Morris Minor Marks 60th Year

Morris Minor lovers from across the globe will descend on Oxford this year to mark the 60th anniversary of the Cowley-built car.

The iconic vehicle, designed by Mini creator Alec Issigonis, first rolled off the production line in 1948.

It became the first British car to sell a million units and went on to shift 1.6 million by the end of its 23-year lifespan.

As part of the birthday celebrations, the Morris Minor Owners’ Club will drive a procession of members’ cars from each year of production through Oxford city center in November.

Ray Newell, whose book Morris Minor: 60 years on the roadir?t=palmettobugdigit&l=as2&o=1&a=1845841573 was published this month, said the Cowley craftsmanship had helped keep so many examples running.

He said: “At the time they were solid, dependable vehicles. In post-war Britain they were really economical to run.

“Morris had a reputation for quality cars and that reputation was enduring. They became part of the British way of life.

“Minors were cars people could afford and they were widely used as fleet cars for people like district nurses and the Post Office.

“The build quality was very good – they certainly stood the test of time.”

The club’s assistant secretary, Ann Ford, of Didcot, fell in love with Minors after meeting her husband John.

She said: “My husband had a 25-year-long love affair with them. I thought ‘If you can’t beat them, join them’ and I’ve been into them ever since.

Ann Ford, Assistant Club Secretary of the Morris Minor Club

“I think the camaraderie among Minor drivers is great. There is a sort of kinship between us, which is rather good.

“We are all trying to preserve these cars for the future against all odds.”

Mrs Ford said the owners’ club has teamed up with Marie Curie Cancer Care, which is also celebrating its diamond jubilee, to honour the Minor’s milestone in the coming year.

She said: “One of the events is the Morris Minor Million-Mile Challenge for members to enjoy driving their cars in an approved sponsored event.

“As there are approximately 10,000 members in Great Britain, and another 5,000 worldwide, it is hoped that 1,000,000 miles can be achieved during 2008.

“We hope to clock up the millionth mile in Oxford.

“On Sunday, November 30, a cavalcade of Minors, one representing each year of manufacture, will depart from Cowley and drive through Oxford, finishing at the Oxford Spires Four Pillars Hotel, where a presentation of a cheque will be made to Marie Curie Cancer Care.”

Mrs Ford is compiling a personal look at the history of the Minor’s production at Cowley for the owners’ club magazine.

Former workers with stories to share should contact her on 01235 511188 or [email protected] The Oxford branch of the club meets on the first Wednesday of the month at the Foxcombe Lodge Hotel, Boars Hill, Oxford, at 8pm.