The AA's Morris Ital van was built in 1984, the year production of the car ended
The Morris Ital was simply a facelifted version of the Morris Marina, which first appeared in 1971.
The Marina was a decent seller for British Leyland during the early to mid-1970s, but by the time the Ital arrived in June 1980 it was hopelessly outclassed.
Nevertheless, the van version of both the Marina and Ital proved popular with big commercial fleets, where simplicity and ease of repair were more highly valued than driver comfort.
The AA's Morris Ital van was built in 1984, the year production of the car ended (production of the van continued until 1985).
The AA's Morris Ital van
It was never used by the AA for breakdowns, but saw service as a promotional vehicle at shows and events. It later ended up at the AA's training college near Nottingham where it was parked outside for many years causing the body to deteriorate.
The van was eventually rescued by Newcastle-upon-Tyne AA patrols Alan Crowley and Paul Bowman, who stripped it down and restored it.
A facelifted Morris Marina
When Alan and Paul found the van there were only 1500 miles on the clock, making it probably the lowest mileage Marina/Ital van in the world.
Because these vehicles were largely unloved in their day, survivors are now rare.
It is currently being looked after by Patrol Paul Whibbley in the Wirral area.
(13 August 2012)