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Morris Minor: Buying guide and review (1948-1971)

Morris Minor: Buying guide and review (1948-1971) Classic and Performance Car
Morris Minor (Magic Car Pics) Morris Minor Morris Minor
The Morris Minor made its debut way back in 1948, yet there’s no sign of its appeal diminishing. If anything, its popularity grows ever stronger. A combination of practicality, charm, usability and affordability all conspire to ensure the Minor is near the top of many classic buyers’ wish lists – throw in superb club and specialist support, and it’s easy to see the Minor’s enduring appeal. 
 
Whether you’re a long-standing classic owner or you’re looking for your first golden oldie, few cars fit the bill better than a Minor. Full of charm, universally recognised and admired, plus easy to upgrade for everyday use, this is one of the most practical cars ever created. 
 
However, despite a cult following, the Minor remains eminently affordable – if you’re already tempted, there really is no good reason to put off buying one. If you’re after something to punt down a country lane at high-speed, then you’d be better off looking at a classic Mini Cooper, but for a bit of fun and usable cruising around time, then the Minor is almost unbeatable. 
 
Which one to buy?
 
Side-valve Minors are rare and they’re hard-going too, thanks to the lack of power. For some though, seeking out an early car represents something more of a challenge, especially where finding parts and restoration is concerned. As the rarest and oldest examples of this iconic classic, the ‘low light’ cars are also the most valuable. 
 
The 803cc A-Series unit fitted from 1952 to 1956 is also breathless, but it’s unusual to find a totally original car of this age anyway. The nicest engine is the 948cc A-series fitted from 1956 to 1962; it’s less powerful than the later 1098cc edition, but it’s sweeter. However, the 1098cc edition is the most usable, as it’s the most powerful so most easily able to keep up with modern traffic. However, the earlier cars with their split windscreens have more charm and are more sought after – so they’re more valuable than later cars. 
 
Establishing which bodystyle you want is probably easy; the Traveller is a capacious estate, while the Tourer is a fabulous convertible – even the saloon is full of charm. Many Tourers started out as two-door saloons and while properly converted cars are perfectly safe, some are complete death traps. The main thing is to be sure of what you’re buying, as some are passed off as genuine when they’re not.
 
Looking for some extra power? The 1275cc A-Series engine is the most common, and in-keeping upgrade. While A-series upgrades are generally the most popular way of freeing up extra power today, transplanting a Rover K-Series was for a time extremely popular. This very modern engine requires quite a lot of work to install, as well as suspension and brake upgrades to keep everything under control, but if you are interested in building a mildly hot-rodded Minor, then this is perhaps the easiest and cheapest route. Fiat Twin-Cam conversions used to be quite common as well, although kits are no longer available and engines are more difficult to source. 
 
Other upgrades worth seeking out include a Ford Sierra five-speed gearbox which is much stronger than the original, while telescopic dampers at the front are worth having too, along with a front anti-roll bar, which transforms the handling. 
 
Performance and specs
 
Minor 1000 (1962-1971)
Engine 1098cc, four-cylinder 
Power 48bhp @ 5100rpm
Torque 60lb ft @ 2500rpm
Top speed 73mph
0-50mph 16.3sec
Fuel consumption 32mpg
Gearbox Four-speed manual
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2184mm
Length 3760mm
Width 1549mm
Height 1524mm
Kerb weight 762kg
 
Common problems
 
• A Minor’s value is in its bodyshell, but things can look fine when the car is barely roadworthy. Corrosion usually starts on the inside and eats its way out, so any signs of bubbling could be potentially disastrous. All panels are available to repair the most rotten of bodyshells – but if much work is needed, doing so won’t be economically viable. 
 
• Rust traps include rear spring hangers which are a pain to fix. The underside can rot badly along with the sills and door bottoms. 
 
• If you’re looking at a Traveller, make sure the wood isn’t rotten, as it’s structural. If there’s any significant rot present, the whole lot will need to be replaced and the job can’t be tackled in sections. 
 
• Blue exhaust smoke and an illuminated oil pressure warning light signify an A-Series engine needs a bottom-end rebuild. There will also be plenty of knocking from the bottom end, especially when the engine is started up, but rebuilds are easy and relatively cheap to undertake. 
 
