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Old 19 May 2006, 13:27 (Ref:1614220)   #1
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Pistonbroke should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Morris Special

Arising from an 'I remember when' conversation at Shelsley Walsh last weekend - does anyone know what happened to Ashley Cleave and his indecently quick Morris Special?
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Old 19 May 2006, 15:58 (Ref:1614301)   #2
Alan Raine
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Hale, Cheshire
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Alan Raine should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridAlan Raine should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridAlan Raine should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridAlan Raine should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Never heard of him, but I was bored and did a quick Google. Sounds interesting. This was from an Australian website ww.moreg.org.au.

Some interesting one-off specials were made from time to time on the Morris Eight chassis but perhaps the best known, particularly as it still exists, is the completion car made by William Ashley Cleave. It started as a crashed Series I saloon in 1937 and Cleave rebuilt it using a 1934 Morris Minor four-speed gearbox and supercharged the 8hp engine with a Centric blower. In the hands of Ashley Cleave and his co-director Charles Burleigh it appeared at many prewar sprints and trials, gaining a substantial number of awards. Since the war it has been extensively modified until today the blue finished aluminium body on small diameter Magna wire wheels hides a 1,250cc supercharged Morris engine which enabled its designer to do a standing quarter-mile in 15. 2 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 115mph. As late as 1972 Ashley Cleave, then aged 72 years, was still competing at Shelsley Walsh with the car.

I'd like to have seen that!!!!

More info here: http://willowby.co.uk/morris.htm

Last edited by Alan Raine; 19 May 2006 at 16:01.
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Nostagia ain't what it used to be!
Old 19 May 2006, 19:12 (Ref:1614409)   #3
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Anuauto has a lot of promise if they can keep it on the circuit!
Saw him drive it at Trengwainton in August 1966 but don't seem to have a photo.
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Old 20 May 2006, 06:37 (Ref:1614679)   #4
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MONDELLO MAN should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Autosport or Motor Sport carried a very detailed article about the history of the car , it was road registered and he drove to all the events in it/
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Old 24 May 2006, 17:19 (Ref:1618065)   #5
Alan Brown
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Alan Brown should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Ccv 952

What a pleasant surprise to see a mention of one of the unsung cars of the past hill climbing scene. I first saw Ash Cleave at Brunton (Does anyone else remember that hill?) in Serptember 1957 when he set a new class record for open cars 951 -1400cc. I last saw him at Great Auclum in August 1973. A truly great clubman and enthusiast, competing for over fifty years (not all obviously in the Morris). I still wonder why a 1937 Morris Special should capture the imagination of a young boy when more modern and sleek sports cars, such as Manx-tailed Coopers were competing. Perhaps it was the case of the underdog tackling the new machinery. A couple of quotes from Chris Mason's Uphill Racers might suffice: "No South Western meeting seemed complete without Ashley Cleave's deceptively mundane-looking Morris Special. This remarkable car was capable of class wins into the nineteen-sixties." And referring to a defeat of a Lotus Elite at Prescott: "John Lepp had to accept defeat at the hands of the Amazing Ashley Cleave and his even more amazing 1937-based Morris Special, still changing up only when valve-bounce set in!".
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Old 28 May 2006, 16:32 (Ref:1621115)   #6
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Herts/Beds borders
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hodsonaj should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Ah, more boyhood memories! As a regular at Trengwainton in the 1960's I well remember Ash Cleave and the famous Morris regularly beating more exotic machinery. In those days when the cars returned down the hill from the collection paddock helmets were not always worn and the looks of amazement on the faces of the Emmets at the then somewhat elderly Mr Cleave always provided great amusement to those of us in the know.

The car was demonstrated at a VSCC Wiscombe some years ago but sounded a bit off colour to me. I believe it lives in the Tavistock area now but I could be wrong on that. There is a fine photo in Simon Taylor's 'The Shelsley Walsh Story'.

By the way I understand it was always driven from Cornwall to Shelsley. One of my heroes!
Tony Hodson
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Old 17 Dec 2017, 08:31 (Ref:3787578)   #7
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ashleycleave should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
I have been lucky enough to acquire this great little car. It ran in all kinds of events from 1937 to 1973. Races, speed trials, hill climbs, mud plugging trials. I would love to hear any memories anyone has about Ashley and his Morris, and to see any photos.

Many thanks!
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Old 10 Feb 2019, 09:26 (Ref:3882917)   #8
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gregcoombe should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Ash Cleave Morris special.

I would be very interested to see this car again as I lost track of it after 1972 when I last saw it at Kelly Bray.
I spent many holidays with uncle Ashley and auntie Ina in the late 1950's and 1960's and was lucky enough to accompany Ashley in the special to Shelsley Walsh and Brighton speed trials, usuallly travelling overnight to avoid heavy traffic and keep the speed up. This on account of the dynamo being driven at half the normal speed!
On arrival at the venue I used to help Ashley strip the car of all extra weight prior to his competing.
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