St Mary’s Classic Vehicle Featured In Best Selling Car Magazine

The article in Practical Classics magazine

The article in Practical Classics magazine

A familiar sight on the roads of St Mary’s can be seen in the latest edition of one of Britain’s best selling car magazines.

Practical Classics has featured the story of Martyn Smalley’s Morris Minor van, which he still uses regularly for his carpentry business.

The car was spotted by magazine feature writer James Walsh, who was visiting the islands last year and gave Martyn a call when he got home.

Martyn, a classic car enthusiast, brought the 1966 Morris 1000 van to Scilly five years ago.

It’s not the first Morris he’s owned. When he moved here nine years ago he had a white Morris Traveller and a pale blue saloon, although that had to be scrapped because it rotted underneath.

From Radio Scilly

Martyn Smalley tells Radio Scilly about his classic, 1966 Morris van.

He wanted a replacement and felt a Morris van would be useful for his business, but they’re difficult to find and command high prices.

Martyn says they were very popular in the 60s and 70s, being used in the fleets of big British companies like the GPO.

But their hard working lives meant most ended up on the scrap heap, hence the low numbers now on the road.

Martyn obtained his through a friend on the mainland, who tracked one down in Sheffield and did the initial restoration work.

It was resprayed in ‘Almond Green’ and well-known Scilly-born artist Jenny Nightingale did the signwriting in a traditional style.

Martyn says the vehicle isn’t just a “mobile toolbox” but also serves as a “mobile billboard” for both the carpentry business and his guesthouse.

And it’s certainly attracted attention. He says he’ll often come out of a shop in Hugh Street to find visitors taking photos.

Martyn feels Scilly lends itself to vintage cars but says they need to be looked after and garaged because they won’t last long in the islands’ salty air.

They’re simple to work on, he says, with no complex electronics like modern vehicles and very reliable. All you need is “a pair of tweezers and a hair grip” to fix any problems, says Martyn.

You can find the full story of Martyn’s Morris van in the April edition of Practical Classics magazine.