Who are we?
Please let me introduce us to you. We, my wife Carina and I, are a more or less (well, sometimes less) ordinary couple living in the wonderful city of Utrecht in the centre of the Netherlands. Carina earns a living performing management tasks in health care, while I teach programming and database related stuff to software developers. No, I do not teach web design and no, the firm I work for has nothing to do with this site. Although of course it could never harm to visit their website.
How it all started
How do you get the idea of buying a Morris Minor? In our case, or rather mine, it was a pure coincidence. Early in 2002 we had the decorators in, and one of the craftsmen noticed my model trains in a display case. 'Ah', he said, 'so Henk is still interested in model railways'. Then he told us that his passion was classic cars. In order to house his latest acquisition, a 1951 Vauxhall Velox, he was obliged to sell one of his other cars. The Minor had to go.
My reaction to his mentioning a Morris Minor was typical. Like many people we meet when the car is at public display, the car brought back family memories. It is amazing how often we hear things like 'this was the car my Uncle Robert used to drive', or 'look, dad's first car'. More often than not stories follow about the family taking holidays abroad in a fully packed Moggy.
The first weeks
Anyway, a few weeks later we went to the owner's place to have a look at DH-81-25. One more week, and the car was ours. Peter and his wife drove Moggy down to Utrecht, and a bit sad -as you can tell by the picture- handed over the keys.
During the days that followed I spent quite some time on the internet, since a search on the keywords 'Morris Minor' resulted in several thousands of hits. What I learned was that there is a large community of Moggy addicts, and a serious number of thriving clubs. One of them is the Dutch Morris Minor Club Nederland, and of course the British Morris Minor Owners Club. By now I am a member of both.
The first weeks were a good time to get acquainted with Moggy. This meant ploughing through some books and megabytes of information on the Net, taking looks under the hood (and under the carpets), making guesses at the history of the car, and of course making lots of short drives 'to get the hang of it'.
To start with the last subject: during the days before Moggy arrived, I grew a bit worried about the right hand drive. Usually LHD vehicles are sold at higher prices than their RHD brethren, so there must be something horrible about having the wheel 'at the wrong side'. My worries turned out to be unfounded. It took me about five minutes to get used to the consequences of a RHD set-up. Living with a non self-cancelling trafficator switch proved to be far more difficult.
When I took delivery of the car, the previous owner handed over a large box full of documentation. That way I learned that Moggy was first owned by a Mrs Winifred Hodges of Hove, Brighton. It was all there: the very first road tax book, the owner's manual, the BMC maintenance pricelist, a booklet describing BMC-approved accessories, and a BLMC workshop manual.
This manual, and several other pieces of paperwork, was liberally sprinkled with some owner's address stamps. This was probably the lady who brought Moggy over to Holland. According to the bills and marks in a Morris Minor Centre Catalogue, she must have spent a small fortune on this import. As turned out to be the case when I spoke to her on the phone in the summer of 2003.