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Happy days are here again



Ben

‘I thought you said you wanted a leaf green Porsche?’ said my brother Tim.  ‘I thought you wanted a Porsche’ emailed my friend Paul when I told him. Yup—in a sense. But what I really really wanted was a Morris 1000.

Years ago, when I worked in Norfolk for my then boss and now great friend Charles, he and his wife Rachel bought a little blue Morris Minor which became, sort of by default, my company car. A little eccentric to be sure, but on visits from the Norfolk coast to north-west Essex, ‘Deb’, as she was known, took me on my charmed and happy way. Ever since then I’ve looked back fondly to my Morris Minor years.

A few weeks ago, my friend Chris spotted a tiny photograph of a smoke grey Morris Minor coming up in the local auction.  He emailed me the advertisement. ‘Didn’t you say your garage would never be complete without a Moggy?’, he said. Well… he was right. And I have to admit, I couldn’t forget that ad.  Every few days, I would find myself clicking on it, just for a quick look.  This is the moment to share with the world the wonderful world of Jeffs Auctions, and their splendid website. Finally, I called Mr Jeffs of Dorchester to enquire about the car.  “I’m so sorry – it’s been withdrawn from the sale”, he said “but I will certainly pass your details onto the owner”.

True to his word, a few days later I got a call from a gentle man in Maiden Newton, a few miles up the road.  Incredibly sadly, he was losing his sight from diabetes, had had to give up driving, and it was time for him to pass his cars on to new homes.  It is at times like this that one appreciates the existence of the local bus service – neither he nor his wife can now drive.

As it happened, it turns out I was the first to have called—so he said that he wanted me to be the first to come and have a look. Now I know that there will be some of you who think this is a bit too much of a good way to sell a car with the sympathy vote. Dear reader, one can instantly judge the reality or not of these situations and I’m afraid I wouldn’t have written that little story if it wasn’t true.

I brought my friend David from the village, who knows as much about cars as I do about early 18th century houses—that is to say, a fair amount. I don’t think he knows very much about 18th century houses, and I don’t know much about cars. Except that I can appreciate a Morris Minor in smoke grey with a fine polish and red leather seats.

The car had the all clear; ‘a very honest little car’ was the verdict. Not perfect—but then, perfection is an attribute that you do not seek in a Morris Minor that you want to run about the Dorset lanes in.

A little while later, the deal was done and we shook hands. It took a few days to arrange insurance, and get the tax disc, and collect the car, which I did on Friday morning. In the meantime there had been the small question of making the garage at the Old Parsonage a little bit longer – it turned out to be an inch or two too short for the car.  But it all fits now. Last time I drove a Morris Minor, I was fifteen years younger. I’m not sure I’ve been so happy in a while.

40 comments on this post

  • LL

    A leaf green Porsche? I hope you meant that beautiful bright green color Porsche produced in the late 60’s or early 70’s. A beautiful color for an amazing car. While an old Porsche would be wonderful, an old Moggy with a red leather interior isn’t bad either. I am sure the owner was happy to see it go to such a lovely home as yours. Enjoy!


  • Millerball

    What a fab find. I totally get the Moggy luv-a-fair. I had one when I lived in England and had lots of hair raising adventures around the Somerset lanes, things weren’t quite so health and safety conscious at that time as they are nowadays.


  • Malcolm Pym

    Love the car lots. Cars were built and finished-off so well in days past. I have always wanted a 1976 Citroen DS, but unfortunately, they are very expensive now. So congratulations on your new car with classic style.


  • Mike

    Splendid news! A match made in heaven,it was meant to be.


  • Pamela La Crosse

    My introduction to a Morris Minor was sixty years ago living in Massachusetts as a teenager. My Dad was smitten as was my mother, brother and myself.
    The unforgettable experiences we all enjoyed in our black two door “famiily” car were fond topics of numerous conversations and chuckles galore. No car has ever displayed such a charming personality.


  • Kim

    How could anyone have resisted such a lovely car?!!! Enjoy!!!


  • Helen Young

    A dear friend had a very similar experience with an old, elegant Citroen that had sat under a tarp in a garage of someone quite elderly that couldn’t bear to part with it to just anyone. He luckily appeared to be the rightful new owner to this elderly relative of a mutual friend and “Voila” had a glorious car that became his project for many years to come. It too was far from perfect and ended up as a bit of an ongoing to challenge, but it was very beautiful when all was going well.


  • Susan Pulley

    Wow what a lovely car-I am very envious. I hope you have many happy adventures in her.


  • Annelies Janssen

    Hi Ben, i understanding you are still very happy with the Morris. We have a Triumph Vitesse convertible, also an icon, designed by Michelotti. Singel when do you process this car cause I remembered you driving a green one?


  • Patricia Taylor

    I too enjoyed my Morris 1000 many years ago until the floor dropped out with rust !!!! I then went on to buy a pristine 2CV secondhand from an elderly gentleman who could no longer drive who had tears in his eyes when I drove away with it. So identified with your latest posting Ben P. Thank you.


  • Maisie

    I remember the original vehicle!!! How amazing to be able to bring the dream up to date. Well done, Ben!


  • Jean McAllister

    So delighted that you have this ‘friend’ in your life.
    It so suits you and your charming home. Thanks for sharing this warming tale.


  • Jan Belcher

    Hello,
    How great to see this car. My father in law had one, it was such great fun. A very solid little car, it never rusted and was well made.


