Car-mad Inverness man John MacIver had dreamed of owning an iconic Morris Minor since he was a child, when his father and uncle owned one of the rugged little cars.
Unfortunately, John (55) has a disability that limits his mobility and prevents him from learning to drive. His passion for engines was therefore limited to his large collection of scale models and toys.
That was until Cheshire House, his retirement home in the town, stepped in and, with their help, John’s dream came true.
Cheshire House assistant manager Hilary Prosser said: ‘We ask people here if there’s anything they really want to aim for and John told us about his veteran car. He had the money and with the help of his key aides, including Tammy Lauder and Linda Cook, we made it happen.
Now John is the proud owner of a 1968 Morris 6cwt van which sports a far from standard orange and white paint job and the veteran workhorse is now turning heads and smiling faces as he drives around town with John in the passenger seat.
Volunteers abound to take him for a tour, including of his church, the Christian Center in Culduthel.
“I am now a member of the Morris Minor Owner’s Club, with a membership card and a magazine every three months,” John said proudly.
“There was a story about me buying the van, but no picture of it.
“Everyone here knows how much I love cars and especially the Morris Minor and when I celebrated my birthday recently they made me a cake in the shape of a van with orange and white icing.”
Anyone who drives the Morris has to get used to the idiosyncrasies of 1960s cars, including a manual choke and a three-speed gearbox where first can’t be engaged unless it’s nearly stopped.
The van is based on the hugely popular Morris 1000 sedans and travellers.
Volunteer driver Colin MacLean said: “It’s fun to drive, and there’s that particular smell of petrol and vinyl seats when it’s hot. John gets a lot of pleasure out of it.
Cheshire House is run by the national disability charity Leonard Cheshire.