Morris Minor 70th rally
Cowley’s big-seller continues its 70th anniversary year with a visit to Morris founder’s home
A fleet of Minors, including a historic version making its rally debut, drove to the factory where they were made almost exactly 70 years to the day since they first left the assembly line.
The 70th Anniversary Rally travelled there from the preserved home of Morris Motors founder, William Morris, later Lord Nuffield. Fifty of the expected 70 cars braved heavy rain to pose outside Nuffield Place, where the motor magnate and legendary philanthropist lived for 30 years until his death in 1963. Many cars then made the journey to the Cowley Works in Oxford where they were built, now the BMW Mini plant.
The millionth-plus-one Minor attracted plenty of attention because this was its first British rally. One of 350 Morris Minor Millions finished in lilac to mark production of the millionth car built, these cars also received seats finished in white leather and Morris Minor 1,000,000 badges.
Minor 1,000,001 was exported to the USA when it was built in 1961 and ended up being restored by Oregon Aston Martin specialist, David Adams. After going to auction, the left-hand drive car ended up returning to Britain and being purchased by a Yorkshire classic car collector, from whom present owner, Martin Stocker, bought it in August.
Martin said: ‘ This is definitely a historic example and it has never been shown in Britain before this event.
‘ This collecting Morris Minors business is getting a bit of a habit. I hope to end up with an example of each variant.’
Mike McDonnagh’s 1948 ‘Lowlight’ – the second oldest surviving Minor and the 84th example to leave the production line – was also at Morris Minor 70.
Mike Dean, spokesman for organisers the Morris Minor Owners’ Club, said: ‘Considering how bad the weather was we were very pleased that around 50 of the planned 70 cars turned up for this fitting tribute to the Minor.
‘ There were a lot of smiles around.’
’It has never been shown in Britain before this event’
A healthy contingent of Minors braved poor weather to pay tribute to the marque’s 70th anniversary.
Left-hand-drive Morris Minor Million plus one made its UK rally debut. Mike McDonnagh’s 1948 Lowlight is the second-oldest surviving Minor, and the 84th example to leave the production line.
Competition for best period dress was won by Kim Youngman, looking very smart with husband, Rob, and their 1964 Morris Minor.
Richard Hobbis took his 1969 Traveller with him when he returned to his native New Zealand. It now has a Rover K-series engine.