|A splitscreen Minor Traveller, similar to Adrian's example.|
Adrian's Minor Traveller story.
In 2010 Adrian dropped me a line, with various motoring stories to add to this section of the site. This page recounts the story of buying a rare, split screen, Morris Minor Traveller, and his memories of just how rotten the wooden framework turned out to be. He takes up the story:
"In the summer of 1969 after working for a while, earning up to £45 per
week as a milkman, I thought it would be good to buy a car so, for £50,
I bought a 1954 Split windscreen Morris Traveller (NUF 438) with a
year's MOT, from a garage outside Newbury. It had an 848cc overhead
valve engine, which was a Gold Seal replacement unit with very low
mileage. I wanted the Morris 8 they had there for £40, but my dad said
the Traveller was better because the Morris needed the tappets
Oops there go the Minor's rear doors.
A few days later whilst driving round a roundabout in
Newbury, the rear doors fell off in the road and I had to stop and pick
them up. It turned out that the woodwork was rotten all over and there
was nothing left of the door pillars or indeed the doors themselves. I
got replacement doors in a local scrap yard by climbing a long ladder
and removing the doors from a Traveller on the top of a four-car heap.
Some weeks later when pulling out into traffic with two or three other
people in the car, there was a thud and the Traveller wouldn't move.
With the engine still running I was mystified by the fact that the
speedometer still registered that the car was rolling at varying rates
according to the engine speed. After getting the car towed back to
Newbury, the garage told me that a half-shaft was broken.
Chassis filled with old newspapers and cardboard.
I didn't know what that meant at the time, but asked them to repair it. In due course
they had a better look at the car and said it was uneconomical to repair
the axle as the underside of the car was rotten. They kindly towed it
home for me and I took up the floor panels and saw that the main chassis
members were made of cardboard filled with screwed-up newspaper, with
the outsides covered in plastic filler.
Being somewhat upset by this, I enquired of my dad whether an MOT signified any degree of
roadworthiness, and said that I thought the car wasn't worth £50. After
a bit of moaning from me over the next few days he produced £25 saying
that he had been back to the garage for it. I didn't believe him but
pocketed the money. The car languished in the driveway for some months
whilst I removed a few parts I thought may be useful in the future."
Thanks for emailing your Minor story over. I've not yet found a good period shot of a Minor Traveller with the split windscreen - photos of early MM and Series 2 saloons are quite plentiful, for example here and here, but the Travellers are much more scarce, most being like this later Morris 1000 Traveller seen at a recent show. This leaflet, produced by the Electricity Advisory Service in 1958, features a splitscreen Traveller being worked on in a garage.
Following on from the Minor, Adrian switched to another BMC favourite, the Austin A40 Farina, in Mk2 form.
Visit the motoring memories homepage at oldclassiccar for more stories like this.