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"Woody" - Our Morris Traveller

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"Woody" our 1963 Morris Traveller in Almond Green.

 

 

  Our first car car forty nine years ago was a Morris Traveller and this Woody is now Traveller number eleven. We have owned six saloon cars and one van over the years. We have sold and serviced Minors and Minis since those early days in the 1960s  although now the car cover business is the core of our focus. As Father time keeps marching on and its easier to sit at a desk than crawl under a car so now I let somebody else do the hard work.

We still sell and service  Morris Minors and Classic Minis.

We used have a page for Woody on our old website but I left it off this one but people kept asking about it so its back on again!

Woody was registered in 1963  having been sold by Kennings the main BMC dealer in Lichfield Staffordshire. The car was purchased by a local engineering company to be used by a travelling salesman. The car gave good service for 8/9 years and clocked up a very high mileage. The early 1970s saw it sold to the man who had been the salesman who had started his own business. He travelled all over the country for another 6/7 years before deciding to use Woody as a second family car. As I understand it when the engine got tired a replacement gold seal was fitted and then back to the road again.

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Kennings Garage Lichfield 

Woody had now clocked up well in excess of 400,000  miles and was then used to teach his children to drive and as a general run around. The late 1980's saw the car go downhill to the point where it was taken off the road and for some reason he hand painted it white (Very badly)

1999 while sitting on the beach in Teignmouth Devon I was reading Practical Classics and saw a sales advert for the car in Staffordshire.  Having owned many Travellers previously I decided it was time to add another to our fleet of a Minor 2 door, BMW 628Csi &  Mini auto. I knew the car would be poor and the price refelected this but it was worse than I had imagined. Brakes seized, clutch slipping, engine just about ran but the oil pressure hardly registered on the gauge. I surprised myself by still doing the deal and then set about a rolling restoration..to be honest its stilll ongoing!

A few weeks later she was up and running with an MOT having had a good deal of welding, complete  new brakes, clutch, radiator, battery and other bits and bobs. A year later saw a quick coat of paint to improve the look and also a wood strip and re varnish.

Since 2000 we have used Woody as an advert for our business with sign writing on the rear doors  of the car. It is a regular sight on the roads of South Devon being used everyday of the year. It is not a sunny day car.

That said there was a gap in 2003 when I had a rush of blood to the head and sold Woody to a local man for his son to use. I had three other classics so no problem..or at least that was what I thought. Two days later I knew I had made a big mistake. I was surprised not to see the car out and about and a few months later I had a phone call. The caller asked if I would I buy the car back as his son had changed his mind and it was not being used and had only done 65 miles since he purchased Woody. He had though just put a stainless steel exhaust on it which was good news.  We did a deal and Woody was back home and this time here to stay!

2000-2011

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Over the last few years we have slowly..some might say very slowly..upgraded Woody and made her a pleasure to drive. I suppose the purists out there will groan when they read the next line but as I said earlier this is Traveller no11 and the first one to be modified so hopefully I can be forgiven.

Replacement engine (2010)..we purchased a donor car with a cracking engine for peanuts money

MG Midget Disc brakes

Spin on oil filter

Alternator

Servo

Minilite wheels

Halogen headlights

External sunvisor

Nearside front wing

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2012

Mileage nearing the magic 500,000 although we do not exactly

Elizabeth and I (She is the one with the head of red hair) have just refurbished the front seats. This is a task which is made easier with two people but when one member of the team has hair of a certain colour and the other team member wants the job doing their way peace and harmony seem to be left outside the garage door.

On a nice sunny morning in January and we are off with our friends from the Devon Vintage car club for a run and Sunday lunch..Failed..Take a look at Woodies Travels for the story.

Out and about when a misfire takes hold then a loss of power and awful knocking noise.The oil pressure is still good so I suspect maybe burnt valves. Woody is not able to make the hill home so a little assistance is required. Update in due course when the problem is resolved. We were going to have the roof guttering sorted and a roof repaint this month but looks like engine takes priority.

Well..head gasket was the problem. New one fitted and up and running again. All was well for a short distance then temp. gauge went right  up. The bottom hose was cold..just an air lock I thought. Wrong.. I bled the system and it was still cold so I consulted the great minds of the classic car world. A collective thought it was still an air lock but one bright spark said change your water pump and it will solve it. The pump shows no sign of leaking but its not a big job so I did. Guess what..he was right, problem solved.

July brings along the debate about the woodwork. This year we decided to strip it back to bare wood and then re varnish. Doesn't look too bad does it?

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After much debate I purchased a period cigarette lighter and it is plumbed in under the dashboard. This is not because Elizabeth has taken up smoking Cheroot or Havana cigars but because last year we did an evening run and got a tad lost over Dartmoor in the dark! Now we just take the GPS with us just in case!

We are now coming to the end of the year and Woody is not getting many outings apart from the short run to the beach to get a breath of sea air.

2013

The winter weather has been somewhat mixed so there has not been a deal of driving done apart from local trips here and there. Woody never fails to start so even if it has been a few days just turn the key and away she goes. A little more welding will be required this year I feel so I will update the oily bits page in due course.

