Thursday September 12, 2019
‘I receive so much respect when I take it for a drive; thumbs up and waves from pedestrians and headlamps flashed by other drivers. And it is small wonder that Tim Mullings’s Morris Marina Jubilee attracts such positive attention for if you owned one of these fine cars some 46 years ago, you would have enjoyed enhancing status in your community.
Quite aside from an exclusive paint finish which looked as though it could glow in the dark there was Sundym tinted glass, vinyl roof, twin door mirrors, front fog lamps, headrests and seats trimmed in navy cloth in place of that ‘knit-backed vinyl’ upholstery’ that BL seemed obsessed with in the 1970s. In short, this was a package to make a Ford Cortina GXL owner green (or Citron) with envy.
UGK 719 M is also an example of how to make a “Special Edition” car that was actually desirable as opposed to loading a last-of-the-line model with accessories to clear the showrooms before the debut of its replacement. By contrast, the Jubilee was devised to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Morris Motors.
In essence, it was the ultimate version of the 1.8 TC 4-door (there was no 2-door version), the Marina which offered ‘sports car performance with limousine comfort’, from a cigar lighter and a rev counter to a folding rear armrest and ‘cut-pile plush carpets’. Not to mention ‘0 – 50 mph in 9 seconds flat’.
However, the Jubilee was fitted with extras above and beyond your local Unipart outlet and even came with twin coachlines for that additional touch of distinction. BL supplied every dealer with this eye-catching vehicle to create even more of a stir on “M-Day” – the 1st August 1973.
Their survival-rate is almost inevitably limited, and Tim found his Morris ‘on eBay nearly three years ago. The story, as I understand it, is that it had been lovingly restored by the previous owner who sadly passed on before he could really enjoy it’.
This is Mr Mullings’s first Marina – ‘the colour reminded me of the Hillman Avenger my parents used to run!’. He much enjoys ‘the nostalgia, the comfort and the simplicity’ of the Jubilee and the latter two attributes are what sold the car in the 1970s – in February 1973 BL proclaimed that they had already constructed 250,000 Marinas.
Equally importantly, UGK 719 M is also proof that any saloon bar bore or rabid devotee of Top Gear who claims that it was an ‘ugly’ car is talking out of their anorak. The Morris benefitted from styling that was both less time-locked than the Cortina Mk. III or the Vauxhall Viva HC - indeed its looks were remarkably accomplished given the restricted time-scale allotted to Roy Haynes. And did we mention that paint finish?
WITH THANKS TO Tim Mullings
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