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IOTW

IOTW no.378

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1934 Minor four-door Family Saloon

This eBay image provides few clues as to the photo’s origins. The lwb Minor Family Saloon has seen better days therefore the image is likely to be dated toward the latter part of that decade while the officer’s khaki drill uniform and the local architecture indicate that the photo was taken in warmer climes – but where?

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IOTW no.377

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IOM Midget

MG Midget DG 2327 was first registered in Gloucestershire in mid-1931. It had a two-tone colour scheme with wings a lighter colour than that of the body. It looks to be a fabric skinned version which by mid-1931 remained the most popular body covering outselling the metal clad car by a ratio of 5-1. As can be seen this car carries its spare wheel on its tail no doubt to free-up boot space for the luggage carried by the pipe-smoking driver and photographer. This image was taken in the late summer of 1932 and is one of a sequence of 20+ all taken on the Isle of Man, mainly in and around Douglas at that time. The photos were presumably taken to illustrate an as yet undiscovered article for The Autocar. (LAT plate E3926)

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IOTW no.376

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Arson?

This is one of a sequence of images found in an unexplored section of a photographic archive. They all depict the same fire which involves a number of cars that were originally built in the twenties. There are no clues as to why the cars are being deliberately incinerated or why they are then being consigned to the river or lake. (Photo courtesy of LAT Images Plate E4723)

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IOTW no.375

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1932 Minor 5 cwt van

Vans undeservedly feature infrequentlyhere. After all, the 5cwt van was the second best selling pre-war Minor model, outselling the two-seater car versions with almost 10,000 of them fnding customers in their five year production life.

This 1932 model was operated by the Electricity Department of Salford City Council and was registered as RJ 419 in the early part of that year. It’s interesting to note that this particular local authority were in the electrical equipment rental business. Perhaps that was not unusual in the early part of the thirties decade? (LAT plate E2526)

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IOTW no.374

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A 1934 holiday

This snapshot photo was purchased on eBay in 2012. The 1932 Nottingham City Borough Council registered Minor Saloon (TV 7488) had conveyed this family (or two couples) on a camping holiday to a location that is perhaps somewhere on the east coast of England. The lightweight caravan appears to be skinned in canvas although the Minor doesn’t appear to have a towbar in place and the long grass around the supporting block suggests that the caravan is a resident on the site. The caption on the rear of the photo simply reads ‘1934’.

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IOTW no.373

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The 1938 MCC London-Lands End Trial was held over Good Friday & Easter Saturday 15th & 16th April. There were two sections for competitors to complete in the Blue Hills mine complex near St. Agnes, Cornwall on Saturday. As was usual throughout the 30s decade huge crowds assembled to watch the cars negotiate the famous test hills and the 1938 ‘Lands End’ was no exception. This retouched photograph appeared in the 22nd April edition of The Autocar and shows a section of the spectator car park at Blue Hills mine. How many different manufacturers products can you identify? (Photoscan courtesy of LAT Images)

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IOTW no.372

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Throughout the thirties decade a 1930 Hornet Coachbuilt Saloon appeared in many Autocar photographs. There are a number of instances of the car in question appearing in the background of  photographs featuring other cars, while it also appeared as the feature vehicle itself on headings for the magazine’s correspondence section or on the banner for the regular ‘Touring Topics’ articles. The car appears even more frequently in The Autocar‘s photographic archive where the vast majority of images viewed have never been published. The car in question carries a 1930 Surrey registration (PL 2347) and is of the early (Morris Minor) body shape. It was almost certainly owned by an Autocar journalist or employee but to date the name of the individual concerned  has eluded the writer. Whoever owned the car kept it for a considerable time as it continued to appear in Autocar photographs until the latter part of 1938 and even then looked to be well cared for. In this photograph the glass plate wasn’t marked with the location of the shot, but was found among a series of images featuring Devon and Cornwall holiday locations.
PL 2347 has a photographic gallery of its own and this can be found on the archived website at the foot of the page in question here.

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IOTW no.371

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The Global Minor

In the correspondence section (p756) of 6th May 1932 edition of The Autocar is a letter from a Japanese Minor owner, Isao Miyahara. Isao submitted an image of his 1930 Coachbuilt Saloon (16.339) parked-up alongside a dry river bed in the Hyogo prefecture of the Kansai Region, located on Japan’s main island of Honshu. While it’s not known if Morris Motors had an export arm located in Japan at that time the Minor’s reputation was sufficiently well established for at least one example to have found its way there. (This re-touched photoscan appears here courtesy of LAT Images)

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IOTW no.370

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A second N.Z. special

Discovering a special bodied Minor is one thing, but discovering two such cars in the same photograph is quite another. The previous IOTW (no.369) captured a special bodied 1931 Coupe taking part in a local car club trial in hilly terrain near Christchurch on North island. Appearing further along that same line of cars was this SV Minor Special, almost certainly of similar 1931 vintage despite its partial disguise behind a chromed radiator surround. Sitting in-between an Austin Seven ‘Chummy’ and a Riley tourer only part of the car’s body is visible. The front portion of the car to the scuttle is instantly recognisable while the windscreen is mounted in the same fashion as that on a standard Minor Tourer model. However the windscreen is a single pane affair unlike the two-piece screen on the factory Tourer model. The low-cut shape of the offside of the body presumably aides ingress for the driver as no door is evident. Unfortunately the rear of the car is hidden and so we can only speculate as to its form. As mentioned in IOTW 369 this re-touched photo-scan first appeared in a February 1932 edition of The Autocar and appears here courtesy of LAT Images.

