The ex-Sophie Rhys-Jones 1968 Morris Minor 1000 Saloon Registration no. NHW 564F Chassis no. M/A2S5D.1203990 Engine no. 10-MA-U-H 29491
By January 1961 the Minor had sold one million units to become the UK's most successful post-war car to date. By then it had undergone a number of detail alterations; in place of the original's 918cc sidevalve engine there was an overhead-valve unit of 948cc, the latter driving through an improved gearbox; the styling too had been revised, the headlamps moving from the radiator grille to the wings on the Series II, and the split front screen being superseded by a curved one-piece windscreen on the Minor 1000. Semaphore trafficators would soon give way to flashing indicators, and shortly after that - in 1962 - the Minor received its final engine up-grade to 1,098cc. Despite the many changes this final Minor remained recognisably the same car as the original that had debuted at the 1948 Motor Show.
The brainchild of Alec Issigonis, and the first post-war Morris design, the unitary-construction Minor boasted torsion bar independent front suspension, rack-and-pinion steering, and a four-speed synchromesh gearbox. Powered initially by the company's existing 918cc sidevalve four, it received a more efficient 803cc overhead-valve engine in 1953. Two two-door models were offered initially: a saloon and a convertible. A four-door saloon appeared in 1950, with estates and commercials following later. Production of the fondest-regarded of Britain's post-war saloons eventually ceased in 1971.
First registered to John Rix-Page, of Dursley, Gloucestershire, 'NHW 564F' was next owned by one George Scott before being purchased for Sophie Rhys-Jones by her then boyfriend Jeremy Barkley in 1988. The car - her first - was used as personal transport before being sold later that same year to Giselle Okin in North London. It remained in Ms Okin's ownership until January 1992, by which time its condition had deteriorated to such an extent that it was sold as 'scrap' for just £200. Its next owner, Vivien Arey, spent in excess of £1,000 restoring the Minor, which then passed into the care of Mr Michael Smith in 1993 and thence to the immediately preceding owner, a Mrs Wheeler, in July 1998. There have thus been seven owners prior to the current vendor, who purchased the car at Brooks' Beaulieu sale in July 1999 (Lot 421). Since then the Minor has been kept in dry storage with the rest of the vendor's private collection. The intention was to display the vehicles as a collection but sadly this never happened. All cars were serviced regularly and until five years ago were MoT'd annually. They have continued to be driven on private land and are in good running order.
Following the royal wedding of Prince Edward and Sophie, the Duke and Duchess of Wessex, which took place on 19th June 1999 at Windsor Castle, the Minor was the subject of an exclusive article in The Sunday Mirror of 27th June. A copy of the newspaper is offered with the car.
A humble 'Moggy', albeit one with royal connections, 'NHW 564F' is finished in maroon with red interior and described as in generally good-to-excellent condition. The car comes with old-style logbook, current MoT, Swansea V5 registration document and photographic evidence of Sophie Rhys-Jones' past ownership.