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Styled in Italy, built in Britain - The story of the blue Ital Van


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#1 OFFLINE   trigger

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 08:58 PM

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What accelerates 0-60 quicker than a Saab 900 GLS and overtakes faster than a Mercedes 200? That's correct, a Morris Ital 1.3 575 Van.

 

So let me start from the very beginning, back to 1994 in fact, I was 14 and working weekends and school holidays for a local agricultural engineer as his bitch, cutting grass, cleaning equipment, working on farms fixing tractors and driving loads of them, great fun and all for £1 a hour, great times. Sometime around this point his brother who traded in old tractors bought this old Morris Ital Van for £300 at a local farm sale purely to sell the number plate on (i don't know why either). I was tasked with cleaning the van up, sorting all the old plumbers equipment out and throwing away the moldy old sandwiches in it and even getting driven home in it a couple of times late at night, i remember this being great fun at the time.

 

Meanwhile it was found to be pretty rusty so off it went to a local welders where it sat for 2 years having a plate over the passenger floor and the rear inner tubs plated before coming back to him to sit in his garden another 2 years under a tarp wanting for him to finish the work needed for the mot, it then ended up being driven to a barn around 1999, again late at night and being parked in the corner and forgotten about.

 

I first saw it again over 2 years ago when i went to the barn to buy the grey Sierra off him.

 

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There she is under all the dust and webs, i did speak about buying it at the time but he was in no rush to sell it and didn't have time to dig it out but fast forwards 2 years and he's been told to that the land the barns on has been sold to developers and everything needs to go, so back i go again to assess it.

 

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Oh dear... that's quite rusty. Obviously those years sat outside didn't help, I offered to help move it, out of interest really so i spent a couple of Sundays down there moving stuff about and getting it running again by fitting a external fuel tank and rebuilding the carb.

 

I went back again few weeks ago to help move it towards the doors and get some photos to advertise it and it dawned on me that i should really buy it, under all that dust and rust was a genuine 41000 mile van that now starts instantly on the button, yes it will be a big job but nostalgia cut in, those memories of Saturdays cleaning it and late nights sliding around the country lanes as a 14 year old came back, and he offered to deliver it to mine too so we agreed on a price and the deal was done, or i was done, one of the two...


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1984 Morris Ital 575 Van

1983 Rover 2600SE SD1

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#2 OFFLINE   Heritage motor centre

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:03 PM

Great backstory trig. Are you planning to put some sort of period livery on it? I had in mind Leyland special tuning but that had all gone tits up by 1984. I love that ad you've quoted in your title....


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#3 OFFLINE   Felly Magic

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:04 PM

Good luck with it Triggs, once a common site, now rare as hens teeth


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#4 OFFLINE   eddyramrod

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:04 PM

Ramrod Seal Of Approval firmly applied.  Good save sir!


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#5 OFFLINE   cort16

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:08 PM

It’s amazing you got to buy it after all that time and it didn’t get cleared out at some point .

It’s funny what these things from your child hood do to you. I remember delivering papers out the boot of a brand new white d reg xr2 and I’ve had a thing for them ever since .
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I estimate this car needs £3000 maybe £4000 spending on it to get it rite and when this is done it will be wotrth about £1500!!


#6 OFFLINE   DodgeRover

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:09 PM

It's nice to have the back story, it doesn't look too crispy. Did the Itals still have trunnion front ends?

#7 OFFLINE   danthecapriman

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:13 PM

Classic vans are for winners!
Great save Trigger and it's got a nice back story and connection with you too.

Are you going to weld it yourself? Tbh it doesn't look all that bad for its age and what it is.

Can't wait to see more on this one. It'll be as minty as your old Dolly in no time!
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#8 OFFLINE   barefoot

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:17 PM

It looks a total pile of shit. Forgotten and extinct for a reason.
Well done and good luck with it Trig.
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#9 OFFLINE   Zantimisfit

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:19 PM

There must only be about two of these left. Looks like a good acquisition with the history you have with it n'all

 

Enjoy and tell us about it as you go please



#10 OFFLINE   trigger

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:20 PM

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So last Sunday to drove to his lock up again in Colchester and helped him drive it onto his trailer, the first time it's seen outside for at least 18 years.

