MIKANSUE - a troubled Morris Minor
The Morris Minor was one of Britain’s best-loved cars and remains so even fifty years after production ceased. The estate, or Traveller, version arrived in 1953, and continued with engine and other upgrades for many years. The Minor was the first British car to exceed a million sales, a figure that was reached in 1961. A total of 1,619,815 of all types were produced between 1948 and 1971. The Traveller remained popular until the end of Minor production, the last one being built in April 1971, five months after the last saloon. It was a good dual purpose vehicle for the family man with a small business or the businessman with a small family.
MIKANSUE, a pioneer white metal kit company, produced and sold their kits from 1973 to 1989, with European cars (Grand Tourisme), American (Americana), and European racing cars (Competition). The Morris Minor was one of their earlier models, and my Traveller is number 35. While Mike and Sue Richards were leaders in popularizing white-metal 1/43 models, they also wrote many articles and books on toy cars.
A word of caution: These models were from the early days of models for collectors when expectations were not as high as they are today.
I bought my Mikansue kit on the open market (that means “old and pre-owned”) through eBay, on the assurance that it was in unopened envelopes. When I first opened these, several weeks after the kit had arrived, I found problems. In particular, the roof over the windshield and front seats area was flattened and the left rear side wall was duplicated; there was no right rear side wall. (This refers to metal sheeting below to fill in the lower rear sides and the encased glass above, this turning an open-reared body into a station wagon.) I e-mailed the dealer, asking if this kit had become confused. The dealer immediately, without even a request from me, sent an apology and explained this came from an estate sale, and through eBay immediately (even before I read the message) gave me a full refund and did not ask for a return. Said dealer is now on my list of favorite dealers.
So I looked at the mis-matched parts and, yes! So here it comes:
And that, dear lovers of 1/43 models, is how a mess can get into a decent collection. My skills fell short, but my heart remains high. Enjoy~
David, As a long time Morris Minor 1:1 owner, I'm devastated about your poor Morris Minor kit. Send it to me if you wish, and I will scratch build a replacement side panel and correct any longstanding Mikansue casting errors. That is the kind of work I do. Here is its big brother, a 1953 Morris Oxford Series MO Traveller that I recently converted from a sedan. Everything from the B pillar back is my creation. jquilter (usual symbol)peoplepc.com
John F. Quilter
Eugene, Oregon USA
Many thanks for your kind offer, John, and I have great admiration for your talents. But I won't take advantage of your kindness, as this little model just isn't that important to me. I have a shelf of these kits, varying from old white metal to recent 20 minutes to completion kits; and I enjoy putting them together without paying much attention to them afterwards. When one goes too awrey, I just toss it away and turn to another. I think I've done that twice in the last year or so. Now and then I have one that looks good enough that I put it in one of my display cases, squeezing the Brookins and others a little closer together.
Sometimes old age can be a little fun even when a kit goes bad.
Regards, David H
Great post David. I'm impressed with how well you did using an incorrect part. It is very nice of John to offer to correct the problem.
Here is the Lledo 1960 Morris Minor Traveller diecast Vanguard Model from about 1990 in 1/43. I uncovered it last week while preparing for the May 22 CTCS show in Toronto.
David, the Lledo looks great, unlike my unrequited dreamboat. Oh yes, I have just chosen my next project. Get ready for a three horse powered Roman Chariot!
David H (0ops! I just counted again. Make that FOUR horse powered!)