The Morris Car Club (Victoria) Inc. was formed in 1986 for lovers of Morris vehicles (other than the minor), which was well catered for locally. Recently the club has expanded its charter to include all Morris, BMC, Austin and Leyland built vehicles.
The founding members came together after a Major Series 2 owner (Bevan-Rhys James who later became the inaugural President and first life member) left his car parked at a British display advertising for interested parties to form a club by leaving a note on his windscreen for people to contact him if they were interested. He received a number of responses and a club was formed.
The first meeting was held at a private home in Malvern on 12th April 1986 with 3 Majors and a 1960 Series 5 Morris Oxford. There were 8 people in attendance, the youngest being 16 years old (and he is still a member today).
The first run was to Barwon Heads a seaside resort close to Geelong and at our 20 year Anniversary Run/Lunch we retraced the original run. During the celebrations one of the founding members Glen Whitbourne (the 16 year old in 1986) produced from his wallet the original note. A monthly magazine was to be produced under the title The Bulls Eye (our magazine is now called The Neutered Bull but we are unsure of why the change occurred).
After the first meeting the Club then met at the home of Nick Donahue before moving to the Anchor and Hope Hotel in Richmond, owned by the car racing legend Lou Molino. A perpetual trophy for the best club member each year is named after the Molino family.
A fire at the hotel forced a move to the Cross Keys Hotel in Essendon which again had associations with the Molino family. A change of ownership and renovations forced a move for a short time to the Pascoe Vale Hotel, then on to the Pascoe Vale R.S.L. – where we are today.
We are made very welcome and enjoy their hospitality with the opportunity for our members to enjoy a fine meal before the meeting and afterwards a drink and an opportunity to mingle freely.
Our feature runs of the year are the RACV Classic Showcase (formally the British & European Show), our own Show n Shine at which trophies are awarded to the Best Morris at the show, a club member only award and the eagerly sort after memorial trophy voted for by the Ladies, just to name a few. Every two years we invite the Morris Register to join us for a display day at Federation Square, Melbourne’s feature display area which is a wonderful showcase for our cars and club.
The Victorian registration for classic cars has recently been liberalised allowing greater use of our cars for pleasure touring of up to 90 days per year previously we were limited to our monthly club runs and sanctioned events. Many feared an influx of questionable vehicles would ensue but our experience is that our increase in new members and lapsed members rejoining is due to the camaraderie and assistance with maintenance of our vehicles that we offer.
We are a small but happy and friendly club. Recent years have seen a big change in membership, our established members are staying providing stability and younger members with families whose children will be the future leaders of the club are joining and we are still attracting those of later years with memories of Morris’.
Additional information about the Morris Car Club of Victoria may be obtained by contacting the club here.