Next weekend, a 1926 Morris Cowley Bullnose Sports car will take to the roads around Darlington for the first time since the 1930s when it attends the Hurworth Grange Classic Car and Motor Cycle Show, which is the largest show of its kind in the district.

The vehicle was discovered in 1988 as a wreck on a farm in Lincolnshire.

“By the mid 1930s, these cars were well out of date and cost only £5 or £6 so farmers would buy them, cut the back half of the body off and use them for running around the farm, delivering milk churns to the lane ends,” says Tony Gray who, with his son, Ben, has been restoring the Bullnose for more than 35 years.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The 1926 Morris Cowley Bullnose Sports now that it has been restored ready to go back on the roads for the first time since the 1930s to the Hurworth Grange Classic Car Show on Sunday, May 12

“They were called ‘farm hacks’ and we think this was one of those because part of its body was missing – it was a two-seater with a dickey seat at the back, but it’s body was so bad, I have made it into a two-seater.”

Dickey seats popped out of the boot of early cars to provide additional seating that was unprotected from the elements. It was a name derived from the old horse days as on the back of a carriage, there was a dickey box at the back on which servants would sit. In the 19th Century, anything that was detachable was a “dickey” – on a shirt, for example, you got dickey collars and cuffs, or a dickey front, all of which could be pulled off when dirty. The dickey outfit was often finished off with a dickey bow.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The 1926 Morris Cowley Bullnose Sports in the condition it was found in Lincolnshire in 1988

Tony, of Low Coniscliffe, bought the wreck of the Bullnose because he had been given a 1920s Morris engine that had been languishing in a shed at Ingleton, near Staindrop, but it wasn’t until the Covid lockdowns that he really devoted time to getting it roadworthy.

The Bullnoses, with their distinctive sold nickle bullnose radiators, were very successful in the 1920s because they were cheap, using American-made components, and reliable, a reputation that continued with Morris after the Second World War when its Morris Minor and then Morris Mini-Minor were all the rage.

“It’s quite chirpy now because we’ve tuned the engine up,” says Tony. “50mph would be its top speed, and in the 1920s, when 20mph was a speed limit, 50mph would have been classed as flying.”

It’ll make its first, fully restored public appearance on Sunday, May 12, at Hurworth Grange when 600 vehicles are expected to gather for the Teesside Yesteryear Motor Club show, which starts at 10.30am. Entry is £5 for adults, free for children.

The event raises money for the community centre. To enter a vehicle, see or call 01325 720840.