#1

Morris. A Minor miracle

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Sat Nov 09, 2013 5:18 pm
by Pepé Le Pew | 2.247 Posts

Clutch in, two three... crash the gears, two three... clutch out, two three...

I remember the nervous excitement that came with settling into the dark red seat. I remember the fabulous smell of damp carpet, rusty sills, and British craftsmanship.

I remember twisting the key in the ignition with shaking fingers and a dry mouth.

No matter how many times I did it, each time was like fretful fingers’ first frantic fumbling with a bra fastener warmed by smooth adolescent skin beneath a crisp white blouse. Each time, too, my heart was in my mouth, and my gut churned with that same feeling of intense excitement mixed with a primeval and almost uncontrollable urgency.

I remember how the mighty engine coughed, expectorated, and burst into life, whooping great draughts of petrol and air into its carburettor, all the while trying to twist itself out of the chassis as it strained to be unleashed.

There was nothing quite like the sensation of all that raw power.

I was pushed back into the seat as if by a giant, irresistible hand. The engine roared and the countryside went backwards at an incredible rate as the car pummelled towards the horizon in an intoxicating surge of acceleration. The speedometer needle fairly raced around the dial – not that I had much time to check. The universe went into overdrive, and it was all I could do to hold onto the writhing steering wheel as the front of the car went light.

Vicars’ wives on bicycles with baskets full of chutney dived for the hedgerows as we shot past. Rooks spilled from tall treetops, cawing in alarm, and corpulent woodpigeons clattered from the wheat fields like bursts of wild applause.

My eyes narrowed in fierce concentration as the first bend appeared. I sawed at the wheel like Nuvolari around the Nordschleife as the cross-plies howled their shrieking protest beneath me, and the differential tried to tie itself in knots. I wrestled huge armfuls of opposite lock while peering out through a fly-encrusted windscreen from between the steering wheel rim and the scuttle as the slipstream of our passage flattened the cow-parsley on the verges. The G-forces were so strong that the little yellow plastic ashtray that was stuck to the quarterlight with a rubber sucker came off and flew across the car.

I struggled to keep the engine bellowing lustily in its narrow, fierce power band as the exquisitely engineered orchestra of components ahead of me combined to produce a symphony that reverberated from the window of the Post Office as we flew past. I left-foot braked and heel-and-toed until the air was thick with the smell of tortured Ferodos. As we neared the bus shelter, our velocity was incredible. The drums glowed as I furiously scrubbed off speed. There was a fierce backfire, and I could see in the mirror as the unburned fuel, ignited in brief flashes of flame from the half-inch diameter exhaust pipe, set light to Mrs Carruthers’ chrysanthemums.

At the top of the lane I squealed to a halt, undid the racing harness and hit the kill switch.

As the car cooled, pinging and ticking quietly to itself, I got out. Slowly, the world returned to normal. Mrs Golightly's three-legged cat resumed licking its parts. Sparrows chirped enthusiastically in the hawthorn, and a collared dove in the laburnum cooed gently in appreciation.

I lifted the oil-spattered goggles onto my brow, and, drawing deeply on a Woodbine that I rapped briefly on the back of my still-quivering hand and lit by touching its tip to the still-glowing brakes, I exhaled a triumphant plume of smoke.

I leaned on the sinuous curves of the aerodynamic monocoque, and ran my hand over the firm swell of the warm bonnet. My fingers lingered in the intimate curves, and the car’s smooth loins trembled gently under my touch. The heady aroma of multigrade, mixed with hot rubber and clutch lining hung around us.

For all the world we could have been beside the Mulsanne Straight, Eau Rouge or Knicker Brook.

I closed my eyes and let the sun warm my back as I imagined us hurtling along the endless sands of Pendine in search of yet another land speed record, man and machine as one.

And all the while, sophisticated and pencil-skirted ladies in headscarves and sunglasses forgot their envious beaus and cheered, waving their pretty handkerchiefs and blowing extravagant kisses.

My first car.

My first car.



