A fine collection of classics are in evidence in this photograph. Two Morris Mini-Minors are parked alongside each other, one registered as 822 CGC, the other as 6892 RK, both London registrations used from 1961 onwards. The Mk1 Mini was launched in 1959, the Austin version being badged initially as the Austin Seven (an example of which can be seen on the Austin Mini Mk1 page), while the Morris version was sold as the Mini-Minor.
The Mini to the left has been fitted with an AA badge, plus a single Lucas Fogranger lamp.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
The full line-up of classics, from left to right, comprises the following: Austin A55 van, the two Morris Minis, a Standard 10-based van, and a Hillman Husky estate car. A 1960's motorcycle is just visible to the right, while in the foreground an unidentified car is parked. The Hillman's registration is SBY 40, a London (formerly Croydon) series. The photographer was stood either on a step, or a raised embankment perhaps, to get this shot.
Supermarine Spitfire gate guardian.
Of more interest than the cars though is what's parked in the background, a Supermarine Spitfire no less. Original Spitfires were occasionally used as gate-guardians at RAF bases throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s. By the 1980s their spiralling values led to them being tucked away in dry museums, or returned to airworthy condition, their places often being taken by retired jets such as the Hawker Hunter, Gloster Javelin or the Meteor.
Which Spitfire this is I do not know, perhaps someone recognises the location of this view? The fact that all three visible car registrations relate to the London area, suggests a location in that corner of the country. The area in which the Spitfire is parked is roped off, a NO ENTRY sign tells interested spectators to keep their distance. Presumably the chap seen stood on the port wing is involved with the aircraft and/or base in some way.
Update. John contacted me about the above photograph, with a likely identification of the scene:
"I am writing to you in connection with a black and white photograph entitled Morris mini jpg. The photo itself consists of collection of parked cars with a
Spitfire parked between two buildings in the background. I believe the photo was taken at Beaulieu Motor Museum pre-National Motor Museum. I remember being taken there as a child when the cars and motorcycles were exhibited in the main house and a collection of shed-like buildings. I remember a Spitfire being exhibited between the sheds. This should be confirmed if someone has a very early '60s copy of the guide book. I hope this information is of help. Please keep up the excellent website."
Thanks for the information John, somewhere I have an early guide to the Beaulieu museum, I'll have to dig it out again.
2. Mini Minor 850 automatic on the Monte Carlo Rally, 1966.
Two photographs featuring Joe Lowrey and Margarent Mackenzie competing in Morris Minis turned up a while back. The photo of them in Morris Mini Cooper reg. RTS 370 is on this page. The second photograph sees them competing in the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally, at the wheel of an automatic 850cc Mini saloon, registration DOX 352C (entry number 153). Not perhaps the most obvious choice of rally car ever, however on snow and ice, a deft hand at the wheel (and the fitment of snow tyres) could make up for their lack of power when compared to many of the other competing cars no doubt.
3. Two Mk1 Minis on a Sea Truck, circa 1970.
Two press photos issued by Rotork Marine in 1970 turned up recently, one of which features a brace of early Mk1 Minis secured to a Mark III Sea Truck during trials on Southampton Water. The news release to which the photo relates is dated 21st July 1970. Both cars are Morris-badged examples of BMC's pint-pot saloon, and both could have done with a quick wash before being photographed. The rear car, registration 2908 PK, dates to 1962/1963 so was seven or eight years old at the time of this shot, and was already sporting un-finished body filler repairs to the section below the screen, where the wing/scuttle seam resides - a common rot spot on Minis of all ages. Hopefully the water wasn't too choppy as I doubt that repeated dousings of the wet stuff would have done either Minis' life-expectancy chances any favours.
The forward car was registered 756 ABO, and had been used for driving tuition prior to being pressed into service in these sea trials. Someone forgot to close the driver's door and window.
The Sea Truck was designed for use in areas where fixed jetties were unavailable, and the movement of one or two road vehicle(s) was required. James Dyson was key to the Sea Truck's original design in 1970, working alongside company boss Jeremy Fry who originally dreamt up the concept.
4. 1964 Morris Mini-Minor wedding car.
Three photographs now recall an un-named couple, on their wedding day, as they head off on honeymoon in their 1964 Mini-Minor. Its registration is ARY 870B, a Leicester issue that first went into circulation in April of that year. A close look at the photographs, reveal that the Mini's received a number of "personalised" messages on its bodywork. On the windscreen, someone has drawn a "Mr Chad" cartoon character, a caricature that has appeared in various forms across the world, its origins dating to WW2.
The observant will notice that there are in fact two "Minis" in this first photograph, thanks to the lady stood in the background, to the left....
The groom and bride are shown here, piling their belongings into the Mini's compact cabin. Was the car old, new, borrowed or blue perhaps? Daubed messages have been scrawled over the Mini's back end, announcing "Just Married", "His & Hers", and - I think - "Running In New Man".
Here too a second Mini can be spied - an estate version, parked away in the distance.
The final image in this Polaroid trio, sees the newly-married couple heading off in their ribbon-adorned Morris.
The 100 photo collection video below features cars solely powered by either the BMC/BL/ARG A-Series, or the updated A-Plus, engine.
Other references to Mk1 Minis on the site include another page of Austin Mini photos, and the story of a Mk1 Austin Mini my brother and I found in a dusty old garage. As alreasdy mentioned, a period shot of a rally-spec Morris Cooper can be found on the 1964 Morris Mini Cooper page, readied for action on the 1964 Coupe Des Alpes rally.
Old Classic Car (C) R. Jones 2022. Content not to be reproduced elsewhere.