Thirty-nine years ago at the age of 15 I bought my first Morris for $58.00 with an exception of a couple years I have owned and driven a Morris Minor ever since. Who knew that my son at 15 years old would do the same? The difference being; he paid $1000.00 for a Morris Coupe that had to be towed home.

THE LAST MORRIS MINOR

Restoring that coupe went well and true to form when he got through fixing that one up he realized that it would be the sickest  ( very cool ) thing in the world to own Morris Van to carry around his Music equipment, when his yet to be formed  ‘BAND” gets a Gig????

Restoring a Morris is a pleasure challenge, parts are available, and there are lots of helpful people who have gone before your project that will give you advice. When you drive a Morris around Los Angeles you get a huge amount of attention. Besides one cannot look at a Morris Van without thinking of ice cream they are in fact a kind of ‘Eye Candy’ that excites the youth in us all, you know ‘sick’?

 

The hunt begins. Where can you find a Morris Van that the old owners might pay you to remove from their back yard? 

I was confident that event would never happen, and besides all monies had been expended on his coupe to point where Austin’s Morris had become his college fund. No matter how I resist; Morris and I are fated and now I feel my son might have to live with the same fate.

 

When a Morris sits under an Avocado tree in the sunny southern California city of Santa Monica for 25 years it weathers slowly. As the city grew the Van became a refuge for all manner of small mammals.  Mice love the frame rails and Rats store bits of food in quarter panels next to ‘A’ posts.

 

The story goes that this Van was first sold in Illinois in 1959. The floors were long gone and repaired patch work style, before it was driven 2000 mile to Los Angeles in the early Seventies. The Van ended up in the hands of film crew people and was discovered on the KTLA lot. (Now Fox News)

 

This is when Dan Adams a second camera man purchased it with best of intentions along with a wreaked 1967 coupe that had a good running 1098 engine and transmission.

 

Owning a half acre in Santa Monica makes room for a lot of Auto projects and Dan’s back yard is full of interesting cars mostly Morris that he inherited from Jerry Hill, towed home or that I had sold him. The problem being; that when ‘someday’ comes around, much of the strength and enthusiasm of youth has faded not to mention it is hard crawling under a Morris in the second half of life. So it is with Dan and I.

 

Thank the fates my son’s grades were a little off. The answer was NO MORE MORRIS MINORS. His grades suddenly got better. No way am I paying that much for a dead hulk!  The price went down. More time passed. The subject came up and I would say “Dan will never get that car out his yard he has to move 2 Zodiac convertibles and a MG Midget all the tires are flat and the Van has no wheals or tires”. My son would not let it go and I do admire his determination, without it one could never finish one these projects.

 

The day came, the cars were moved, wheels fitted and the tow truck was called however best of all Dan would take very liberal payments. I was a partner with my son on one more Morris Project?

 It was worse than I thought, but it always is. If I hadn’t been to England and witnessed restoration projects brought home in wheel barrels I might have sent it back.

 

The original conversation with my son went like this: Dad we don’t have to restore it we can paint it satin black and paint the wheels red you know a Rat-Rod and we can do a Graffiti thing to the side…

When I inspected the floors well I had not realize it had been own by Fred Flintstone. And the hinges made all the doors weep. The right frame rail was gone then repaired with a blow torch, welding the eyebolt permanently to the frame. The rear doors would not close because the 2 pieces at the rear of the van body were

reinforced rust.

One Day at A Time, was the only thoughts that comes to mind. What can you do when your only son looks at you with those eyes that say “You can do it Dad… You can do anything”!  Ya right when I was in High School!

 

This was not one of those Barn finds; it was rode hard, left for dead in Dan’s back yard and now it is my drive way.

The only way to get rid of it is to fix so my son can drive it off. Truth is told I looking forward to restoring it.

 

 

After-shots, one year later: http://dolphnproductions.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=5593