Ipohworld's World

Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow

If they ever came to life (like in those Disney cartoons), perhaps these vehicles would have been good friends 😉

Here we have a bicycle, a car and a van; all three of them ‘worked’ for Ho Yan Hor.

We’d like to hear from the car-lovers out there – can you identify the type of car shown in this picture?

  1. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear felicia

    Three ‘friends’ at Old Town

    If they ever came to life (like in those Disney cartoons), perhaps these vehicles would have been good friends 😉

    I just wanted to say how much I liked the title and caption you chose!

    Just perfect for the photograph — very clever, very sweet, and highly amusing!

    • Ngai C O says:


      I can say the one on the left was a Ford Fordson marketing van.

      It was a cheat as I googled it. Not sure which model.

      I have saved the other two for other readers.

  2. ika says:

    Yes Ngai C,
    You are quite correct. The van is a Fordson E494C marketed across the world by Ford of England after the war. It was the cheapest commercial van in the world and consequently very popular. Today there are only about 100 left in a driveable condition worldwide.
    As a museum and heritage consultant to Hovid I located one of these in UK and made arrangements for Hovid to purchase it and ship it to Ioh. It has now been repainted, with copies of original logos and will eventually join the (to be) extended Ho Yan Hor Museum. In UK it was a well known, prize-winning exhibitur in all the major car shows. It took almost a year of emails, advertising and telephone calls to find it and then persuade the owner to sell it and another year to get the AP and Customs agreement to bring it into Malaysia.
    Regarding the bicycle we found a similar model and that is already housed in the museum together with the amazing story of how it was used by Dr Ho, the founder of Ho Yan Hor tea.
    But what about the car? We desperately need to know the Make and model of this one as David Ho (MD Hovid) gas asked me to find one and arrange the purchase etc as for the van. So we need our readers help. Mano and Charlie immediately come to mind, but I know there are others out there who know so much about Moyot History. Please help me if you can. Even a guess will help as I really do not know where ti start. The only clue was that Dr Ho bought it here in 1948m but it was probably second-hand.

    • Ngai C O says:

      Hi Ika,

      Thank you for the extensive information and how you went to great lengths to get hold of the car.

      I would definitely do a few more searches to see if I can get any more clues or information.

  3. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear ika

    It’s a Morris Minor, certainly, but not from ’32.

    It’s either a ’33 or a ’34 model. Would need a better image to say precisely which.

    Thanks for all you’re doing to help David Ho build up his museum.

  4. ika says:

    I am not in any way an expert on motor cars and was quite proud of myself when I identified the car as a Morris Minor. Here my expertise ends there and I do not have a better photo than the one here and this is the only photo of the car that exists.

    I have looked at 1933 and 1934 cars but to my untrained eye they look the same apart from the windscreen, while the only history I can find says”
    “The Morris Minor is a small 4-seater car with an 850 cc engine manufactured by Morris Motors Limited from 1928 to 1934.”

    I would be most grateful therefore if you could let me have some idea of the physical changes that took place over the three years.

    A 1933 version can be found here https://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C410962
    and here https://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C882844

    A 1934 model is at http://www.classicandsportscar.ltd.uk/Morris-Minor-Tourer/classic-cars-sold/17480 but has a different windscreen.

    For the less expert like me, this might help. http://www.prewarminor.com/the-minor-story#elf_l1_Lw

    Please help.

    • Ngai C O says:

      Hi Ika,

      Have you thought of contacting the Vintage Minor Register with a picture in case they have the exact model registered there?

  5. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear ika

    Yes, your identifying the car as a Morris Minor was a coup to begin with!

    Let’s ignore the model year for a moment; more important is the body type.

    In those days — I’m talking about the early ’30s — the Minor came in a two-seater version and a four-seater version. Both the two-seater and the four-seater had only two doors. Both were imported into Malaya by Wearne Brothers, the two-seater having the deliberate distinction of being the least expensive car on the market: in Ipoh you could buy it for about $1100. (It was the least expensive car in England, too, priced at £100 flat, but these low prices were not reflected in the quality of the build, which was quite high.)