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IOTW no.369

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1931 Minor Special

New Zealand was a significant market for the Minor with many cars being imported as rolling chassis prior to local coachbuilders constructing bodies that in the majority of cases echoed the shape of models available in the UK. However, a significant number didn’t follow this trend and locally designed, lightweight bodies began to appear. The example seen here is based upon a 1931 season car, its high headlamps and black radiator surround providing the clues. Unfortunately the rear of the car is obscured but enough of the well proportioned two-seater coupe body can be seen to assess its appearance. The image from which this extract was taken includes three Minors, all of which were taking part in a reliability trial in the Christchurch district of South Island during late 1931 or early 1932, the image appearing in a February 1932 edition of The Autocar. (Photoscan courtesy of LAT Images)

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IOTW no.368

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1930 Minor Fabric Saloon

This snapshot image of a mid-1930 Manchester registered car (VR 8409) has little to commend it as it is typical of so many ‘car and their owner’ shots of the period. It was during the tail-end of the twenties decade and throughout the thirties that car ownership became far more widespread – while still bestowing a certain cachet upon the owner resulting in the plethora of similar images to be found today on eBay and elsewhere. In this photo the car may well have been owned by a company who provided it for their ‘commercial traveler’ or sales representative. The be-suited man leaning against the Fabric Saloon certainly has that appearance and even carries a pen and pencil in his waistcoat breast pocket.

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IOTW no.367

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1928 Minor prototype UD 2268

Just how many Minor Fabric Saloon prototypes were built in the spring and early summer of 1928 is frequently debated. The earliest known image is the famous shot of UD 2071 with William Morris standing alongside. However there are a number of other images particularly of UD 2268 (as seen here) and UD 2270, this car being the subject of a publicity  photo-shoot in Bibery, Glos during the summer of that year. Additionally UD 2483 was photographed around the same time in Norfolk while other publicity photographs of the period show Minors with number plates deliberately removed. It has also been pointed out that the factory moved plates from one car to another with complete disregard to the law despite their ability to affix trade plates. While the answer to the question of how many Fabric Saloon prototypes or development cars were built is likely to remain unanswered, we do know that there were at least four evidenced by the images taken that summer, the big assumption being that number plates were not swapped around!

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IOTW no.366

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1931 Swallow Hornet Tourer

When launched the four-seat Hornet tourer was priced at £225, just £5 more than its two-seat counterpart. By 1933 the prices of the (by now) very successful Swallow models had risen dramatically, with the two-seater selling through sole agents Henly’s at £255 while the price of the four-seater had reached £260. The Henly empire had grown significantly by 1933, with branches opening away from its London hub including a new outlet in Manchester. This undoubtedly aided sales of the all Swallow models including the Hornet variants. (The re-touched image is a scan of a piece of Autocar artwork and appears here courtesy of LAT Images)

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IOTW no.365

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The Morris Eight

The Minor’s successor on the Cowley production lines was the Morris Eight. Surprisingly it wasn’t packed with new technology and even reverted to a three speed gearbox but it was a completely new car from the wheels up with a brand new three bearing crank, 918 cc engine. Its up to date styling mimicked that of the February 1932 launched Ford Eight Y Type Saloon and the outgoing Minor’s appearance looked dated alongside the thoroughly modern Eight. The car was a big hit with customers who seemed to far prefer the Morris version over competing models from Ford, Standard and Singer. The Morris Eight quickly became Morris Motors best-ever selling car with the Series E Eight continuing in production after WWII, with the last versions leaving Cowley in 1948. The car seen here is a 1936 Sliding-head two-door Saloon, this image first appearing in a June 1936 edition of The Autocar. (This is an Autocar photo-scan appearing here courtesy of LAT Images)

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IOTW no.364

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Goggles

Head attire in an open car is an important consideration, particularly if the car is driven in all weathers and with the hood down. In the twenties and thirties drivers of competition vehicles were often subject to adverse weather conditions for many hours on end during the course of endurance races and trials. Many drivers used flying helmets in this period, long before the use of crash helmets and as a result fatalities at race meetings were a common occurrence. This elegant flying helmet was also adorned with wind driven wipers on the lenses of the goggles. Now this of course may have been an April fools stunt as the gearing required for the wiper blades to operate at anything other than at a frenetic speed would have been somewhat complex. It’s also interesting to note that the driver is wearing the latest ‘beat’ headphones built into her helmet while the leads are clearly attached to her iPad. Now this may have been a serious attempt at improving visibility for competition drivers but for those of us who know and use Rain X such a contraption is certainly not necessary today. This image can be found in the Getty/Hulton archive and is numbered 613501066.

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IOTW no.363

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1932 Eastbourne Concours D’Elegance Competition

The ‘Eastbourne Concours’ was a famous motoring event which ran throughout the thirties decade.  This scene, taken in Devonshire Place, Eastbourne was photographed during the course of the events third running on 7th September 1932.  Three of the prize winning entries can be seen here. On the far left is an Arrow bodied Austin Seven while alongside it sits a similarly bodied Hornet – both cars being ‘Foursome’ models and entered by their constructor, Arrow Coachworks of Hanwell, London. On the right is a Eustace Watkins model built by Abbey Coachworks and entered by Miss C. Labouchere. This event attracted huge crowds, a small section of which can be seen in this LAT image – plate reference E1229.

