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Well-travelled Morris Eight laid up in shed

Ivan Rookes 1935 Morris Eight on a camping trip in the New Forest in the 1960s. Picture: supplied

Ivan Rookes 1935 Morris Eight on a camping trip in the New Forest in the 1960s. Picture: supplied

supplied

Ivan Rooke still owns the Morris Eight that took him on some great journeys and adventures but it’s now laid up in his shed.

My first car was purchased in 1960 – a green and black 1935 Morris Eight two-seater.

It is perhaps, in motoring terms, a two to four-seater although the space in the back is very limited.

It has a 918cc side-valve engine, three-speed gearbox – with synchromesh on second and third gear – and probably has a maximum speed of about 55mph.

It has an SU carburettor and a six-volt electrical system. The brakes are hydraulic and very effective. The hood is made of double duck canvas and generally kept out the rain but was only used if really necessary.

Between 1960 and 1989 this vehicle did a substantial mileage. It included a 2,000-mile trip in 1963 to Oslo which I completed with a friend. It started in Ipswich and we went from Southend airport to Rotterdam by the Bristol Freighter air ferry service. Then we drove through Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, returning to Esbjerg in Denmark and sea ferry back to Harwich.

It also did an almost total circumnavigation of Ireland in 1964 with my then girlfriend, now my wife. The circumnavigation trip partially failed because of a broken half shaft on the south-west coast so we only managed, at that time, 75% of the intended trip. The final quarter was completed many years later in a more modern car.

Other continental trips followed with the Morris Register, previously known as the Morris Eight Tourer Club, and much motoring in this country.

The car had few vices. Steering was good. Fuel consumption about 35mpg.

To a certain extent, the use of this Morris was limited from 1970 when an even older Morris was purchased and then, in 1989, it was driven into a shed where it remains to this day. Although not used for nigh on 30 years, the fact I still have it means maybe it might again take to the road?

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