1964 Morris 850

When it comes to finding that elusive barn-find gem, sometimes it pays to be in the right place at the right time – and to be patient. That’s exactly what happened for Craig Bennett, when he found out about this 1964 Morris 850.

Craig has worked for Hobart MINI Garage for a little over ten years, starting with the company in May 2002, some three months after they opened. Not long afterwards a woman named Pat was having her Hyundai serviced at a dealership across the road, saw the Mini Garage signs and came over for a look, as Craig takes up the story. “The new MINI hadn’t been out very long and she saw the signs from across the road and came over to see what we did. Fortunately, I got talking to her and she told me about this old Mini she had. I expressed interest in it and offered to go and have a look.”

Pat, who never married, still lives with her father Morrie, now 101 years old (her mother having passed away some time ago), and Craig and his two sons used to pop in occasionally to visit. “Originally when I first called up and had a look at it she wasn’t ready, and I continued to call in with the boys and we’d say hello and see how she was, and how her dad was. She kept telling me she wasn’t ready and wasn’t ready and then after seven years of, well we weren’t hounding her, just socializing and keeping in touch with her, she decided that it was time and she would sell it.”

“I kept it quiet all these years. She always said, ‘you’ve got first offer on it’, but that doesn’t really mean much until you get the car. But she was true to her word. We would probably call in there every three or four months. Pop in and say g’day, the boys would smile at her nicely and we hoped that one day she would say yes, and she did.”

Craig finally bought the Mini about two years ago, but even then it wasn’t until after he got it home that he realised what a gem he’d bought. “The car lived in an old dilapidated wooden shed, with a wooden floor and it had blankets and rugs and things over it. Really, it wasn’t until I got it out and got it home, because we hardly even saw it out of the garage, that I really could appreciate just how good it was.”

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