The Sunday Times Driving Placeholder

Make do and mend in the 49-year-old Morris Minor

300,000 miles and counting


John Davies Morris Minor

“MY EYESIGHT is still good and my mind is good, so age doesn’t matter on the road,” says John Davies, 84. He’s not just talking about himself: the retired train driver from Aberystwyth owns a Morris Minor first registered on November 1, 1965. It has covered 300,000 miles — equivalent to 12 trips round the world.

“We throw too much away,” says Davies. “I come from the make-do-and-mend era: if it works, then leave it alone. I don’t need anything more modern in a car, like air-conditioning. I’d much rather have the fresh air from the Atlantic through an open window.

Davies spent £900 on restoring the car when he got it from his brother about 30 years ago – it had already covered 161,000 miles. Since then it has made frequent trips to Leicester and Rochdale and ferried his three children and seven grandchildren around.

John Davies Morris Minor

The mileometer goes up to only 99,999.9 miles before returning to zero, but meticulous paperwork shows that the car has been round the clock three times.

Each mile has been powered by the original 1098cc engine. Davies says the car’s longevity is partly due to his smooth driving. “I drive economically at 50mph and get out of the way of faster cars,” he says. “But then I catch them up further down the road because the traffic is so bad.”

As for his own longevity, he reckons it is down to a stimulating social life. “I’m involved with a singing group: singing for the brain, they call it.” However, because Davies has recently had heart trouble, the Morris is now putting on the miles at a slower rate and is mainly used for trips to the supermarket.

For longer journeys Davies prefers to take the train: “You can sit down, relax and have a booze-up.”

 


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