Owner’s Story – John

Meet John, who set up Glasgow Moggies in 2021 aged 38. In this post John explains why he came to love the Morris Minor, what life is like with one and why he set up the Glasgow Moggies.

John and his Traveller

“I’ve been into classic cars for as long as I can remember. My first love was the mini. In fact as a young child it was one of my first words. I just loved their cute little faces. I still do. 

Mine isn’t the usual route to Morris Minor ownership. As far as I know nobody in my family had one. I am the sole family petrolhead. One set of grandparents had Datsuns, the other Rover, Hillman, Singer. I know my grandfather hated his Hillman Imp, saying it was terrible to drive.

As a young child growing up in the ’80s and ‘90s I was in awe of minis and Morris Minors every time I saw them. I kept trying to persuade my dad to buy one as a family car. Without success. Having grown up with cars of that era, he thought them unreliable, uncomfortable and noisy.

872 UXO – one of the good ones

In the year 2000, aged 17, I bought my first car. A 1986 Austin mini City, registration C178 JYS. I blew my student loan on it. It was the main reason I applied for a student loan. It had rust in the usual places, and the electrics were truly awful. But it was otherwise pretty reliable. I drove 200 miles up and down the M74/M6 with it every week for years. Due to the motorway miles I had a 1275cc engine put in it. I then took it as far north as John O’Groats. Eventually it just needed too much work and I sold it on. Sadly I think it’s since been scrapped.

I reluctantly stuck with modern machinery for most of the next twenty years. I’ve had a vast range of cars, everything from the Lada Riva and Citroen AX to the Jaguar XJ6 and Mercedes-Benz CLK. With lots of stuff in between.

I’ve had a few Morris Minors along the way, six in total now. Three of them not so good. My first two were total basket cases bought on eBay years ago. I didn’t have a clue about them and just dived in. In the case of one, the seller was a devious sod…to put it politely. It was supposedly a restored car underneath but with tired paint and interior. In truth it was rotten, hadn’t seen a grease gun in years and had been painted over with under seal.

A costly eBay purchase

Thankfully I’ve had three lovely Moggies too. All bought from owner’s club members. My current one was bought privately from a good friend I made through the Morris Minor Owner’s Club. A chap named Steve, who lives down in Derbyshire.

It’s a 1968 Morris Traveller, which Steve offered me in part-exchange for a 1935 Austin 7 I owned. I loved the old Austin, but having a young family “the Trav” made a great deal of sense. It has a 1275cc engine, five-speed gearbox and good luggage space. It means I can take my family for weekends away, picnics etc, without having to worry too much about distances. It’s comfortable cruising at higher speeds and the kids can be belted in. She’s definitely a keeper.

My dream is to take it on a European road trip, down to Monaco and around the Alpine region of Bavaria and Austria. I’ve driven the route before, but never in an old car.

My dad, although he likes the car, still thinks it’s all a bit nuts. As does my wife.

It’s been a steep learning curve. I had next to no mechanical knowledge or experience – and initially no tools. I’m grateful to several other Glasgow Moggies members who’ve helped teach me basic maintenance and repairs. It has helped avoid expensive garage bills.

In setting up Glasgow Moggies I felt like there could be a lot more Morris Minor activity going on in this part of Scotland. I just wanted to help people to meet up and get some more fun from their cars, while being sociable. I believed that if I set the club up we’d find like-minded owners. It’s proven to be true. I also think it’s important to get more young people involved in the Morris Minor scene. To learn and pass on the maintenance skills to them before those skills of the older generation die out.

I think you’ve got to be slightly crazy or eccentric to own a classic car. Or at least, it helps. They take a bit of time and money to look after properly, but they’re well worth it. They give you a real sense of satisfaction and pride.

Morris Minors are easy to drive and work on. They’re economical, sustainable and durable. They get more admiring glances and interest from passers-by than modern cars costing £100,000. But above all they’re simply great fun!

My advice to anyone thinking about buying a Morris Minor, or any classic car, is just do it. Life’s too short. Morris Minors definitely make life more fun. You’ll make good friends through them.”

If you’d like to get involved in the Morris Minor scene with Glasgow Moggies please see our membership information.