    Looking at the car in the Ipoh photograph, I suspect it is a four-seater. (I suspect. A better scan might resolve light and shadow better and afford a closer look at the details.)

    Whereas in that first link you provided:


    the car is a two-seater. (It is identified as a “Tourer” but that’s not how it would have been marketed in the old days. Back then the “Tourer” appellation was reserved for the four-seater model.)

  6. ika says:

    Thanks for your thoughts on this Ipoh Remembered.

    Yes both Christopher and I have the feeling that this is the 4-seat version although even scrutinising the slight shadows under the hood does not give us any clue. Consequently I have asked David Ho who, unfortunately does not remember as he was very small when his father had this car. He will ask his elder sister if she can remember and let me know if she remembers..

    Regarding the year of manufacture, the 34 model had an upgraded radiator grill and so that brings me down to 32 or 33, but so far I cannot differentiate between the two, I shall keep on it.

    At the same time I will keep an eye out for similar 2 and 4 seat vehicles to get an idea of what is available and what is a fair price.

    I shall update the blog when I find out anything.

  7. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear ika

    Do you know when and exactly where the photograph was taken?

    About the car you wrote:

    Dr Ho bought it here in [1948,] but it was probably second-hand.

    Well, we know the car was built in ’33 or ’34, so if he bought it in ’48 then it was surely second-hand. We don’t know what the original “PK” number plate said — but from the number plate that is affixed (A 853), we can estimate that he (or the previous owner) re-registered the car in ’48.

    As for the van: Yes, it’s a Fordson. I can say more about it later or by e-mail.

  8. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Regarding the year of manufacture, the 34 model had an upgraded radiator grill and so that brings me down to 32 or 33, but so far I cannot differentiate between the two, I shall keep on it.

    I still think it’s either a ’33 or a ’34 model, but do keep us abreast — and thanks!

  9. Mano says:

    Hats off to you, Ian! What with almost every manufacturer looking identical in design bar the radiator grille during this period, I wouldn’t have known where to begin even!
    However, going by all the info provided above, I beg to differ with Ipoh Remembered and opine that the Morris Minor in the photo is a two seater due to the following:
    – The kink in the roof indicates that it folds in two for the two seats.
    – For a four seater, the fold would be too big requiring a more complicated folding mechanism instead.
    – The folding mechanism of the two seater could ‘rest’ on what is essentially the boot.
    – It is doubtful that the four seater had a foldable roof. The chassis being the same, the extra two seats were in place of the boot leaving no place for the folded roof.
    Hope this is of help.

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear Mano

      I was hoping you’d chime in!

      Regarding your doubt that a four-seater could have had a foldable roof:


      It’s not a Minor, I admit … but what do you make of it?

  10. Mano says:

    Dear Ipoh Remembered,
    Just as I was about to respond to your post on Friday 21st, we got hit by a massive storm bringing down trees and power lines all over the place. We got back power only late last night.
    Anyway, Ipoh Remembered, I was referring to only the Morris Minor in the photo with my reasons for why it may not be a four seater. Hoping it could be of help to you and Ian to zero in on the exact year and model of the car.
    Wishing you and everyone at Ipohworld a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear Mano

      Glad to hear the storm has passed and power has been restored. I hope no one was injured.

      Your comment reminds me of times long ago, in Malaya and elsewhere, when neither electricity nor running water nor even a functioning sewage-disposal system could be taken for granted.

      Who remembers now which insects were attracted by candles and which ones by kerosene lamps? Our children and their children will never know such mysteries — unless a passing storm teaches them!

      Best wishes to you also. May your new year bring you much joy and delight.

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear ika

      Be aware that this car you’ve just found is not in original condition.

      However, I do believe it is the closest approach so far to the solution of the puzzle, and may well be the right answer.

      I’ll take another look and I hope Mano and others do as well.

