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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

One man's Minor obsession became a lifetime achievement | Hagerty Media

Last November marked the 60th year of my involvement with a particular Morris Minor, serial number MAT3L839171, a Pearl Grey convertible that my late father purchased on an overseas delivery program. It was built on June 14, 1960, and two weeks later, my older sister, Jane, claimed it at Morris Garages Ltd.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/magazine-features/one-mans-minor-obsession-became-a-lifetime-achieveme...
16 REPLIES 16
CharlesME
New Driver

Hello Mr. Quilter,
I enjoyed your article and I wanted to say that my brother and I remember your Morris very well, as your father used to bring it to Bruce Wyman's Morris Service on 5th Avenue in Redwood City. We used to live near Bruce's shop and visit there all the time starting when we were kids in the early 1980s.. We always took notice of the neat Morris convertible that Bruce said belonged to an admiral who lived in Menlo Park. To this day, my brother still has a 1960 Morris saloon that he bought while in high school in the late 1980s. I am very glad to read that the car stayed in the same family all these years. We sort of have the same tradition in our family as we still have our mother's 1958 Chevrolet Impala convertible that she bought new in 1958 when she was 19. It is good to know--especially in a modern era that has become so disposable and transitory--that there are still some people who cherish the things they valued from their past and did their best to preserve them and keep them in the family. Best wishes to you.....Charles Morgan Evans
Jnick
Intermediate Driver

There are so few people left who understand that trading more frequent problems which are solvable via ingenuity rather than expensive closely machined parts or electronic what have you’s that cost an arm and a leg.
If the real mission is enjoying life then driving an old British car beats any high horsepower Bluetooth equipped modern marvel all the way around. And just remember if anyone gives you a hard time about using a 60 year old conveyance that still goes anywhere, no matter what they are driving challenge them to a race in 2050!!
Anantha
New Driver

I am an 68 year old citizen. Since my age of 16 years, I have been riding two wheelers and since 45 years driving cars. Earlier in my youth I was a watch repairer( mechanical) then during my unemployment period of 2 years I graduated to Two wheelers repairs. I had travelled extensively on my two/ four wheeler in all these years. I know intrinsic automotive details of mechanical aspects of my vehicles. Most of my vehicles maintenance is done by myself. Now, I own a VW Polo car and a scooter, Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycle. Even at the age of 67 year s, I am enthusiastic on latest developments and F1 racing.
Aquadave
Intermediate Driver

Great Story. thank you for sharing it with us.
We had an old Morris Minor when I was growing up. When I was 10 yrs old (I'm 63 now) I drove it around in our back yard. I did this much to the consternation of our neighbours. They were great little cars but I'm afraid I probably wouldn't be able to drive one now as I'm a whole lot taller than what I was at 10. Not sure I'd be able to get my lanky frame into one of those little British cars now.
I hope you get many more years of enjoyment with your "Baby".
Solosolo
Intermediate Driver

@Aquadave. No problem, I was 6ft 2in back in the sixties and I had no trouble either with sitting, or leg, room in my mates Minor. One thing I remember about a Minor is that it can do a 90 deg. turn at about 45 mph and it doesn't drift an inch even on cross-ply tyres! Sticks to the road like the proverbial to a blanket! Great little cars.
HankM
New Driver

My good friend of more than 50 years and the article's author, John Quilter, is about 6' 4".
Caroll
New Driver

I fully understand this love affair with a jewel of car history.
I feel the exact same as John with my 1987 VW Westfalia.
You don’t buy and maintain a classic you love, it’s more like an adoption and caring relationship.
One cannot just own a classic, you must deserve it for the attention and care you give to it.
cwcmaser_3500
Pit Crew

A very classy automobile !
Mark_AJ2X
Intermediate Driver

Back in college, 50 years ago, I convinced a fraternity brother whose clapped-out '59 Plymouth had failed him, that a '60 Morris Minor sedan we saw in the newspaper want ads would be the right car for him for his daily commute and occasional 60-mile trips to visit his girlfriend. The purchase price was low enough, and all of us car-crazy (maybe just crazy) guys assured him that if he didn't drive it over 50 mph it'd get him through the next 18 months to graduation. He bought the British Racing Green sedan, which his girlfriend dubbed "the Pickle"), and following our advice drove it like a little old lady through graduation. We did group work on the car when necessary - the weekend we spent replacing the master cylinder was the dirtiest and hottest of my life up to then. (The previous owner had replaced the clutch and brake pivot shaft nuts with welds, so we had to winkle the master cylinder from its VERY snug home in the frame rail an eighth of a turn at a time on the mounting and brake line nuts.) Golly, that was a lot of fun!
Smasher
Pit Crew

Hand crank starter?
JohnQuilter
New Driver

Yes, definitely.