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IOTW no.362

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Pre-Brock & Bell…

Intrepid Minorist’s are not a new breed and back in January 1933 Alan Gilg and Walter Kay set out to travel from Liverpool to Capetown in a 1933 Minor Tourer HF 8547. Their adventures are recorded in a book first published by the RAC in 1981 entitled ‘Turn Left- The Riffs Have Risen’ (ISBN 0 86211 016 5). The book was authored by Gilg and has been long out of print but for those who have not read it as yet , copies can be found on Amazon and eBay. The image seen here was discovered on a South African stock image site without a caption and it looks as if the car is about to embark on a voyage – perhaps from Folkstone on the outward leg to France or in South Africa prior to shipment of the vehicle back to the UK. Kay is seen in the centre of this photo with Gilg to his left sporting a moustache.

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IOTW no.361

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A Minor Coupe Special

The drawing seen here was scanned from a May 1930 coachbuilding trade magazine in which details were provided to construct an enclosed Coupe body adapted to fit a 1930 Minor chassis. This chassis drawing includes many of the important dimensions needed when restoring an early OHC Minor although it should be noted that in this case the steering wheel illustrated is the early dished type and using this as a reference point in conjunction with a later steering wheel will I’m sure cause some head scratching.

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IOTW no.360

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1931 Minor 5 cwt van

Thanks goes to Kartik Lunia for submitting this interesting image which, according to its caption, was taken on 9th January 1937 in central London.

The stilt-walkers causing the delay to London’s traffic were from Landes in south-western France.  All were shepherds who tended their flocks on the poorly drained heathland soil of the region and who used their stilts to help pick their way through the boggy terrain. It appears that they were on their way to the Royal Albert Hall where they were to perform – we no not what!

The Minor van is interesting. It was first registered in London in the summer of 1931. It’s clearly a SV model as is seen by the upright headlamps and lack of side lights, although at that time both OHC and SV engined types were available to purchase. The ‘by appointment’ coat of arms attached to its roof would indicate that it was perhaps operated by one of the capitals great retailers such as Harrod’s or Fortnum & Mason’s. It’s in remarkably good condition for a commercial vehicle that was almost six years old at the time the photograph was taken.

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IOTW no.359

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1932 Minor Family Eight

Morris Motors launched the last of their 847 cc OHC engined cars in August 1931. The two models concerned, a four door saloon the Family Eight and a two door 2+2 enclosed car, the Sports Coupe were both constructed on a lengthened Minor chassis. These new Minors were built alongside a four model range series of short wheel base cars which along with the 5 cwt van provided a comprehensive offering for customers on a limited budget. The Family Eight and Sports Coupe were the first models in the Minor range to be available with hydraulic brakes which proved to be a big improvement on the cable operated system present on the swb cars. The Family Eight was a well equipped, good looking car of the period as can be seen in this newly discovered LAT image (Plate ref: E2161). However it sold in modest numbers when compared with its swb sibling and only retained its OHC engine for its first season before adopting the S.V. unit (as already used in the rest of the Minor range) for the 1933 and 1934 seasons.

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IOTW no.358

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VJ 3262 1930 Morris Minor Semi-Sports

Getty Images have recently acquired the rights to the photos taken by the 20’s & 30’s motoring photographer Bill Brunell. He was an accomplished artist with his camera and captured many iconic images from that period. This shot of a Herefordshire registered Minor Semi-Sports resonates with the writer as his own Semi-Sports is also Herefordshire registered with a registration plate just 106 earlier than that shown here. VJ 3262 is being driven by C. Clowes in the November 1931 running of the Inter Varsity Trial although the location is not known.

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IOTW no.356

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This Autocar photoscan (courtesy of LAT Photographic) hardly requires a caption. The scottie dog and MG M Type are both unidentified and appeared in a spring 1936 edition of the magazine when the Midget was at least four years old. The photo has been heavily retouched making the legibility of the wording on the left-hand badge impossible to read.

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IOTW no.355

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Colonial Minors

In the early thirties the colonies and dominions of the British Empire were a growing, although largely untapped market for both British car manufacturers in general and Morris Motors in particular. The rugged terrain associated with these developing countries favoured the more robust construction of American built vehicles, although in the cities some British vehicles found favour, particularly among the ex-pat population. This photograph of a convoy of Morris vehicles was taken on a Cape Town, South Africa road in January 1931. The cars, which includes the current range of OHC Minors with a Fire Tender at its head are on their way to the Cape Town Motor Show. Behind the Minors came the Cowleys while at the rear the front of an MG M Type Midget is visible. (Autocar Photo Scan – courtesy of LAT Photographic)

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IOTW no.354

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Minor Two-seater KV 309

This image of a very late 1931 Coventry registered (32 season) Minor Two-seater was found  in a January 1936 Autocar editorial folder in the LAT archive. It’s unusual for a car no longer in production to appear in a current edition of that magazine but this shot was used to illustrate the effectiveness of the wing-bracing bar with which this car had been retro-fitted.