 

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I think the trailer might have been a little OTT for the Ranger but he managed to get it the 30 miles back to mine, at the time the exhaust was completely shot so the neighbours curtains must have been twitching as we drove it of the trailer and into my garden, what a racket!

 

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This gave me chance to look at what I had bought, it turned out his brother when he bought it registered it as a trader so technically it's still a 1 owner Van on paper, a long gone building company in Holland on Sea in Essex, i'm guessing that this was the plumbers van going by the tools still inside that i sorted out when i was 14, even though it's rusty it had still only done 41000 miles. Imagine that when this was parked up it was only 9 years old! That's like a 58 plate Van getting parked up today!.

 

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The front looks worse than it is.

 

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The rear of the floor cleans up well though.

 

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Rust!, My mate has offered to welded it up for me, he seems to think the rust is very minor, I'm not convinced but i always worry to much!

 

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Thankfully the van came with a new exhaust and i managed to buy a brand new backbox of a friend for £35 (as well as a front spoiler and mirror for £5) so during the week i removed the old system which was a bastard of a job, I looked like one of the black and white minstrels by the time i finished and had a eye full of rust the yesterday me and dad fitted the new exhaust so it sounds really sweet now, has a lovely little fart sound and the engine doesn't even rattle!

 

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I even splashed out on a 015 battery for it as the lawnmower one gave up.

 

Today it got it's first wash since i last washed it 24 years ago!

 

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Other than the tubs which need some Zinc 182 on them the load area is mint, I'm going to ply it out and box the tubs, fit side panels and a set of speakers for a stereo, bad boy innit.

 

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temporary fitted the floor mat too.

 

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and i trailed the spoiler, looks quite smart i think!

 

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1984 Morris Ital 575 Van

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#11 OFFLINE   mercrocker

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:25 PM

Seeing my mate's Marina van that he has managed to get through 15 MOTs, no I don't think there is actually much to worry about there, either!


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#12 OFFLINE   DodgeRover

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:26 PM

If it's the same as our Marina van there are substantial storage areas behind the seats underneath the rear floor, I'm pretty sure you could mount some speakers there
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#13 OFFLINE   bramz7

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:27 PM

Phenomenal. That's lovely and I'm glad you finally took the plunge to buy it.

All this nostalgia talk has reminded me I really need to leave a note on that Subaru still going that my dad bought in 1997...

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#14 OFFLINE   Skizzer

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:27 PM

Well done Trig, this was fated to happen.

Looks like it’s basically pretty sound, and your track record suggests it’ll be show standard by a fortnight Wednesday, to the shame of most of the rest of us.

By the way, that Saab 900 comparison surprised me. The Merc 200 not so much: Greenland could outrun one of those.
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#15 OFFLINE   bezzabsa

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:33 PM

Used to b a guy just off J 13 on the M1 that had about 6 of these as well as 2 pickups sat in his garden...that was about 2010 last time I went past.......wonder if they're still there???


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#16 OFFLINE   DSdriver

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:36 PM

Only washing a vehicle once every twenty five years does help with the preservation. I hope you can keep up the rigorous schedule.


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#17 OFFLINE   Spottedlaurel

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:37 PM

Destiny indeed, well done on finally getting it.

 

Surely the thing to do would be to cut some porthole windows in the sides, line the back out with buttoned dralon and fit a mini-bar?


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#18 OFFLINE   purplebargeken

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:46 PM

Ace van, not a huge amount of grot considering. A classic that is nice to look at, easy to work on and practical. Spoiler looks good!



#19 OFFLINE   Noel Tidybeard

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:47 PM

bonus shite points for twisty-turny estate/van tailpipe!


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#20 OFFLINE   purplebargeken

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:48 PM

Door cards look like standard milboard. Easy to replace.



#21 OFFLINE   wuvvum

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:51 PM

Loving the back story.  My / purplebargeken's / jackytwoshoes' DAF 66 originally came from Holland on Sea as well, and lived there till it went to Stondon in the late '90s, so the two may well have met.


