The revolutionary Morris Minor
(originally called Mosquito) was
launched at the Earls Court Motor Show on 20 September, 1948. Named for an
earlier Morris Minor car , it was the work of a team led by Alec Issigonis, who
later designed the Mini. Sir Alec became famous for his creation of the Mini but
he was really proudest of his participation in designing the Morris Minor. He
considered it as being a vehicle which managed to combine many of the luxuries
and conveniences of a good motor car with a price suitable for the working
classes, while the Mini, introduced in 1959, was a spartan mode of conveyance
with everything cut to the bone. The Morris Minor, when compared with competitor
products in the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s, excelled as a roomy vehicle
with superior cornering / handling characteristics
Morris Minor Custom Documentary
Internal politicking inside manufacturer BMC (British Motor Corporation) may
have led to the limited American sales of the Minor.
Over 1.6 million were eventually produced from manufacturing plants at
Cowley, Oxfordshire, and exported around the world, with many variants of the
original model. Production continued through to 1971, although it remains a well
loved and collected vehicle. It also became a popular basis to build a hot rod
on, because of the transatlantic styling that resembles a late 1940's Chevrolet.
It was also lightweight and rear wheel drive, with the possibility of swapping
in the Rover K-Series engine or the Fiat Twin Cam.
The original Minor MM series lasted from 1948 until 1953. It included
a pair of 4-seat saloons, 2-door and 4-door, and a convertible 4-seat Tourer.
The front torsion bar suspension was shared with the larger Oxford MO, as was
the almost-unibody construction. Although the Minor was originally designed to
accept a Jowett flat-four engine, with four distinctive gaps in the engine bay
to accommodate it, late in the development stage it was substituted for a 0.9 L
(918 cc/56 in³) side-valve straight-4 producing 27.5 hp (21 kW) and 39 lbf·ft
(53 N·m) of torque. This little engine pushed the Minor to just 64 mph
(103 km/h) but delivered 40 mpg (5.9 L/100 km).
||British Motor Corporation
||1948-1971; 1,368,291 produced
||Morris 1100, Morris Marina
||86 in (2184 mm)
||148 in (3759 mm)
||60 in (1524 mm)
||60 in (1524 mm)
||1,708 lb (775 kg) (4 door saloon)
||6.5 imp gal (30 L; 8 US gal)
||Sir Alec Issigonis
Early cars had a painted section in the centre of the bumpers to cover the
widening of the production car from the prototypes. This widening of four inches
is also visible in the creases in the bonnet (American hood). Exports to
the United States began in 1949 with the headlamps removed from within the
grille to be mounted higher on the wings (American fenders) to meet
safety regulations. These became standard on all Minors for 1951. When
production of the first series ended, just over a quarter of a million had been
sold with a surprising 30% being the convertible Tourer model.
Minor Series II
In 1952, the Minor line was updated with an Austin-designed 0.8 L
(803 cc/49 in³) overhead valve A-Series engine replacing the original
side valve unit. An estate version was introduced, the Traveller, along
with van and pick-up versions. The former featured "woody" rear bodywork with
two doors and a large wagon box. The 4-seat convertible and saloon variants
continued as well.
The engine had been designed for the Minor's main competition, Austin's A30,
but became available as Austin and Morris were merged into the British Motor
Corporation. The new engine felt stronger, though all measurements were worse
than the old. The 52 second drive to 60 mph (97 km/h) was still calm, with
63 mph (101 km/h) as the top speed. Fuel consumption also rose to 36 mpg
(6.5 L/100 km).
The grille was modified in October, 1954, and a new dashboard with central
speedometer was fitted. Almost half a million examples had been produced when
the line ended in 1956.
- 1952–1956 - 803 cc A-Series I4, 30 hp (22 kW) at 4800 rpm and 40 ft·lbf
(54 N·m) at 2400 rpm
The car was again updated in 1956 when the engine was increased in capacity
to 0.9 L (948 cc/57 in³). The two piece split windscreen was replaced with a
curved one-piece one and the rear window enlarged. An upmarket car based on the
Minor floor pan but with larger BMC B-Series engine was sold as the Riley
One-Point-Five/Wolseley 1500 beginning in 1957.
In 1961 the Morris Minor became the first British car to sell over 1,000,000
units. To commemorate this event, a limited edition of 350 two-door saloons were
produced with distinctive lilac paintwork and a white interior. Also the badge
name on the side of the bonnet was modified to read "Minor 1,000,000" instead of
the standard "Minor 1000".
The Minor 1000 gained an even larger engine, 1.1 L (1098 cc/67 in³) in 1962.
It could now reach 77 mph (124 km/h), yet consumption was down to 6.2 L/100 km
(38 mpg). Other modifications included a new dashboard layout (a lidded glove
box on the passenger side, an open cubby hole in front of the driver), a
different heater, plus new, larger tail/flasher and front side/flasher lamps.
The car was beginning to seem dated, however, and production declined. The
Tourer was deleted in 1969, with the saloon line gone the next year. 1971 was
the last year for the Traveller and commercial versions. Nearly 850,000 Minor
1000s were made in all. The car was officially replaced by the Morris Marina,
which replaced it on the Cowley production lines, but for the management of what
had, by 1971, mutated into the British Leyland Motor Corporation, the Morris
Marina was seen primarily as a 'cheap to build' competitor to Ford's top selling
(and in many respects conservatively engineered) Cortina, rather than as a
replacement for the (in its day) strikingly innovative Morris Minor.
Today the Morris Minor and 1000 are amongst the best served classic, family
sized cars in the old vehicle movement and continue to gain popularity. The
affection in which the model is held is reflected in the number of rebuilt and
improved Morris Minors currently running in Britain. In addition to more
powerful engines, desirable improvements necessitated by the increase in traffic
density since the Minor was withdrawn from volume production include the
replacement of the 'original equipment' drum brakes with disc brakes.
- 1956–1962 - 948 cc A-Series I4, 37 hp (28 kW) at 4750 rpm and 50 ft·lbf
(68 N·m) at 2500 rpm
- 1962–1971 - 1098 cc A-Series I4, 48 hp (36 kW) at 5100 rpm and 60 ft·lbf
(81 N·m) at 2500 rpm
More Pictures of Morris Minors
Two Morris Minors from France
Sent in by Marcel - Many Thanks
bonjour voici une de mes morris minor restauree a 95 %
(hello here is one of my morris minor restored to 95%)
Roughly translated from the French
Pictures of a nicely restored Morris
Sent in by Kim - Many Thanks
1961 MM1000 Before and after shots.
Bought the Morris in 2001 and rebuilt in 2007. Took about 5 months
to rebuild, working only after work.
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