In just about every other respect (from what can be seen) this Minor was very much a run-of-the-mill four year old example of the model. It was running on almost treadless front tyres, which was not unusual in any way for the period and had a filthy underside. So very much an image of a Minor in regular daily use. (Image courtesy LAT Photographic)

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IOTW no.353

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1932 Minor Saloon KJ 7249

There is nothing exceptional about this (late spring) 1932 Kent registered Minor Saloon parked up outside a Northfleet lock-up – that is unless you are Nick Baines. Nick of Rochester, Kent owned this car in the mid-fifties when it became his first-ever four wheeled vehicle. Nick wanted to know if the car had survived the intervening 60 years, but like so many others it doesn’t look as if it has. It appears that while the registration remains ‘current’ it is no longer attached to his old Morris.

(Nick met PWMN member John Paternoster at a Kent car show where they struck-up a conversation about John’s 1929 Minor Tourer, Nick then sending this photo to John who kindly passed it on to the Network.)

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IOTW no.352

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A 5 CWT Van!

Images of Minor vans are comparatively rare and seldom appear on eBay. This anonymous van was an eBay purchase although there is little that can be said about the photo other than that it looks like it was owned by a small family business. What we do know is that the van is neither a 1932 or 1934 version as the spare wheel is attached to the nearside door – it wasn’t for these model years.

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IOTW no.351

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Hertford Street, Coventry

These two images were taken less than seven years apart. The first shows a peaceful city centre scene with an early 1933 Coventry registered Minor Saloon KV 4341 parked at the kerbside outside a W.H. Smith’s store. A jeweller’s shop clock shows the time to be just a few minutes past 4:00PM on what is perhaps an early autumn afternoon. The second image depicts the same street on the night of 14th November 1940 taken during the course of an air raid that laid waste to great tracts of this once imposing Midland’s city.

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IOTW no.350

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1930 Wolseley Hornet Saloon

Very little is known about this eBay sourced snapshot photograph of a 1930 Wolseley Hornet Coachbuilt Saloon. On its reverse is a pencil note reading ‘1933’. The nearside front wheel is off the car while one of the two men in shot sits astride the front axle and appears to be working on the brakes. Of course the Hornet Saloon was fitted with Lockheed hydraulics, this model being an early adopter of the system on what was a budget priced car. The setting could be a camp site at a seaside resort with a large ridge tent in shot and a thirties caravan. The identity of the car is unknown but a tantalising and barely legible glimpse of the letters OU or GV on the front number plate are just discernible through the spokes of the wheel.

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IOTW no.349

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A Minor in ‘The Lakes’

There is little to say about this lovely snapshot image of a 1930/31 OHC Minor Coachbuilt Saloon, pictured at rest alongside one of the lakes in what is now one of Britain’s favourite National Parks. The Minor is painted in a two-tone scheme and is easily identifiable as an OHC version by the presence of side lights and the chrome work present.

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IOTW no.348

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More Postcards

The internet remains a rich source for Minor images while eBay postcards from the pre-war period offer-up the the most frequent finds. Here we have an unidentified lwb Minor saloon parked outside of Dunfermline Abbey (Fife) and its adjoining palace ruins, while the second image features a 1931 Bucks registered S.V. Minor 5 cwt van (KX 7653) parked in Marlow High Street, Buckinghamshire. Neither shot is exceptional in any way and were of course not taken for their motoring content but to illustrate the locale.

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IOTW no.347

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Colonial Ingenuity

John McDonald from Christchurch, New Zealand sent this snapshot image and press cutting of a 1930/31 Minor Coachbuilt Saloon. While the date and source are unknown the period is likely to be in either the immediate run-up to WWII or shortly after the end of that conflict. The Minor was used to transport the whole family including the dog while the specially adapted child seat was way ahead of its time. John McDonald comments that the small pram attached to the front of the car is not going to help the thermo-syphon cooling system cope with the heat one iota. John goes on to comment that the colonials “…expect a lot more from their cars.” On the evidence of these images there will be little argument to that.

In order to read the press-cutting without it constantly rotating – just click upon it.

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IOTW no.346

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GPO Telephones Linesman’s Van

Hugh Barnes (Orstin) provided this image of his father’s Linesman’s 5 cwt Minor hybrid van – CLP 639. The photo was taken in the pre-war period and shows a Stanmore registered vehicle parked outside a suburban house somewhere in Metro land. Hugh’s father was a GPO telephone engineer at this time – can anyone date the van from the vehicle registration? After serving his country throughout the 1939-45 conflict his father rose through the ranks at the GPO and upon becoming an inspector graduated to Morris Eights (CDL 599 and GOR 495). Perhaps Hugh should amend his forum user name to ‘Morry’ in view of his father’s motoring pedigree!

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IOTW no.345

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Nottingham 1953

Joe Watson attended Nottingham University in 1953 and can be seen here at the wheel of his 1934 Minor Sliding-head Saloon (BPF 706) outside the Hugh Stewart Halls of Residence in that city. His Minor was first registered in Surrey during the spring of 1934 just a few months before production of the model ceased. Alongside his 19 year old Minor are parked two motorcycles, a 1914 Levis and a 1935 AJS, further examples of student transport at that time. Joe reports that he sold the car some time later to a buyer in Rossington, Yorks but suspects that it didn’t survive too long after that.

Thanks to regular contributor Tony Eldridge for sending the image for publication and also to Trevor Austin (Image copyright Joe Watson)

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IOTW no.1 (reprised from July 2009)

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Reprise – IOTW no.1 from July 2009

This new feature will interchange with the COTW slot and provide an option to display some of the interesting images from the PWMN archive.

