Last Morris Minor Saloon Returns To Cowley After 50 Years
A historically significant Morris Minor has returned to the place where it rolled off the production line on 12th November 1970.
50 years after it was built the last saloon to be produced has been relocated to the building where it was made at the MINI plant in Cowley, Oxfordshire and now forms part of the factory’s collection of historic vehicles.
The gleaming car is a credit to the professionals, specialists and volunteers from the Morris Minor Owners Club who have worked tirelessly over the past four years to restore the car to its former glory. Today the fully restored vehicle looks just as good as it did when it was first built.
The transformation seemed impossible when the car was discovered in 2016 after languishing in the open for many years. The provenance of the vehicle was well established having previously been offered for sale in 1994.
Sadly, the new owner at that time was unable to enjoy the pleasure of ownership due to ill health. After his demise the car was abandoned and it deteriorated badly in the intervening years. The car was acquired by The Morris Minor Owners Club in 2016 and initially a phased restoration was planned. Substantial structural repairs were needed and the services of a specialist welder and fabricator were enlisted. In 2018, thanks to a generous bequest by a former member, things gathered pace and with the help of members with specialist skills, original components including the engine and gearbox were rebuilt. The bulk of the refurbishment and the reassembly of the car was undertaken by volunteer club members in Derby where the MMOC has it’s headquarters.
Club Secretary Ray Newell accompanied the car on its return to ‘T Building’ (which houses MINI Plant Oxford’s car collection) at a specially arranged socially distanced handover prior to the current lockdown and he said:
“The car is a credit to those who have supported the club in getting it back on the road in time for this significant anniversary. We are grateful to staff at MINI Plant Oxford for their assistance in getting the car into the factory’s museum and for housing and looking after it for the foreseeable future. We hope that post lockdown people will be able to come to view the vehicle and appreciate what is a wonderful example of this iconic British car.”
Steve Wrelton, spokesman for MINI Plant Oxford said “The backstory and subsequent restoration of this car to its former glory is nothing short of staggering. Like the Mini that came after it the Morris Minor was one of the most popular and recognisable cars in Britain. To have the last one built returning to its spiritual home and joining our car collection here at MINI Plant Oxford is just fantastic.”
Due to government rules and the new laws preventing people from different households meeting either indoors or outside, the ‘Morris Minor Owners Club’ has instructed all branches to cancel all meetings and rallies until further notice.
This effectively means that if you wish to attend a car rally you do so as an individual and not as part of our club. Anybody attending these events would not be covered by the club insurance. All club activities are suspended until the lockdown measures are relaxed and social gatherings are again permitted without breaking laws or risking the health of our fellow members.
Therefore, our club meetings at The Dog And Duck are cancelled until further notice.
Our club Christmas Dinner on 12th December 2020 has been cancelled.
Our traditional ‘New Years Day Run’ will not take place on 1st January 2021.
The planned ‘Club Weekend Away’ at Sinah Warren, Hayling Island on 14-17 May 2021 will still go ahead but interested parties should book as individual couples to satisfy the rules currently imposed on our club. We encourage you to travel there in your Morris Minor or other classic car if possible to add to your enjoyment of the weekend.
Book via their website http://www.warnerleisurehotels.co.uk to secure your place. The price for a standard room is currently £538 per couple.
The October / November newsletter will be the last issue printed until we have further information about resuming club activities when a special issue will be sent out to all our members.