Thirty years ago, Braidy Davies was looking for a car to replace the Suzuki Swift she’d been driving. She wanted something with character that would also be fun to drive. Having been born in England, British cars appealed to her. She nearly chose an Austin Healey Sprite, but ended up with a Morris Minor because it was cheaper.
The much-loved Morris Minor made after World War II had a production run that lasted from 1948 until the early 1970s. For Braidy, the car that was her second choice became her prime possession.
“The curves on a Morris Minor can’t be surpassed,” says Braidy, now vice president of the Morris Minor Car Club of Victoria. “I’m not into sharp, angular surfaces. I’m attracted to the shapely curves of art deco styling too, so I think the curviness of the Morris suits my personality.”
After driving it hard for 13 years, her Morris needed serious attention, so Braidy decided to buy another to use for spares.
“I found that apart from the paintwork, the second one was in much better condition, so I decided to do it up instead. I stripped the paint back and had it professionally spray painted. Later I made and fitted new interior door panels, roof lining and carpets.”
A ‘maintained original’
Although Braidy has made some allowance for modernity, installing updated bucket seats, the engine and most mechanical components on her 1960 model are original.
“It still has a generator rather than an alternator. I call it a maintained original,” she explains.
The paint colour is another break with tradition. “The shade of silver is Tungsten Mica,” she says. “I chose it for individuality, but also for aesthetic reasons, because it fades to black on the edges and makes the curves stand out.”
Although she likes to get involved in the maintenance of her Morris, the serious work is carried out by husband-and-wife team Percy and Cheryl Scicluna, also members of the Morris Minor Car Club.
“The knowledge of people like Percy and Cheryl is amazing. When I described what I thought was a blown clutch, he knew immediately it was an axle problem. And during a tune-up, Cheryl noticed a petrol smell from a fuel tank leak, which was promptly repaired. Another good thing about a Morris Minor is the availability of parts.”
A nippy city drive
While not a vehicle noted for its performance, the Morris Minor is a fun car to drive.
“It’s really motoring more than driving in a Morrie and they handle very well. In the city I can nip around in traffic and always seem to find a place to park.”
Braidy was recently given a 1959 two-door model she’s doing up for her 16-year-old nephew Luca, with the hope of encouraging more young people into the Morris Minor fraternity.
“This one had been in the same family for nearly 60 years. All they wanted was a good home for it. And my nephew thinks it’s a very cool car.”
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