Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Pamela and John Hales - Part 2


Our Labour of Love (continued) Restoration on not one but two Travellers!

In the meantime, we bought another Morris Traveller, this time a 1968 1098cc one in Trafalgar Blue. Just as before – history now repeating itself – it provided sterling service for Scouts, Guides, Bands, and more enjoyable journeys and camping holidays, now with our own growing family of three children Its pet name was ‘Maurice'. It took us to France on many occasions on family camping holidays and when we took part (for 10 years) in Thurmaston’s Twinning weekends in Offranville.

This car was involved in a ‘no fault' collision, (an automatic BMW, the driver having pressed the accelerator, not the brakes!) shunted it from behind when stationary at the traffic lights on Abbey Lane/Blackbird Road Leicester on February 1st 1993. The extensive restoration involved a lot of hard work over many years, and during this time, this car’s registration was changed to LUT 533F, this number originally being on a Morris Minor for sale in our village of Sileby (!), which we bought for spares to repair our own.

During the 12 years as a housewife and mother, I did a paper round in the car delivering bundles of Leicester Mercurys for the local lads to take round the village, and then I'd drive around outlying farms, Ratcliffe College and industrial estates delivering to them as well. I did this 6 days a week, for 6 years, for the princely sum of £8.00 a week, just covering my petrol expenses, but happy I was doing my bit towards the housekeeping; also I could pick up the girls from school on route, and it coincided nicely with my son’s afternoon nap in his baby seat in the back!

We'd been members of the East Midlands Morris Minor Owners Club since its formation in 1977, and it was through reading the club magazine that we realized how rare Dad’s old car was becoming, so we decided to resurrect it.

We'd sadly lost my Mum, Ethel Woodward in 1995 and Dad, Ray, passed away, aged 91 years, on 28th December 2006. He knew we'd started serious work renovating his old ‘pal' and would ask constantly how work was progressing on it, and jokingly say, "When it’s finished, you'll have to celebrate with ‘Band and Drums'! He'd been a ‘Traditional' style Drum Instructor with Thurmaston and Syston Scout & Guide Bands, Boys Brigades and eventually Band Master of ‘C' Coy Army Cadet Force, Elizabeth Park, when aged 70 years. John and I were Cub Scout Leaders in the village for 30+ years, myself also as a Band Music Instructor throughout this time, and our children, Jennifer, Alison and Jonathan also members of the Brownies, Guides, Cubs and the Thurmaston Band.

So, work on Dad’s car commenced in earnest with it being sent away to a professional restorer in Telford, Shropshire in 1996. The family business of father and two sons were to restore the complete chassis; later on it had a pristine paint job and a brand new set of matched woodwork. That completed all we could afford to have done. It finally came back to us 10 years later in 2006.


John’s engineering skills now came into play, having to restore everything else in the car including the original engine, gearbox etc, all suspension and every conceivable small part i.e. hooter, distributor, carburettor etc., and the electrical system. Many items, being rare, were hard to find, some having to be made from scratch. Endless trips to car auto jumbles also proved fruitful, but the most surprising finds were purchased through the internet on eBay.

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