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Morris still Fred’s regular Traveller companion 40 years on

The Morris Minor 1000 Traveller and the labrador for which the car was bought. Picture: supplied

The Morris Minor 1000 Traveller and the labrador for which the car was bought. Picture: supplied

supplied

Fred Tooke is still driving his first car, a Morris Minor 1000 Traveller, 40 years later having bought it to transport the family labrador.

Fred Tooke with the Morris Minor 1000 Traveller he has owned for 40 years at a classic car day. Picture: supplied Fred Tooke with the Morris Minor 1000 Traveller he has owned for 40 years at a classic car day. Picture: supplied

I bought my first car, a 1964 Morris Minor 1000 Traveller, on June 1 June 1977... and I am still driving it 40 years later.

Purchased from a South London Garage for £250, I bought an ‘estate car’ to transport the family labrador, Kane, to dog-training classes and dog shows, all over the south-east of England, and for the daily commute to work in London as well as for leisure activities at the weekends.

However, the dog never actually travelled in the cargo space, preferring to sit or lie on the back seat or even curl up on the front passenger seat.

‘Morris’ was used daily for three years, with little or no trouble, but was garaged in mid-1980 following an MOT test failure which needed welding.

Fred Tooke driving the Morris Minor Traveller on a night out –  taken by a friend sitting on the back seat. Picture: supplied Fred Tooke driving the Morris Minor Traveller on a night out – taken by a friend sitting on the back seat. Picture: supplied

He was replaced by the first of my two Ford Cortinas – the second of which I still have – which I used while Morris waited for me to get the money together to get him restored. He ended up staying in my parents’ garage for nearly 10 years before being transported to Charles Ware’s Morris Minor Centre in Bath, where he was made roadworthy again.

In 1994, he went back to the Morris Minor Centre to have the wooden framework replaced and then again in 2008 for chassis and bodywork restoration, a tidy-up of the interior and a complete respray.

Since 1994 Morris has not been used as an everyday car but is always available to work whenever needed. Even if left for a couple of months, he still normally starts first time on the starter motor but, if not, there’s always the starting handle, which does the trick.

Today he mostly attends classic car shows around North Somerset, parked next to my wife’s red 1963 Morris Mini Traveller, bought in 2009.

After 40 years with the current owner, there is no sign this partnership will end any time soon.

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Andy Russell

Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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