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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
4600 19950 GBP
  • Morris Minor 1958 4 door 1.1

    £4,600 £4,600

    1958 4 door Morris minor in Clarendon grey, extremely good condition. very reliable, used as a daily runner. 5 seat belts, upgraded brakes, regular service, starts every time, very reliable. Original red leather interior, had a full bodywork over haul 3 years ago, underside and floors all good. new front and rear wings. A real head turner. lots of service history. tax and MOT exempt, very low insurance. please call 07905 370045 for more info.

    • Engine size: 1100
    For sale
    £4,600 £4,600
    FridayAd
  • MORRIS MINOR 1961 Manual Blue Petrol 42000

    £10,995 £10,995

    1961 Morris Minor Convertible 1098cc. Smoke Grey with blue leather upholstery and a navy hood. This super Morris has been maintained with no expense spared, a post production convertible that has wanted for nothing. In 2016 the car had a complete engine rebuild and a new clutch at a cost of GBP 1900 and is now converted to run on unleaded fuel. A brand new carburettor, battery and fuel pump have been fitted and the leather upholstery fully refurbished. The carpets are in excellent condition as is the hood and a rear tonneau cover is with the car. The paintwork gives a lovely shine and the Old English white wheels complete the look of this stunning convertible. On test drive the Minor performed without fault with a very strong engine and smooth gearbox. If you are looking for a car that is ready to enjoy then this is well worth a look. You will not be disappointed with this wonderful classic and viewing is highly recommended. Remarkable in both quality and presence, this is a vehicle that any enthusiast would be very proud to own and would adorn any collection. Absolutely any inspection welcome. Please call us for any more information. All major debit cards accepted. Delivery can be arranged.

    • Mileage: 42000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.098
    For sale
    £10,995 £10,995
  • Morris Minor

    €19,950(£0) €19,950(£0)

    1968 Morris Minor 1000 Traveller in Almond Green with Porcelain Green interior trim. On Dutch EU registration. This Morris Minor has been completely restored and is in perfect condition. Sensible upgrades have been added like front brake disc conversion with brake booster, completely rebuild engine with duplex timing chains, stainless steel exhaust system, factory optional heater, heated rear windows, seatbelts, clock in the dash and a dynamo conversion. Comes with original jack, owners manual and two large folders of history and invoices. Must be one of the best available Traveller's on the current market. Please contact us to make an appointment to view this Morris Minor in our showroom in The Netherlands.

    • Year: 1968
    • Mileage: 25840 mi
    • Engine size: 1.1
    For sale
    €19,950(£0) €19,950(£0)
  • MORRIS MINOR 1969 Manual Black Petrol 65000

    £8,995 £8,995

    1969 Austin 6 CWT Van. Black with matching black upholstery. With Austin and Morris both part of BMC, the Minor-based Morris commercial vans were also marketed as the Austin 6cwt and Austin 8cwt. The commercials versions were initially marketed as the Morris Quarter Ton Van and Pick-up with a Series III designation applied from 1956.The names Morris 6cwt Van and Pickup was used following the introduction of the 1098cc engine in 1962 and 8cwt versions were added in 1968.;This Austin is in super condition with an MOT until January 2019. It recently underwent a full body re-paint and the body work is free from any rust or rot. Many MOT certificates together with a GOV.UK MOT history are included. Also included is a DVLA history of ownership with copies of all previous log books issued by the DVLA. This 6 CWT Austin version has the benefit of the larger 1098cc engine that starts first time and runs sweetly. On test drive it performed well with a strong engine and a smooth gearbox. The van has covered less than 1,000 miles in the last ten years.;The whole concept of purchasing a light commercial for private classic motoring combined with its advertising potential is one we have enjoyed for many years and proved to be an enormous success. Without doubt the most economical and successful form of advertising known to man! Absolutely any inspection is welcome. Viewing is highly recommended and we know you won't be disappointed. All major debit and credit cards accepted. Please contact us for any further information. Delivery can be arranged.

    • Mileage: 65000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.098
    For sale
    £8,995 £8,995
  • 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
  • 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)
  • 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