Buying a Morris Minor.

Quick Recap

My friend Jess and I found ourselves at the edge of Exeter looking at a Morris Minor 2dr saloon. A few days before I had been looking at classified adds on Gumtree…Classified Classic Car Hunting

Running? 

 With a battery attached the engine was coaxed into running for a few seconds. Whilst I might not know much about Morris Minors, I do about the A series engine and this one was sweet sounding.  Assessing a Car

Dashboard & General Condition
After wrestling  a seat into the empty cabin, I sat behind the wheel, the dash being very different to the later ones. The iconic central Morris Minor Speedo not only stylish but also very practical as it allowed both right hand and left drive vehicles to be made much cheaper.  

Yet here was a dash that looked much less 1950’s and more 1940’s. Cream painted tin, chrome, and bakerlite with Banjo 3 spoke steering wheel… The lighter  panels offset  by the rich blue of an earlier window out respray.  

 All the tyres would need replacing and to be honest the amount of welding needed scared me silly. Yet…  Welding One Small Patch?

Jess and I went back for a little chat beside Bel, my MX 5. He said it was bad, but it could be far worse. The expense being the body on a Morris Minor as the rest is fairly cheap.  Yet the engine was good and we gambled on the transmission. He went on to say, Morris Minors seem to have either good oily bits and poor bodies or the other way round…  

From the floors up she was solid.  

https://youtu.be/q9WvF7gD_3M

https://youtu.be/_5qK4wW33Mk

Negotiating a price.  

As Jess looked over the Moggie again I sat down with the seller. 
 

We have all watched those shows where people rip the seller off and flip the car for a big profit. Others have described them as sharks with smiles… 
I’m not like that, but when I do low ball, I’ve learnt that if we are getting on it is much easier. 
After telling the seller that I was going to the mickey and that he wasn’t going to get upset. He wasn’t, told me up the price by £100 and knowing he was being a gent, we didn’t shake hands, but I gave him a £200 deposit… I knew it that he had come down a long way and I wasn’t going to insult him any further.  MX5 Goodbye.

After visiting a nearby supermarket, taking the rest of the money out I paid the seller.  Arranging to pick the car up soon, Jess and I left to see a friend locally for a socially distanced coffee before heading back down the A30 to Cornwall roof down… 
I’d bought a Morris Minor, and early one, but what had I actually bought? 

Classified Classic Car Hunting

Classified Hunting. 

Late night classified add looking is never a good thing. 
Hunting that bargain, odd wording, fuzzy pictures or lack whereof spark the interest.  

Requirements

As I’ve already mentioned, the car to replace Bel would have to be an historic one, tax and mot free with cheap insurance. Also, the parts would have to be plentiful and cheap.  That immediately discounts anything with a VW badge, as yes there lots about but you pay a premium. http://www.classicaraddict.com/mx5-goodbye/
 

My requirements meant an older British car, ideally an MG MGB GT, but they are little expensive. To be honest I’m horrified how much once cheap cars are now worth, Ford Capris as an example, a few years ago bangers now anything is worth thousands. After this shock I found myself looking at adds and this is when living in Cornwall is an issue, for many Bristol is the far southwest, Exeter might as well be France  and Cornwall Outer Mongolia. Combined with the amount of salt in the air here, especially near the North Coast we have to travel.  18 months ago I found a MK1 Toyota Rave 4 Auto for a friend at Honiton and felt I’d got away lightly.  Finding a Unicorn Car for a Friend.

 What To Look For In An Add.  

After looking on Facebook Market Place and eBay I tried Gumtree. Lots of  adds full of clear pictures and well written and with each one my heart sank a little lower. Then one stood out, a single fuzzy picture not too far away by our standards as only 100 miles, well 96 away. After getting used to how gumtree works I contacted the seller and asked if we could have a look at the weekend. It would have to be Sunday as I was towing a car back from Plymouth for a friend on the Saturday.  https://www.gumtree.com/

Initial Contact With The Seller.

We agreed a time, this was Thursday evening, on Saturday I confirmed that we would be aiming to be there at midday and if we came to an agreement £200 pounds would be a suitable deposit.  Just before we left on Sunday morning in Bel my soon to be sold MX5 I messaged to let the seller know we were on our way. 

Arriving / Initial  Impressions.  

Aiming for midday I rang 2 minutes passed to let him know we were outside. As he opened the gate, the seller said, “the price is not fixed.” Not the thing to say to a buyer…  The seller is a true gent and to see his lifetime collection of pushbikes, cars, and paraphernal was amazing.  He showed us his much loved 1925 Citroen Cloverleaf  looking just like Brum the children television series and not that much bigger.   

