If you attended the 2021 Movers & Storers Show and visited the UVB stand you’d have discovered a lovely little pantechnicon belonging to Mark Ratcliffe Moving from Eastbourne.
The 1963 Morris LD has been completely restored to display condition, painted in it’s original colours of brown and cream but sign written with Mark Ratcliffe name and contact details, and has joined Mark’s ‘Vintage’ fleet which also includes a large Bedford CF Luton van.
We caught up with Mark a short while ago to chat about this excellent example of a 1960’s Morris LD 2.2 ton diesel van. He told us he found the vehicle in a container self store yard (or field…) near Bournemouth Airport some two and half years ago whilst they were delivering a job into the facility.
I saw it in the corner of a field, looking rather sad, beaten and battered, trees and plants growing from her and with back doors missing and not looking like she’d been anywhere for many, many years.
Although the cab was in a very sorry state, the back doors missing and the odd panel here and there suffering from rust, we concluded that it was almost intact and definitely worth saving. The rear of the van was full of rubbish, been used as a skip basically and the bodywork was dented, scratched, scuffed and very faded after years of south coast sunlight on the brown and beige original paintwork.
Amazingly you could still just see the NAFWR badge on the side of the Luton body, so confirmed that she had been used by a local remover and furniture retailer from Lyndhurst in the New Forest.
Mark was excited thinking about a new project…’project Morris’…and what would need to be done to bring her back to life. He made the business owner an offer and secured the purchase for just £1000. A week later he was back in Bournemouth with a trailer and set about pulling her out of her resting place. Completed he started the long journey up to UVB in Warrington, Cheshire.
Terry Sinnott of UVB agreed to take her in as a ‘ hospital job ‘ and carry out the restoration over a year or two, when a couple of lads in the factory had nothing to do for half a day, they’d get stuck in and work on her for a few hours from time to time.
After 18 months he collected the now pristine Morris, again on a trailer and proudly pulled her back to Sussex to use as a promotional vehicle at transport and Vintage shows around the south east of England in the summer months.
He went on to say ‘We’ve never had her running as yet but her engine does turn over and we do plan to get her up and running later this year’. Mark did some subsequent research on the Morris LD and found that you could buy an identical van complete with body back in 1963 for just £945 on the road. Another £35 would buy you the rarer diesel version which mine is.