This first photograph is appropriate as it shows one of the assembly shops in Cowley through which two production lines pass. On the first track many workers are busy assembling what looks like a large six cylinder car, these chassis finishing up at the end of the line as an Oxford, Isis or Major. On the second such track sit eight OHC Minor chassis where it can clearly be seen that steering column, firewall, fuel tank, steering wheel and radiator have all been progressively fitted to the cars. As to where the workforce have gone is another matter as not one individual appears to be working on this line, in direct contrast to the six cylinder line. In the centre background are three apertures which look to be exits from what can only be a chassis painting area. One such chassis has exited this area which marks the end of the tracked line; the cars now being re-wheeled with rubber tyre artillery wheels for ease of movement elsewhere within the factory, next stop being the Body Shop. In the top right hand corner of this photograph can be seen two completed cars one of which already has a white label attached to is windscreen prior to it being moved away for final testing. The interior of the former Morris Motors Cowley Works could not contrast more with that of the current BMW Mini works located on the same site. I doubt that there are any upturned wooden ‘Morrells Ham’ crates doubling as workbenches or that fire extinguishers would be located so high up on a wall as to be next to useless in the event of a fire. What is most intriguing for the writer is that appearing somewhere in this 1930 photograph could be one of the Minors that 80 years later sits in a mid Suffolk garage not too far from where this article is being written!

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IOTW no.344

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Quinney’s Super Cafe!

This postcard was sent in May 1935 and features a roadhouse on the Blackpool Road near Preston, Lancs. There are other postcard images of this location to be found on the internet some of which show the interior of this self-styled ‘Super Cafe’. It certainly was spacious as within its walls it housed a ballroom, coffee room a large lounge and the cafe itself. Unfortunately the registration plate of the Minor Family Eight parked outside is illegible.

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IOTW no.343

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West Wickham High Street, Kent 1935

WP 72 is a mid-1931 Worcester registered Minor Two-seater and is seen here some 150 miles from its place of first registration. It would appear that the centre of West Wickham High Street was the path selected for the installation or repair of one of the main utilities, the roadway being left in very poor condition by the contractors. Eighty one years on one or two brand names to be seen on shop fronts (Hovis, Express Dairy) still resonate today.

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IOTW no.342

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Somewhere in Norfolk – early Thirties…

Another family snapshot features this week. The car is a 1930 Minor Fabric saloon VG 2592, first registered in Norfolk midway through 1930. The Minor is unexceptional and looks completely ‘standard’ which may indicate that the photo was taken early in its life – older cars of the period invariably show signs of being personalized in some way. It would be interesting to know just what it was attracting the attention of mother and child on the other side of the wall.

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IOTW no.341

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Hartland, Devon – October 20th 1934

This W.J. Brunell image first appeared in the 26th October 1934 edition of The Autocar. It depicts the square in the North Devon village of Hartland full of 46 trials cars and their crews, all having descended upon the village for the start of an all-day trial which was later to conclude at Hartland Quay. The cars were taking part in the North West London Motor Club’s inaugural Team Trial and numerous marques and models can be identified in the melee. Among the MGs, Wolseleys, Singers and a Frazer Nash is a lone 1933 Minor Two-seater (No.14). Unfortunately the car’s registration plate is not visible, sight of which may have aided identification of the crew. It might well be the car of W.E.C. Greenleaf who won a Best Individual Performance award, in which case the car’s registration is YY 7277. (Image courtesy of LAT Photographic – scanned from a still photograph)

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IOTW no.340

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Yet another Seven…

What is going on here? The 1928 Croydon registered Austin Seven Chummy is parked upon a fairly rudimentary rolling road. The Seven’s revolving rear wheels provide movement via two sets of drums and an interconnecting shaft, at the end of which are two large paddles. The paddles provide motion to the water which in turn will provide impetus to drive a millstone perhaps? (LAT Plate L4035)

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IOTW no.339

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EV 433 MG Midget

Member Keith Durston has owned this Essex registered M Type since the sixties and these two images reflect the changes that have taken place in the intervening 50 years. The early photo was taken in suburban Farnham while the later shot was taken at the Goodwood racing circuit in Sussex recently. Keith is one of a group of members who have owned their cars for over 50 years – the others being, Ken Martin, Peter Brock and Peter Yates. If there are others I have failed to mention then please contact chris@prewarminor.com

Keith writes:

“I bought the car when I was 17 for £20. It was worn out, broken and abandoned in a farm yard in Essex. It had been there for some time as there was a small tree/sapling growing through the floorboards. The scuttle was so frail that it had been skinned with steel to hold it together and the doors and tail were home made. All the mechanicals were original and all the steel work (bonnet, wings and valances) were intact. I spent the best part of a year taking it completely apart and putting it back together to use as my everyday car which is when these photos were taken. In nearly 3 years I did well over 20,000 miles until everything was once more worn out. At this point I took it apart to try and rebuild it properly, a task that was only completed 3 years ago when I entered retirement.”

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IOTW no.338

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Stock village, Essex

Located just a few miles south of Chelmsford, Stock village gave its name to stock bricks (according to to Wikipedia). These two eBay postcard images of a 1930 MG Midget VX 6780 were taken in the thirties and almost certainly on the same day. Perhaps the car was either owned by the photographer or he/she was a passenger in the Midget as a driver appears seated in both images?