Last edited Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:07 pm | Scroll up

#2

RE: Morris. A Minor miracle

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:39 pm
by Crystal | 182 Posts

The smooth, skinny steering wheel........ the horn where every horn should be ......... the sweet smell of leather seats; with split seams too difficult to sew back properly..........the non-existent brakes............the thermostat that the AA man always threw over the hedge...............the engine that even I knew which part to smack with a hammer........the horror when petrol went up to 60p a gallon......................


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#3

RE: Morris. A Minor miracle

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:41 pm
by Frantone | 2.160 Posts

The red painted wheel arches............Big Ears in the passenger seat.......

xxx



Last edited Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:42 pm | Scroll up

#4

RE: Morris. A Minor miracle

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:58 pm
by Aaron Calder | 3.147 Posts

Greasing the steering swivels every 1,000 miles. Decoking the engine and grinding in the valves every 40,000 miles.

I was once behind a Minor at a roundabout when one side of its front suspension collapsed in a shower of sparks. The swivel was like a very coarse screw thread and if it wasn't kept greased, the 'threads' would soon wear away with the above results.

My first car was a Minor 1000 Traveller but it wasn't long before I traded it in for a VW Beetle which was much less practical but far more reliable and very solidly built. I loved it.


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#5

RE: Morris. A Minor miracle

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:35 am
by Crow (deleted)
avatar

My mate had one, a convertible, his old man was some sort of scientific engineer.
It ended up fitted with Koni suspension bits and a special inlet manifold to take a
large SU carburetor, a very nice drive.
I remember following a Minor around a curving bend and was quite surprised to
see it casualy tuck its nearside front wheel under the wheel arch and slew onto the
soft verge as if it was having a huff! The Renault Dauphine used to do the same.



Last edited Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:37 am | Scroll up

#6

RE: Morris. A Minor miracle

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:52 am
by Aaron Calder | 3.147 Posts

Was it the Dauphine that had "Aerostable" independent suspension?

My dad had one and it was the first car I ever drove. Compared with the Austin A40 Somerset that it replaced it seemed so modern and state-of -the art. It was very comfortable and a nice ride. The biggest problem was rust and we got rid of it very soon after Dad jacked it up to change a wheel and the jack came through the floor.

Rusty cars were everywhere in the 60, 70s and 80s. Lancias's reputation as a luxury marque was lost for ever after the engines literally fell out of their Betas. In the end the company bought them all back and scrapped them.

Thankfully, rusty bodywork is now a very rare sight.


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#7

RE: Morris. A Minor miracle

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:00 am
by Deeps (deleted)
avatar

Quote: Graculus wrote in post #6
Was it the Dauphine that had "Aerostable" independent suspension?

My dad had one and it was the first car I ever drove.


It was my 2nd car; a green mini van being the first. The Dauphine met with a sad end unfortunately when, in those early days and knowing absolutely nowt about cars, I forgot to add anti-freeze to the cooling system which the cruel winter of '65/'66 soon exploited.


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#8

RE: Morris. A Minor miracle

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:36 am
by Randa france | 7.545 Posts

Quote: Forseti wrote in post #7
[quote=I forgot to add anti-freeze to the cooling system which the cruel winter of '65/'66 soon exploited.


Same thing happened to my Bedford CA van. The core plugs came out on stalks of ice. Problem was that because the engine was tucked away under the dashboard, I couldn't get a swing on the hammer needed to "pop" the new core plugs in. Solution: Good old Araldite Rapid. It stuck them in a treat. I had friends in those days who repaired a cracked block on a mini using Araldite !!
R


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#9

RE: Morris. A Minor miracle

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:27 am
by Aaron Calder | 3.147 Posts

I find that very hard to believe.

You had..............................friends?


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#10

RE: Morris. A Minor miracle

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:29 am
by Randa france | 7.545 Posts

Yep, but please note.....................................HAD
R


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#11

RE: Morris. A Minor miracle

in Anything that's not Eriba-related. Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:42 pm
by Frantone | 2.160 Posts

Aaah.


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