At 198cm in height, Michael Rose only just fits inside his restored Morris Minor. As he winds up his time as head of Allens, he takes JANE SOUTHWARD for a whirl in the car and reveals his other passions.
In the frenetic world of corporate law, Michael Rose, chief executive partner of Allens, finds a special joy in his two-door, black Morris Minor. The car, bought by his grandmother in 1957, was restored by his uncle, the late Justice Barry O’Keefe, who left it to Rose when he died in April 2014. “It’s little, it’s super simple, it has four buttons and one dial, and it doesn’t go fast. You don’t feel like you are driving a car – you are kind of nursing a machine along,” Rose says. “It has a very small engine (1000 cc) and it’s impossible to tell how fast you are going because the speedo only gives you a range of possibilities. If you are going at 40 miles an hour, it will oscillate between 30 and 50. It’s the only car I own.
“I am not a car guy, but this car has a sentimental meaning for me. It reminds me of two people who were important in my life. It smells like my grandmother’s house and is has a whole range of associations with my grandmother, which are delightful.
“When I was 19 and studying at the University of NSW I saved up all my money and bought a Volkswagen for $900. It got stolen after I had it for six months. “My grandmother, Thelma O’Keefe, felt sorry for me and gave me the Morris to drive. I drove this car from when I was 19 until I was about 23. My wife, Jo, and I went on our first date in it. But I just didn’t have enough money then to maintain a very old car, so it went to my uncle and he had it for 30 years.