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ISSUE 295: My thoughts have been turning to the business of modifying classic cars this week, a state of affairs mainly brought on by my test drive of a rally veteran Ford Anglia, which you can read on page 43, along with my opinions on the matter. Without spoiling the ending, one of the things I liked about that Anglia was that for all its transplanted engine, different gearbox, uprated suspension and chunky tyres it was still a Ford Anglia. Replacing a 1.2-litre Kent engine with a 1.6-litre Crossflow Kent engine doesn’t really change the ‘Anglia-ness’ of the car, and neither does swapping the original rear leaf springs for beefier ones. Especially not when you’re preparing a car to drive nearly 10,000 miles across Eurasia on some of the harshest roads on Earth. But what if you’re driving from Peterborough to Droitwich Spa? Because a few days after driving that Anglia Estate I did exactly that in another classic estate car – our freshly completed Morris Minor 1000 Traveller (which you can also read more about in these very pages – turn to page 56). I’m sure there are plenty of people who wouldn’t fancy doing that trip in that car, but I relished it. Our Minor is essentially in the same specification that it was when it was built in 1968. Now the Morris Minor is a car that has been modified, modernised and customised virtually since the day it was launched and many Moggies owe their survival to the fact that they can be upgraded with bigger engines, better brakes, more sophisticated suspension and much else to keep up with modern life. But is that really necessary? I’m not sure. In my 200 miles the 48 horsepower of the stock engine was more than enough. Although I avoided motorways (and was going about 60mph) that was only because the motor was still running in. The Morris could happily have gone with the flow and in my trek across the Midlands I really couldn’t think of any way in which I would feel the need to alter the Traveller, be it for that specific trip or for doing the daily grind. Of course that’s just my take on things – and I ran a diesel Series 3 Land Rover as a daily for three years so my standards are probably pretty strange – so I’d be interested to hear any thoughts you have on this topic. Modify, modernise or leave as standard? Are there any areas where you would upgrade a classic as a matter of course? Let us know.

Jack Grover
Deputy editor