MORRIS Minors. I feel like I’ve spent the past few days living and breathing them – but that’s no bad thing.
I’ve been helping to put together a 12-page newspaper supplement to mark the Moggy’s 70th anniversary, and apart from my eyes going square from all the proof-reading in front of computer screens a couple of things have really jumped out.
Chiefly, it’s one of the few truly old-school classic cars (by which I mean ones with chokes, chrome bumpers and an appetite for Castrol 20w50) that you can still pick up for buttons, and it’ll be welcomed into virtually any car show across the land. The other thing is that because it was the first British car to sell over a million, and with roughly 14,000 of them still on Britain’s roads today, virtually everyone with even the vaguest interest in old cars has a Morris Minor story. Including me.
Even though I’ve never owned a Moggy, I very nearly bought one at the age of 16 – well, technically we very nearly bought one, as I would have been part of a car-loving consortium of petrolheads too young and too skint to know any better.
The Morris in question was a slightly crusty two-door 1000, being advertised by a chap in Ainsdale for ‘offers’. Four of us got distracted enough from our GCSE revision to seriously think about sticking in an offer for it, and things ended up going far enough that two of us ended up going to view the car, without a clue about remedying rotting sills or replacing its kingpins. It was almost certainly a long and expensive restoration in waiting, but in my head it’d be up and running in six months, perhaps with its 1098cc A-series lump replaced with an MG Midget’s engine and some electronic ignition to make it go as well as it’d eventually look.
In the end the logistics of sharing a car between four people – namely, whose name would go on the registration document – undid the deal long before we put a proper offer in and the car went to someone older and more sensible, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the Moggy ever since. It is one of those cars that seems to go on and on, propelled by a legion of people who love fettling with them on Sunday mornings and taking them to shows.
Anyone see that scene in Blade Runner 2049 where one person still has a Volkswagen Beetle in an impossibly futuristic Los Angeles? I imagine it’d be the same if they’d set it in Liverpool, only with a Morris 1000, of course. Probably with me still trying to buy it.