1939 Morgan 4-4 Le Mans Race Car
We never thought that we would see the actual car that raced at Le Mans in 1939 (following on from our painstaking 4-4 Le Mans Recreation) - but resting in a barn in the USA was FXD 280, the long lost Le Mans race car. It had been disassembled but its unique Le Mans features were still evident.
Back at Techniques workshop, the steel panels were carefully peeled away from the ash frame which, we found, was in remarkably good condition. New ash wood was carefully grafted in and the steel panels reattached. The bodywork was 'lead loaded' and repainted in its original green. The large fuel tank had survived and this was carefully dismantled and foam filled. Meanwhile, the engine, gearbox and axle were stripped and rebuilt.
The refurbished and replacement instruments are all fitted to the original dashboard; that required minor repairs. The original bonnets also survived and after careful restoration, replacement hinge and more lead! they now look as good as 'way back when'!
The restoration/rebuild of this car has been extremely challenging, but we are very proud that it was ready in time for its international debut at the 2010 Le Mans Classic.
The journey back to Le Mans for 'FXD' was completed over the weekend of 10th July 2010 at Le Mans Classic 24hr. It was a huge success, finishing 21st from a total of 68 entrants and 6th on Index of Performance (Handicap). Drivers Leigh Sebba, Tony Lees and Richard Plant drove superbly to cross the finishing line without any problems.