The rebirth of a New Hudson
A much-travelled Morgan
Gaven Dall’Osto attended the recent All British Day at St. Joseph’s College Sports Ground in Brisbane and spotted an interesting three-wheeler. “This Morgan had a rather amazing story. It was a 1929 Morgan Super Sports, powered by a water-cooled 996cc JAP engine. There was no gearbox, but it did have a 2-speed dog rear end. It was originally purchased on 29th August 1929 and went to Malaya. It was extensively raced in the 1920s and 1930s and was reported to be able to achieve 121 mph. During the war the owner reportedly covered it with engine oil and buried it, so it wouldn’t get into the hands of the invading Japanese. Resurfacing in 1945, it went on to be registered to Cyril Bunting from 1966 then changed hands in 1976 and 1978. It continued to be raced and even competed in the Vintage Car Race of the 1982 Malaysian Grand Prix. In 1988 it was purchased and was imported to Fremantle by Derek de SotoPhillips where it was restored. Ill heath saw it sold to the late Robert Holmes a Court until it was purchased by Bruce Butler after Robert’s death. The current owners, Greg and Christine Stevens purchased it in 2001 and use it regularly for many Morgan related events.” Well I have to admit I was surprised when my youngest daughter Tracey arrived at my house with the latest addition to our ‘Dad and Daughter Motorcycle Club’. I was told she had managed to get a rare belt drive veteran motorcycle and apparently the few rusty bits of metal in front of me was a 1914 New Hudson motorcycle. I knew parts would be almost impossible to find, but I was confident when Tracey told me our friend John Bennett from Kinglake would help us make what we needed. John is an amazingly talented man who as an engineer can make anything! I set up the molasses bath to remove the years of rust from the frame and the one wheel we had. Tracey was lucky enough to find a couple of pictures of a 1914 New Hudson on the internet so at least we now had a vision of what we hoped to achieve. Every couple of weeks, Tracey would pack her little car with bits and pieces and head to John’s workshop. Hours were spent manufacturing pieces on the lathe, welding and grinding. I looked forward to her return and hearing of the progress and frustration when things weren’t going to plan. Due to illness, I was only able to go to the workshop on a couple of occasions, but I was always kept involved in the project, even if it was to buy more bits and pieces from the metal shop…with my wallet! Tracey’s partner Bruce, who was building a Penny Farthing at John’s, had become involved in the restoration of our New Hudson. He hunted swap meets looking for parts and one day I was delighted when he found us an old leather seat. It was perfect! Our little New Hudson was becoming a real family project. My wife Lou made us a canvas tool roll to hold the tools we found on eBay. She did a great job! Tracey and I decided to keep the New Hudson out of sight from the rest of the family. We were so pleased with the progress, we wanted to have an official launch. Bruce who was progressing well with his Penny Farthing, loved the idea of an official launch and gladly accepted our offer to have a joint launch of both projects, so plans for ‘Penny Hudson Day’ began. The day arrived and the sun was shining, it was a wonderful day and family and friends gathered for a BBQ lunch. We were delighted to introduce John Bennett to everyone as our special guest. It brought a tear to my eye when the New Hudson was unveiled. There stood a beautiful little motorcycle. You couldn’t help but be impressed. Bruce was proud as punch to show off his Penny Farthing and stunned everyone when he rode it up and down the street. Most of the family joined him for a ride, but I’m afraid my daredevil days are long gone. We had most of our motorcycles on display. We all enjoyed joy rides in the sidecar, John’s three wheeled Morgan-style hand built car and live folk music played in the garden by family. I loved it, had a ball. I’m such a lucky man to have a family that enjoy my passion for restoring vehicles. I look forward to the completion of our next project, a 1930 Radco motorcycle, and yes, I’m off to the metal shop again, with my wallet.