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IOTW no.337

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Strowan House – Christchurch, New Zealand

Strowan House in Christchurch was formerly a grand homestead but in 1917 it became home to an educational establishment, St. Andrews College. The college marks its centenary next year but the b&w image seen here was taken in the late thirties or early forties and it’s believed that the 1934 Minor Sliding-head Saloon seen parked outside the main entrance belonged to the Matron at that time, a Mrs Pocock. Once again we have John McDonald to thank for this image who now works part-time as a member of the college’s ground maintenance team.

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IOTW no.336

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A Semi-Sports quartet…

A VMR Rally held in Dorset during July 2007 saw the coming together of four Minor Semi-Sports, although to be totally accurate three of them were 1930 Semi-Sports while the fourth car in shot was a re-bodied 1929 Minor Tourer GU 1342. The builder of this car (Dave Cooksey) is seen standing alongside the vehicle while its then owner (David Roscoe) is in the drivers seat with his wife alongside him. Next to GU 1342 is a car with strong Dorset connections in LJ 4435 a car making its debut at the rally and shipped over from the USA for the occasion by its then owner Ian Grace. It’s believed that both of these cars are currently for sale. Next in line is the editorial car VJ 1756 which had been purchased in a part-completed state a year earlier from Brian Ellams in Cirencester. On the far right is the Mike Jones car JN 570 which, along with VJ 1756 will be returning to Dorset next month to take part in the Jurassic Rally. With IA 9142 (Alistair Bond) active along with Semi-Sports replica FD 6409 (Garry Waiting)e it could be possible to re-create a similar image – perhaps at the 2017 rally?

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IOTW no.335

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1930 or 31 Minor Coachbuilt Saloon

Another eBay sourced snapshot this one probably from the forties or fifties. The car is heavily laden with additional lighting with two (perhaps three) extra fog/spot lights to the front, to no doubt further overload the lighting circuit. This period was infamous for autumnal and early winter smogs which made driving a very risky business in those conditions. The two individuals in the photograph are probably father and son, period touches being the father’s trilby hat and the son’s college scarf and pipe. The embellishment of a contrasting painted coachline further adds to the clues indicating that the photo was taken later in the car’s life.

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IOTW no.334

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Thorpe Abbotts 2010

The first Pre-war Minor Network Rally took place over the weekend of 11th-13th June 2010 and and was centered upon the former 100th Bomb Group airfield at Thorpe Abbotts in South Norfolk. A real cross section of pre-war cars were entered including Minors, Austin Sevens, a Riley Nine tourer and Halbe Tjepkema’s Aston Martin Le Mans. The sole MG entry was a 1970 Midget.

Saturday evening’s rally dinner was a fish and chip supper laid on by ‘The Codfather’ mobile fryer while after dinner entertainment was provided by a period singing duo. Apart from the singing, the rally was a success and set the pattern for those that followed.

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IOTW no.333

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1930 MG Midget VC 3753

The Triple M Forum have recently featured this postcard image which was purchased on eBay by the writer. The vehicle in shot is a 1930 Coventry registered MG Midget  VC 3753,  from the spring of that year. Mike Dalby the Register’s M Type specialist believes that the car is likely to have been supplied by S.H. Newsome, a Coventry MG dealer while records kept by the late Mike Hawke details the registration as being associated with chassis number 2M/1131. If that was the case then the car left Abingdon on 27th February 1930 and was sold by Newsome’s to a W.C Wadsworth – perhaps that is him in the photo?

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IOTW no.332

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1930 Minor Coachbuilt Saloon GJ 4294

What is a London registered Minor Coachbuilt Saloon doing in the Cumbrian (formerly Cumberland) coastal town of Whitehaven some 330 miles from home? This postcard image was taken in the town’s main street, which runs down to the harbour, at 5:20 PM on an overcast day. Was this the car of a London based  commercial traveler or that of a family man on holiday in the far north west of England? The year was 1931 .

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IOTW no.331

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AGK 951 1933 Minor Two-seater

Chris Richards forwarded these images of a 1933 Minor Two-seater which were taken immediately after the car was rebuilt by a friend in 1966. The car was a very pale blue in colour with white wheels and black wing. There are many other non-standard features to be seen including the dash board and instrumentation, while the hood is conspicuous by its absence. The Lucas vacuum wiper has been replaced by a similarly powered Trico device and the car’s rear wings have been drilled to accept indicators, rear lights and reflectors. At the front of the car, a spot light has been fitted, the headlamp shells have been chromed and side lights and indicators attached to the wings. These changes were made no doubt to modernise the car’s appearance which was a perfectly acceptable practice at that time. The car’s registration is not currently listed on the DVLA website.

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IOTW no.330

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A Sunday run?

GC 4608 is a 1930 London registered Minor Fabric Saloon. It’s seen here parked up at what looks like a coastal location while the owners shelter on the leeward side, perhaps using the Minor as a wind-break. The car looks to be in excellent condition and has been fitted with a fold-away luggage rack. (Image Harry Edwards collection)

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IOTW no.329

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1930 Wolseley Hornet Special AM-62-91

There are many images to be found on the internet of this early and very pretty Netherlands based Hornet, these photos being testament to the fact that it is used regularly. This sequence of three images show the car taking part in two separate rallies where the weather conditions are clearly not ideal. The (presumably) Dutch driver and his passenger are however dressed for the occasion(s) and look as though they are enjoying themselves despite this.

