Spares to a daily.
From buying the Morris Minor to driving to the Northeast, a jump worthy of any postmodern film or book. When I studied creative writing 10 years ago, we were taught show don’t tell. Yet how did Mog and I go from oh my god to being able to do a round a trip of 1200 miles? Morris Minor Road Trip, Part One.
The simple answer would be with a lot of hard work and many breakdowns. Perhaps not the most descriptive or in depth blog post especially for one that is theoretically about cars. This post is a less detailed overview of experience Mog and I shared during those months.
After Getting The Morris Minor Home.
After towing Mog back behind Tug from Exeter I was allowed to borrow a driveway to work on her. 15 years before and 3 weeks after buying my Triumph Spitfire this was the same place I changed the gearbox. I said a week then and I did it. Again, I said a week and 6 days after I started welding Mog was solid enough to drive down. Buying a Morris Minor.
During that time, I didn’t just weld but also had to fit a new thermostat, water pump and a few other parts. But we made it, sadly the dynamo stopped working, but thankfully Jess had a spare so we swapped them over. If at that point I thought it was over, and it would be possible to enjoy the pleasure a new car how wrong was I?
Ignition Issues. Road Side Solutions.
I spent the day doing little jobs and just as it was getting to late evening was about 6 miles away from home Mog died. Her ignition switched fell apart. In fading light and with my phone battery low I had to find a solution. This was made far harder due to inexperience with Morris Minors. What would be easy a few months later was a struggle.
An older car needs fuel and ignition. If I could get those working there was still time for us to get back safely before it got dark. Thankfully the Morris Minor design came to my aid. The bulkhead has the fuel pump on the left, battery in the middle and coil on the right. Even with my lack of electrical knowledge it was a simple question of running a live feed to both the pump and coil. We made it back. The following day I made the repair a little more permanent. It held until last few miles of my return from the North.
The Muppet Factor.
Nigel popped down the following weekend. Quickly getting the indicators working and one or two other little issues. We then settled into a two-week cycle, something would break. I’d fix it then two weeks later something else would. https://youtu.be/VaRNZn4OYh4
The next major thing was down to my own muppet factor… With Sheldon from Classic Britain I showed how good the brakes were. In the Process breaking the engine mounts. Not only was this caught on film, but also it meant Mog had to get recovered. With no local specialist parts were ordered and the wait began, the combination of parcel farce 24 and Cornwall meaning that it could take up to 5 days for anything to arrive. The job itself not difficult. Repairing the radiator taking longer, as the steel fan had clipped the top.
Having repaired her and after a few days, she started to run badly and misfire whilst in Falmouth. Managing to make it back safely and after few days I took the cylinder head off. There was a crack between the combustion chambers of number 3 and 4. Once again Jess came to my aid. After upgrading his engine last year from a 948 to a 1275 he let me have his old engine for a good price. The swap was soon complete and Mog was running once again.
Lack Of Preparation, More Problems.
A simple job of changing the rear leaf springs became far harder to a combination of my lack of preparation and the parts supplier mixing nuts of the same diameter but different threads together. Again, once bitten, twice shy. This sums up those months, simple jobs often made far harder due to previous repairs, (bodges,) my lack of Morris Minor knowledge and the main parts suppliers being a long wait away with parcel farce.
I mentioned during the introduction of Morris Minor Road Trip Part One the axle was changed. The day before I was due to go to Liskeard and Bridgewater to pick up some spares. I decided to change the driver’s side oil seal. This was a mistake, after tapping the locking washer flat the nut holding the half shaft on was loose. Praying the threads were worn on the nut and not the axle casing, of course the casing was worn. I spoke with gent at Liskeard and he did have an axle for sale as well at a good price. A few days later I spot welded the nut to the casing. Something which I wish I’d thought of on the Saturday.
The axle change wasn’t easy, likewise the week after almost cutting my finger off the gearbox went. Mog’s mismatched combination of early and later parts meaning that was far harder than it should have been.
Reading through this there is an intentional dryness to the post. I’ve not written about my emotional experience of owning and driving a Morris Minor, an early one at that. Now that is real story and will be saved for another post.