Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Restored 1971 Marina on Show at Classic Car Event

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Restored 1971 Marina on Show at Classic Car Event

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson Environment Editor

TV'S Top Gear hated it, but Alex MacLennan loved it - and still does.

It's the Morris Marina, launched in 1971 and which was Alex's first car, on which he splashed out PS150 at the age of 18 in 1988 when the vehicle was already 11 years old.

But almost 30 years later, Alex still has the mustard-coloured Marina and will be driving it this weekend in the Kielder Vintage and Classic Vehicle Show.

This year, the Northumberland event is celebrating its 10th anniversary, with more than 1,500 historic vehicles having been on display over the last decade.

The event starts with a classic car run on Saturday, with up to 50 vehicles driving a route which starts and finishes at Bellingham and will process through the Northumberland countryside.

The vehicle show will take place at Kielder Castle Visitor Centre car park on Sunday from 11am to 4pm.

Alex, who is recreation and public affairs manager for Forestry Commission North East, said: "I was just starting my career at the Forestry Commission when I bought the car, and I passed my test in it."

After lavishing care on the Marina, including a respray, Alex sold it for PS800. But two years later he bought it back for PS35 after coming across it in a lay-by with a seized engine.

Since then, he has fully restored the car, which is now worth around PS3,500. He said: "I've done everything to it and it is part of my heritage. It is a joy to work on, with no electronics or power steering.

"I think modern cars are all very similar and rather bland, but the Marina is everything which motoring should be about.

"TV's Top Gear gave the Marina a hard time but I think it's good fun to drive and I love the shape."

Former Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond had said: "I'll guarantee that nothing exciting, vibrant, dynamic, new, creative, hopeful, or beneficial in any way to humanity has ever been done, thought of, or driven to in that drab, dreary, entirely beige, wilfully awful pile of misery" in a segment of the show where James May was forced to use a Marina in a race across France. …

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