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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July, 2003, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
Major reception for Morris Minors
Morris Minors
Owners are given a discount on the special sailing to Ireland
A fleet of Morris Minor cars was given a special sailing service from Holyhead to Ireland on Thursday.

Stena Line organised a reception at the port for the tens of vintage car enthusiasts who are on their way to an annual Morris Minor convention in Ireland.

A cake in the shape of the cult car was laid on at the port with more celebrations of all things 1950s promised on board the ferry.

The owners and their motors are on their way to an annual event, known as The Bandon Experience, which is held in Bandon, County Cork each year.

I think the attraction is their nostalgia, they have a unique style. There's definitely something about them
Michael Whittaker

Stena decided to lay on the service, and offer a 10% discount, as more and more so-called Moggie fans descended on the port each year to attend the Morris Minor International Car Rally in Bandon.

Dave Hartley from Glan Conwy near Colwyn Bay has been restoring Morris Minors for nearly 20 years and is the proud owner of a 1955 two-door saloon with split screen.

He says the car's attraction is its timeless appeal.

"They are classless and owned by all sorts of people," he says.

"They are also recognized as a British car and were available in large enough numbers so that many people remember learning to drive and passing their test in them."

Dave Hartley
Dave Hartley has spent nearly 20 years restoring Morris Minors

Mr Hartley owns about five models and spent six years building the one he is driving over to Ireland this year.

Michael Whittaker and Vivien Buckley, who are originally from Manchester but now live in Porth Dafarch on Anglesey own a Woodie - otherwise known as a Morris 1000 Traveller with a wooden framed back.

"We had been trying to buy one for a while - they are hard to come by.

"I think the attraction is their nostalgia; they have a unique style. There's definitely something about them," said Mr Whittaker.


The couple look forward to spending a few days with fellow-enthusiasts in Ireland.

A love of Morris Minors brought Eifion Bedford and Susan Buckley together.

"We met at an owner's club meeting in St Asaph," explains Eifion.

"My car is a Traveller, but it's conked out at the moment so we are going to Bandon in my girlfriend's car - a 1959 model.

"If I could chose which Morris Minor I could have it would be a really old convertible with low headlamps," he added.

Eifion Bedford & Susan Buckley
Eifion Bedford and Susan Buckley met through their love of Morris Minors

After a cake cutting ceremony, the drivers all went into their respective vintage motors and drove onto the 1345 BST HSS Explorer service which took them to Dun Laoghaire.

On board, they were treated to a celebration of all things Morris Minor, with original promotional footage from the 1950s in the cinema, low alcohol snowball cocktails and a buffet served below deck.

The annual Morris Minor International Car Rally is held in Bandon, County Cork on the 26 and 27 July and is hosted by Bandon Morris Minors Owners Club.

Their aim, they say is to "promote friendship and fun for all Morris Minor drivers and friends and to preserve the motor's history and heritage."

In pictures: Morris Minor sailing
24 Jul 03  |  Photo Gallery
Morris Minor's major trek
17 Apr 03  |  Hereford/Worcs
Eastern lifeline for Morris Minor
19 Nov 02  |  South Asia

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