• The gearbox is the Achilles’ heel, with parts supply poor for all cars other than the 1098c edition; split-screen parts are especially rare. No Minor got synchro on first, but there shouldn’t be any jumping out of gear, whining or rumbling; any of these mean a rebuilt transmission will be needed soon. 
 
• Gearbox parts for 1098cc cars are plentiful, which is why some owners simply fit a later box to their early car. An MG Midget gearbox is the same as the Minor’s. 
 
• The rest of the transmission usually gives few problems, although the clutch has a finite lifespan. Check for slipping; a three-piece kit is cheap and DIY fitting is easy. 
 
• The primitive front suspension needs fresh grease every 3000 miles, or the kingpins wear out. The rear suspension is even more archaic; check for leaking lever arm dampers, although many cars have been converted to telescopic dampers by now. 
 
Model history
 
1948: Minor MM debuts at the Earls Court motor show, with low-set headlights and 918cc sidevalve power.
1949: Headlamps moved to top of front wings, initially for the North American market only. 
1950: Four-door saloon is introduced, for export markets only. 
1952: Series II cars arrive, with 803cc power; it’s a result of BMC being formed from Morris and Austin merging.
1953: MM production ends, then a van and pick-up appear, along with the Traveller. 
1954: Series II gets a facelift, with revised dash plus a new grille and lights. 
1956: The Morris 1000 replaces the series II. There’s now a 948cc engine, revised rear wings and a one-piece windscreen.
1961: Just 350 Minor Millions are built, to celebrate the millionth Minor leaving the factory.
1962: A 1098cc engine supersedes the 948cc unit.
1963: There are fresh front and rear lights.
1964: All Minors get better seats and heating plus a revised dash.
1969: The final Tourer is made.
1970: The saloon bows out.
1971: The last Traveller, van and pick-up are built.
1974: Production of the Minor ends in New Zealand. 
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.mmoc.org.uk
• www.minormania.com
• www.morrisminor.com
• www.beardmorebros.co.uk
 
Summary and prices
 
If you’re not worried about originality, and just want something fun to pootle around in, then you won’t struggle to find a suitable Minor for sensible money. £1650 is the entry point for a rough but road-going Minor 1000, with a great example coming in at around £6000. Traveller and Convertible prices are around 50 per cent extra. Series 2 models are marginally cheaper, but prices generally depend more on condition than anything else. 
 
There are many arguments for originality vs usability, but the good news is there are plenty of cars to choose from, from completely authentic cars without so much as electronic ignition, right through to V8-powered hot rods. It all depends on what you’re after. There’s also a huge number of specialists offering parts to help keep cars on the road, and improve usability along the way.
 
The most valuable models are the earliest Minor Series MM cars. The so-called low-light examples – compete with headlights mounted in the grille – have been known to sell for more than £10,000 in perfect condition. 
Morris Minor (Magic Car Pics) Morris Minor Morris Minor
Last updated: 27th Jul 2016
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Morris Minor
4995 14950 GBP
  • Morris Minor Series II

    POA POA

    1956 Morris Minor Series II Recent photographic restoration More powerful 1098 cc engine fitted Engine, brakes, suspension etc all overhauled Upgrades include alternator, seat belts and gauges Recently restored split-screen Moggy, beautifully presented in Old English White (Arum White) with original red interior. Photographic restoration has been carried out over last few years, many receipts are on file, paint and chrome is excellent and car has been fitted with the later more powerful 1098cc engine. Clutch, brakes, suspension, steering and engine have, we understand, all been overhauled and engine is still running in, engine bay has been detailed, so mechanically this Minor seems as good as it looks. Sensibly fitted with alternator, indicators, front seat belts, oil pressure and temperature gauges. Offered with a new MOT although exempt and a good history file. Guide price: £6,950 suitable for printing Mobile: 07711 509600 Email: mark@pioneer-automobiles.co.uk Phone: 01635 248158 Viewing: By appointment only Copyright ©2017 Pioneer Autos Ltd

    • Year: 1956
    For sale
    POA POA
    Pioneer Automobiles
    01635 248158 View contact number
  • Morris Minor

