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Hampshire Morris Minor Club November Blog


Our Grope Bag Night on 17th October was well attended by 22 thoughtful, tactile members. Mike H put a deal of effort into assembling 20 Morris Minor items and 10 domestic items, which were placed into 30 cloth Grope Bags.

Those bags were distributed between tables by Mike & Ian B. Members fumbled and groped their way to some wildly implausible guestimates as to what was in the bags.

Despite their ineptitude, or, perhaps, because of it; members had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Cheerful ignorance probably best described the atmosphere in the pub. Certainly, Mary M’s answer sheet had a number of entries listed as “car parts” for which she awarded herself ½ mark. Russ S swore that he saw one answer sheet that listed all 30 entries as “cloth bag”, which had apparently achieved a creditable score.

Thankfully, there were some able and knowledgeable people around. Two of whom, John W and Alan F, both achieved the winning score of 27 successful gropes. To determine the ultimate winner of this contest of skill, the very unsatisfactory method of tossing a coin had to be implemented. The prize of a bottle of wine was awarded to Alan F.


The Club’s final coffee morning of 2023 was held at Haskins Garden Centre, West End, Southampton on 25th October.

There was a huge turnout of 24 people, which is testament to the success of these events.

Ann and Ian B somehow seem to have discovered the right formula to make these into very inclusive occasions without too much commitment; which has strengthened ties within the Club. Venerable members, who no longer own a Moggie, or are not driving theirs anymore, feel very much part of the Club. Maureen & Brian J are regulars. Alan W and his wife were joined by Brian G. Both gentlemen are no longer driving their Moggies (or have been discouraged from driving them by their wives) but have been members of the Club for many years. It’s so nice to see them back. New members were welcomed, tales were told, tips were swapped, invitations were issued and acquaintances renewed during the course of around 2 hours. A number of people either stayed for lunch at the garden centre or went onto lunch at another venue with fellow members. One member even had to go back to work!


Part 1

The Minor is the car which has entered folklore as the vehicle of choice for the district nurses of the mid twentieth century, however it is to the nineteenth century and England's most famous nurse that we turn for the subject of these notes. It was Florence Nightingale who wrote "Unnecessary noise is the most cruel absence of care that can be inflicted on the sick or the well".

On an old car just about everything can loosen, break or simply wear out, generating a huge number of possibilities for a knock, squeak or rattle. It's bad enough when the source and a possible cure are known but when the cause proves difficult to track down a normally rational person can be driven to the edge of sanity. A personal favourite (from The Swinging Sixties) is the "Clinking noise" occurring inside the Citroen DS21 belonging to a Cambridge academic, a breed not famed for mechanical expertise. Two of us took the vehicle for a test drive, the foreman at the wheel whilst I grovelled around listening for the elusive noise. On our return the owner was somewhat embarrassed to be told that the cause of his annoyance was an empty gin bottle rolling around beneath the driver's seat.

To try and address all extraneous sounds would take a lifetime; here we deal with just a few of the less-obvious but common examples found on the Minor.

At the front corners of the car, we have the area where the front wing and bumper valance are in close proximity which will vary from car to car and side to side, owing to haphazard panel-fit and accidental damage. If the two are close enough they may touch from time to time causing a sporadic knock or squeak which is worse on rough roads. A cure can be effected by jamming a discretely sized piece of rubber between the two.

On either side of the bonnet are the chrome badges and above them the 'side moldings'. All these are retained by spring clips which fit over pegs. These clips suffer from old age and corrosion, losing their original springiness which in turn loosens the trim or badge and causes a light rattle which probably will be most noticeable when the engine is ticking over; a lumpy tick-over will make matters worse. It is rarely possible to tighten the clips in situ, owing to deterioration. Replacement clips are cheap but care must be taken when removing the old ones as the pegs onto which they fit are not very strong. A solution may be found by slipping a thin piece of plastic between clip and bonnet; it’s a bodge but a well-hidden one. Cut out some packing pieces, which should be slightly larger than the spring clip. Use a hole punch to make a neat hole for the pin then cut a slit to enable the packing to be slid over the peg behind the clip. The thickness of the plastic used depends on the amount of slack to take up.

To be Continued

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