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IOTW no.328

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1929/30 Gordon England Minor Saloon Special

This excellent ‘front-on’ view of a newly built G.E. Minor Fabric Saloon Special was taken outside the Gordon England ‘Palace of Industry’ workshops which were constructed for the 1924 British Empire Exhibition on the Wembley Stadium complex in N.W. London. The car’s fabric skinned body was mounted on rubber blocks, and had a single point greasing system. Further luxuries included a sliding ‘sunshine’ roof and Moseley ‘Float-on-air’ seating. Gordon England built at least three variations on this theme with similar bodies being mounted upon Austin Seven and Triumph Super Seven chassis. The Minor version was priced at £175 at launch in the late autumn of 1929. (LAT Red 7538)

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IOTW no.327

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1931 Motor Show Minor Saloon

The Minor Saloon was completely revised for the 1932 season. The most significant technical change from the earlier Saloons was the re-positioning of the fuel tank from the front (beneath the bonnet) to the rear of the car. Other styling changes included the adoption of an “eddy-free” front end, which meant that the roof overlap or peak seen on the earlier Coachbuilt Saloons had gone. The doors were now significantly wider and featured both a contrasting coloured inset panel and winding windows. Further changes saw the introduction of new Magna wheels, a longer bonnet and a pretty fluted radiator surround while another significant addition saw the availability of a sliding-head version for the first time – superceding the Kopalapso folding roof seen on the 1930 and 1931 models. The example seen here is the actual 1931 London Motor Show car, the photo in its interim re-touched state prior to the printers removing the unwanted parts of the image.  This photo first appeared in an October 1931 edition of The Autocar and is seen here courtesy of LAT Photographic.

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IOTW no.326

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Portable Garage

Austin Seven owners were a resourceful bunch in the twenties. Here a couple make use of what looks to be a discarded packing case which has then been modified to transform it into a makeshift weather proof garage. These newly discovered LAT Plates are inscribed with the word ‘portable’, perhaps as the contraption can be easily moved around a property?

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IOTW no.325

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Another Minor snapshot

There are probably thousands of surviving images from the thirties of Minors acting as a backdrop in snapshots of a family member or members, as is the case here. On this occasion the Minor in question is a 1932 Fixed-head Saloon which was almost certainly supplied new by London Morris main dealer Stewart & Ardern, the clue being the registration, MU 3931. The fashion on display is interesting in that the subject is wearing a butterfly collar shirt with an elaborate chequered tie while his shirt sleeves are rolled up above the elbow. This image was found tucked away in an obscure corner of the LAT Photographic archive and not, as is usually the case found on eBay.

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IOTW no.324

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Bridlington 1933

VO 8093 is a spring 1932 Nottinghamshire registered Minor Saloon. These two images of the car are simply captioned on their rear with the word Bridlington and the year 1933. At the time this photograph was taken the Minor was probably a little over a year old. One of these images shows two of the car’s occupants posing by the car, the photo presumably being taken by a third potential occupant. Just how did they stow the tent and their other luggage when traveling from Nottingham to the coast?

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IOTW no. 323

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1933 MCC London Exeter Trial 29th & 30th December

1933 Minor Two-Seater JJ 6718 was first registered in London in the summer of 1933 and so was only a few months old when G.V. Firmin entered it for the 1933 running of the famous London – Exeter Trial which was held over two days (29th/30th December) that year. Firmin went on to collect a Silver Award driving at least part of the way with his windscreen in the open position. His car was reasonably well prepared for this event with trials tyres fitted to the rear, braced front wings and two large spotlights fitted low to the front. His Minor was one of six that took part that year.

(N.B. The sharp contrast seen on this LAT Plate C2355 is due in part to the deteriorating condition of the emulsion affixed to the back of the glass. Unfortunately these images won’t last for ever which is another good reason to show them now.)

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IOTW no. 322

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Somewhere in the colonies?

Posing on a 1929 or early 1930 Minor Tourer, this young lady is not dressed for a typically British summer. The wood-lap bungalow and palm fronds seen above the roof line would indicate that the photo was taken in sub-tropical climes perhaps somewhere in the former British Empire. Could this photograph have been taken in Australia or New Zealand, both of which were large export markets for Morris cars?

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IOTW no. 321

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Moreton-in-Marsh, Glos mid-thirties

The large village of Moreton-in-March is located in the northern Cotswolds and has developed as a result of its location on a junction of the Fosse Way and what is now the A44, the main route from The Cotswolds to central Wales and the Welsh coast beyond. During the summer months the town suffers badly from traffic congestion although this was clearly not the case in the mid-thirties when this peaceful summer afternoon image was taken. The 1934 Minor Sliding-head Saloon, seen here parked in the shade of a tree with the arches of the Market Hall to be seen in the background, was first registered in the City of Worcester as FK 5927.