  11. Mano says:

    The excerpt from http://www.prewarminor.com/the-minor-story refers:

    The most significant event in the six year model life of the Morris Minor occurred in late December 1930. It was at this time that Sir William Morris unveiled the first new car to sell at a price level of £100. All previous full size cars sold in the U.K. up-to that time had all cost in excess of that figure. The One Hundred Pound Minor (as it became unofficially known) was in fact a two seat touring model, once again built upon a very slightly modified standard Minor chassis but without many of the embellishments of the earlier cars. Gone was the chrome radiator surround to be replaced by a black painted article. The cars were not fitted with side lights, these being incorporated into the main headlamp shell, and neither were bumpers, which had appeared on all models up to that time.

    The Minor in the photo has no bumper and no side lights. Upon magnification, the side lights can be seen as incorporated in the headlamps. The horizontal split in the windscreen is pronounced whereas in the later models this split is more ‘refined’. However, what appears to be the back rest of a rear seat and the chromed radiator surround makes it inconclusive.

  12. Mano says:

    The links provided by ika and Ipoh Remembered refer.
    The Morris in the photo has no side lights nor a bumper. Enlarging the picture shows that the side lights are incorporated in the headlamps. This seems to fit the year and model description in para#8 in ‘http://www.prewarminor.com/the-minor-story#elf_l1_Lw’ but then the car is a four seater as evident by the drop top hinged on the outside of the car above the rear wheel arch. The two seater hood is hinged on the sill aft the door. It’s also the rear seat backrest that is visible in the photo. The front seats backrests are below door height.
    The answer in defining the model year may be the front mudguards. Photos of year 33-34 models on the net have mudguards shrouding the wheel sections. The one in the photo as well as other depictions sport slimmer ones.

  13. ika says:

    Thanks Mano, the above is very helpful detail but as a layman I am still not really sure what I am looking for. That is the year and model. I need to sit down and assimilate all that you have given me, together with the thoughts of Ipoh Remembered and see what I can come up with.

    Any more thoughts or guidance will be welcome.

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear Mano … Thanks for the detailed analysis! (And a happy new year, by the way!)


      Dear ika … I am certain that the car in the photograph was a four-seater. As to which model year, I will have to take one more look before hazarding a final guess (which may not be very helpful in any event).

  14. ika says:

    Thank you both, Ipoh Remembered and Mano.

    Hopefully we will get some enlightenment when we hear from the only person still living that actually rode in this car, David Ho’s Sister. That will be at CNY.

  15. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Just a quick note: I have not forgotten this task and am still working on it.

    I think I’ve now eliminated the 1934 model as a possibility, which means (to me) that Mr. Ho’s car was most likely a 1933 model. I’m taking a final look to make sure it was not the 1932 model but have not yet reached a firm conclusion. Will post an update with more details when appropriate.

  16. Mano says:

    Dear Ipoh Remembered,
    Perhaps the following could be of help:

    1. car-from-uk.com/sale.php?id=151376
    2. http://www.dvca.co.uk/sale-results-view.php?classic-cars=Morris-Minor-Two-Seat-Sports-Tourer-2882

    The links above of a 1932 and that of the 1933, albeit two seater, models refer.
    1932 seems to be the year the Minor is given that distinct ‘framed’ horizontally split windscreen and loses it’s sidelights. Things remain much the same in 1933 except for the shroud like mudguards.

  17. Mano says:

    Dear Ipoh Remembered,
    I’m actually rewriting this as the earlier post seems to have gotten lost and did not appear on the blog.
    The following links of a 1932 and 1933, albeit two seater, models refer:
    1. car-from-uk.com/sale.php?id=151376
    2. http://www.dvca.co.uk/sale-results-view.php?classic…Morris-Minor-Two-Seat-Sports-Toure...

    1932 – Distinct ‘framed’ horizontally split windscreen. No side lights.
    1933 – Same features but mudguard more shrouded.

    Hope this helps.

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear Mano

      The following links of a 1932 and 1933

      Thanks for these links.

      Your second link does not show a 1933 Minor. It shows a 1934 model and is labeled as such

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear Mano

      I must apologize and modify my previous comment.

