Vintage vehicle 'Mr Jones' comes home to Ottery
PUBLISHED: 18:00 21 August 2018
A vintage vehicle which has had a connection with Ottery for nearly seven decades is to go on display, after being brought ‘home’ by a van collector in the town.
Maurice Rapley has been collecting Morris Minor vans for most of his life which led him to purchase a 1951 black Morris 8 vehicle from a car show in Winkeligh in 1975.
Unbeknown to him at the time, the ‘sad looking’ van he had bought for £30 had been previously owned by an L.C.Jones, who ran a grocery and provision store in Mill Street, Ottery.
Maurice spent three years restoring the van on a limited budget and with the help of friends he found out more about the business before bringing the van back to Devon in 1986.
Three years later, Maurice had to sell ‘Mr Jones’ to pay for house repairs but said it was a sale he regretted instantly, believing he would never see the van again.
Fast forward 21 years and in 2010 the collector has been reunited with Mr Jones after spotting a black Morris 8 van for sale on eBay.
Maurice, who runs a Morris Minor restoration business, said: “After questioning the vendor I realised it was my old van and I brought it back.
“During the 21 years it was away it had travelled just 150 miles.
“I have now had the van sign written in a similar style and had a Devon registration number to replace the incorrect number.
“The little van has come full circle and once again resides in Ottery. It really has come home.”
The coincidences did not stop there for the collector, as last year he bought his new home from the daughter-in-law of the van’s original driver.
The 61-year-old also has a large collection of pedal bikes, as he enjoyed cycling in his youth.
Maurice said: “I have always had an interest in cars but I wasn’t the normal mechanic in the 70s working on Ford Cortinas, I liked old things.
“When you have a passion for it and as you get older you’re able to buy things you couldn’t then.
“As men, we do not stop being boys and the toys just get bigger.” Maurice will be showcasing the van in the upcoming Chanters Carnival Classic and hopes visitors will be able to share their stories when the van was in use.
The show will be take place next Sunday (August 26) and begins at 11am.