SIMON GOLDS WORTHY
The rather striking car pictured here is a Morris Marina, but obviously not just any Marina – this one is the convertible created by Crayford from the Coupé for the BL dealer, Mumfords in Plymouth. A rare survivor of a rare car and one which many enthusiasts will never have seen in the metal, it belongs to Tim York and we shall be having a full feature on it in due course. In the meantime, I am trailing it here because this very car will be on display at this year’s Classic Car Show at the NEC from 11th-13th November. So if you are going to be there, be sure to drop by the Morris Marina Owners Club & Ital Register stand and cast an admiring eye over it.
The Morris Marina is, of course, a car that has received an awful lot of negative press over the years. At times some of this has been downright abusive and led by people who should have known better, but a dedicated band of enthusiasts never lost the faith. These fans were not blind to the Marina’s faults, but they could also appreciate its many virtues. I count myself among those fans, and I would love to have a Marina or an Ital on my drive and be able to use it on a regular basis.
As for the Mumford Marina convertible, I’ve seen this described in very unflattering terms. Everybody is entitled to their opinion of course, but I do sometimes question the need some people feel to share theirs at full volume with all and sundry. Personally I think Tim’s car looks absolutely fabulous, admittedly not svelte and glamorous in the manner of a Triumph Stag, but so evocative of its era with those 13in wheels looking somewhat lost in huge wheelarches and painted such a glorious shade of purple.
In fact, the more I look at this picture, the more I like it. In profile as well as in concept it reminds me very much of the Skoda Rapid
Convertible I had some years ago. Those rearengined Skodas were another model line that people loved to hate, but like the Marinas and Itals they too provided freedom, mobility and pleasure to thousands of owners. I certainly have very fond memories of mine, and it does seem that these days people are becoming more appreciative of everyday classics such as these which actually touched people’s lives even if they never made it onto that dream car poster on their bedroom wall.
Fortunately the big show at the NEC has room for everyone, from the most glamorous of dream cars right through to the most mundane of motors. Exactly where the Mumford Marina falls on that particular spectrum will vary wildly from one person to the next, but I for one can’t wait to cast my eyes over it in the metal. If you will be at the show too, why not drop us a line afterwards with details of the car that most surprised you (in a good way!). After all, there’s always room in Classics Monthly for another unsung hero.