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Image(s) of the week no. 320

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1930 Wolseley Hornet Saloon

The April 18th 1930 edition of The Autocar contained an announcement and images of a new series of models from Wolseley Motors named the ‘Hornet’. The model range consisted of just two saloon types, the Coachbuilt and Fabric versions selling at £185 and £175 respectively. The cars were hardly unusual in appearance, in fact they were fitted with the same bodies as those to be found on the Minor Saloons launched in 1928 (Fabric Saloon) and 1929 (Coachbuilt Saloon). The difference of course was the 1271 cc six cylinder OHC engine under its elongated bonnet. The car caused quite a sensation and sold very well. Edited images of those to be seen here appeared in that April edition of The Autocar and which look to have been taken on a piece of derelict land adjoining Wolseley’s Ward End, Birmingham plant. They are published here this week in celebration of the recent discovery of an almost complete version of this car in Warwick, U.K., just 24 miles from its Ward End birthplace almost 86 years ago. (LAT Photo Scans)

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IOTW 319

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Another postcard Minor.

The centre of Chester is a beautiful place with Eastgate Street and Bridge Street a huge tourist draw. These two roads intersect at The Cross where a Minor saloon is holding up the traffic on Eastgate Street as directed by the white coated constable on point duty. From the appearance of the other vehicles on view the photo was almost certainly taken in the very early years of the Thirties decade. The 1929 season Minors are easily spotted on period photos with their Morris script clearly visible on the radiator core.

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IOTW 318

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Widecome-in-the-moor (again)

This eBay postcard image of a 1931 Minor Semi-Sports features the same location as that depicted in IOTW 305 when the car involved was a 1932 S.V. Two-seater. The building is known as The Church House and was built in 1540, so almost 500 years old. Part of this building serves today as a tourist information centre for this part of Dartmoor. To find out more about the property visit the local parish council website www.widecombe-in-the-moor.com/places_of_interest/church_house.php The image was possibly taken later in the thirties as the rear number plate on the Semi-Sports looks to have been changed to a non-standard pattern item, while the other large tourer glimpsed in the image almost certainly had its origins in the twenties. When only 744 Semi-Sports models were produced finding new images of these cars is something of an event.

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IOTW 317

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1932 or 33 Minor 5cwt Van

This image is currently for auction on eBay with a starting price of £150, a sum significantly greater than the cost of the van when new.

The vehicle in question belongs to an electrical retail business namely J H Rostromin of Mumbles (near Swansea, Wales) who were agents for the Marconi P.A. broadcasting equipment seen on demonstration in the photo. Note the unmetalled  road surface, while the bunting seen at the top of the image may signify that the equipment was being used to make announcements for a street event or something similar.

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IOTW 316

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Bournemouth circa 1960

1934 Minor Two-seater CPO 688 is parked up on a busy Bournemouth Street sometime in the late fifties or early sixties. It looks to have been in regular use and its lighting system had been updated to cater for the changes in legislation and increased traffic density that had taken place since the time of its manufacture some 25 years earlier. According to the current DVLA database it looks like this particular car didn’t survive the mass cull of pre-war cars that followed the introduction of the Ministry of Transport’s ‘Ten Year Test’ launched in 1960, about the time this photo was taken.

The Bournemouth Trolleybus system was the second largest in the country according to Wikipedia and at its height ran a fleet consisting of 104 electric powered omnibuses.

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IOTW 315

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1931 Minor Semi-Sports

PN 7005 was first registered in East Sussex in the late spring of 1931 and is one of just 744 of these cars to be produced. It’s captured here in a very poor quality photograph taken during the course of a London to Brighton run where it can be seen passing a veteran car from the turn of the twentieth century. The long radiator Ford Eight Y Type Saloon dates the photograph as post 1934 which is when the smooth bumper model Ford was introduced. This photo is currently appearing on the Triple M Register website forum and appears here courtesy of Lancia Chris, a forum member.

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IOTW 314

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A Minor in Mablethorpe

The Lincolnshire coastline was a strong attraction for holiday makers throughout the Thirties. Cleethorpes, Skegness and Mablethorpe were all accessible from both the Midland and Northern industrial areas either via the railway or by road. Many spent their time in Lincolnshire living under canvas in one of the many large camp sites scattered along that coast. Later that decade a number of these sites were taken over by a new breed of family holiday entrepreneur, among whom was Billy Butlin who opened his first such site in Skegness in 1936.

The tents and what look like early versions of mobile homes seen here are pitched on sand while the brick built building in the background could well be the site’s  facilities block. The scene captured by the postcard photographer includes an early Austin Seven and what is either a Minor or Hornet Saloon in the background.

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IOTW 312

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VN 4071

VN 4071 1933 Minor Sliding-head Saloon: Terry Lloyd from Canvey Island is the current custodian of this car but this Atamy photo was taken in 1970 and shows a young man named John Marshall from Teesside fettling his car before setting off on a long journey (the caption provides no more info). This looks like a local press image from the period and is one of two featuring the car.

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Image of the week 311

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More Snapshots

Two more period images highlighting the first Minor models to be produced. The top image shows a 1930 Surrey registered Tourer (PL ????) on a sandy beach. The carrier bag emblazoned with Cheltenham Industrial Traders Ltd. may provide a clue as to the setting in that its possible that the beach is located the south-west of the country – Weston-Super-Mare would be within day-trip range. Had more of the open door on the Austin Seven van been included in the photo its indecipherable sign writing may have revealed more. The image of a 1930 Bath registered Fabric Saloon (FB 8378)  was found on the Autocar website incorrectly captioned as a 1934 Morris Eight, and was included in a feature celebrating the Morris centenary.

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