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#22 OFFLINE   Zelandeth

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:59 PM

That definitely looks fundamentally sound and should clean up really nicely with a bit of work.  Definitely a rare beast nowadays.


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#23 ONLINE   Ghosty

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:59 PM

Class! It really sounds like you did the right thing buying it - and knowing how your cars come out I'm looking forward to the finished product.


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#24 OFFLINE   AngusToledo

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 10:04 PM

Wow. I love stories like this. The fact the van has remained so intact, without being terminally rotten, and screwed up by visiting vermin is remarkable. Kudos to the fella who notified you of his intentions, too, rather than either asking a million quid because one person’s shown an interest, or bailing it because ‘no-one else can have it’.
If it were me, I’d try digging deeper on the old building company detailed on the V5 - I wonder if the registered address would throw up some links? It would be great to get the van restored and then parade it in front of the original owner/driver, if it’s even possible.
Looking forward to updates!
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#25 OFFLINE   trigger

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 10:06 PM

Thank you for the kind responses, makes a change from the "what the fuck have you bought that for, they were shit when new!" that I'm normally told!

 

Well done Trig, this was fated to happen.

Looks like it’s basically pretty sound, and your track record suggests it’ll be show standard by a fortnight Wednesday, to the shame of most of the rest of us.

 

Ha! Well, we'll see, We are due Triglette number 2 in a few weeks so things might slow down a little and I'm waiting on a mate with a welder which is going to hold things up a bit, especially as he's busy these days. The original plan was just to bodge it up for the test but it's such a original old thing it serves to be done properly (well as properly as i can do on a budget). In all honestly this thing should be dead by now, a cheap, rubbish when new builders van has no right to have lived this long so i feel duty bound to do right by it so future generations can take the piss out of it.

 

I'm guessing the first owner took one look at the first page of the brochure and just said "I want that one"

 

38340650262_c0e7cd27a5_b.jpgMorris Ital 440 and 575 Pickup and Van Brochure 1983 (1)

 

38340647312_bf25b62fd3_b.jpgMorris Ital 440 and 575 Pickup and Van Brochure 1983 (2)

 

38340648642_192663ef1d_b.jpgMorris Ital 440 and 575 Pickup and Van Brochure 1983 (3) by Triggers Retro Road Tests, on Flickr

 

He could have at least turned a couple of pages so i could have had cloth trim, a Ital steering wheel rather than a early Marina one, relining seats and door cards!

 

38340645462_2b41510aff_b.jpgMorris Ital 440 and 575 Pickup and Van Brochure 1983 (6)

 

38340643932_e1014d8a5a_b.jpgMorris Ital 440 and 575 Pickup and Van Brochure 1983 (7)

 

37656974974_5cb14e7684_b.jpgMorris Ital 440 and 575 Pickup and Van Brochure 1983 ( 8)

 

38340641912_0211ac556d_b.jpgMorris Ital 440 and 575 Pickup and Van Brochure 1983 (9)


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#26 OFFLINE   Yoss

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 10:06 PM

This looks great. So what's the metal box in the engine bay beside the radiator?
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#27 OFFLINE   quicksilver

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 10:08 PM

That's a brilliant survivor and the back story just makes it all the better. Definitely a candidate for a feature in Classic Van & Pickup magazine when you've got it back on the road (and yes there is such a magazine, I acquired some from Chaseracer at the last FOD open day and there's some really interesting stuff in them).


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#28 OFFLINE   Rusty Sills

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 10:12 PM

Cool van and a nice story too

#29 OFFLINE   trigger

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 10:12 PM

This looks great. So what's the metal box in the engine bay beside the radiator?

 

That's just the external temporary fuel tank I'm using, i have put some petrol in the tank, I've just not been brave enough yet to connect it and try it yet, although looking in it with a torch it looks clean so i should try it really.


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#30 ONLINE   warren t claim

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 10:14 PM

I can't remember the last time I say a small van without any sort of bulkhead between the load area and the cab. 


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