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Morris Minor, Fenchurch

Four wheels on my wagon

I've bought another car :)

It's a Morris Minor 1000 Traveller, somewhere in the region of 45 years old. The old chap who last owned it kept it in a garage for the past 15 years before he died recently. I'm not sure precisely how old it is because it's too old to have an age-related number plate (that means it's pre-1963), and we don't have the registration certificate (or at least we couldn't find it among the huge pile of car restoration magazine cuttings and things that were stored in it). There is a DVLA form to fill in for this eventuality; I had to do the same thing when I bought my Land Rover and didn't get a registration certificate with it.

On the plus side, both the metal and wood parts of the bodywork are solid apart from one small section on the bottom of the rear crossmember. The engine and gearbox seem OK - it started very easily and doesn't appear to be burning oil; we couldn't take it off the drive, but we ran it in every gear with one of the back wheels jacked up. It comes with loads of spare parts, including four spare wheels and a roof-rack.

On the minus side, it's going to need a lot of little bits and pieces sorting out before I can MOT it (door handles, wiring, possibly the clutch), and the brakes need rebuilding. Longer term, it could do with a respray to make it look pretty again. On the surface, it looks worse than it actually is. My old Morris Minor appeared to be in better condition than this one at first glance, but it turned out to have some serious under-body rot; hence we checked very carefully to make sure this one doesn't have the same problem.

I paid £600 for it, which from my research appears to be about the right amount for the model and condition (age doesn't really come into it).

Update: I've found out from the chassis number that it's got a 1098cc engine (that's the larger of the two it could have had), it was made in mid-1963, and it's a Deluxe. I'm not sure what wonderful extras you got on the Deluxe model, but I suspect it was something along the lines of an extra ash tray and a cabin light...


It's one of those things where the amount of stuff to be carried always manages to expand to fill all available space + slightly more :) It's already full nearly to the roof with boxes of spare parts before I've even got it home.

"I'm sure it won't take long to fix it up" is something I said when I bought the Land Rover, which took seven years to complete in the end, but I mean it this time. I don't want to do another ground-up complete rebuild.

I've borrowed a car towing dolly from a friend, and we should be bringing it home tomorrow evening. I'll have to clear out the garage tonight as I don't want to leave it outside before I've treated the exposed woodwork (most of the old varnish has flaked off, but it's nice and dry and feels solid).

One of my cow-orkers wrote:
My Grandpa pulled my Grandma in one of them, they used to go parking up
the side of a hill!......Beware of retirement homes!

And I replied:
Yeah, these kids driving their Corsas with lowered suspension, knackered silencers, and fluorescent purple under-body lights have got the wrong idea. For a real babe magnet, you need a Morris Minor.
Well honestly, if a car is making too much noise it's obviously not making enough effort ...


I had a 62 in 1972

I have had morris minors for over 30 yrs. you can use deck & fence cleaner to bring the wood back before you re-varnish. In the photo it looked a little gray. Morris Minors have been the most dependable cars I have ever owned. With little maintenance they go for ever. My woody had over 200K on it with the original 948 motor and transmission in it when I sold it. I drove the car from Providence Rhode Island to Elpaso Texas three times as I was in the army then. She never left me stuck anywhere. These cars were for transportation and not for comfort. However you can do a lot with a little to bring them into the 21 century. I now have a 62 4 door that came from Newzealand and I have added a lot of comfort to it. I have put in an alternator, back up lights, a modern heater fan, front disc. brakes, electronic ignition and I will update the wipers soon. I'm still working on the car as I have other things to do around the house and I like to fish out in the Atlantic Ocean. So the little car has taken a back seat this summer. I have set some time asside this fall to finish the car before winter hits here on Cape Cod Massachusetts. You have a very nice little car and with a little extra effort you will have a great little car that will take you around with out leaving you stuck somewhere. Just remember to use some kind of modern electric grease on all connections, change the transmission, rear end grease, flush the engine (Make sure the engine block drain isn't plugged. Replace any bad wires and seal the spliced connections. I even put in a CD player with 4 speakers. There are a lot of spares available for these cars. I just got a transmission from the UK shipped to the States. There should be a lot of places on the internet for spares. If you need any help I have books that I have gathered over the past 30 yrs. plus I have been working on them that long. I used to have a restoration shop and restored, Morris Minors, Austin Bug eyed, Triumph, TR-3,4,6. MG TD,A's & early B's. If you have any questions let me know I will do my best to point you in the right direction...Enjoy your car...Matt...From Cape Cod......

Re: I had a 62 in 1972

I've been talking to a friend who is a professional furniture restorer about what to do with the wood, and what I think I'm going to do is sand the old varnish off, bleach with Oxalic Acid to get rid of the stains and restore the colour, then coat it with Danish Oil rather than varnish. The advantage of a wood oil is that although it needs topping up regularly, it never cracks or flakes like varnish.

Stage 1 is to get it through the MOT test so I can legally drive it on the road. I have it booked in for the test this Thursday.

Stage 2 is to sort out the woodwork and paintwork to a sufficient standard that I can leave it outside in the rain without it rotting away. I'm also going to fit an unleaded cylinder head, upgrade the headlights to halogens, replace the door seals and back window channels, finish building my new heater, and probably a few other bits and pieces.

After Stage 2 I'll be able to start using the car to commute to work, and it turns into a "rolling restoration" project. I'll be fitting an alternator, changing to negative earth, fitting a stereo, replacing the corroded chrome parts, fitting a carpet, etc. when I have the time and money to do so.