Thursday, February 22, 2018

Mike John

My first car in 1969 was a 1961 Ford Anglia – which, with its sloping back window and two tone paint, I thought was so much “cooler” than my mate’s Morris Minor!  That car taught me much of what I know about maintaining cars. It really was as simple as the Morris to work on – it must have been as I replaced the engine!

Fast forward to 1986 and following a serious road accident (another story!) I was getting bored and saw an advert for a black 1961 saloon which I bought from Grantham (no, not from Mrs Thatcher!). It looked lovely and I kept it for 12 years but never really got into the MM scene with it and hence it got little use.

I had however always hankered after a convertible and in 1998 for some reason which I have never understood (fate?) I went into a newsagent and bought a Classic Car Weekly – something I had never done before – and there on the front page and on the centre spread was an article on this lovely maroon convertible.  And it was for sale in Kenilworth! I was so excited I asked for time off from work went to Kenilworth and bought it there and then (after a bit of haggling!). I fell in love with it but it was a bit sad with one or two bits missing and damp carpets from the hood being trapped inside the doors. It also had one or two spots on the paint which are still there today 12 years on and haven’t got any worse! The picture shows both cars before the black one went off to Reading!

                                                                The old and the new

It was the year of the 50th anniversary celebrations at Blenheim so off I went with £200 in my pocket and a list of bits I wanted including the ultra rare Series 11 screen surround and clips which were missing from the car. I got everything, came back with change, and was well and truly hooked on the Morris Minor scene!

Since then the car has bought immense pleasure – and some good natured ribbing (I think) about me not liking to get it wet. Problems? Well two (yes, two) throttle springs broke last year and a faulty capacitor this year failed on my drive – thank goodness. And that’s it. However there is one unsolved mystery. The car is one of the last “early” Series IIs registered – with gold dashboard and cheese grater grill but it has an MM bonnet and flash and has had for as many years as I can go back. Why? Use of old stock? Replacement bonnet? Who knows? But it is part of the car and often a talking point so will not be changed.

Mike John
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