The Million Rand Morris

The Million Rand Morris

A Morris Minor with the licence registration Soweto 1 GP could fetch as much as R1 100 000 when it goes under the hammer this month. The 1950 Morris will be auctioned by Stephan Welz & Co. in Johannesburg on 25 November.

“In the UK, license plates with low or unusual numbers are highly collectable and can go for £200 000 – £300 000,” says Jack Rosewitz, Stephan Welz & Co. car specialist. “Two years ago, we sold the plates ‘F1 GP’ for over R1 million. Private number plates with the number 1 usually belong to mayoral cars, so it’s extremely unusual for a private individual to own this registration, particularly accompanied with a trademark.

“The trademark alone has unlimited commercial applications within the entertainment industry, and is potentially worth millions,” said Rosewitz. “It could be used for hotels, restaurants, clubs or other businesses within that industry.”

The car was purchased three years ago by Benoni resident Ganas Soobiah, who gave it to his wife, the current owner. Soobiah worked in Soweto as an electrician on a number of large construction projects including the Kwa Xuma Telephone Exchange, during the politically turbulent ’70s through the ’90s.

Soobiah’s daughter, who was an AIDS medical researcher before she was killed in a car accident, was the inspiration for the acquisition of the license plates. According to Soobiah, the Traffic Department was so taken with his story that even though these plates are normally only issued to mayors and premiers, the official told him: “After what you’ve been through, you deserve the plates.”

The Morris Minor 1000 was one of the most popular British cars, and is the last of the Minor series. “The car on its own is very collectable, and this particular one is genuine with its original patina and paint,” says Rosewitz. The four-door saloon car has a grey exterior and tan interior, and is fitted with a personal electric fan for both front seat driver and passenger.

Ignition Live Reporter