Our regular contributor Teresa Stokes has this time sent us pictures of a rare Morris that was owned by Guy Denby, one of whose four sons is the husband of Teresa’s sister.
Guy’s widow Avril can tell us some lovely details of the car when it was in the Denby family in India between 1942 and 1974. The picture shows Avril with the car in 1969. Here is an extract from her email:
“The Morris was a fabulous car which Guy likened to a German staff car. It did not go very fast but then neither did the traffic and 4 boys could ride in it. Under the dashboard in front of the passenger seat was a lever which, when pulled, made the engine roar – utterly pointless but pleasing to a boy. I can’t remember if the windows worked but the roof pulled up in the monsoon. Lovely scarlet upholstery and blue paint. It was a much-loved car and I was sad not to be able to keep it but needed fairly frequent attention which cost little in India but would have been horrendous in England. I did not regard it as special as one does now. It was just invaluable transport to get children to and from school, the library, shopping, out to tea… etc. No one took much notice of it. However the film people borrowed it for their shoot, putting stars in it.”
The Morris Ten-Six Special was only made for the two years from 1934 to 1936. It was the drophead sports version of the much more staid Morris Ten-Six, a six-cylinder version of the Morris Ten. It was powered by a 1,378cc side-valve engine and, as related by Avril, was not a fast car, even in Special specification where it boasted twin SU carburettors. The standard body was an open four-seater, but some chassis were supplied to coachbuilders, among them Cunard.
But from the photographs we have of the Denby car this appears to be the even rarer Special Sports – distinguished by a bonnet strap, louvred valances by the frame without running boards, cutaway doors, and a flared back with a low tail.
The car still exists in India, although not currently running. Teresa has sent us pictures of the car when it was used in the 1970s for a film shoot, and in the 1980s with Shobha De, a famous Indian writer of racy novels about socialites that earned her the title of “The Jackie Collins of India.”
What a history! Morris cars can be glamorous, and can be the cars of the stars.
Picture courtesy of Teresa Stokes