Year, Make, Model, Variant: 1962, Morris Major Elite (“Horace” the Morris)
Anything weird, odd or different about this vehicle: When I purchased Horace, he had bullet hole stickers on his bonnet. As narrated to me by the former owner, a previous owner had a domestic with his wife. In revenge, she attacked Horace with a hammer. To disguise the marks, the owner covered them with bullet hole stickers, making Horace look like a not very convincing get away vehicle. Initially I was going to keep the quirky stickers but eventually decided to have Horace resprayed.
How I got it & the provenance/background of the car: The car came of the production line at BMC’s plant at Victoria Park, near Sydney. It was retailed new in Kyneton. I have had the vehicle for about 10 years. I purchased it from the parents of another member. BMC first introduced the Series 1 Major in April 1958, heavily based on the Austin Lancer. The Series II was introduced in 1959. In 1962 the “Elite” was introduced featuring a B-series 1622cc engine (as fitted to MGA’s) and the famous tail fin flash. Production ended in 1964 when BMC released the Morris 1100.
Why I love it: When I start the engine I hear that unique Morris sound. It reminds me of my childhood. We did not have Majors in Ireland, but my mother had a temperamental green Morris Minor 1100; the sound of an old Morris and I am a child again. The Morris 1100 was a significant departure in design and mechanics from both the Minor and the Major. The 1100 had that futuristic sixties vibe, the Major and Minor were from an earlier, quieter time; more Max Bygraves than the Beatles. I guess I’m more Max Bygraves. Horace is always smiling with his wide grill and everyone who sees him smiles too. Because of his pale blue colouring with a white fin, kids call him the “Harry Potter car” though that was the Ford Anglia. There are not many Elites on the roads these days and former Elite owners who reminisce about the little car they always loved often stop and have a chat. He is a joy to drive and is part of my family.
What I have done to it: Apart from a new battery, mechanically the vehicle is in original condition and drives well. My nephews run a panel shop and Horace was resprayed in the original colour about 8 years ago. I have also put new covering on the seats and new carpets.
How other people could procure something similar: The vehicle was popular in its day but they are surprisingly difficult to find these days given their short production life. I have seen a few Majors advertised in car magazines. Morris Minors are more common.