Vehicle: Morris 1800 ‘The Beauty Box’
Owned by: David Scothorn
Owned since: January 2016
During my boyhood I used to thumb lifts up to Silverstone to see the racing. Once at the circuit, I’d lurk around the pits to help out gentleman racers, hoping that once race-day finished, they’d give me a lift back to Oxford in their Astons, MGs, Jaguar XKs and the like. More often than not, I’d be in luck and be dropped off at home too!
Spending my weekends in this way has given me a love of classic competition cars throughout my whole life. From MGs and Austin Healeys to Triumphs and ‘Works’ Minis, if it has some competition background, I’m there.
So when I saw the Morris 1800 ‘Beauty Box’ for sale, I was entranced. Here was a car with a genuine provenance in the most arduous enduro event of all time, the 1970 Daily Mirror World Cup Rally.
Beauty Box for sale!
The longer I watched the advert, the more time passed. It did seem to be available and on sale for a long time. So I called up, had a look at the car, then popped in to see Simeon at the Project Shop to tell him I’d agreed to buy it. The look on his face was priceless!
What I didn’t realise then was how much history the car had made. When it was new, it appeared in the 30 August 1968 edition of Autosport magazine because the car was then on the press fleet of BMC. It was a press demonstrator and John Bolster drove the car describing it as a ‘stout maid of all work’. What a description! He also alleged that the 1800 in Mk2 form was capable of 100mph. That must have had the valves practically bouncing through the rocker cover.
World Cup Rally Star
Following its appearance in that issue of Autosport, the car was converted by BMC Special Tuning for use in the 1970 World Cup Rally and entered by Woman magazine, crewed by Jean Denton, Pat Wright and Liz Crellin. By the end of the most arduous rally in history, the car achieved a creditable 18th place finish in Mexico City, having left Wembley Stadium six weeks before. It also came second in the Ladies class.
The car’s had a chequered history since then, but as it stands now, complete with all its World Cup Rally accoutrements, it’s ready for more challenges!
Classic rallying in Europe!
Which is why in April 2016 I was pleased to accept an invitation to take the Beauty Box to Italy to contest the Terre di Canossa regularity. This event, set in the heart of Italy’s Motor Valley is an up and coming international Historic rally, ably organised by Luigi Orlandini and his team from Scuderia Tricolore in Reggio Emilia.
The faces of the other competitors were a picture when they heard how we drove the Beauty Box 1000 miles to the startline across Europe. So while our actual performance on the rally wasn’t in the first tier of finishers, walking away with the award for ‘Endurance’ was particularly fitting seeing as the Morris was made for long distance.