If you’re anything like me, this time of year means 3 things..
A good Feed
Some time off work, and
The opportunity to watch the 3 “Back to the Future” films.
Ordinarily, that is plenty to satisfy me over the yuletide period, but this year proved to be rather different.
Back in October, a member on the Autoshite forum collected a rather unusual car – a 1959 Morris Oxford Traveller.
A seriously rare car even in saloon form, the Oxford in estate format is like the proverbial tooth of the hen.
Over the following months, I watched as the owner set about getting it into serviceable condition, sorting many niggles and helping it develop an air of dependability.
The hand of fate intervened, and the owner had the chance to buy his long desired “Transition” Morris Minor. This meant that there was precious little room at the Inn for the Oxford.
As such, I observed the air of opporchancity in the situation. When the inevitable “For Sale” post appeared, I commenced serious enquiries.
Now, at this point, I have to state I’ve never owned or even driven something this old – so I was well out of my comfort zone with the concept of ownership.
Enter my mate John. John has two Morris Minors, a Landrover and a Triumph Toledo to name but a few on his fleet. He also has an annoying knack of being able to make the ridiculous seem sublime.
He managed to convince me that the dream could become reality. All that remained was the “burd test”. Luckily, as soon as she laid eyes on the pictures, I had a pass 🙂
Thereafter, some faffery was required to arrange collection. The car was stored in Stockport, at the house of another Autoshite member. This was the small matter of 240 miles from my house.
So at a frankly unbelievable hour on Saturday morning, I was reunited with the Alfa 156 Sportwagon I used to own (now on John’s fleet). My brother also joined us for the escapades, and we were soon on the road to Sunny Stockport.
We made good time all the way down, including grabbing a takeaway coffee from Tebay as Old Charter dictates.
I drove the leg to Tebay, and found myself liking the Alfa..a dangerous situation!
Stockport greeted us with metropolitan sites a-plenty!
Our location was confirmed as being correct based on the plethora of classics dotted about..
Then it was down to business.
All 1489cc of B series powered Morris Oxford.
The car had sat for 2 weeks, but I was heartened by its condition. True to form, the owner was able to start it instantaneously, and it settled down to a fast idle.
This felt doable.
We went out for a drive, with me getting masterclass in conducting the symphony of Classic Car driving. I love learning new things, and this was no exception. It was a great grounding for someone about to embark on their maiden Morris voyage.
Despite the petrol station being busy, we didn’t have to wait long for a pump – handily, the Oxford has a filler cap on each side!
We took it to say tata to the Allegro, and it was time to head North!
I sat at the dash, staring at the instruments and switches thinking ” What have I done?”. These words ringing in my mind as I let the clutch out and sawed at the giant wheel.
As I shifted to 2nd, I marvelled at my lack of stalling. Next up was a reverse to turn round. Again, completed with no stalling or injuries.
We had about 1.5 miles to navigate before finding motorway. This quickly flagged up an alarming lack of visibility or adjustability in the wing mirrors – thankfully the rear view mirror and an observant passenger made short work of it.
Once on the M60, I had time to comprehend what was happening. I was piloting the past through the present and onto a new future. And pilot we did. Once up to temp, the B series was a willing 55-60mph performer.
Many a truck and car shuddered in the wake as we made tremendous time towards Tebay. One pass worthy of note is this St. Helens Leyland PD2 with Metro-Cammell body (cheers Adrian!)
By this time, I’d settled into the journey, and was enjoying myself.
Without any ado we arrived at Tebay.
It seems we took a trip through the space/time continuum. Upon arriving at the food counter, it appears we had arrived before the chip roll had been invented.
No matter the phraseology used, I was unable to convey my desire for 2 “rolls n chups” to the server. Luckily, 2 rolls and a bowl of chips could be procured, so we did not go hungry.
Scranned and watered, we retired to the carpark and checked the oil. Some was added and then it was time to try and confuse my brother.
To this point he hadn’t been in the car, much less had any time to understand what was involved in getting it moving.
Luckily, he took onboard everything that was blabbered to him on the short run to the M6 sliproad, and we thundered up Shap at a GPS verified 50mph.
Failing light meant it was time to apply volts to the lights. Exterior ones worked well, but some fumbling was required to find out which switch put on the instrument illumination.
Shortly thereafter we crossed into Scotland, and I siezed the chance to video the event
Apart from a swift splash and dash at Lesmahagow (decided not to find out how accurate the fuel gauge is) we didn’t stop until arriving back home.
Thanks to all who helped in the Endeavour (see what I did there ;))
More will surely follow!