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This strange disease has finally been identified as the main killer of the Morris Minor. You would be surprised by what I think about when I work on my Morri'…
I inherited a mailing list in 1982 with almost 1,500 California Morris owners and now they're only 319 Morris owners in the Southern California area left on the list. Only a few of these people are club members and only a handful of cars run. My question is, of these 319 Morris Owners why won't they fix them, sell them, or drive them?
This is where the disease comes in. One day a Morris owner parks his car and it sits for a while. A personal expense happens at the same time as the insurance bill for the Morris comes in. The insurance bill goes unpaid. The car sits. The brakes go out and the battery dies. The car sits some more. It gets dirty. It gets covered up and put into the garage until the insurance, brakes, battery and paint can be dealt with. The rubber starts to dry up. The engine starts growing rust. The tires are getting oval from lack of air. Everyone knows that the more you drive a Morris the better they get and the worse thing that you can do to a Morris is to let it sit.
There is another direction this disease can take all together. Someone finally finds the Morris of his or her dreams… They make the big decision to restore it. They take it apart. Every weekend another piece is removed. They sometimes take year's gathering new parts. They become overwhelmed, discourage, and confused… They can't remember how they got in this mess or even what they were thinking. They start making money. Labors of Love don't make sense if you count up the Money…
Owning a Morris is like having a pet hamster. If you don't feed it every day you feel guilty and so another part of the disease mutates in another direction and that is "Some day old Morrie I'm going to make it up to you, and fix you up, and you be all shiny and I'll take you for rides, and you will forgive me for neglecting you all these years"… syndrome. The day finally comes and I get the call or one of the other Representatives of the Club gets the call.
"I've got a beautiful little Morris that has been sitting in my garage for 20 years".
I say, "Can you send me some pictures?"
"Well it's covered with all the stuff that used to be in the house and it will take me awhile to get it out but yes I can send you some pictures."
Six months later a packet of photos come of what once resembled a Morris Minor 20 years ago. They look the way Egyptian mummies look when they've unearthed them from their tombs. The quotation usually is "Gee, I don't know what happened sitting in that garage all those years". Thus another Morris on the brink of death… Shall it be scraped or shall it be given new life?
After what I have seen in England, no California Morris should ever be scraped. I've seen rusty hulks dragged home in the back of pick-up trucks rebuilt into brand new cars.
This terrible disease "MORRISNEGLECTISFATALUS" is running out of control in California. There has never been a better time to fix up your Morris. Fifteen years ago we were cutting up coupes at an alarming rate just for parts. We were developing genetic alterations such as DatMors and Moryotos. Now everything is available for the Morris. Gas prices are up. Proven modifications such as power disc brakes, modified suspension and newly designed seats are inexpensive. All manner of frame and body parts are being produced. There is an owner's repair manual on CD Rom. There is no need for another Morris to go on suffering from this horrible affliction.
However, with all of this knowledge, this disease is still out of control. For some reason people will not act. They won't even pass the torch on to someone else…there is another problem that goes with time… That is the generation factor. Did you know that when I was in England not one person I asked, who were in there early 20's, knew what a Morris Minor was! They were born in the Eighties and 10 years after the last Morris Minors rolled off the assembly floor, never experiencing so many of "the rights of passage" we have had owning our Morris Minors. We need a new generation of Morris owners if for only one reason, so that people will remember a less complicated, simpler, and slower time. When we had time for conversation and civility. Slow enough for a home cooked meal. A car simple enough to fix yourself
There are many things that I like to push to the limit… Computers…Yes. The driving experience …No. Throw away cars No... Five miles to the gallon SUV's driven in the city …No… Morris Minors are like old friends. I can understand them and I do not mind their limitations. They deserve to carry on if only as a benchmark of what was once a better Time
If you own a Morris get it going. If you don't want to get it going, pass it on to someone who will. Let's not let them die, and all they represent, from MORRISNEGLECTISFATALUS.