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Nonagenarian Still Happy With Morris Minor After 200,000 Miles

Published on: 2 Oct, 2015
Updated on: 8 Oct, 2015
90-year-old John Neve with his 56-year-old Morris Minor.

95-year-old John Neve with his 56-year-old Morris Minor.

John Neve made a big decision in 1959, aged 40-years-old he splashed out over £500 on a brand new car. It has turned out to be a very shrewd investment.

Now aged 95, Mr Neve is still happily and regularly driving his convertible Morris Minor 1000 Tourer from his home in Warwicks Bench into Guildford town centre where he volunteers as an attendant at St Mary’s church.

John bought his Morris from Haslemere Motors in Woking and has been advised that it is now probably worth £4,000. Not bad considering he has enjoyed, over the last 56 years, 231,000 miles of motoring.

“The mileometer has been right round twice,” said the very alert nonagenarian, “so you need to add 200,000 to whatever it says on there now,” he instructs.

The mileometer has been round twice before recording another 31,000 miles.

The mileometer has been round twice before recording another 31,000 miles.

“I have been all over Great Britain in it including, Scotland, Wales, East Anglia and the West Country on several occasions. I think I have been to practically every cathedral in England and Wales, although not Lichfield.

“So it’s been all over including a motorail trip from Paddington to South Wales but I have never taken it abroad on a ferry. It has not even gone to the Isle of Wight.

"I have been all over Great Britain."

“I have been all over Great Britain.”

“I did have a reconditioned engine fitted, a 1098cc to replace the original 948cc, I think a gear box too and some bodywork repairs. Just today (October 1) I had to have new windscreen wipers fitted at Hepworth Garage in Shalford, they service it for me.

A look into John’s car is a glimpse of the past, no seat belts, no heater, but trafficators, a sparse dashboard and a smell, part motor oil, part leather seats, that reminds those old enough of early 1960s motoring.

The utilitarian interior of a 1950s motor car.

The utilitarian interior of a 1950s motor car.

The Morris Minor is a British car that debuted at the Earls Court Motor Show, London, on 20 September 1948. Designed under the leadership of Alec Issigonis, who later designed the Mini, more than 1.3 million were manufactured between 1948 and 1972 in three series: the MM (1948), the Series II (1952) and finally the 1000 series (1956).

Today the Morris Minor is among the most popular classic family-sized cars in the old vehicle movement and continues to gain popularity. The “Moggie” as it is sometimes nicknamed enjoys enduring affection.

One owner from new.

One owner from new.

John’s car would originally have had a top speed of 72 miles, accelerate from 0-60mph in 31.3 seconds and give 39 miles to the gallon (John says he gets more on longer runs).

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Responses to Nonagenarian Still Happy With Morris Minor After 200,000 Miles

  1. Ben Paton Reply

    October 4, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Hat’s off to Mr Neve!

    What a splendid example and a heart warming story.

    Isn’t this true ‘sustainabiilty’ – making things to last and making them last?

    What a marvellous contrast to the throw-away society where ‘use-once’ paper plates and plastic cutlery are thrown away – for someone else to dispose of and the concept of ‘repair’ is a forgotten relic of a bygone era.

    And as for progress? The Morris Minor apparently does more miles per gallon than most modern and ‘efficient’ cars.

  2. Bernard Parke Reply

    October 4, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    We were making Morris Minors when BMW was just making bubble cars.

    The Japanese at that time, in the 1950s were making copies of our Parker Fountain pens.

    What went wrong with what was hailed then as The New Elizabethan Era?

  3. Alan Sutherland Reply

    October 6, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    Fantastic. I hate seeing a classic kept for Sunday drives in dry weather only.

    Issigonis studied engineering at Battersea Polytechnic, the forerunner to the University of Surrey. A matter of weeks before it went into production he wanted it four inches wider, and the only way this could happen was if the steel presses were broken – the result was the distinctive raised strip down the middle of the bonnet.

    Today, the UK produces the McLaren, the Mini, the Rolls Royce, the Range Rover and Nissan Sunderland produces more cars per annum than the whole of Italy, so Mr Parke should not despair.

    Very interesting and informative comment. Many thanks. Ed.

  4. Alan Sutherland Reply

    October 6, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    I would also say to Ben Paton that the reason the Minor does so well with MPG is not efficiency, but because it weighs next to nothing (it weighs one third of a Mk7 Golf). The driver is the crumple zone.

    The progress is not always in MPG, but efficiency and emissions (yes, ironic I know…) only a fuel injection engine can keep the magic stoichiometric ratio of 15:1, when you vary from that, as a carburettor engine will, then the emissions range from foul to horrendous as all manner of noxious gases are spewed out.

  5. Bernard Parke Reply

    October 6, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    Mr Sutherland is right but which country now owns those brand names? It is not us.

    Even Rolls Royce cars are German owned, together with Mini cars.

    Fortunately, we do not need the Merlin engines made for our aircraft industries any more, now that the war is over.

    Sorry, I forgot that we do not make our own aircraft anymore we leave that to help us by our European neighbours. Even MG cars are now made by China.

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