Stoke & Staffordshire

Laughing Dog 1950s Morris van 'slower than a greyhound'

Restored Morris Commercial Image copyright PA
Image caption The restoration of the Morris Commercial J-Type took 1,750 hours

A 1950s delivery van rebuilt with bodywork from a salvage yard was unveiled at Crufts - after its owner ignored calls to scrap it.

The Morris Commercial J-Type belonging to Lincolnshire-based Laughing Dog farm bakery went on show at the NEC.

Its 1,750-hour restoration was overseen by 27-year-old William Grant, who named the van after his grandfather Ted Grant OBE, who set up the company.

Its 40mph top speed - slower than some greyhounds - rules out long journeys.

"It's almost dangerously slow now and it will be owned by the factory and used as a promotional vehicle," said Mr Grant.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The restoration took 1,750 hours

The restoration at Laughing Dog's site in Old Leake, near Boston, went ahead despite the front of the 1.5-litre J-Type - bought in 2013 - being badly rusted.

Mr Grant sourced a rear section from a scrapyard in Stoke-on-Trent and reproduced other panels using more than 20 sheets of mild steel.

The new panels were shaped by hand to produce parts indistinguishable from factory-made equivalents fashioned in 1951.

Asked how the van performs when driven, Mr Grant added: "It's very, very noisy. It's got a very high back axle ratio, so it accelerates quickly but has a top speed of about 40mph.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Although the original chassis has been maintained, the poor condition of the van's bodywork forced Mr Grant to source a rear section from a scrapyard
Image copyright PA
Image caption "The main thing that interested me was building the body because everybody had said it should be written off," said Mr Grant