      In fact your second link did not work for me, and when I searched the same site I mistakenly “found” this link:


      Which is the 1934 model I thought you were referring to. My apologies!

      Your reference to a 1933 model on that site was probably this one:


      However, (a) despite what the site says, this car is actually not the 1933 model; it’s the 1934 model; and, anyway, as you point out, (b) it’s not the model in the Ipoh photograph, which is why earlier I mentioned that I had almost certainly eliminated the 1934 as a possibility.

      So now we can look at your first link:


      This car may or may not be the 1932 model but in any event it is not the same as the Ipoh car. For one thing the chromed radiator “front” is different: the top is not fluted and the “Morris Minor” badge is placed differently within it. So, while the car in the Ipoh photograph may be a 1932 model, we cannot confirm it from this link.

      Aside: In many Morris Minor photographs on line, regardless of model year, there is a “winged” object that sits on top of the radiator. This object was a temperature gauge and, to be honest, I’m not sure why the Ipoh car does not have one affixed.

  18. Mano says:

    Dear ika and Ipoh Remembered,
    Until and unless David Ho’s sister confirms otherwise, I’d say the Morris Minor in the photo is a 1932 model.
    We’ll just have to wait for CNY, won’t we?!;)

    • ika says:

      Unfortunately, Davis has contacted both his sisters who actually rode in the car when they were very young and they cannot agree on the number of seats. One says 4 and the other 2! So we are back to square one.

      I have written to a specialist in UK, but so far he has not replied.

      Meanwhile Davis has said start to search for a car of either model providing that the front is identical. I shall keep you posted.

      • Ipoh Remembered says:

        Dear ika … From the enlarged photograph alone I can say (with near-certainty) that the car was a four-seat “Tourer.” The only remaining question (in my mind) is what year; and on that score I’ve ruled out the 1934 model (also with near-certainty).

        So if you’re beginning to search for a car to purchase, I’d suggest beginning with the 1932 or 1933 four-seat “Tourer.”

        NB: As you may have surmised from my previous comments, many cars for sale are incorrectly identified by sellers and even by reputable auctioneers.

  19. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear ika and Mano

    I have finally (!) completed my review of the Ipoh photograph. My conclusion: the car is a 1932 Tourer. The explanation requires photographs so I can’t post it here. I will send it to ipohWorld as a PDF file.

    Mano, if you would like me to send it to you as well — and obviously I’d appreciate your thoughts on it — then please let ika know so that he can send me your e-mail address. And anyone else who wants a copy should feel free to do the same.

    • Mano says:

      I would greatly appreciate a copy, Ipoh Remembered.
      ika, if you could, please forward my email to Ipoh Remembered.
      Thank you very much!

  20. Mano says:

    I concur, Ipoh Remembered, it is a four seat “Tourer” and either a 1932 or 1933 model.
    As I had mentioned earlier, the mudguards are different in the models depicted from year 1933. However, confounding the search is the fact that:
    1. The cars are not off a an assembly line to standardise any changes and therefore a timeline.
    2. The statement,”Dr Ho bought it here in (1948) but it was probably second hand”, if I may, should that read as ‘brought’ ? If so, then chances of modifications is far more greater than if it had been ‘bought’ here.
    3. On Youtube, Morris Minor Tourer 1933, there’s even one with the headlights mounted at the bulkhead!
    However, I must thank you, Ipoh Remembered, I never knew about the temperature gauge on the radiator!
    This gauge is clearly shown in the same Youtube video.

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear Mano

      The Ipoh car was not a 1933 model. The badge on the 1933 models sat differently in the radiator surround; plus only the 1932 surround was fluted at the top.

      As for the mudguards, called “wings” in those days, it was only the 1934 model that had unique front wings. The wings on the 1932 and 1933 models were identical.

      As for the Ipoh car being “bought” versus “brought” in 1948, I agree: If the car was, say, imported from the UK in 1948, then it’s possible it was not in original condition, in which case trying to identify the model year would be a fool’s errand!

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