1957 MORRIS MINOR 1000

Central Aucklander Bernard reflects on 20 good years with a tough Morrie Thou that proved its mettle in middle age.

What were your first impressions of the car 20 years ago? 
I’m not sure that I had a love affair with old cars but I just saw it and thought it was fantastic, a beautiful little thing. I thought if I was going to have an old car, it might as well be one that I love. 

How did you find it? 
I taught at Manurewa High School and the guy who owned it had bought it from my boss several years before. She knew he was now looking for a buyer, and thought of me. I must have fallen in love straight away because I had no desire to look at any other examples and thought I'm totally buying that

Was it the first Morris Minor you had driven? 
No. A mate owned a Morrie Thou and that car carried four of us to the University of Auckland each day. 

How did your usage change? 
When I bought it, I lived only five minutes from work. I ran it on a shoestring budget and used to crank-start it a lot. But I had to start using it less and less when I changed jobs and began commuting 40km each day. It didn’t cope so well with that. Even when it stopped working and I couldn’t afford to spend more money on it, I still kept it and never considered parting with it. I promised that one day I would come back to it and fix it up, and that’s what I did. 

The design feature you like most? 
It’s the overall shape, the cuteness, the size, the curves...

Your longest trip in the car?
Manurewa to Piha with a surfboard on my roof. I recall a few admirers photographing the car on that trip, too.

The most complex repair job in your ownership?
Fitting a reconditioned gearbox and rebuilding the brakes.

What prompted you to finally sell it?
The Morrie returned to the road in 2015 and I ran it for a while. My daughter got to experience the car when she was learning to drive but found it a bit challenging and reverted to a prctical auto. And a lifestyle change made me realise it needed to go to a new keeper who would breathe more life into it.

And the new keeper’s response to the Morrie?
I sold it to a very keen Waikato buyer, from Te Kowhai. He was determined to buy it sight unseen but I persuaded him to view it before committing. I opened the garage and encouraged him to take a close look. “I don’t need to, mate,” he said. “I love it already!”

If it hadn't been the Morrie, what else might have held your interest for 20 years?
A ’64 EH Holden station wagon.

Would you be more likely to buy an American or Italian car?
I think the Fiat Bambina is the cutest little thing. If our lifestyle changes again, I might be looking for something like that in 10 years’ time.

What was the first car you drove, and where did you drive it?
Datsun 120Y ute, with my mother, on a farm road in Natal, South Africa. I loved that experience and the feeling of control, and I still love driving.

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MORRIS MINOR 1000

YEARS PRODUCED 1956-71

FIRST REGISTERED New Zealand

ENGINE 948cc 4-cyl inline

POWER 28kW (36bhp)

TORQUE 68Nm @ 2500rpm

TRANSMISSION 4-spd manual

DRIVETRAIN rear-wheel drive

WEIGHT 775kg

LENGTH 3.76m

WHEELS 14-inch steel

COLOUR White

UPHOLSTERY Red vinyl

PREVIOUS OWNER Bernard, Auckland

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