• Late example of much-loved classic • Award winning condition • Ready to use or show
*The photos featured in this listing were taken by the seller.*
Alec Issigonis is widely regarded as a car design genius and his greatest hit, the Mini, was voted the second most influential car of the 20th century, coming in only behind the Ford Model T. But like many artists for whom the second album was their big breakthrough, the hallmarks of the approach were clearly present in their first outing. For just as ‘Please Please Me’ hinted at the success that would follow with ‘With the Beatles’ or (for a more recent reference) ‘Pablo Honey’ marked out Radiohead’s distinctive sound that would flower on ‘The Bends’, Issigonis’s Morris Minor embodied many of the principles that he went on to refine with such success in the Mini.
The birth of the Minor was not without drama with the design falling foul of Lord Morris but Issigonis was ultimately successful in making the car as spacious as possible for its size, while having good roadholding and quick, accurate steering to make it safe and easy to drive, even for the inexperienced motorist. The Minor remained in production from 1948 to 1972 and was initially offered as a 2 or 4 door saloon. The first major revision came when the merger of Morris with Austin to form the British Motor Corporation in 1952 saw a rationalisation programme that resulted in the Minor being re-engineered with Austin running gear. This also opened the door to new versions of the minor including a pickup, a van and a 2 door estate, christened as per other Morris estates ‘Traveller.’
The Traveller featured a structural Ash frame for the rear bodywork, evoking the ‘Woodie’ look that was popular in the US and had a pair of side-hinged doors at the rear. Over subsequent years the Minor received another four significant sets of upgrades, with the Traveller remaining part of the range right up until the end of production in 1972 and clocking up over 215,000 sales in the process. In its final form, as we see here, the Traveller came with a 1098cc A-series engine and strengthened gearbox driving, as ever, the rear wheels. Today it’s a popular classic with a thriving club scene with great spares availability.
The vendor has a small collection of classics and acquired this example around 18 months ago from the previous owner who was based in Scotland. He had bought it 5 years earlier from 20 miles down the road from the car’s current location, so it’s come back home of sorts. Prior to its emigration to Scotland, it had been restored at a Yorkshire-based Morris Minor specialist when, in addition to some welding to the chassis, the engine was rebuilt with an unleaded head. The clutch was also replaced and the gearbox rebuilt, and the brakes refurbished. More recently, in the last year, the oil filter has been changed for the spin-on type for ease of maintenance, the fuel tank and sensor renewed and the brake shoes replaced.
Although MOT-exempt, the car has had regular visits to the test station with an unblemished record stretching back as far as the online system can reach and a mileage log that demonstrates the light usage that it has seen. In truth, aside from its trip to Scotland and back, it’s largely been driven to and from classic car shows and has the awards to prove it. In addition to the prize it picked up at the National Morris Minor rally, the current owner has added two more trophies to the cabinet in the last year. Now looking to consolidate his small fleet into something large and American that will occupy all of his indoor storage space, he is offering this car for sale.
There is a substantial collection of receipts covering the last 7-8 years of ownership, together with old tax discs and MOT certificates. The V5 is present, as is a certificate for the current MOT which is valid until February 2022. Also included is a mug featuring a picture of the car, a matching keyring and a Disney Pixar ‘Woody’ character.
The red vinyl upholstery complements the pinstripe on the paintwork and is in good condition save for a small tear on the base of the rear seat while the headlining, which is believed to be original, is clean and free from any sagging. The dash is a model of simplicity and has aged well, with all of the switches functioning as they should including the screen washer. The boot is clean and tidy and houses the spare wheel and original jack under the floor and the rear seats fold to make a very useful load space.
For some time, due to parts availability, many Travellers which needed new body panels had to make do with fibreglass replicas, though this situation has now improved. There are no such problems here, however, with all-original steel panels all round which have been treated to a respray at some point, though there sadly isn’t a receipt to date it exactly. It seems to have been a good job and although there are a few small pimples on the roof, in general the paintwork is in very good condition. The dark-stained wood is also in fine fettle all round while the wheels wear not only their original hubcaps but also rare, chromed wheel finishers which fit between the hubcap and the tyre. Talking of tyres, they have plenty of tread all round. Although it’s not known if the bumpers are original to the car, they don’t look to have been re-chromed and, in common with the rest of the chrome work, they are in very good condition, probably as a result of the car’s continued indoor storage. Moving to the underside of the car, everything is tidy and clean and there’s no sign of leakage on the floor where the car is kept.
As befits its show-winning status, the engine bay is all very neat and tidy and the engine starts first-time, every time. It pulls well and will keep up with modern traffic up to about 60mph. The gear change is smooth and the recently-refreshed brakes pull the car up well. Mechanically, it’s ready to go.
The Morris Minor is a perennial favourite classic, with good reason. With enough Issigonis magic to make it an enjoyable drive, spares readily available and strong club support, there’s much to recommend it. The Traveller more-so, with its greater rarity and increased practicality.
This example has seen very light duties over the last decade and if properly stored will surely continue to impress show judges for years to come. With proper maintenance it could also be used a little less sparingly as with a rebuilt engine and gearbox there should be plenty of life in the old girl yet. It’ll be down to the next owner to decide what the future holds; show pony, retro-cool daily or weekend car, if you want the choice to be yours then get bidding now.
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