ASHLEY’S CLASSIC MOTOR FOR MARCH WAS A FAMILIAR SIGHT ON OUR ROADS WHEN IT WAS THE VEHICLE OF CHOICE FOR SOME OF BRITAIN’S BIGGEST COMPANIES
The Morris 1000 6cwt and 8cwt van was built in the thousands and sold well in Britain and many other countries. Production started in 1953 and finished in 1972. The original van had a split windscreen and some had rubber front wings. The vans were powered by 803cc, 958cc and later by the 1098cc A series engines. A small number were badged as Austins and were sold by Austin dealers rather than Morris dealers. Extras included a heater, passenger seat, sun visors etc. The Royal Mail and GPO were the largest buyers of the vans for mail delivery and for telephone engineers to use. British Rail, British Gas, Electricity and Water Boards along with thousands of other companies bought the vehicles which could be seen on every street from the 50s to mid 80s. I currently own a 1971 van which is Austin badged and was originally owned by a shop in Reynoldston.
The Morris van pictured is a 1972 model which was purchased new by the Royal Mail as a Driver Training Vehicle and was registered in Cardiff. It was one of six used for training so never actually carried any mail. After being sold it passed to a DJ who carried his equipment around to various gigs in it.
It was then sold to the late John Bowen of Carmarthen who wanted to restore a vehicle of the type he would have used in his long career with the Post Office. The van was fully restored by John and shown for many years at events around the country. Sadly John died in 2014, and the van was stored in the garage at his home until late in 2015 when I was asked to find a new home for it. At that time, a friend of mine asked if I knew of any vans for sale and I was able to put him in touch with John’s widow. A deal was struck, and the van now has a new home with Anthony Owens of Swansea, who aims to keep it as original and use it for classic vehicle road runs during the summer months.