Woody is fifty years old soon. I don't think a birthday cake will be baked maybe just a polish of Autoglym to celebrate. I didn't realise until the Minor Owners club asked if there were any members with vehicles chassis numbers between certain numbers. Woody happens to be one. It seems that over a period of a few months in 1963 Morris were building Minors with a mixture of different parts from a mix of different series Minors. Woody has a mix of these parts such as the early three spoke steering wheel but not the clap wipers you would expect. I could go but I don't want to bore you to death but suffice to say at the time of writing there are only about 100 of these unusual Minors known.

We think the magic 500,000 miles has now been reached which I suppose is fitting as Woody reaches 50 years of age. I was surprised to find some mice type droppings in the passenger footwell the other day. I took out the glove box and found a nest behind it. I can only think that in the two weeks it was parked at the farm where Steve has his garage that a field mouse took a fancy to it. The area in front of the screen where the clap wipers would have been located had been poorly filled so Steve introduced some metal in the hole which now needs a spot of paint.

Overheating today. The temperature gauge has shot up and the bottom hose is cold with the top hose red hot. A quick look at the thermostat is required although its really quite new. As soon as its removed and the car run the bottom hose gets warm. Problem solved..I hope!

History bit:

redexpump

Eastgate Garage1

Typical sene in 1950-60s at my parents garage in Stafford. The unmistakeable smell of Casrtol XL and Swarfega hand cleaner linger in the ar.

Redex..Add to a gallon of fuel for a penny a shot..You could only buy petrol by the exact gallon not by the amount..ie £10's worth

No unleaded or 4 star to be seen yet. (Picutures for illustration only)

2014

A steady usage of Woody so far over the winter. The Devon weather has been mild although a little wet at times. One or two damp mornings there was a short time running on three cylinders before full life clicked in. We are looking forward to a decent year with Woody on the local car club scene with the Crashbox, Devon Vintage, Historic Transport and Torbay Old wheels. Elizabeth is slowly getting better now so hopefully by the spring we shall be nearly back to normal.

I have noticed the offside inner cill is getting a little thin so I suspect Steve will have to give his welding tools some exercise this year.

How right I was. April saw Woody fail the MOT on three areas needing some fresh metal although everything else was good so I was not really troubled by the fail.

2015

I did start and put a few lines on our Facebook page but the feedback is people prefer this blog. No problem we will start this page off again.

Woody has been off the road having some welding done but as I suspected it has turned out to be a bigger job than expected. Its now July and she is off to our friends at Charles Ware at Bristol for some serious attention. I will upload some photographs shortly.

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Our thanks to Richard at Mannor Garage Teignmouth for completing stage one and now its time for the big push by Charles Ware Morris Minor Centre at Bristol.

I know it looks a little drastic but she will be back on the road in a few weeks with a new floor in place and a fresh MOT

Work is well under way at Charles Ware Morris Minor centre at Bristol. A few photos below

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I know its hard to believe but the picture at the top of this page was taken in 2014. When you strip the car out it is surprising what you find!

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Nov 2015  Woody is now back on the road and we have been using her daily as a general runabout. As well as the new off side floor and wing panels

we have added electronic ignition which has made a big difference in starting. The judder in reverse has been cured by a set of gearbox mounting rubbers.

Dec 2015

We relocated our home to Stafford this month and Woody has come with us of course. The business is still Teignmouth based as it matters not a jot

these days where in the world you are based as there is email, telephone, text and face time to keep in touch with team members.

Salt on the roads in Staffordshire and a harsher winter climate are the order of the day here so Woody will not be out and about as much until daffodils show themselves.

Jan 2016

This year will see some effort being put into the interior with replacement scuttle panels and the like just to make it look a little smarter. The time

standing during the floor refurbishment has caused some gaskets to dry out I think and there are oil leaks starting.  Steve at

Mr B's Classic cars at Bednall near Stafford (Morris Minor Specialist) will be tasked with the work.

Feb 2016

Well yes its time to sort the oil leaks although its almost impossible to solve them long term!!  There are a few other little jobs that need sorting 

while Woody is there so we are ready for the Spring and trips out and about.

April 2016

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All done now on the underside..Lots more photographs..just click on Facebook on the bottom of the welcome page

What started with just a bit of work grew and grew but the rot had to go!

2017

Woody has been out and about over Christmas as the weather has been kind. Even just a short run to the shops

get the admiring galnces and a cheery wave. We took some Christmas wrapping and other bits to the the recycling centre

and we were held up for ten minutes by a worker telling us about his Singer Vogue and Toyota Crown and another man

dropping off cardboard but who owned a Morris Eight. If we had gone in the Jag no conversation would have been had and three people

would have been the worse for it. Even just chatting about classic cars seems to lift the mood on a dull day in January.

Feb 2017

We have decided to go the whole way and replace the front chassis legs and front nearside inner wing that had been repaired previously.

This means that virtually every panel on the chassis has now been replaced. Steve (Mr B's Classic Cars) will be busy with his welder and doing a great job as normal.

Summer 2017

We have been out and about in Woody over the Summer and enjoyed it. We still get people waving and coming to chat when we park on a car park. It seems so

many people knew somebody who had a Minor at some time and we have heard some good stories over the years. A lady on Teignmouth seafont started talking to us and said she was sure that many years ago

she conceived in the back of a Traveller. That put a pause in the conversation for a few seconds especially when we could see she looked like a sweet old lady in her 70s!

 

 

 

 

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