1981 Morris 1700 MkII - also known as a Marina Mk3

I received a phone call from a friend who owns and operates a mechanical workshop which issues warrants of fitness. A couple of young women had brought a Marina in and it had failed its wof. The brake master cylinder was the problem, but the several hundred dollars that the repair would cost was more than the car was worth.

They said that perhaps they would try selling it as-is.

He told them that I was probably the only person in the country who would even consider buying a Marina. So he had then phoned me on their behalf.

It actually looked like a pretty good car in most respects when I finally viewed it.

It was however some time before I did anything with it. In the day it was not uncommon to acquire a car that one did not really want for a very small sum of money. Not much thought was given to the fact that such things would not last for long - let alone forever. Especially with cars of a type that most people did not care for.

Eventually I replaced the brake master cylinder with a stainless sleeved item which made it all road legal again. I also replaced the deplorably worn out front seats with a pair of Austin Princess items which miraculously happened to be sympathetically coloured.

Whilst the engine was markedly worn out and using some oil, it still managed to reach quite high speeds given time and never failed to start reliably and do all that was required. I really should have taken it more seriously.

The following photo was taken to demonstrate the steering benefits of wheel alignment and how one could happily control the car at 130Kph with only the tip of one finger on the steering wheel. This was as much to disarm the argument that Marinas were all endowed with ghastly steering.

There were times in the years that I owned the "choc-bomb" when I loved it enough to paint up neglected parts of it and it responded well. Although it was not a car that I had sought out to own, it actually proved to be a more reliable unit than several of the others that came later.

The problem was that there was a growing fleet of unloved cars and some were less loved by me than others were. Not even sure how that pecking order was established.

Choccie was eventually sold in late 2011 to a friend who was intending to prolong its life. I am not sure he succeeded.

This was indeed a great car.