MOVES LIKE A MINI

Kevin Webb wanted a Ma­roon B painted MiniMi­nor in hon­our of one owned by his dad. The re­sult is this stun­ning, re­stored, ex­am­ple.

Mini Magazine - - Contents - Words Mar­tyn Collins Pho­tog­ra­phy Matt Richard­son

Re­stored in homage to his dad’s 1960s ex­am­ple, Kevin Webb’s Ma­roon B MiniMi­nor is an award-win­ning stun­ner.

Most fea­ture own­ers blame a first ride in their par­ents’ Mini for their in­ter­est. This isn’t quite the same for Kevin Webb, owner of the beau­ti­ful Ma­roon B Mor­ris MiniMi­nor that we have here. In­stead, his in­ter­est started with the car’s big brother, the Austin 1100. “Just be­fore I was born, my dad bought a nearly new one that had been rolled and writ­ten off. He bought a new shell (easy to pur­chase in 1971!) and trans­ferred all the com­po­nents from the wreck to the new shell. My mum took me and my brother to and from pri­mary school in that car for years and I will al­ways re­mem­ber the smell of BMC vinyl trim as a re­sult!”

The Clas­sic Mini in­flu­ence car­ried on later, as Kevin re­mem­bers rare Minis on a cou­ple of fam­ily hol­i­days in Malta in

the late ’70s. “I re­mem­ber dad point­ing out In­no­centi Coop­ers that were buzzing around the is­land - there was some­thing about the shape that cap­tured my imag­i­na­tion. This was re­in­forced when I came across my dad’s colour slide col­lec­tion when I was about 15. There were pho­tos of his Austin 1100 shell swap, and of a Ma­roon B Mor­ris Mini-Mi­nor De Luxe.” This was an­other that Kevin’s dad (Don Webb) had re­stored be­fore the Austin 1100, and see­ing those slides for the first time set Kevin on his Mini mis­sion!

The story of that Ma­roon Mini, which led to this one, was that in the late 1960s, Don was the As­sis­tant Body Shop Man­ager at Au­to­body Re­pairs, the body shop for D Rowe & Com­pany, a Ford Dealer in Chich­ester. In 1968, a Ma­roon B Mini-Mi­nor De Luxe came in as a to­tal loss. Don ended up buy­ing the sal­vage and set about re­build­ing it for the road. “He sorted the me­chan­i­cals, whilst one of his work mates did the weld­ing and an­other painted it. Dad was par­tic­u­larly pleased with the dou­ble-waisted coach­line his mate hand-painted un­der the win­dow. That be­came a pop­u­lar op­tion on Minis in later years, but just as a sticker, not painted on like it was on dad’s,” he ex­plains. Don sold the car three-years later, just be­fore Kevin was born, and sadly Kevin has not been able to find any sign the car has sur­vived.

“The price of the car new was £574, five shillings and one penny”

A TASTE OF OWN­ER­SHIP

De­spite learn­ing to drive in his mum’s MkI Ford Fi­esta, and his dad in­sist­ing that an­other Fi­esta would be a bet­ter bet as his first car, Kevin’s heart was set on a Mini of his own. “Sure enough, once I’d left uni­ver­sity, dad found a three-year-old Mini 30 on a Rover deal­er­ship fore­court and I spent an en­joy­able three-years trundling around in it, be­fore the of­fer of a com­pany car led to its sale,” Kevin says.

Even once the 30 went, Kevin’s in­ter­est in Minis didn’t waiver. Although all thoughts of own­ing an­other (never mind a MkI like his dad had owned) had faded into the dis­tance. That was un­til Fe­bru­ary 2016, when Kevin vis­ited a clas­sic car deal­er­ship as he and his other half, He­len, were in­ter­ested in find­ing a Ma­roon B Mor­ris Mini-Mi­nor De Luxe, built be­fore 1966, so they could park it in the GRCC park­ing area on the La­vant Straight at the Good­wood Re­vival.

“Af­ter a mo­ment’s thought, the dealer said his dad had one just like that in his garage! I went to see it the next day and sure enough, it was the mir­ror im­age of dad’s old Mini,” ex­plains Kevin.

So this Mini ended com­ing up home – on a scary, wet, dark trip, with nei­ther Kevin nor He­len know­ing how to turn on the wind­screen wipers, head­lights or indicators! Oh, and the wind­screen wiper worked its way loose and fell off as well!

