1961 Morris Commercial
Year of manufacture1961
Chassis number5K/1774/A 149674
Number of seats2
1961 Morris Commercial FF-K140 Coach
Coachwork by Marshall's of Cambridge
Registration no. 824 UYW
Chassis no. 5K/1774/A 149674
This Morris PSV chassis is one of 36 commissioned by BMC's management to serve as Mobile Service Training Units (MTUs), which travelled around the dealership network training mechanics in the procedures required to maintain the latest models, including the newly introduced, front-wheel-drive Mini. The first six MTUs, a mixture of right- and left-hand drive, were built on modified 5-ton FF-K100 chassis and delivered towards the end of 1959.
With the first batch having proven successful, a further order was placed with Marshall Motor Bodies of Cambridge. This second group of vehicles was constructed on the longer FF-K140 chassis. Designed by Pinin Farina and built by Marshall's with all-aluminium coachwork, they were equipped to a very high specification. A handful of these MTUs served quite different and considerably more glamorous purposes, being assigned to the BMC Competitions Department and the firm's Special Tuning operation. The left-hand drive vehicle offered here belongs to this second group and was first registered as 'BMC 27' (it is believed).
This vehicle was used in the UK initially and subsequently on the Continent. When the company decided that these mobile classrooms were too expensive to run, they were returned to the UK and used for other purposes or sold off. This example is one of two sent to Canada in the early 1970s, being registered in Ontario in May 1973. In correspondence on file, one of the vehicle's Canadian owners - Mr Wendell Haines - recalls that after some two years of use the MTUs were left at the Dofasco Steel Company's plant in Hamilton, Ontario, remaining there for some seven years before being sold off to two of the firm's employees. This example was sold to a Mr Edward Fall and converted into a motor home by its new owner. It was painted white at this time, suggesting that it was in Unipart livery when sold off, and was given the Canadian registration 'VNY011' (certificate on file).
When Mr Haines acquired the vehicle it came with its original UK numberplates, but the Canadian licensing authorities would not allow them to be reinstated. After some 16 years of ownership, Mr and Mrs Haines sold the MTU to a Mr W A Guest, who immediately offered it for sale. The vehicle soon found a UK buyer, Mr Mark Nolan, and was shipped from Newark, New Jersey to the UK (see correspondence on file). Mr Nolan carried out various works over the next few years, including having he vehicle re-sprayed red with a white roof. Partially restored, the MTU was then offered for sale at auction in January 2005 when it was purchased by the immediately preceding owners. The current vendor bought the vehicle from the 2005 purchasers towards the end of 2015. So far it has not been possible to retrieve the registration 'BMC 27', the main problem being the non-existence of the Middlesex licensing records, long since destroyed.
Since acquisition the MTU has been treated to a thorough professional restoration by various specialists. Traces of the original dark blue paintwork were discovered during the rebuild, but it was decided to complete the restoration by finishing the vehicle in Special Tuning livery to resemble '146 PFC', the original Special Tuning support vehicle. Basil Wales, Special Tuning's original manager, has given the livery his approval.
This MTU is registered with the DVLA as a motor home, and has been equipped accordingly, boasting running water, a kitchenette unit (hob and sink), fridge, and a 'rock 'n roll' double bed complete with safety belts. There is comfortable accommodation for four. The vehicle also has an opening rear door, a full-width ramp, and an electric winch, and can easily accommodate a sizeable competition car.
Described by the private vendor as in generally very good condition, ex-works BMC MTU is offered with a comprehensive history folder and a V5C document. MoT and tax exempt, it will be driven to the sale. A transporter is the ultimate paddock accessory and this one is eminently suited to the role of Goodwood support vehicle. The vendor will be present at the sale and is willing to answer any questions from prospective purchasers.