Four generations of Mortlocks have known this car since it was exported in 1934 from its place of manufacture at the Morris Motors factory in Cowley, Oxford, England to the then British Dominion of South Africa. This Morris Minor Four Door Saloon (to give the car its official Morris model name) was first registered as CEP 78 and purchased by matriach Mrs May Mortlock for £183. Since that time the car has spent all its life in the same part of South Africa (Queenstown) being used for the most part on dirt roads and tracks around the Mortlock's home. When Mrs Mortlock died in 1984 (aged 93!) the car was passed on to her son Ron, who has owned the car ever since and continues to use it to this day (May 2011). Ron is now 94 and during the period of his ownership he has driven his Grand Children and later, his Great Grand Children around in this venerable old machine. The Minor has never been restored and is an important time capsule which hopefully can be kept in the family for many years to come.
The Blue Buttons below will uncover two PDF's which relate more of the car's fascinating history as told in the words of family members. Thanks to Ron's nephew Richard Edkins for providing much of this material together with Mike Mortlock, a Grandson of Ron's.
CEP 78 as purchased in 1934 with May Mortlock standing alongside. Fast forward 77 years and May's son Ron stands alongside the same car in 2011.
The dominions and colonies of a stable British Empire were potentially a large, mainly untapped market for Morris Motors during the course of the thirties decade. However, the competition from U.S. manufacturers was fierce and generally American automobiles were more ruggedly built and better suited to the terrain and road conditions in these territories than those cars built for U.K. roads. Morris Motors did make much headway and had considerable sales success using a 'Built in Britain' tag on their advertising and marketing material in an effort to sway potential 'ex-pat' buyers away from the U.S. built products. South Africa represented an important part of this colonial marketing strategy and many Morris cars were sold here in the years running up to World War Two.
In the early part of the decade the Minor became a popular choice for many who lived in the larger South African towns and cities, Some of these cars can be seen in the few available images, samples of which can be found in the gallery below.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Richard Edkins, Mike and Anthony Mortlock for providing all material relating to Minor CEP 78.
The extended Mortlock family celebrated Ron's 94th birthday on 14th May 2011. Members of three of the four generations of Mortlocks that have known the Minor stand in front of Richard Edkin's 1928 Chevrolet. On the left Richard Edkins is pictured with Ron, while on the right is Peter with wife Linky, and Diana.