc.
that run front to back INSIDE the car? Mine has the battery negative cable
(It's a positive earth car), a bunch of lighting wires on the passenger side,
and a fuel line on the drivers side. They all run/are attached to the sill
I can't believe this work is original, Surely the wiring and fuel lines ran
on the outside of the tub, perhaps under the wings?
Basically that is correct. However, there are some differences based on
weither the car is a 4/4 or a +4 and possibly if it is Right Hand Drive or
Left Hand drive.
On my 65 4/4 (Left Hand Drive) there are 3 major items that run through the
interior of the car: the fuel line, the main battery feed, and the connecting
wiring harness - connecting the front harness to the rear harness.
The fuel line comes from the tank, through the thin plywood panel that forms
the rear trunk wall. Then the fuel line is routed along the side brace that
form the bottom support for the trunk deck. Then down the slanted panel that
forms the back of the seating area to the sill plate. Along the sill plate
to the fire wall, where it goes through a gromet to the fuel pump.
On the +4s of the 60s the battery is mounted under the bonnet in the middle
of the firewall. On the earlier +4s and 4/4s the battery is mounted on a
small tray under the trunk deck. On my 65 4/4 the battery is mounted on the
passenger side of the car. It is a POSITIVE GROUND system. So the Positive
battery cable is connected to the chassis just in front of the rear axle.
The Negative cable is routed through the angled panel behind the seat area
then along the sill plate to the firewall. It comes out of the firewall and
attaches to the starter solenoid on the passenger side outer edge of the
The interconnecting harness that connects the main harness to the rear lights
etc. is connected to the main harness under the dash board on the passengers
side of the car. There is a mounting clamp mounted to the wooden body tub
just infront of the door. The harness is then routed down the wood to the
sill plate, and to the back of the car. It is attached to the braces that
forms the support for the trunk deck. In the rear part of the wooden fender
inner panel the connecting harness is attached with a metal clamp. The rear
harness is also mounted with a clamp here, and the 2 pieces are connected
OK, if it is "normal" to have the battery cable, lighting wires and fuel
line running along the sill plates on the INSIDE of the car on top of the
sill boards; how does the trim cover it to achieve that padded effect?
The factory used horsehair padding covered by either leather or vinyl/
Naugahide trim. This accounted for a lot of the rot that occured around sill
boards. It is NOT unusual to discovered a miniture ecosystem existing
(everything from tiny mites to fungus) along the sill boards and rocker.
There are several layers of this horse hair. One is layed on the sill plate,
another is glued to the vertical wall of the chassis. There there is another
piece that is used to cover both to form a "rounded" look.
The covering (leather or vinyl) is layed over the horse hair, starting at the
middle of the outer edge (under the door way), the covering is tacked down
with Escusion pins - small nails. Work from the center to the outer edges
pulling the material tight as you go. Once the top is tacked in place, pull
the material down towards the floor boards and again tack in place.
Once this is nicely in place, the aluminumn sill plate can be nailed on to
cover the material.
With "todays 'mercian technology", there are several things that can be
changed. First is to use a air powered staple gun to tack the fabric down
instead of the Escusion pins.
Next is the way the bottom is attached to the floor boards. It would be
nice to be able to easily lift the fabric up periodically to allow any
accumulated moisture to dry off. To this end, here is what several people
Rather than using jute or a similar water absorbing type padding I used a
"closed cell" mat. The mat is the type that back packers might use under
their sleeping bag. I first read of this in "Miscellany" several years ago.
The pad is about 3/8" thick and is available in the camping section of many
stores. Instead of nailing the bottom of the fabric to the floor boards,
Velcro was attached to the floor board and the back of the fabric.
I used auto carpet padding ( Jute) and built up one layer at time to fit over
the sill plate, the last layer runs from the door sill to the floor. All of
the layers being held together with spray contact cement. Makes a nice one
piece unit which is not attached to the sill and is held only by the cover.
For the cover I tacked under the door sill plate and used snaps on the floor
with velcro on the ends. This works really well as the velcro allows me to
keep the cover tight and the snaps allow for a quick removal of the padding
after a drive in the rain.
What type of carpet does the Morgan have.
While I have seen Morgans of various ages with carpeting, my 65 4/4 uses
rubber mats. The rubber is used to cover the inside of the firewall, the
sides panels from the door forward to the firewall, and the floor for both
driver's and passenger's feet.
What (if anything) does the backrest (seatback) of a roadster attached to?
Or is anything supposed to be attached to it? When the seatback is in place,
and the seat bases in position with the seat cushions on them, there is
a gap of two to three inches between the bottom of the backback and the
rear of the seat cushion? Is my seat cushion too small ? (roughly 15W
by 16" L) is the base too big? (roughly 13"W by 20"L)
Sometime after 65, Morgan did decide to "finish" the car a little and did
put carpeting in.
The rear fender arches and the trunk deck were all uncovered and painted
The inside of the doors were covered with leather or vinyl depending on what
the customer ordered, the quarter panel (to the rear of the door vinyl). My
car had leather seats, door coverings, sill plate cover, and the transmission
cover, but the rear quarter panel was vinyl. When I redid the upholstery, I
did these quarter panels in the same leather I did the seats wit There appears
to be a difference here in the 4/4s and the +4s. The 4/4s door panel is flat,
while many of the +4s I've seen have a "map" pocket in the doors. Under the
vinyl covering was a thin layer of cotton padding that is called "glazing". The
padding was very thin, so that the covering feels "soft" to the touch but does'nt
appear to be padded.
Bob Nogueira offered a nice modification to the rubber floor mats by
gluing the rubber floor mat to a sheet of aluminum cut to the same pattern as
the mat. It never pulls loose and bunches up under my feet and cleaning is
accomplished by lifting it out and taping it on the ground.
The seats on a '66 4/4 (which has a slightly measure:
a. the seat bases are 19" long by 15" wide, and therefore are a tight
fit between the chassis crossmembers, and sill and tunnel. The seat
bases are not attached to anything, and lift right out. The
(pneumatic) cushions are exactly the same dimensions.
b. The top of the backrest (seatback) fits flush against a wooden
crosspiece which bolts to each side of the tub with wingnuts sliding
in a slotted angle iron, to provide a bit of fore-and-aft adjustment.
The bottom of the backrest sits on the floor, wedged between a
crossmember and a bit of wood screwed to the sillplate. The backrest
is also NOT attached to anything.
There is about a two-inch gap between the bottom of the backrest and the
back of the seat cushion. In this gap you can see the front mounts for
the leaf springs, and the seat belt anchors.
What is the dash made of and how are they finished?
Morgans made during the 50s and 60s were made from a solid piece of
Philippine Mahogany. (It is possible that some of the 67 and 68 cars
had a veneered dash.)
Enjoy your Morgan
A 69 +8, the dash is probably made from an old Lucas packing crate. It is
however; covered with the luxurious black hyde of the English nauga, to
give that modern late 60's look; complete with high quality Lucas rocker
switches of the period.
For the exposed wooden dashes, they can be finished with several coats of
either spar varnish or minwax polyeurothaine
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