Ex-works London to Sydney Marathon ‘Landcrab’,1968 Morris 1800 MkII Saloon  Chassis no. MH58D4701A Engine no. CEXP101

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Lot 221
Ex-works London to Sydney Marathon ‘Landcrab’, 1968 Morris 1800 MkII Saloon
Registration no. SMO 223G Chassis no. MH58D4701A Engine no. CEXP101

Sold for £ 30,475 (US$ 39,646) inc. premium
Ex-works London to Sydney Marathon ‘Landcrab’
1968 Morris 1800 MkII Saloon
Registration no. SMO 223G
Chassis no. MH58D4701A
Engine no. CEXP101

Footnotes

  • Freed from the usual minefield of rally regulations, the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon enabled participants to run any two-wheel drive car. A seven-strong fleet of 1800s were developed by BMC Competitions for the epic event, which, thanks to Daily Express sponsorship, was to receive huge national and motoring press interest They were SMO 225G for Aaltonen/Liddon/Easter, SMO 226G for Hopkirk/Nash/Poole, SMO 974G for Fall/Wood/Culcheth, SMO 227G for Aussies Green/Shepherd/’Gelignite’ Jack Murray, VLM 128G for Hamilton/Stearns/Lees Spalding from the Navy and ORX 663F for the RAF crew Kingsley/Evans/Bell.

    SMO 233G was the first of those SMO series to be built up from a bare shell by the Abingdon-based team for the Marathon. Its task was to be the all essential survey car and, whilst it shared many of the modifications that were eventually employed on the six rally cars, it was not a full-blown Marathon car, lacking a ‘Roo’ bar and still having normal bumpers instead. There were also detail differences to the suspension, such as telescopic shock absorbers, and fuel tank, while the battery was mounted in the boot and there was only one fuel filler instead of two on the rally cars.

    Crewed by Brian Culcheth and Henry Liddon, SMO 233G followed the Marathon route, checking the route notes already made by Paul Easter, Henry Liddon and Tony Nash in another 1800 RMO 723F. Culcheth and Liddon flew home with their precious notes completed, while the car remained in India for collection by Evan Green for driving the Marathon route to England in reverse, including the Khyber and Lataban Passes. He then left it in a Turin Motel car park, the location of a control, from where it was driven back to the UK by Stuart Jackson of the Abingdon Parts Department after the rally had passed through.

    After the closure of the Comps Department, SMO 223G was acquired by Richard Johnson who rallied the car. Following a 1991 rebuild during Dave Preece ownership, such works features as alloy panels, Perspex windows, long-range tank with alloy filler, sump guard and Minilites were retained and, according to the vendor, the 1846cc engine rebuilt using original Abingdon spec sheets, still runs well. The cockpit, also highly original, has back seat and trim stripped out to accommodate a bed and a roll-over bar, Ridgard seats with four-point harnesses, lots of extra switches, a Halda Twinmaster and a 100mph speedometer.

    A well stocked history file includes many photos and a 1968 Marathon souvenir programme, in which BMC have advertised the production 1800, as well as original Special Tuning Data sheets packed with competition parts details and essential rally prep advice. An original buff log-book confirms that this Morris Saloon in red and white was registered SMO 223G 10 October 1968 and that the same registration, chassis and engine numbers are also recorded in the current V5C, while the latest of several MOT Test certificates on file is valid until April of next year. MSA Historic Rally Vehicle Identity papers, spare original block and sundry spares come with the car.
Ex-works London to Sydney Marathon ‘Landcrab’,1968 Morris 1800 MkII Saloon  Chassis no. MH58D4701A Engine no. CEXP101
Ex-works London to Sydney Marathon ‘Landcrab’,1968 Morris 1800 MkII Saloon  Chassis no. MH58D4701A Engine no. CEXP101
Ex-works London to Sydney Marathon ‘Landcrab’,1968 Morris 1800 MkII Saloon  Chassis no. MH58D4701A Engine no. CEXP101
Ex-works London to Sydney Marathon ‘Landcrab’,1968 Morris 1800 MkII Saloon  Chassis no. MH58D4701A Engine no. CEXP101
Ex-works London to Sydney Marathon ‘Landcrab’,1968 Morris 1800 MkII Saloon  Chassis no. MH58D4701A Engine no. CEXP101
Ex-works London to Sydney Marathon ‘Landcrab’,1968 Morris 1800 MkII Saloon  Chassis no. MH58D4701A Engine no. CEXP101
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