‘Back to Africa in a 1929 Morris Minor’ in 2020

In 1929 Morris Motors launched a small car that was exported direct to Umtali (Mutare) in the British Colony of Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) where it was registered as U750. Following nine previous owners, including 4 RAF pilots during WW2, in 1953 the 10th owner drove this little car 800 miles north through the treacherous Zambezi valley and escarpment to Kitwe Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) where it was registered as NK3177.

Soon after it was crashed, abandoned in the jungle outside Kitwe where it was vandalised, subjected to bush fires, termites and left to rot.  Then, in 1970, a naive 26-year-old Peter Hills rescued the rusty wreck.  With little knowledge of the car he partially restored it as a running chassis. By 1984 Peter was recruited to UK so it was airfreighted to England where information and resources were available.  Finding all original parts he completed the restoration in 1992 to concours standard.

The car has driven all over the UK and been as far as Belgium and continues to be improved yet retaining its originality.

Since  we were able to prove the car’s provenance, certified by the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust at Gaydon Oxford England, it was registered with an UK age related plate as DS9936.

During and after the restoration, Peter identified and researched all ten previous owners.   For many years, Peter being the 11th owner and restorer has planned to return the car to his home in Central Africa.  In April 2020 Peter’s dream will be realised.

The objective is to visit all past owner’s last known addresses involving a safari of some 2,000km.  The tour was postponed from 2019 and is now planned  to commence April 2020 which will be the car’s 91st year since production and 50 years since Peter rescued it.

Contacts have been established at the major cities to be visited in Zimbabwe and Zambia; street parades and receptions are to be held arranged by local car clubs and enthusiasts.

An important element of this Back to Africa in a 1929 Morris Minor is to raise funds for the Cecily’s Fund a charity that has helped thousand of orphan Zambians.  I will be registering this through the web site www.justgiving.com in the UK.  More details to follow soon.

The above travel map journey has been reset for 2021 as the 2020 trip was postponed due to Covid-19.  I hope it will take place from March 2021 -lines are coloured as follows:

17/8/2019 Phase 1 – By sea UK to Cape Town (arrived 23Oct.)  Green
19/3/2021 By trailer from Cape Town to Mutare Zimbabwe – Approximate Date  Purple
26/3/2021 Phase 2 – Start of 2000km trip: Mutare, Bulawayo, Harare, Lusaka, Kitwe- Approximate Date  Red
21/4/2021 Phase 3 -By trailer Kitwe – Approximate Date

Phase 4 – Victoria Falls Hwange, Jo’burg, Cape Town- Approximate Date

1/7/2021 Phase 5 – By sea Cape Town to UK  Green