Morris enthusiast celebrates 80th birthday with rally for classic car fans

5:00pm Tuesday 3rd June 2014

By Richard McAllister

Motor enthusiast Tony Hale celebrated his 80th birthday by organising his final motor tour for vintage Morris cars.

Mr Hale, of Meadow Lane, Westbury, has belonged to the Morris Register – a club for Morris vehicles designed before 1940 – since the 1970s.

He drives a 1936 two-seater Morris Eight, which he has owned for 13 years, and has been organising the annual Wiltshire tour since 2007. Yesterday’s 34-mile route involving about 20 cars set off from the Lakeside Garden Centre in Crockerton, finishing in Gillingham .

Although Mr Hale has organised his final tour he has no plans to stop driving his Morris.

He said: “I still plan to go on tours that other people organise and I plan to still be driving the car when I’m 100. I don’t feel like I’m 80, I feel like I’m 55. They are a good, solid and attractive car which I enjoy driving.

“I like the camaraderie of the club. We meet, have a natter, a drink and we share our points of view. It’s great seeing the reaction of people on the road and when I park up people are always interested.”

Mr Hale lost his wife Sue at the age of 73 to cancer 12 months ago.

His enthusiasm for all things Morris was kindled in 1949 when he started working for Elton’s Motors in Westbury, where he initially delivered engine parts and then graduated to rebuilding engines in the 1950s.

“I enjoy working on them – Morris cars are not like a modern car, they are something that you can enjoy driving,” he said.

“We tend to drive them on minor road because of the speed of modern vehicles.”

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