Three generations of petrolheads together all sharing the same passion. The seller, myself and my mate Jess in his early 20’s. Those who know Jess would have guessed the car now. For those who don’t, Jess has two cars on the road, one 1956 2dr  rat rod and the other a very original 1966  4dr and this was the reason he was with me.  Both Jess’s cars are Morris Minors and the car  was a one, except it was a little rarer than many.   http://www.classicaraddict.com/importance-of-gut-instinct/ 

A Morris Minor, But what Type? 

I’d found a 1952 split screen 2dr Minor, listed as a series two and needing a lot of work. She had been stood standing for over 10 years the seller having rescued it from a possible destruction a few years back.  Yet not having the welding skills, he never managed to get her on the road. With the arrival of the Citroen it was time to let her go. 
To be honest my first impression was oh bugger as the interior was stripped out and clearly both sills and lot more needed doing. Yet as Jess clambered all over her, and we managed to make her fire up she spoke to me. Running enough to let me know she wanted to live.   http://www.classicaraddict.com/33/

This is the first of a whole series of posts, and yes there is little hint there…

MX5 Goodbye.

 

Lock down… What a few months.  

The world seemed to  go into what I’d been dealing with from mid January. When I write this, I mean the social isolation and dealing with unknowns.  Thankfully, the nature of my work meant that I was allowed to travel for it. Working outdoors with my own tools for once had a few advantages.  

With the operation to my knee being far larger than expected the recovery was equally longer. 2 1/2 month after my knee brace coming off is my leg beginning to feel a lot better. 

So … Apart from going back to work what have I been up too…? 

After looking for a long time for a cheap longboard type paddleboard I found a bargain, less than 2 miles away. This being well within allowed travelling distance during the initial stage of lockdown. I will admit to low balling on an offer, what was already a bargain became a steal. The board, oh, it is an older Drops Spirit. Made and sold around 2009. The board is a classic longboard type shape, a little narrower than many later boards at 28 inches wide and fairly long at 10’11.  https://www.supgower.com/2009/11/drops-paddleboards/

I’ve been using my other boards to surf, like the lovely Fanatic Ray 11ft wd that I bought from Julie, my bothers wife. https://standuppaddlemag.co.uk/2015/06/05/recreationally-versatile-fanatic-ray-pure-11ft/Yet for a long time I’ve wanted a more authentic and manoeuvrable  sup surfing experience. After getting this board it fulfils 95% of my paddleboarding requirements with one board. Nice to paddle on the river, on a calm sea, yet in smaller surf, after getting used to it, simply amazing. I even did an accidental 180 when paddling out on my knees the other week.  The board started going backwards and then did a 180 degree turn, I stayed on. Opinion is divided if I can call this as my first. 
I’m sliming down my quiver to 4 boards, and one of those is only staying because one day I might be good enough to use it and I have the magazine which my brother wrote and article with  photos of him using it.

Early in the lockdown  lots people started posting lots of top ten lists, me being me, albums, films, etc… No, so I did my top ten cars. Yes, I’ve done that before on here I know… My favourite being Bel, with a very close second the Triumph Spitfire. Yet, Bel is an expensive car to keep. So sadly, is time to time to let her go. Soon she will have a fresh MOT and now is the right time to sell. Hopefully another person will enjoy her as much as I have.   http://www.classicaraddict.com/my-top-5-cars-ish/

 

 Bel costs me, even on a limited mileage policy £240 a year, and road tax is £275, mot £45. That is £560 pounds a year before she turns a wheel. A lot of money when you have none. If she was my daily driver and could carry a hard paddleboard there would be no question. She would stay, but time to let her go…  

Bel will be replaced, with a tax and MOT free car, or what DVLA call an historic vehicle.  Here in Cornwall, there a lot of these running about as daily drivers. Some young people appreciate the lower costs, yet, without an annual road safety check, I can but wonder how safe a lot are. Older cars require  a methodical approach to  maintenance  . Like for example a printing press it takes time to learn what but once you have it becomes more a question of noticing what is wrong, rather than right. 

I’m pretty fussy about the structural  and mechanical aspects of my vehicles, and far less so on appearance. Whatever she is replaced with, will still have a check over at least once a year by my trusted garage. That second set of experienced eyes worth so much.  

Having mentioned to the last owner of Bel that she would soon  be up for sale, I’ve been gently hassled since. With her booked in for an MOT next week she soon might be gone.  Bel has been my favourite car I’ve ever owned, like the close run second, the much missed Triumph Spitfire 1500, she wasn’t super fast, yet could cover ground like nothing else. 
Sadly, the combination of running costs and being unable to carry ridged paddleboard means she has to go.   

 

As I’m writing a friend has sold her little motorcycle, we are both grieving for lumps of steel, alloy rubber and plastic that have touched our souls.