Morris Minor
Morris Minor 1953 at Bristol (RCV 860)
Manufacturer Morris
Parent company British Motor Corporation
Production 1948-1971; 1,368,291 produced
Predecessor Morris Eight
Successor Morris 1100, Morris Marina
Class Compact
Layout FR layout
Wheelbase 86 in (2184 mm) [1]
Length 148 in (3759 mm)
Width 60 in (1524 mm)
Height 60 in (1524 mm)
Curb weight 1708 lb (4 door saloon)
Fuel capacity 5 impgal[2]
6.5 impgal
Designer Sir Alec Issigonis

The Morris Minor is a popular British motor car aimed at the family market. It was the work of a team led by Alec Issigonis, who would go on to design (and be knighted for) the successful Mini. The Minor was launched at the Earls Court Motor Show, London, on 20 September 1948.[3] The prototype had been known as the Morris Mosquito,[4] and some later models were called Morris Minor 1000. It should not be confused with the earlier Morris Minor of 1928.

At launch there were several variants, including the standard 2-door and 4-door saloon, and a convertible. The wood-framed estate called the Traveller, plus a panel van and a pick-up truck version were introduced later with the Series II upgrades. The Traveller was very popular, and remained in production until 1971, a year after the saloon had been discontinued.

According to one author, the car has frequently been described by writers as typifying “Englishness.” [5]


Sir Alec Issigonis is famous for his creation of the Mini and a range of later cars for the British Motor Corporation (BMC), but he became known to the general public for designing the Morris Minor. It was conceived as a vehicle to combine many of the luxuries and conveniences of a good motor car with a price suitable for the working classes. 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.

Mowog Creek

Manapouri, New Zealand

Internal politics inside BMC, the parent of Morris, may have led to the limited North American sales of the Minor.[citation (source) needed]

Over 1.6 million of the lightweight, rear-wheel drive car were eventually produced, mainly in Cowley, Oxfordshire, and exported around the world, with many variants of the original model. Production continued in Birmingham, England through to 1971 (for the commercial variants and estate only), and it remains a well loved and collected vehicle. The very last Morris Minor (commercial) was assembled at Stoke, Nelson, New Zealand in 1974.

Minor MMEdit

Morris Minor MM
Production 1948–1953; 250,962 produced
Assembly Oxford, England
Body style(s) 2-door saloon, 4-door saloon, 2-door convertible
Engine(s) 0.9 L Morris Sidevalve engine I4

The original Minor MM series lasted from 1948–1953. 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 Morris Oxford, as was the almost-unibody construction. Although the Minor was originally designed to accept a flat-4 engine, with four distinctive gaps in the engine bay to accommodate it, late in the development stage it was replaced by 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 (imp).

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 4 inches (102 mm) is also visible in the creases in the bonnet. Exports to the United States began in 1949 with the headlamps removed from within the grille to be mounted higher on the wings 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.

A tourer tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1950 had a top speed of 58.7 mph and could accelerate from 0– 50 mph in 29.2 seconds. A fuel consumption of 42 mpg(imp) was recorded. The test car cost £382 including taxes.[6]

Minor Series IIEdit

Morris Minor Series II
Production 1952–1956; 269,838 produced
Assembly Oxford, England,
Birmingham, England
Body style(s) 2-door saloon, 4-door saloon, 2-door convertible, 2-door estate, 2-door pickup truck, 2-door van
Engine(s) 0.8 L A-Series I4

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 sidevalve unit. The engine had been designed for the Minor's main competition, the Austin A30, but became available as Austin and Morris were merged into the British Motor Corporation. The new engine felt stronger, though all measurements were smaller 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).

An estate version was introduced, known as the Traveller (a Morris naming tradition for estates, also seen on the Mini), along with van and pick-up versions. The Traveller featured an external structural ash (wood) frame for the rear bodywork, with two side-hinged rear doors. The frame was varnished rather than painted and a highly visible feature of the bodystyle. Rear bodies of the van versions were all steel. The 4-seat convertible and saloon variants continued as well.

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.

The Motor magazine tested a four door saloon in 1952 and reported a top speed of 62 mph and acceleration from 0–50 mph in 28.6 seconds. A fuel consumption of 39.3 mpg (imp) was recorded. The test car cost £631 including taxes.[7]


  • 1952-1956:803 cc A-Series Straight-4, 30 hp (22 kW) at 4800 rpm and 40 lbf·ft (54 N·m) at 2400 rpm

Minor 1000Edit

Morris Minor 1000
Morris Minor 1000 1958
Production 1956–1971; 847,491 produced
Assembly Oxford, England
Birmingham, England
Body style(s) 2-door saloon, 4-door saloon, 2-door convertible, 2-door estate, 2-door pickup truck, 2-door van
Engine(s) 0.9 L BMC A-Series I4, 1.1 L BMC A-Series I4

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. In 1961 the semaphore-style trafficators were replaced by the more modernflashing direction indicators then becoming the norm for the UK market. An upmarket car based on the Minor floorpan but with larger BMC B-Series engine was sold as the Riley One-Point-Five/Wolseley 1500 beginning in 1957: a version, with tail fins added, of this Wolseley / Riley variant was also produced in Australia as the Morris Major.


Morris Minor Traveller (estate) 1971

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".

1960 Morris Minor Pickup

Morris Minor 1000 Pickup (N. American model) 1960

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 38 mpg (6.2 L/100 km). 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.

Van versions were popular with the British Post Office, and some of these had front wings made of rubber, in order to cope with the sometimes unforgiving busy situations in which they were expected to work.[citation (source) needed]

During the life of the 1000 model, the car began to seem dated, and production declined. The last Convertible/Tourer was completed on 18 August 1969[8] and the saloon line was dropped 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.


  • 1956-1962:948 cc A-Series Straight-4, 37 hp (28 kW) at 4750 rpm and 50 lbf·ft (68 N·m) at 2500 rpm
  • 1962-1971:1098 cc A-Series Straight-4, 48 hp (36 kW) at 5100 rpm and 60 lbf·ft (81 N·m) at 2500 rpm


Morris Minor todayEdit


Morris Minor rally

Today the Morris Minor and 1000 are among the best served classic family-sized cars in the old vehicle movement and continue to gain popularity. The enduring affection for the "Moggie" (also a common British nickname for an undistinguished cat) or "Morrie" (as it is often known in Australasia) is reflected in the number of restored and improved Morris Minors currently running in Britain and in India. 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 discs.

Known examplesEdit

Please list below examples in preservation that appear at Classic vehicle shows and events featuring Classic cars or are in museums.


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See alsoEdit


  1. Cardew, Basil (1966). Daily Express Review of the 1966 Motor Show. London: Beaverbrook Newspapers Ltd. 
  2. "Second Hand car guide supplement", Practical Motorist vol 6 Nbr 68: between pages 768 & 769. date April 1960. 
  3. 60th Birthday Celebration at British Motor Industry Heritage Centre, Gaydon
  4. Skilleter, Paul (1993). Morris Minor (The World's Supreme Small Car). London: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 16–35. ISBN 0-85045-931-1. 
  5. Pender, Karen (1995). The Secret Life of the Morris Minor. Goldmanstone, Dorset, UK: Veloce Publishing, 7. ISBN 1-874105-55-3. 
  6. "The Morris Minor tourer", The Motor. 23 August 1950. 
  7. "The Morris Minor Road Test", The Motor. 15 October 1952. 
  8. "News: Last Minor Convertible sold", Motor 3506: page 52. date 30 August 1969. 

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