Nancy Duursma once joked that she would get rid of her husband, Hans, before ever upgrading her 1955 Morris Minor.
This month the fourth generation Rutherglen resident clocked up half a century with ‘Morrie’ and told the Free Press her car, which is just five years younger than her, was her pride and joy.
“I don’t really remember this but Hans likes to remind me that I once joked when we were going together that I would get rid of him before the Morris, so he won’t let me sell it,” Nancy said.
Nancy was in grade one at Rutherglen Primary School when one of her future teachers, Clyde Roy, bought a brand new Morris Minor.
“There were not a lot of cars around in the 1950s and they were mainly driven on the weekend,” she said.
“To see a new car was quite exciting for school children.”
Little did she know that many years later the little Morris would become her pride and joy.
Six weeks before her 17th birthday, Nancy’s father informed her that Mr Roy was selling his Morris, and it would be a reliable car for her to buy.
“It was the good price of $500 and so the deal was done,” Nancy said.
“I also have the paper work that shows my dad paid $6 in stamp duty.”
During the next six months, Nancy learnt how to change a wheel, dip the oil and check the spark plug leads with the engine running – ‘ouch’, never again, said Nancy.
“Ebba Kay and his mechanics looked after the engine from then on,” Nancy said.
Still to this day, Nancy remembers it was 10am on her 18th birthday when she passed her driver’s licence and says she still thinks of the poor policeman in the back seat with no rear doors.
“Having my own car as a teenager was fabulous, it got me to golf and to work at the Rutherglen Post Office where I was a telephonist; I just loved the freedom,” Nancy said.
In 1968, just weeks before Nancy got her licence, P Plates were introduced in Victoria and she was one of the first to use them.
“I actually had to wire the P Plates to the car, they were nothing like the stick on ones they have nowadays,” Nancy said.
Flashing indicators were also new and duly installed.
“Hand signals were used when I was going for my licence,” Nancy said.
Seatbelts and a baby capsule were fitted in 1975 for the arrival of Hans and Nancy’s first child.
In 1969, Nancy and her mother Norma, who were both on their P Plates, drove all the way through Melbourne with no Melway street directory to guide them, only instructions on a piece of paper.
Their destination was Bairnsdale where Nancy played golf in a Postmaster-General's golf week.
Morrie has been involved in many weddings including, of course, when Nancy and Hans tied the knot in 1971.
Twenty-eight years later Morrie was used in their daughter’s wedding and now their three grandchildren love to have a ride in the Morrie.
Apart from the big trip to Bairnsdale, almost all of Nancy’s 50 years of motoring has been between Rutherglen and Corowa.
Shopping for clothes was done at Ken Kings, with many memorable nights had with her sister Jill and two close friends on board, with a visit to Mary Hopkins Cafe for takeaway tea en route to the Rex Theatre in Corowa for the latest movies.
As a keen tennis player, the young players would pile in for a ride.
The favourite tennis destination was Balldale as it involved a nice drive in the car and a magnificent afternoon tea, regardless of who won on the day.
For half a century Nancy has enjoyed motoring in the Morris with little trouble.
“Tyres would perish with age rather than wear out and batteries have been few and then there was always the crank handle,” Nancy said.
Nancy said a full tank of fuel in 1968 cost just $1.80.
These days Nancy and her car are enjoying a new lease of life after becoming active members of the Albury-Wodonga Morris Minor Car Club.
“Our monthly rallies with like-minded friends and their cars are great fun and we visit and support most major events in this area,” Nancy said.
“The Morris is now travelling further than it has for many years.
“In reality, the Morris in its lifetime has moved from its original driveway to the driveway next door where we live.”