    £5,995 £5,995

    Morris Minor 1000 Traveller 1968 PlateMOT 1 June 2018Lovely old Morris Traveller, low mileage for year of just 65k, drives without fault, lots of history, nice wood, red leather look interior in very good condition, needs minor paint which I can do in price or you can take as is. Very nice example for the age and the price.Call 02392617444 for more details

    • Mileage: 65000 mi
    • Engine size: 1098
    For sale
    £5,995 £5,995
  • Morris Minor

    £10,995 £10,995

    *SIMILAR QUALITY CARS ALWAYS REQUIRED* SOLD Thinking of selling? Our proven commission sale or SOR (Sale or Return) program is a great way to utilise and access our professional services and facilities while still maximising the return from your vehicle with minimal hassle, stress and time, If you’d like to take advantage of this then please get in touch for further information. Alternatively If you’d like to move your vehicle on quickly and efficiently with minimal delay then we can make an offer on an outright purchase basis with payment and collection arranged soon after. A genuine factory built Morris Minor 1000 Convertible, last owner 44 years! EQUIPMENT Mono-construction body, full width one-piece bumpers front and rear, Triplex safety glass all round, quarter lights, one piece curved windscreen, door locks with flush fitting pull-out type handles, fresh air intake heater, driver’s crushable sun visor, pile carpets, ashtray, safety driving mirror, twin glovebox, full width parcel tray, windscreen washers, speedometer, fuel gauge, oil pressure warning light, indicator stalk flasher, Windtone horn. Dealer options; Bumper over riders, wheel discs. EXTERIOR This beautiful Morris Mini Minor, a genuine factory built Convertible with correct ‘MAT’ prefix identification number and finished in the original colour of Pearl Grey. The paintwork boasts a lovely uniform polished shine and pleasing finish with only minor blemishes and markings visible. A light application only of underside treatment allows easy inspection of the excellent structural integrity. The extensive chromework has a mirror finish and all further trims sections and rubbers are superb. The Factory Triplex safety glass is still fitted. The hood in Maroon with matching tonneau is in fabulous condition. A new tonneau is also included. A charming example of this quintessentially English countryside open tourer. INTERIOR The upholstery trim in the correct Red is a wonderful compliment to the exterior colour scheme and has a lovely sense of basic no frills motoring, a bygone notion in today’s modern equivalents! The matching door cards and carpeting are in superb order. Original fitments such as the three spoke 16½ inch Bakerlite steering wheel with Morris badged horn push and correct bronze three lamp speedometer are completely intact. The instrument warning lights and gauges function perfectly, and the original pull switches are fully operational and exactly as Morris intended. An iconic motoring delight, perfect for whimsical open top drives. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION This matching numbers example still has the factory fitted A-Series four-cylinder engine with a cubic capacity of 948cc and 37bhp at 4750rpm. The engine fires instantly on the starter pull and has that delightful Morris Minor hum! The engine number tag and factory plates remain fitted and easily legible to allow instant verification, as does the A-Series engine block which is the correct British Standard (381c) 223 Middle Bronze Green. The 4-speed gearbox has no synchromesh on first and reverse gears, as per factory fitment, so steady progress and familiarisation will be necessary. Thoroughly useable and ready for reliable classic motoring enjoyment! WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES Disc-type steel wheels with optional chrome disc embellishers are beautifully finished in correct Pearl Grey. Brand new quality tyres of 155/80 R14 size have just been fitted and the spare is housed in the lower boot floor, still believed to be the original Avon cross ply item! Braking to all four wheels is hydraulically operated by a pendant pedal with front 8in and rear 7in drums, all recently stripped and overhauled to provide safe and steady braking. HISTORY FILE This wonderful example was registered new on 30th May 1959 as a Morris Minor 1000 Convertible, as confirmed not only by the chassis number but also the original green buff log book which is still within the history file! The previous keeper, Mrs Joan Rorison, is noted on the buff log book as purchasing the vehicle in 1971 and it has remained in her care ever since. The brilliant history file holds a comprehensive collection of documents including MOT certificates dating back to 1972 along with many invoices and receipts. A documented full restoration carried out in 2000 by Bob Atkins’ Morris Minor Services outlines the extensive work undertaken at considerable cost. The no expense spared work was embarked on to bring the car back to its former glory for their Daughter’s wedding, just as it had been used for their wedding in 1971! Garage stored since the wedding, the car has been fully recommissioned and is ready for the next lucky custodian. This beautiful car is the epitome of British summer classic motoring, ready to use and sure delight any traditional classic enthusiast. MOT July 2018, Tax Exempt, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please copy the link below: https://youtu.be/gA3VVqSQ-fs To see a complete set of photographs of this car please copy the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHskYdRSYJ 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    • Year: 1959
    • Mileage: 62821 mi
    • Engine size: 0.9
    For sale
    £10,995 £10,995
  • Morris Minor 1000 Tourer 1957

