Langford residents Mike Nyeste

British vehicle restorations were family labours of love

Langford car owners reflect on their projects and their fathers

Last Sunday was almost like Father’s Day for two Langford men whose love of cars was on display on Goldstream Avenue.

Mike Nyeste and Trevere LeFeuvre, both of whom own restored vintage Morris Minor convertibles, worked on their vehicles with their dads, each of whom has since passed on.

With the two shiny little cars sitting side by side at the Langford Car Show, Nyeste told an amazing story of how he actually bought his 1956 Morris at age 15 and fixed it up with the help of his dad, Ernie. The plan was to use it to take his driver’s test, which he did.

“I got my license in this car and then sold it a short time later,” said the Belmont secondary alumnus.

Nyeste never dreamed that it would take 31 years for him to find the orange car again and repurchase it. “I saw it on UsedVictoria. It was in Esquimalt and the guy had owned it for about 25 years.”

That was a few years back and he’s since done more improvements on it, like new brakes and suspension, to make it a reliable everyday driver. “I take it off the road for a couple months in the winter to work on it,” he said.

LeFeuvre, whose “retirement” job involves training bus drivers to operate Alexander Dennis double deckers, bought his 1965 Morris back in 2003 as a “total wreck” and had it delivered to his home on a flatbed truck.

He undertook its restoration as a “father-son project” as a way to connect with his elderly dad, Ted, who guided him on the project. Mechanical work included swapping out the original generator/hand crank for an alternator to charge the car’s electrical system, and changing it to front-disc brakes from drums.

Working in the wee hours of the morning in his garage with the door open, LeFeuvre painted his convertible its striking light blue colour. Unfortunately, he said, “(Ted) passed on a week after we were done with the painting (in 2007) and he didn’t see the car fully finished. I promised him that I would finish it.”

All told, LeFeuvre figures he’s got about $6,500 into the car, not including his own time, of course. “It’s a labour of love,” he said.

LeFeuvre and Nyeste appreciated the comments and looks from attendees at the Langford show, despite the fact their cars sat amidst dozens of American muscle cars. They noted that Morris was one of the brands produced by British Motors Corporation, or BMC, along with Austin, Austin-Healey, MG, Riley, Wolseley, and as such they’re welcome to take part in local British car shows.

Nyeste flashed a big grin when asked how special it is that he reconnected with his first car.

“It’s priceless,” he said.

Aware that his wife has given him the time to work on the car in recent years, he said, the couple are looking for a project for him to work on for her. Glancing in the direction of a Chevy just down the street, he said, “She’s partial to older Chevelles.”

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