Sue Lane’s 1953 Morris Minor convertible is a common sight around Tumut, but it is utterly unrecognizable from the rusted out shell that her father Barry acquired in 1985.
Barry, a mechanic and keen car restorer, spent four years transforming the machine.
“He used to get in trouble for spending too long on it,” Sue said.
He was qualified for the job, having restored a 1914 Morris and another Minor, and had the guidance of the NSW Morris Minor Club.
Barry became too ill to work on the car 10 years ago, and passed away last year.
Sue had watched every move her dad had made on the car, so not surprisingly, it came into her possession.
It is no ordinary Minor, as Sue’s husband Tim says.
“It has had a lot of internal and external modifications, and has won quite a few awards at shows,” he said.
It has a 1400 Nissan engine stroked to around 1500cc, a side-draught Weber carburettor, HB Holden Torana front disc brakes up front and Leyland Marina discs in the back.
The transmission is a Nissan three-speed automatic, which the family is planning to replace with a Nissan five-speed manual.
There’s also a tachometer, Smiths gauges, wheels from a Marina, hubcaps from a Nissan Bluebird TRX, a wooden sports steering wheel, 1980s-vintage velour seats and Nissan yellow duco.
Despite these, it’s still a work in progress.
“It’s due for new paint and some TLC,” Sue said.
The Minor’s performance is spritely, if not super smooth.
“It will do 80 miles an hour, but it is a handful,” Tim said.
“It skips and jumps and hops. It handles well but the ride is terrible.”
Passenger comfort is what you would expect from a 64-year-old car.
“It’s very, very hot in summer and the opposite in winter, and when it rains you get wet,” Tim said.
This doesn’t mean it hasn’t had plenty of use.
“We travelled all over Australia in it with a pop-top caravan,” Sue said.
The Morris draws attention wherever it goes.
“We always leave a few extra minutes because we know people will want to talk to us about the car,” Tim said.
“One guy who stopped us at Woolies had one of his own, and knew Sue’s father.”
She has no plans of parting with it.
“I’m looking for a little van to tow behind it. It will be in our family forever,” she said.