Look at any photo of a Minor in a village or country-side setting and you cannot but think "England, 1950s".
And so it is with Lance Blanch's 1957 Morris Minor utility. His beautifully restored car is a reminder of a quieter and gentler time, when a Sunday drive was a pleasure, not a fight along clogged roads.
Lance's ute has been in his family since 1960. His parents bought it from a tradie who was upsizing to an Austin A40 ute. "We lived in a country town and they needed a ute to haul stuff around ", explains Lance.
Lance learnt to drive in the car and his mother drove it all the time until just two weeks before her death in 1995. "After she died the Morris came to me and I kept it garaged for a few years. I then decided to give it a full restoration and it was back on the road in 2009", says Lance.
The car has been regularly serviced all its life and when the restoration started the care taken of it over the years paid dividends. "It only had a little bit of surface rust and there was no rust in the frame at all" Lance says. Even so, Lance took the car back to bare metal and rebuilt it.
Lance ensures he drives it at least once a week and it always attracts attention. "Lots of people come up to me and ask about the car. It seems everyone has either owned a Morrie or knew someone who did" he says.
The car has its original number plates, original engine and steering wheel. The wood inlayed dashboard does make a concession to technology, with a CD player now in place of the old transistor car radio. Recognising the need for safety, Lance has installed seat belts ,high backed bucket seats and front disc brakes.
Lance is a constant promoter of Morris Minors and is active in the Queensland Morris Minor Club. "We've been able to organise a display day at the RAAF's Amberley air base Heritage Centre on May 18th ", he says. "The RAAF has offered us the opportunity to have our cars displayed alongside all of their histrionic airplanes including Sabre, Mirage and F111 fighter jets, Sioux and Iroquois helicopters".
This rare opportunity has already enticed 50+ cars to enter the event. All of the Minor variants will be represented: two and four door sedans, convertible, Traveller station wagons and, of course, Lance's utility.
David Burrell is the editor of www.retroautos.com.au