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"Woody" - Our Morris Traveller

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"Woody" our 1963 Morris Traveller



  Our first car car in 1968 was a Morris Traveller and this current  Woody is now Minor Traveller number eleven. We have owned six Minor 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. We do still sell parts for Minors but mostly in kit form. This means for example you get not only a water pump and gasket but the bolts as well. We all know so well the feeling of dismay when the head rounds off and you wished you had invested in a couple of nuts and bolts!

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

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 

The early 1990'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)


While sitting on the beach in Teignmouth Devon I was reading Practical Classics and saw a sales advert for the car located in Staffordshire. I know its a long way from home to go and view a car but the thought of owning another Traveller got me. 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 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 most days of the year



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 from a man who lived locally in Dawlish




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

Out and about one day 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

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?


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!


 Over the winter Woody never fails to start so even if it has been standing a few days just turn the key and away she goes

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

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:

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A keen young mechanic at my parents garage in Stafford selling National Benzole petrol, as well as workshop and car sales. The unmistakeable smell of Casrtol XL and Swarfega hand cleaner linger in the air

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

No unleaded or 4 star to be seen yet.


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


Woody has been off the road having some more 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

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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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a2 woody

a3 woody

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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 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


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

 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




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


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

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

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 seafront 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!


A few bits of new chrome added this year and some internal trim

We have been out and about in the car during the year and attending Classic Car Shows although not as traders. Its nice be able to walk around and see what on offer be it the cars or goods offered by traders






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