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Cleaver Bros 1946 surf mobile

City Beach surfers Allan and Brian Cleaver were popular members of the City Beach Surf Riders Club in the mid-late 60s.

During this time the bros’ shared ownership of their father’s 1946 Morris 8 sedan. They decked it out with surf racks and used it as a surf mobile. The brothers took the ‘Morrie 8’ to Mandurah on numerous ventures, plus a few trips to Yallingup region.

Photos: 1966 Cleaver Bros at City Beach.

Left: City Beach crew L-R Kevin O’Dwyer, Jim King, Phil Henderson, Brian Brown, Bruce King and Allan Cleaver with Dave Kennedy at the front. Norm Bateman pic.

Right: Brian Cleaver surfing south side of groyne at City Beach. Trevor Burslem pic.

This is Brian Cleaver’s recollections of City Beach and the old Morris 8.

City Beach

Both Allan and I have always been ‘City Beach Surfers’. Our parents were weekend regulars at City Beach from the early 40’s. Soon after both Allan and I were born, and still in ‘nappies’, we were introduced to the surf at City Beach. First we learnt to swim, then body surf and onto board riding in the early 60’s. This was and remains my ‘home’ beach.

I was invited to join the CBSRC after taking out second place in the first ‘Novice Surf Competition’ which was held at Scarborough Beach in 1962. Sponsored by radio station 6PR. Allan followed my lead and joined the club soon after.

Morris 8 sedan

The Morris 8 sedan was brought by our father, NEW in 1946, the same year Allan was born.

When my older brother Allan turned 17, he basically took ownership of sorts. Our father purchased a second hand Austin Major for himself.

Photo: 1964-65 Allan Cleaver with the old Morris 8 and Malibu surfboards in Floreat. Brian Cleaver pic.

When I turned 17, I took over the sort of ownership of the old Morris 8.

Photo: 1964-65 Brian and Allan Cleaver with cousin’s Collin & Gary and the old Morris 8 and a Morris Minor at Floreat. Brian Cleaver pic.

Photo: 1966 the Cleaver Bros Morris 8 parked in front of the garage doors at the City Beach Tea Rooms. Trevor Burslem pic.

Allan and I then decided we required better vehicles. Allan purchased an Austin Major and myself an Austin Lancer.

Both vehicles were sold when my brother Allan and I won Lotto and were conscripted into the Army for National Service. Myself on 12th July 1967, Allan followed three months later after completing his ‘plumbers’ apprenticeship. I was deployed to Vietnam on active service with 3rd Royal Australian Regiment in February 1968. Allan was deployed to Vietnam mid 1968 and appointed the plumber during the construction of a swimming pool at the Australian recreational centre at Vung Tau, commonly known as the ‘back beach’.

Photos: 1960s Cleaver Bros on National Service duties in Vietnam. Brian Cleaver pics.

Left: 1967 Brian patrol ready.

Right: 1968 Allan off duty in his boardies.

As for the Morris 8, now it was our sister’s turn to learn to drive, hence she took over the responsibility of driving and looking after the great old vehicle when she turned 17 in 1969, the old Morris was now 23 years old. 

Within a few years our sister Jillian took off to London. As for the dear old Morris 8, it was our mother’s turn to learn to drive as she took on work to earn money for a trip to Europe. My father and mother completed the trip after a few years of working and saving. A trip that is so far back in my memory I cannot think of an approximate year. Possibility the late 70’s – early 80’s?

The Morris stayed with my parents for many years following their European trip. Eventually a collector made an offer to purchase, an offer my father hesitated over for some time. The Morris 8 was his ‘pride and joy’, making a decision to sell very difficult. 

Price was not of great significance, more importantly was who was the vehicle going to and were they going to maintain its historic significance. Dad did eventually sell to the collector who lived in Floreat Park. The sale price was more than Dad had paid back in 1946, hence he was happy to hand over the Morris, plus all the spare parts and a spare engine.

Throughout all those years the vehicle was involved in one accident. Luckily it was minor, the front right hand shell fender. Easily removed, repaired and replaced. This happened whilst Allan had ownership, he would have been 18 years old, making it 1964.

Photo: 1992 Brian Cleaver and Etsuko Kasahara wedding in Japan. Photo courtesy of Brian Cleaver.

Sadly Allan passed away in January 1982. Brian is still a keen scuba diver and returns to Vietnam every year for holidays.

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  • Tony Wigger-Smith

    My brother in law bob had a morris 8 in christchurch new zealand. When i lived with them i would drive down to the beach in new brighton and sumner to go surfing in the 70s. Great story brought back good memories.