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My First Car: Unlucky twist of fate ends Morgan Plus 4 fun

PUBLISHED: 11:39 10 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:39 10 April 2018

Perry Parsons�s first car was a 1954 two-seater Morgan Plus 4 sports car. Picture: Perry Parsons

Perry Parsons�s first car was a 1954 two-seater Morgan Plus 4 sports car. Picture: Perry Parsons

Perry Parsons

Perry Parsons had a lot of fun in his 1954 two-seater Morgan Plus 4 sports car which, unfortunately came to an untimely end when hit by a bus.

I passed my driving test early in 1963, at the second attempt, at the age of 20.

Being a saver, I had some spare cash so I looked in the local paper to see what cars were for sale. I read about this 1954 two-seater Morgan Plus 4 sports car which was for sale in Longwell Green, Bristol. I lived in Wick, on the outskirts of Bristol, so I went and had a look.

It was love at first sight. Red with black upholstery, black hood and side screens.

It had a two-litre Standard Vanguard engine, four gears, crash gearbox (no synchromesh), rigid suspension, twin six-volt batteries under the luggage shelf and a fold-down windscreen.

The fuel consumption was 28 to 30mpg. The insurance was £27 a year and petrol was four shillings and two pence (21p in today’s money) a gallon.

I paid the man £145 and drove the car home.

The next day a pal came round and we went for a spin. We had gone only about a quarter of a mile when smoke started to billow from beneath the dashboard. I stopped the car, turned off the engine and we jumped out, expecting the worst. Fortunately, the smoke subsided and it turned out to be an electrical fault.

A month later, while driving along, I could smell petrol. A copper fuel pipe, running from the tank to the engine alongside the interior, had split and the horsehair encasing it was soaked in petrol.

The hood and side screens were tatty so I contacted The Car Hood Company in London for a new set. Unsure of the size and shape, they asked me to send my old ones for a template. For three weeks I drove with only a tonneau cover on. When it rained, I wore a bobble hat, scarf and gloves. People used to stare at me as if I was mad but I had to get to work.

At the front of the car, underneath the grille, it was open which exposed the steering rods. One morning a fox ran in front of the car and collided with them. The car came to a juddering halt and, when I inspected the damage, I found the steering rod had broken which left the two front wheels facing in different directions.

Nevertheless, I had a lot of fun in that car but, unfortunately, it came to an untimely end. I was overtaking a bus when the driver decided to pull away from the bus stop. The bus hit the Morgan, pushing it round in the road before colliding with a new Mini parked opposite.

I escaped unscathed but the Morgan was a write-off, as the chassis was twisted. The Mini was write-off too.

The only thing I could salvage was the key fob which I still have. Oh, happy days.

Tell us about your first set of wheels – email your memories with a picture to motoring@archant.co.uk or post it to Andy Russell, Archant motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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Andy Russell

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

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