  • Liz Ardolino

    Hello Ben,
    I now live in Connecticut and love your beautiful narratives about English life.
    And the Morris!!! My first car was an ancient 1936 red Morris 8 … a lovely and faithful jalopy I drove during my student hood in Bristol.
    Enjoy your Morris Minor…. still as shapely as ever!
    Liz Ardolino
    (residing now in Madison, CT)


  • Kath Maire

    Wowsers, how cool is that Morrie ❤️


  • Darlene Chandler

    That is a beautiful story. I just love the car and so happy you were able to purchase it from that nice couple. I am sure they are very pleased that you are the purchaser and will take care of it, just as they did. Enjoy your outings in your car. Too bad about the fit in the garage. Happy days of driving and memories of your past on the Morris Minor and so nice it was for sale just up the rode.


  • Susan A Steele

    Hi Ben
    What a lovely story thanks for sharing. I must say you are not the only one that has longed for a Morris Minor, I am a little bits envious of you, she looks so beautiful.
    May you have many happy days cruising in her.
    Susie


  • erik sexton

    congratulations .


  • Dorothy Louise DOTTI Bryant

    I want one!


  • Bonnie Randall

    I too love Morris Minors!
    They are a rare sight over here in America!
    How great to see yours and dream on!!!


  • Sally Leonard

    Ben! I know you’re thrilled to realize your dream after all these years. Wonderful when good things happen for good people. I can picture you and Charlie happily driving your treasure on your many adventures. Happy travels!


  • Reggie Darling

    Heaven on wheels! Bravo!


  • Tara Dillard

    CONGRATULATIONS !!!

    Your Morris Minor, and HAPPINESS.

    Dad, 5 decades ago, bought a white 2-door Morris Minor, red leather interior, when I was a teenager. We lived on Galveston Bay. A former Air Force test pilot, and NASA engineer, he joined the Morris Minor Club. Thick catalogues arrived at the house, listing parts for sale.

    He got his Morris running, then got his Morris beautified. Drove it to work, across the street to NASA, for over a decade.

    Dad decided it was time to get a hurricane evacuation vehicle, and pass his Morris forward. He loved his Morris so deeply, he knew he could never sell it for MONEY. A fellow worker at NASA had a son about to enter medical college. Dad chose this young man, he was not looking for a car. Dad made the proposal first to his father. Then the son.

    Our little family gathered in the front yard, Dad had his Morris in the driveway, cleaned to PERFECTION. Morris Minor Club catalogs in the trunk. Awaiting father/son arrival, to permanently drive away in our beloved Morris.

    Will always remember seeing our Morris Minor drive out of site, with the best new owner dad could find.

    Have a taste for your joy in life conspiring, and succeeding, in putting a Morris in your garage, again.

    Dad did not want his Morris to go to his own children, girls who never learned to drive a stick shift. Not safe for us, he said. We knew the truth, he wanted better for his Morris.


  • Karen B.

    As a California girl, where cars are clogging the roads I drive every day, I have always been fascinated by old, well-preserved cars. A Morris Minor is one of the most charming cars I’ve ever seen. Good for you. You will take good care of this car and enjoy driving it. Congratulations.
    xo,
    Karen


  • Lesly Daly

    She’s beautiful, curvy, chic and totally stylish – and Porsches are very overrated in my opinion :)


  • Meg Fielding

    We grew up (in America) with a left-hand drive Morris Oxford that my father had specially made. I remember going down to the port to watch it come off the ship. He had that car for decades, until it became impossible to find parts. It was cream with a red leather interior. Took us on many summer trips from Maryland to Vermont. This was in the 1960’s.


  • olivia temple

    What a find! I am about to sell my beloved Morris Traveller (1971) – aubergine purple – which I have loved deeply over the years. I hope to find an enthusiastic person who loves the Morris as much as you do.


  • Georgi

    Lovely sweet story, as well as lovely sweet car!


  • Frances Elmore

    So lovely. I’ve always wanted a Morris. A co-worker had one when I worked at my first job. That was 1962. The closest I could afford later on was a Volkswagen. Enjoy.


  • John Oakley Higgins

    Such a sweet car! I’m looking for my grandparents 1937 Packard. I can fully appreciate your enthusiasm about this car, and I look forward to being as enthusiastic when I find the car I’m looking for. All the best fun driving that gem!


  • Deborah Wagner

    Lovely to hear from you, Ben. Yes, happy days. We have had both jabs, so upward and onward.

    I don’t envy you that car, mainly because I don’t have the jealous gene but also because it’s so lovely to see someone finally getting something they have longed for for simply ages. It is really gorgeous, and if Pete and I ever take the plunge and move to Cornwall, I shall want one. Oh, that colour!


  • Celia

    Enjoy!!


  • Luke Hughes

    Of course, Morris Major was a founder member of the AWG. Very appropriate,


  • Amanda

    Happy days! Enjoy whizzing along country lanes in her. X


  • Luke HugheS

    What you may not know, Ben, is that I paid for my way through Legal Studies in Bristol by working on the woodwork of decrepit Morris Travellers – an excellent training for a future furniture maker… (photos to share)! I had no idea you were a fellow closet Soggy-Moggy!


  • Bridgit James

    I loved reading about your new car. I learnt to drive in a Morris Minor, more years ago than I care to count! And, yours looks to be in lovely condition. I hope you have many happy times driving it.


  • Odl Bauer

    hoooooo! it’s simply a happy little car………. and will continue to be happy now that you own it, cher ben!


  • Amanda Austin Interiors

    I Love that car, good choice, even though a green porsche is wonderful too ; )


  • Kathryn Titley

    Adorable – I well remember the wonderful smell. Red leather…. Wobbly gear stick, I can hear it too!


  • Joanne

    Good for you!!! I used to think I wanted an Austin Healey. Then I got older. Now I’d never get in and out of one. Do those things now!

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