    €14,950(£0) €14,950(£0)

    Trade-in car, special wholesale price. This is a trade-in car. A special wholesale price applies to this car. That’s why a trade-in car will be sold as seen, without guarantee and without inspections. We are sorry but we can’t give this car a foreign registration. Morris Minor 1000 Tourer RHD 1957 This is a 1957 Morris Minor 1000. The car has white paint and a new burgundy red softtop. The interior has an original metal dashboard in the colour of the paint with a clock in the center. The seats have burgundy red leather with white piping. The Morris has a manual gearbox and drives, brakes and shifts gear very well. Car has Holland title and mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1957
    For sale
    €14,950(£0) €14,950(£0)
  • Morris Minor

    £9,495 £9,495

    C and C Car Sales are very proud to be selling this stunning 1 owner from new Morris minor 1000.The car has been locally owned by the same gentleman for over 50 years who has covered only 77,000 miles. Having wanted to get the car back to as good as new it was subject to a full rebuild in 2013 at a cost of £10,000 the car has covered around 300 miles since. I have a full photo record of the rebuild in every stage these can be viewed on request. I also have every mot dating back to 1973 !This Morris has been finished to a very high standard in the original colour of Trafalgar Blue the seats are original with minimal wear and compliment the bodywork..Mechanically superb it starts on the button and is a pleasure to drive with many smiling faces and turning heads.So to sum it up if you are after a stunning example of this iconic car which needs nothing and is ready too use on a Sunday morning or to take to a car show where it will hold its head high among cars of 5 times its value this is the one you have been looking for.The car can be viewed at most times and in all weathers at our showroom addressAny questions or if you require more photos please call or email ChrisPart exchange possible 01372 278 539 - 07940 007 067www.candccarsales.co.uk

    • Mileage: 77000 mi
    • Engine size: 1098
    For sale
    £9,495 £9,495
  • Morris Minor

