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Homepage. This page: A further list of motorcars once owned by Don.

Minor Traveller & Karmann Ghia coupe.

With memories of pre-war motorcars becoming a thing of the past, several cars of the 1960s were to feature in Don's car buying activities, including a Renault 8, a Herald, and an Anglia-based buggy.

Along comes a Triumph Herald.

"During the Karmann Ghia years there were a couple of cars that came briefly into my ownership. One was a Triumph Herald 1200cc convertible. The previous owner had opened the bonnet in a high wind and suffered distortion to the hinge system. His local garage (bless ‘em) had hinted at a “kings ransom” to put it right. He, obviously embarrassed, offered it to me for £20, (if I didn’t think it too much?). It had nine months tax and a long MOT so I jumped at it. On closer examination I realized the bonnet problem was easily fixed — two carefully placed tyre levers, close the bonnet slightly and ‘Voila’ good as new. The Herald proved pleasant transport throughout the summer and I sold it for £90 before the tax and MOT expired.

An overheated Renault R8 is next.

Renault 8
It was obvious the battle with the tin worm in the Karmann Ghia was being lost so I had to make contingency plans. A Belgian had abandoned a mid-60s lhd Renault 8 at a friend’s garage, apparently it had overheated … £30 and it was mine. I removed the engine and found a six-inch crack running along the block — no problem. I laboriously drilled and tapped about fifty holes and attached a plate and gasket. It ran ok but the heater wouldn’t work because of low coolant pressure.

Around that time the Karmann Ghia breathed its last, and the Renault became my sole means of transport; by an amazing piece of luck I picked up a perfect replacement engine from a Sussex breakers yard for £12. We were in the process of buying a house and every penny counted.

The Renault gave excellent service for two years, the engine only needing a set of plugs and points. I believe it was the first small car to have disc brakes all round, shame the handbrake was totally useless. I also bought an A40 Farina for the memsahib, a delightful little car, never gave any problems.

Time for a project - time for an MG Midget

Hot MG Midget car
Side view of the MG
For the first time I now had a decent garage and workshop, and I couldn’t wait to fill it with some sort of project. My brother told me about an MG “Sebring”? In need of some attention, but cheap. It turned out to be a MK1 Midget, modified and tuned to within an inch of its life. Wide wheels, DCOE40 carb; but battered, the engine totally clapped.

I tidied up the body, totally rebuilt the engine and took to the road. The car was a misery; although it was nippy the highly tuned 998cc engine was fussy, oiled plugs continually and developed a nasty mechanical noise. A bog standard engine out of an A40 was then fitted and worked well, but not exactly inspiring. So a cunning plan was hatched.

A 1500GT engine and gearbox, out of a Ford Corsair, was shoehorned in, we sprayed it pillar-box red and finished up with a very mean looking sports car. At the same time my brother was working on a Triumph Stag conversion, fitting a 2.5 straight six engine to a car that had partially burnt out. There were a few spare bits so I fitted a Stag roll-over cage and seats to the MG.

The car was quite exciting to drive although it didn’t like corners very much and after the never-ending summer of 76/77, where weather protection wasn’t needed for months-on-end, the approach of winter caused me to lose some enthusiasm and crave a little warmth and comfort. A 1965 Hillman Minx, Series 6 came into my possession, it was like driving a Rolls after the MG. In the spring I passed the Hillman on to my father-in-law and bought a 1973 Cortina 1300 MK3.


One car, (the worst thing I have ever driven,) briefly entered my life around this time: the Anglebug—a beach buggy that, unlike most of the genre, used Ford Anglia running gear instead of VW. I only really drove it once, to the MOT and back, finding the windscreen top positioned directly in my sight line and other handling problems too horrid to recount accurately.

I bought the memsahib a Citroen GS club, a delightful car, unless you had to change the front exhaust pipes. It meant moving the engine — but these things were bearable considering what a pleasure it was to drive. Rust would eventually 'do' for the GS though, as described in this next instalment of Don's motoring memoirs.

Promotion entitled me to a new company Cortina estate Mk4, we lived near the sea and after two years I’d done 20k miles and it was rusting away before my very eyes. Being contract hire car it didn’t matter, but it was the last car I had that attracted tin worm, until the A H. Sprite restoration of 2005."

More of Don's motoring recollections, and other stories sent in by visitors to oldclassiccar, can be seen in the motoring memories section.

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