Linda Parkes’ bright red 1956 Morris Minor pickup is a wee beauty. She’s owned it since 1996 and it’s her everyday driver.

Back in 1985, husband David, needed a car to get to work. Linda’s late dad had owned a 1952 Morris 1000 car, which was for sale, so the deal was done. “I liked the fact that it was a ’52 model – like me,” David grins. “I drove that wee green Morrie every day for 10 years. It ran like a top all that time, but it got to the point where it really did need serious restoration.”

With the car off the road, a replacement vehicle was needed. By this time, the couple were keen members of the Vintage Car Club, and through ‘a friend of a friend’, discovered the wee pickup for sale. “It was a 1956 model – like me,” Linda adds, “we were a perfect match.”

With a well-maintained 1000cc motor under the bonnet and a 3-speed manual gearbox, ’56 NANA just hums along. “We decided that we would use it fully,” Linda adds. “I drive it every day, going to work, picking up grandkids, carting the rubbish and recycling, and I can get a week’s groceries beside me in the front. It’s really practical. I’ve even used it as a wheelbarrow, doing a garden clean-up.”

56 NANA even had to tow Dave’s car once. Turns out that the fuel pump on the wee green Morrie was playing up, so ’56 NANA came to the rescue. “It’s all part of owning older vehicles, but it must have looked rather funny, one towing the other.”

In 2010 it was the pickup’s turn for restoration. With the help of friends, David stripped it right down, giving it a full-body restoration, including a sturdy new deck made from red beech and macrocarpa. Mechanically, it’s still very sound, David says. “The only thing that’s been done to the motor in 30 years is a new head gasket.”

Linda and David say they enjoy old cars. “The thing about them is that they’re easy to repair,” David says. “Parts are still easy to come by – they’re just simple machines.”

Joining the Vintage Car Club was the smartest thing they did. “They’re a great bunch of like-minded people. Our advice to anyone doing up an old vehicle, would be “join up!” It doesn’t matter what vehicle you have, there’ll be someone there who knows where to get parts, and how to help. They’re a great bunch.”

Is it time for another car? “I have a few projects and plans,” David says. “but there’s no way we could sell ’56 NANA – that would be divorce if I even suggested it!”

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Judy McAuliffe is a writer, and publisher Essence Mid Canterbury. Her experience in media is extensive and includes approximately 15 years as Creative Director for The Radio Network, writing, and managing the writing of radio advertising, mainly in Invercargill and Greymouth. In the late 1990’s she transferred to Christchurch, moving into an Account Management role with 91ZM. In 2007 she and a business partner set up Essence Mid Canterbury, very quickly adapting her radio-writing skills to print media. Judy became sole owner of Essence Mid Canterbury in June 2014. Judy is a ‘people person’ and has found her niche writing feature stories about the community she lives in and the people who live there. She is also available for freelance writing assignments.