    £10,995 £10,995

    *SIMILAR QUALITY CARS ALWAYS REQUIRED* SOLD Thinking of selling? Our proven commission sale or SOR (Sale or Return) program is a great way to utilise and access our professional services and facilities while still maximising the return from your vehicle with minimal hassle, stress and time, If you’d like to take advantage of this then please get in touch for further information. Alternatively If you’d like to move your vehicle on quickly and efficiently with minimal delay then we can make an offer on an outright purchase basis with payment and collection arranged soon after. A Morris Minor 1000 De Luxe Charles Ware Convertible with just 3,473 miles EQUIPMENT Mono-construction body, full width one-piece bumpers front and rear, bumper over-riders Triplex safety glass all round, one piece curved windscreen, hinged ventilator panels in front doors, door locks with flush fitting pull-out type handles, fresh air intake heater, driver and passenger crushable sun visors, Leathercloth upholstery, pile carpets, front and rear ashtrays, safety driving mirror, glovebox, full width parcel tray, windscreen washers, speedometer, fuel gauge, oil pressure warning light, dirty oil filter warning light, Windtone horn. Dealer options; Petrol locking cap, wheel discs. Accessories; Boot luggage rack, front seat-belts. EXTERIOR This beautiful Morris Mini Minor is finished in traditional period Smoke Grey and boasts a wonderful deep shine to the quality finish. This example is structurally and cosmetically superb owing to the exceptionally low mileage of 3,473 miles and having been subject to a recent professional refurbishment at a Morris Minor specialist. The chromework to the original bumpers has become slightly thin and light pitting can be seen on the rear light shrouds. All remaining chrome pieces and trim are excellent including the original overriders, unique to the Deluxe model. The glass, rubbers and lenses are all intact and present very well, as do the correct Minor 1000 badges fitted to the boot lid and front wings. A brand new hood in cream with matching tonneau was fitted in 2013 and remains as new. A charming and exceptional example of this quintessentially English countryside tourer. INTERIOR The original Leathercloth upholstery trim in Blue Grey is a fantastic compliment to the exterior colour scheme and has a lovely sense of basic no frills motoring, long since forgotten in today’s modern equivalents! Incredibly, the factory coverings to the seats and matching door cards are commensurate with the mileage and have been preserved with only very minor age related creasing. A tiny inch long slit to the lower driver’s door card is just visible. The expensive and correct blue replacement carpeting is pristine. The 16½ inch Bakerlite steering wheel with Morris badge is completely intact and shows slight natural aging. The large instrument nacelle housing all the warning lights and gauges functions perfectly as do the pull switches exactly as Morris intended. An iconic motoring delight, perfect for whimsical open top drives. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION The water cooled, overhead-valve four-cylinder engine has a cubic capacity of 1098cc and produces 48bhp at 5100rpm. The engine starts instantly at the flick of the key and is whisper quiet. The engine bay is a delight with original plates and badges remaining, and the green A-Series engine block is the correct British Standard (381c) 223 Middle Bronze Green. The 4-speed gearbox with synchromesh on 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears operates well. Thoroughly useable and ready for classic motoring enjoyment! WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES Disc-type steel wheels with optional chrome disc embellishers are beautifully painted in correct Old English White. Five radial Firestone F-560 tyres of 145 R14 size are fitted and the spare is housed in the lower boot floor alongside the original red jack and wheel brace. Braking to all four wheels is hydraulically operated by a pendant pedal with front 8in and rear 7in drums, basic but effective. HISTORY FILE This wonderful example was registered new on 25th July 1968 as a Morris Minor 1000 Saloon to first owner, Miss Eileen Haydon, who kept the car for a remarkable 44 years until 2012! After only minimal dry usage, the car was garage stored when Miss Haydon ceased driving due to advancing years despite having motability aids fitted whereby it remained for some years, and the read mileage of just 3,473 has been confirmed by the family to be correct. During this time, the garage roof partially collapsed resulting in cosmetic damage to the cars roof. In February 2012, neighbour Mr Al Rodens purchased the car and embarked upon a process on recommissioning the Morris and bringing it into working order. Later that year, the third and last registered owner, Mr Mick Apps, purchased the car and commissioned renowned and established specialists, Charles Ware’s Morris Minor Centre, to professionally convert the car to a convertible. This was undertaken in 2013 with invoices in the history file from them totalling thousands. Completing the superb history file is an original workshop manual, driver’s handbook and sales brochure. This beautiful car is the epitome of British summer classic motoring and will stand up to scrutiny and delight any traditional classic enthusiast. MOT March 2018, Tax Exempt, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please click on the link below: https://youtu.be/_-VwODkdK2U To see a complete set of photographs of this car please click on the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHskVHkSjE 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    • Year: 1968
    • Mileage: 3473 mi
    • Engine size: 1.1
    For sale
    £10,995 £10,995
  • 1956 Morris Minor 1000 Traveller

    POA POA

    (SOLD) The Wagon Traveller is one of the rarest and most desirable models produced. This Minor has been restored and is in very good condition. It has wonderful wood accents, and it is most affectionately called a “woody wagon”. The green vinyl interior offers bucket seats in front with a folding rear bench. The engine compartment is particularly tidy with the Morris four-cylinder engine prominently presented. The attention to detail in every area of this wagon is apparent with all glass, trim and components well finished and ready for show. This Minor was part of large collection kept in a climate controlled environment. Very functional passenger vehicle great for showing and driving. An affordable classic car.

    • Year: 1956
    • Mileage: 3404 mi
    For sale
    POA POA