Built on 8 De­cem­ber 1965 and first reg­is­tered in Le­ices­ter on 1 Jan­uary 1966, amaz­ingly Kevin has the car’s orig­i­nal bill of sale, which shows that it was sold new by The Stoney­gate Garage Com­pany to a Mrs Kath­leen Mary Scrimshaw of Oadby, Le­ices­ter­shire. “The price of the car new was £574, five shillings and

“The paint­work was a quick blow-over job, cov­ered in mi­cro blis­ters”

one penny. Ac­cord­ing to the Bank of Eng­land’s in­fla­tion cal­cu­la­tor, that is equiv­a­lent to £9,646 at 2016 prices,” Kevin re­veals.

The orig­i­nal bill of sale also shows that op­tions fit­ted from new were: front seat belts, two wing mir­rors, un­der seal­ing, a park­ing light and two in­te­rior door han­dles (re­plac­ing the stan­dard cable type door re­leases). “When any­one tells me at a show that the car should have door ca­bles, I po­litely point them to­wards the copy of the bill of sale that I al­ways carry in the car. Also, dad changed his to door han­dles so I feel com­pletely jus­ti­fied in re­tain­ing this mi­nor mod­i­fi­ca­tion,” smiles Kevin.

FUT383D cov­ered just over 60,000 miles in its first 50 years and only about 600 miles be­tween 2010 and 2016. It re­mained the prop­erty of its first owner for 34 years be­fore be­ing passed on to her son in 2000. Then lat­terly has gone through the hands of sev­eral mo­tor traders with Kevin be­com­ing its fifth owner. “It is a ‘match­ing num­bers’ car, mean­ing that it still re­tains its orig­i­nal body shell and en­gine,” Kevin says.

FUN ON THE ROAD

Kevin and He­len then had some fun tak­ing ‘Mor­ris’, as they had named him, to a few shows that year, but it was clear that it was go­ing to take a lot of work to keep him road­wor­thy in the long-term. “The paint­work was a quick blow-over job, cov­ered in mi­cro blis­ters," says Kevin. “There were also many omi­nous rust bub­bles try­ing to force their way through the body­work. It was clear that with­out in­ter­ven­tion Mor­ris would not be road­wor­thy for too much longer.”

Even though Kevin’s dad had re­built three writ­ten-off cars in his time, Kevin was bet­ter qual­i­fied as a trom­bon­ist, rather than a me­chanic. There­fore, he needed to find some­where that could do jus­tice to Mor­ris. In the end, he en­trusted him to the ca­pa­ble hands of Somer­ford Mini, in Calne, Wilt­shire, just over 150 miles from home.

A date was set, and in mid-De­cem­ber 2016, Kevin headed to Somer­ford. “Mor­ris had de­vel­oped some en­gine is­sues by this time and I was lucky to get there with­out break­ing down,” grins Kevin. In fact, when Somer­ford went to move Mor­ris into the work­shop later that day, he wouldn’t fire up! That would be the last time the en­gine ran un­til the restora­tion was al­most com­plete.

Somer­ford as­signed the re­build to John, one of their most ex­pe­ri­enced re­stor­ers, with the aim of re­turn­ing Mor­ris to near show­room con­di­tion — whilst re­tain­ing as much of the orig­i­nal struc­ture and fit­tings as pos­si­ble. Some MkI pan­els are no longer avail­able, so it was nec­es­sary to use re­place­ment pan­els de­signed for later Minis in this sit­u­a­tion. These were welded and/or drilled as nec­es­sary to make them suit­able for a MkI restora­tion.

Plus, soon af­ter John stripped the car down, on top of the ex­pected rusted-out rear sub­frame, the front one turned out to be scrap as well. “Not due to rust, be­cause as is tra­di­tional, it had a fine coat­ing of en­gine oil on it, but be­cause it was bent!” So, it turned out Mor­ris had been dam­aged in a shunt some years ago and poorly re­paired!

The list of re­place­ment pan­els was ex­ten­sive and in­cluded a com­plete floor­pan, boot floor, rear wheel arches, rear quar­ter pan­els, door skins and lower part of the door frames and a com­plete front end in­clud­ing A-pan­els, but ex­clud­ing the front bulk­head.

In­side, the orig­i­nal seat frames, vinyl fab­ric and door­cards have been re­tained, but the head­lin­ing and car­pet have been re­placed with mod­ern re­pro­duc­tions.

