Ex-Works and 1968 London to Sydney finishing,1968 Morris 1800 Marathon Rally Saloon  MHS7D1113373
Lot 559
Ex-Works and 1968 London to Sydney finishing,1968 Morris 1800 Marathon Rally Saloon MHS7D1113373
£15,000 - 20,000
US$ 25,000 - 34,000
amended
Lot Details
Ex-Works and 1968 London to Sydney finishing
1968 Morris 1800 Marathon Rally Saloon
Registration no. MTB 150G
Chassis no. MHS7D1113373
Engine no. BMC1BH001B/H21402

Footnotes

  • A former BMC Team Safari ‘Recce’ car, MTB 150G was selected by Bob Eaves as being the most suitable basis for a London to Sydney Marathon car from a job lot of five ex-works cars purchased directly by him from the Abingdon Competition Department. The Blackpool garage proprietor then re-prepared the 1968 Morris 1800 to exactly the same specification as the factory team Marathon entries, one of which was to be driven by Paddy Hopkirk to second overall.

    The well stocked history files contain BMC Build Sheets, lists of Competition Parts and BL Special Tuning Department Fitting Instructions as well as copies of FIA papers for the 1800 issued by RAC. There are photos of ‘The Big N Cash and Carry’ backed entry and an original number 77 door sticker for the 1968 Daily Express sponsored event which started from Crystal Palace. Having lost 5 hours in Afghanistan due to a broken inlet manifold, the intrepid crew of Eaves, John Vipond and Frank Bainbridge reached the Bombay halt in 56th place, ending up with 873 penalties at Sydney to finish 36th overall out of 98 starters.

    With some financial input from insurance executive Dennis Cresdee, who joined Eaves and Bainbridge in the car, MTB 150G’s next epic was the 1970 Daily Mirror World Cup London to Mexico Rally which started from Wembley Stadium. As recorded in ‘The Big Drive’ book however, number 95 crashed out during the Serbian Prime avoiding a Yugoslavian juggernaut only being stopped from going over big drop by tree. A cutting from the 23 April edition of the 1970 Daily Mirror reports the incident.

    Having lain dormant at Eaves premises for 15 years, and now minus engine and transmission, the still crumpled 1800 was purchased by World Cup Triumph 2.5 PI owner Martin Jubb, who became only the second owner. The pick-up on a lorry by Halda specialist Jubb and former HRCR Chairman the late Don Pither, as well as the pre-restoration state of the Marathon 1800, were extensively photographed. A suitable engine and gearbox were sourced, much refurbishment carried out in Bristol, an application to put the car back on the road made 1 Nov 1987 and the car successfully rallied on the Rohan Historic.

    The car next changed hands again 1 May 1988 when Le Mans driver Dave Preece of Newport became the third owner. Receipts on file from auto electrician Paul Sloane, competition car preparer Ken Heywood and painter David Lee chart work carried out during this period. Having been acquired in a two Land Crabs deal by Paul Merryweather’s Parkside Motor Company of Burwell, Cambs, MTB 150G was next sold to Peter Locks, the fourth private owner, 2 May 2002. Since then, sourcing parts and services from MG Motorsport, the East Sussex enthusiast has rebored and rebuilt the ST/Janspeed spec 1800 B Series 4-cylinder engine and gearbox and modified hydrolastic suspension, fitted Minilites and added such modern safety equipment as high-back bucket seats and full harnesses as required for international regularity events with tests.

    Navigated by wife Ann, the Locks record with the car has been impressive, commencing with an exploratory 22nd overall on the 2002 Ross traders and a 6th place on the Regis Rally to entering the 2003 Winter Challenge, Kent Rally, Regis Tour and finishing 15th overall and 1st in class on the Classic Marathon. Following extensive refurbishment by Orchard Restorations of Maynards Green followed and the issue of a FIVA Identity Card 9 January 2004, the husband and wife team won the 2004 Winter Challenge to Monte Carlo outright, their achievement highlighted in the Feb/March issue of Old Stager magazine for being the first ‘Historic Rally’ win by an 1800 (In period, the 1800 only ever won 2 internationals, the 1967 Danube Rally when the late Tony Fall and Mike Wood took LRX 824E to victory and the 1969 Southern Cross in Australia won by Andrew Cowan in a re-registered SMO 974G).

    Following the Hughes Rally and the 2004 Classic Marathon, when car and crew finished 26th place, MTB 150G has been largely inactive, though carefully maintained. A rare and extremely authentic looking survivor from the original London to Sydney and London to Mexico Marathons of some 40 years ago, the most successful of all Land Crabs in Historic Rallying is on the button for much more retro event adventures.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note the engine number should read 18H301B-H21402. The vendor has some original parts available for collection post-sale, these include 8 magnesium wheels, lights, seats, belts and tanks.
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