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Homepage. This page: A BMC classic now, in the shape of a worse-for-wear Morris Minor MM c1951.

1. Morris Minor Series MM saloon car (Highlight type).

Think about MM series Morris Minors and I usually think of the early "lowlight" variety, with the headlights not on the front wings, but low down, nestling alongside the radiator grille (as on this Lowlight tourer). At first glance, I'd assumed that the car shown on this page was a 1952-on Series 2 Minor, with its revised headlamp position and cheese-cutter grille. However its registration number, RJO 114, which dates to September/October 1951, suggests that it is in fact a late version of the MM, which tends to be known as the Highlight version - for obvious reasons. The 918cc Morris sidevalve engine was still fitted to Minors of this era, the (Austin) A-Series unit of 803cc would have to wait for the Series 2's launch.
This particular example looks to have been in the wars somewhat, so knocked-about is its bodywork. One of the screens is out, the front wings bear numerous dents and scuffs to their paintwork, while the front apron is out-of-shape, and one of the chrome "hockey sticks" has gone AWOL, as has a bumper overrider. Both sidelights are damaged, the wheel rims are damaged, and even the registration plate is well battered. An aerial has been fitted to the nearside front wing, but that looks to be out of action, judging by the cable dangling down behind the wheel. The interior trim, fitted to the B post, is also in tatters, and the Morris Minor badge has fallen off, or been swiped. All in all, a very sorry example of late-MM series Morris Minor.
A close look at the first photograph reveals a 1956 tax disc in the Minor's window. There is a Greenham Common pass in the screen too, also dating to 1956. Interestingly, despite being UK-registered, the car is LHD. At the time, Greenham Common was in use with the United States Air Force, as a base for the Strategic Air Command during the Cold War. I wonder if this sorry-looking Minor had been in use with the SAC? Perhaps the location of both photographs is the Greenham Common airbase itself? Behind the five-year-old Minor is a wooden hut, while to the side is a bicycle shelter.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
Morris Minor MM car
The second of these two photographs is a side-on view of the Minor. Despite there being no stamps or other identification on the reverse of either photo, they have the feel of being official photographs of some kind or other. The bent front wing is clearly visible in this shot, as is the nearside semaphore indicator, set into the rear side panel, behind the passenger's door. The rear wing has also received a gentle nudge, clearly the Morris was not a cherished example and I'd be surprised if it survived long enough to celebrate its tenth birthday.
Perhaps the Moggy was used by serving USAF personnel at the airbase, and had been involved in a low-speed shunt out on the public road, maybe due to the driver being unfamiliar with driving on the correct side of the road? It might explain these photographs, and the condition of the down-trodden Morris.
Side view of the Morris Minor
The first Minor I rode in was a white Minor 1000 belonging to a little old lady who lived up the road from us. It was 1977, and the Queen was touring the country as part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations. The procession was due to drive by only a mile or so away from where we lived, and our neighbour offered to drive us over to watch the Royal vehicles pass by. She wasn't the quickest of drivers, but we got to our destination in plenty of time to see the procession of vehicles pass by. Mum would also own a Minor for a while, but for some reason she didn't like it at all, and it was soon sold on again.

2. A brace of Minors, and an old coach.

A variety of British-built beauties feature in this next snapshot, including a pair of early Minors. The example on the left - parked behind a Series 1 Land Rover - is an MM-type Minor registered CFB 55, which dates the car to September 1950 and suggests an early life spent in and around Bath. Over to the right a later Moggy, probably a 948cc example with the larger rear window, is parked.
A suited gent can be seen strolling towards a coach operated by Worthington Motor Tours of Birmingham. A little research has identified the vehicle (registration 5586 VP) as a Duple-bodied Ford Thames 570E. The "Thames Duple" badge can just be made out, positioned above the registration plate. A Commer coach under the same ownership and also bodied by Duple, can be seen on this page. The location of the scene here isn't known sadly.
Two Minors and a Ford Thames coach
Return to Page 15 in the gallery of vintage cars and vehicles.

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