We had one of those

New Zealand Classic Car - - Editorial - Ash­ley Webb Edi­tor

The pho­to­graph on page 86 of this is­sue, of a very nice Mor­ris Mi­nor at the Can­ter­bury All Bri­tish Day, brought back fond child­hood mem­o­ries.

My fa­ther was not a ‘car’ per­son by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion, but he did have a lik­ing for Mor­ris Mi­nors. The first Mor­ris Mi­nor that I can re­call him buy­ing was an early low-light model. From mem­ory, it was a two-door, and wore a rather nasty dent on one of the rear mud­guards — which didn’t de­ter my fa­ther one lit­tle bit, as he never both­ered to have it re­paired. The trusty old 918cc side-valve Mor­rie served us well for a year or two be­fore my fa­ther de­cided to up­grade to a later model Mor­ris Mi­nor 1000 — about 1960, I think.

As a young teenager at the time, I thought this car was the bee’s knees, and I couldn’t wait for my fa­ther to start giv­ing me driv­ing les­sons in the new fam­ily sedan. The shorter gear lever and OHV en­gine was in­deed a huge im­prove­ment on our pre­vi­ous fam­ily steed by of­fer­ing bet­ter per­for­mance — I wanted one of my own.

It wasn’t long be­fore my fa­ther was of­fered a Holden EK sta­tion wagon, which he couldn’t re­sist. It was a great car, in which I even­tu­ally passed my driver’s li­cence.

I was still at school, and I des­per­ately wanted a Mor­rie. My fa­ther even­tu­ally re­lented and ar­rived home with an­other early low-light for me to drive. It wasn’t in the best con­di­tion, and my mother sug­gested, in no un­cer­tain terms, that he find some­thing bet­ter for me to drive. Dad sub­se­quently found a light green 1961 Mor­ris Mi­nor 1000 for $350 — just like the one we’d owned pre­vi­ously. It was a fan­tas­tic low-mileage car, and drove per­fectly.

As the car didn’t have a ra­dio, I solved the prob­lem by hang­ing my small tran­sis­tor ra­dio by its strap from the right rear win­dow. Chang­ing the sta­tion and vol­ume was eas­ily achieved by reach­ing over my right shoul­der for the per­fect sound, al­beit rather crackly — need­less to say, it was my per­fect ma­chine.

On a sad note, David Cass, who has been work­ing on New Zealand Clas­sic Car mag­a­zine since 1991, has de­cided to scale down his writ­ing out­put. He plans to write only free­lance ar­ti­cles in­stead of writ­ing to reg­u­lar deadlines, as he’s done for so many years. I would like to take the op­por­tu­nity to thank David for his in­cred­i­ble con­tri­bu­tion to this mag­a­zine, es­pe­cially the cross­word and mys­tery car sec­tion, and, on be­half of Park­side Me­dia, wish him all the very best for the fu­ture.

Un­til next month…

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