ThumperUSMC
Intermediate Driver

I have always liked the Morris Minor, since I was a little kid, back in the 50's. Rarely saw one on the road and I have to say, most of the ones I saw in the 60's had all been modified and made into "gassers". Liked them even more that way. IF I were to find one today, I would prefer to see and or own one such as yours. I still love the drag cars, don't get me wrong, but one that is whole as yours would be a great find, today. I would like to thank you for having one such as that. The first car I ever owned that I bought new, was and is, a 1980 Corvette. I had owned many cars before that, mostly the tri-years Chevrolets, although for many years, I owned my mothers 1954 Convertible, which I wish I still owned. My Corvette now belongs to my daughter, who has been in love with that car all her life, and is in fact, the first passenger to ride in it, as she went to St. Louis with me and rode back from there to Seattle in it. She and I have many years in that car, and she has lovingly maintained it since she has had it. Thanks again for that great story and the pictures of a great car that you have.
gster
Pit Crew

There used to be a program in the late 60's where you could fly to England, pick up your new motorbike, travel around for a bit and then have it shipped home. The price was equal to or lower than buying one in the U.S.
RallyeRalph
Intermediate Driver

Charming article that brought back many memories. Thank you. Congratulations for retiring and keeping your sanity after a career as a warranty manager for some of the the most warranty intensive vehicles in history. But then, British Leyland's warranties were Egyptian style- "denial, denial"., Having eaten and slept British cars since 1951, my experience is they would say there was no WWII-. the French made that up! I could write an extensive article about B-L service.. Land Rover? No comment, but the old joke about Ford Premier Division's two happiest days: buying Jaguar/Land Rover and selling Jaguar/Land Rover. And there is a great joke extant about that sale as well.
The Morris Minor (my father was a BMC dealer) was underappreciated. Rudolph Leiding, the head of VW when the Beetle was at the height of popularity, was quoted that immediately after the War the Allies helped VW get back on its feet and at that time VW's greatest concern was the Minor. Leiding himself said at that time the Minor was a better car and if the British had only focused on quality control and follow-up service, British Motor Corporation would be on top instead of VW. Early Minors cornered and stopped much better tham early Beetles. Neither was very quick (0-60? You get Social Security when you get to sixty).
Of course, there then were large problems in Britain with labour and rationing.
I always wanted a Morris Minor Traveler woodie or, even better, a Minor pickup.
I would put twin exhausts up the back of the cab, mudflaps, and a sticker on the back like a real trucker that said, " Last year this truck paid $8.57 in gas taxes" .
Jay
Pit Crew

What a marvelous story! I inherited some cars from my parents, but A) they were all Studebakers and B) they were rusted to death (we lived in Connecticut, not California). The first was a '53 Lowey coupe - a cool car, but with terminal rust.

At the end of his story, John Quilter wrote: "So whither go this Morris, now that I enter the final quarter of my life? This car outlived my father, and I suspect it may outlive me. And when I finally come to the end of the road, will there be spare parts to keep it in pristine condition? Will there be technicians with the skills to carry out periodic maintenance and repairs? Most importantly, will there be a steward to drive it with care?" This is a hard question that all older enthusiasts ponder. Clearly the Morris' next steward will not be driving it in traffic with the F150's and crazed soccer moms. But someone will cherish it, using it for special events such as shows and club tours.
MJTVT
New Driver

Delightful story! Interesting comparison with VW -- my father offered us children (my sister, 11, and me, 😎 a choice between a VW convertible and a Minor convertible in 1955. We chose the Morris, which was our main car for the next 10 years, including 14 hour trips up to Western Scotland from Essex. It cruised at 50 with its 803 cc ohv engine, but had enough torque to start in 2nd, which we did on level ground because 1st was so low (I think it was higher on the 1000). I learned to drive in it, on an old aerodrome at the age of 14. I remember adjusting the trafficators (turn signals) so they wouldn't foul the bodywork (and maybe short out) as they emerged from the sides; and figuring out how to start it on a cold winter morning without using the crank -- I pulled the starter knob with the ignition off, then dropped it and turned on the ignition to get the full power of 6 volts to the coil! Part of the good hadling was due to the fact that it was designed by Alec Issigonis of Mini fame. Wonderful that you have kept it running, and beautiful, all these years!