That orig­i­nal 848cc en­gine was also con­verted to run on un­leaded petrol. Plus, elec­tronic ig­ni­tion and an al­ter­na­tor were fit­ted, but in such a way that they didn’t in­ter­fere with the orig­i­nal look

of this Mini. A lam­i­nated wind­screen (an op­tion avail­able in pe­riod) was also fit­ted.

The more sup­ple hy­dro­las­tic sus­pen­sion was a ma­jor sell­ing point of these cars when new and Kevin’s dad had spo­ken en­thu­si­as­ti­cally about the hy­dro­las­tic sus­pen­sion of his old Mini. So Kevin de­cided that this Mini’s hy­dro­las­tic com­po­nents should be re­fur­bished, rather than hav­ing them con­verted to the later ‘ dry’ setup.

The whole restora­tion took six months, with Kevin and He­len mak­ing the 300mile drive ev­ery three weeks or so, to see how Somer­ford was get­ting on. “To be­gin with, there seemed to be less and less car to see as John re­moved the rusty pan­els, but he was al­ways adamant that it was not the worst he had seen! In fact, when he had re­moved all the paint from the roof, bon­net and bootlid they were rust-free. Mor­ris had clearly been garaged all his life but had been driven in all weath­ers and ex­posed to win­ter road salt. Hence the rusty patch­work quilt of an un­der­side,” ex­plains Kevin.

COM­ING HOME

In June 2017 Mor­ris was fi­nally ready to come home! On the hot jour­ney back to Es­sex, there only ap­peared to be one ‘ fault’ - the heater was stuck full on, even though it had not worked at all pre­restora­tion! How­ever, sev­eral weeks later Kevin fi­nally got around to read­ing the owner’s man­ual he’d had bought on eBay, and it turns out that in or­der to switch the heater off you needed to pull the con­trol fully out!

Mor­ris is a high-day-and-hol­i­day car now and only comes out to play from mid-March to Oc­to­ber on dry days. He goes to lo­cal shows and vil­lage fetes and the only lengthy jour­ney un­der­taken was this year’s Lon­don to Brighton Mini Run and will be the forth­com­ing Good­wood Re­vival.

Talk­ing of this year’s Lon­don to Brighton Mini Run, Kevin’s first since 1994 and with Mor­ris, they de­cided not to en­ter the show ’n’ shine, as they just wanted to en­joy them­selves, with­out the bother of try­ing to keep Mor­ris squeaky clean all day. So, it was a com­plete sur­prise when Kevin’s phone rang... “We were re­lax­ing in a nearby café to­wards the end of the af­ter­noon. The call was the or­gan­iser of the run, want­ing to know if we were still on site as Mor­ris had won Best in Show! We hadn’t re­alised that all Minis on the run were el­i­gi­ble for it! ‘Gob­s­macked’ was the word that sprung to mind!” So they raced back to the Lon­don and Sur­rey stand, just in time to be pre­sented with the tro­phy by TV’s Edd China. What a mem­o­rable day — well done Mor­ris!

As Kevin ex­plains, Mor­ris’s fu­ture value may well over­take the com­bined pur­chase price and restora­tion cost. But for now, be­cause Mor­ris isn’t a more cov­eted MkI Cooper S, the restora­tion does not make eco­nomic sense. This is def­i­nitely a case of the ‘ heart rul­ing the head’, but we’re so pleased Kevin did as Mor­ris is a stun­ner and very de­serv­ing of all the awards he’s picked up. Here’s to many more!

“Mor­ris had clearly been garaged all his life but had been driven in all weath­ers”

Orig­i­nal door­cards and seat vinyl with new car­pet and head­lin­ing sup­plied by New­ton Com­mer­cial.

Orig­i­nal in­stru­ments were re­tained...

...dur­ing the re­fur­bish­ment process.

Mor­ris was re­sprayed in orig­i­nal Ma­roon B, as per Dad Don's car.

Amaz­ingly, the bon­net is still the orig­i­nal item.

1960s steer­ing wheel tak­ing pride of place.

M is for Mor­ris.

Re­place­ment parts in­cluded the rear sub­frame and quar­ter pan­els, and rear-wheel arches.

The orig­i­nal Mor­ris Mi­nor badge.

Orig­i­nal 848cc was over­hauled and fit­ted with an un­leaded head and elec­tronic ig­ni­tion.

It's no sur­prise this Mor­ris Mi­nor has started win­ning sil­ver­ware.

Pe­riod cor­rect stan­dard 10-inch wheels.

Kevin and He­len stand­ing proud with 'Mor­ris'.

Bulk­head was only front part not re­placed.

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