Below are two stories of EGV 980. The first is from Bob Finch, a former member, and the second is from Jason Thorne the current owner.
One of our founder members, Bob Finch, owned a Series MM, registration number EGV 980. Whilst researching our Branch’s early years, we came across this article from Bob that was first published in an early edition of Minor Matters. Bob would often be seen at rallies with his ‘dog’ and collecting tin for Guide Dogs for the Blind. For a time, he was Treasurer and Vice-Chairman for the Branch. In the 1990’s he entered EGV into the Master Class judging sections of Area and National rallies, achieving high scores and winning many prizes.
“First registered 3/11/52, mileage 34780.
One evening in January 1977, whilst visiting some friends, it was mentioned that a relative of theirs was housing (in a barn at Lavenham, Suffolk) a Morris Minor. The owner had died, and the car was for sale. As I already owned a ’58 Minor and an A55, it was suggested that I might be interested in the purchase. My curiosity being well-aroused, they arranged to take me to view the car the following Saturday.
On arrival, I found the car shrouded beneath numerous sacks and a sheet which, when removed, revealed a very dirty but sound looking body. Inspection of the engine compartment revealed a rather cleaner side-valve engine, but no battery. On turning over the engine with that now forgotten, but useful item – the starting handle, I found that compression was down on one of the cylinders. Inspection of the interior proved to be a pleasant surprise – very clean, and with covered seats. The boot was also uncluttered, and the tools and other impediments intact. The underside had been treated with heavy oil and appeared to be in sound condition.
Having met the car, the next individual to interview was Mr. Smith, the brother of the deceased owner, and after a ‘minor’ haggle, we exchanged cheque for log book. I was surprised to find that the book was the original buff-coloured RF60, of 1952 vintage.
One week later, armed with a set of borrowed trade plates, battery, a gallon of petrol, and HOPE (it hadn’t been started for something like three years), I arrived for the moment of truth. ‘Switch On’, quick tap on the SU pump, and CONTACT! The engine sprang to life on three cylinders, and an open exhaust; the rear end of the silencer having corroded away.
The pungent aroma of stale petrol was heavy in the barn. After a quick pump or two in the tyres, a wipe of all the windows and a quick injection of water as an afterthought, it was time to drive home to Bury St Edmund’s.
With a feeling of elation, we teetered slowly into the daylight, gently and noisily, but solidly, and hit the road for home. Whilst on the way, on a good downhill stretch, I decided to switch off the engine to listen for any odd noises in the transmission, but to my delight the rush of wind and the swish of the tyres were the only sounds to be heard.
Once safe inside my own drive, I decided it was about time that the bodywork beneath the dirt proved itself to be green. Close inspection after the wash and brush up (like a child emerging from the coal cellar and thence from its bath) revealed a sound, above-average car, assuming that the loss of one cylinder was only valve trouble. The overall condition also suggested that the speedometer reading was genuine. I have since received from Mr. Smith a more detailed history of the car and its owners, which indeed reveal a record of good treatment.
With the car installed in the next-door-neighbours garage, I removed the cylinder head to find one valve burnt out. The bores were in good condition, and on cleaning the valves, the presence of the original MOWOG numbers on them furnished further proof that the mileage was genuine. For various reasons the car was left in the garage, with its engine dismantled, until the Spring of 1980.
Having seen the Morris Minor Owners Club advertised in a motoring magazine, I decided to join, so sent a subscription from January 1980 (to get a full year for my money!). In the January/February issue of Minor Matters, a bloke named Frye advertised a ‘Minor Goose Chase’ (‘Wild Goose Chase?’) in Norfolk and as the Minor was still dismantled, I decided to offer my services as a Marshal (or whatever), to assist in the running and also to see what these Minor people were like. John said “PLEASE”, and after an incredibly wet start in Norwich, as already described in Minor Matters, I had a very happy day out amongst the Minors and the Norfolk countryside (especially learning anew all the old nursery rhymes).
This gave me an impetus to get the car assembled and ready to join the tribe of ‘Minorites’. So, after many hours of cleaning my ‘Morrypoo’ (Who called them that?), and of painting and polishing, I arrived at Donington Park for the National Rally and Annual General Meeting, at which the car was placed 2nd in the MM Class. Later at the Woburn Abbey rally, it was placed 1st.
Now that winter is upon us, the time has arrived to think of ways of improving the car still further for the 1981 season of Minor Motoring. One wonders whether the car is thinking of ways to improve its driver!”
BOB FINCH. MMOC MEMBER NUMBER 1416.
The present owner of EGV 980 is Jason Thorne and Jason sent in the story of how he came to own EGV along with some photos.
“I would have loved to have met Bob Finch; I believe he was quite a character. All I can tell you is I saw the car advertised on the internet and fell in love with the car. I used to own a 1955 black spilt screen traveller for many years until I had to sell it to pay for a new boiler for our home. The registration was TUO 305 and it is still on the road today, but not sure where it is.
I travelled up from Somerset to Mildenhall in Suffolk back in 2015 at 2-30 in the morning to see EGV at a garage called Andrew Frost Cars, where a lady called Sheila Turvey had traded the car in for a modern one. On seeing the car, I knew I had to buy it. I done the deal and filled her up with fuel and headed back to Somerset. A very long drive at only 45 to 50mph; it took me around six hours to get home by taking A & B roads only. With only three stops on the way, one to refuel, I had travelled 209 miles by the time I got home and she never missed a beat! The next day I gave her the full works! With a good clean inside and out, she looked a million dollars to me! Over the next few months, I went through all the paperwork history I had and decided to contact Mrs. Turvey about the car and why she had decided to sell it.
She was so pleased it had gone to someone who was passionate about Morris Minors and told me she used to take the car to Paris twice a year to a car rally. She told me the car only got used on dry days and if she was out shopping and it rained, she would put it back in the garage and dry it off with towels. She told me the only reason she had to sell the car was because she fosters children and they were not allowed in it because it was so old and had no seatbelts.
I have owned the car for five years now and serviced it and maintained it throughout. I have taken it to many local car shows and had lots of lovely comments about her. I only ever use her in dry weather and she is always garaged. I took her up to the 70th anniversary of the Morris Minor at the National MMOC Rally at Kelmarsh Hall in 2018 and she was parked up at the front of the display with the other minors for people to see. It was a lovely weekend and I drove her up there and back with no problems at all. She is truly a fantastic car and a credit to her past owners. I have no intention of selling her and hope to take her to many more Morris Minor shows over the years.
I know the car was sold new from a garage called Lock and Stagg Ltd in Ipswich on the 3rd of December 1952. I have a Heritage Certificate and the original RF60 Registration book. EGV has only covered 63,000 miles in her entire life and has never been welded anywhere. She still has her original wings all round and her original interior. She really is a remarkable car with only a little cosmetic paint over the years and lots of love. Not bad for nearly 69 years old. They certainly don’t make them like this anymore.”