Is there a more quintessentially British classic car than the Morris Minor? It has one of those shapes that’s instantly recognisable and seemingly loved by all – it’s a motoring icon whose production run spanned over 20 years and a myriad of bodystyles. You could have had a Saloon – two- or four-door – a Traveller (estate), a Convertible, a van or even a pick-
When production started way back in 1948 there was just the choice of the two-door Saloon or the Convertible but this soon expanded and by the time the Minor had been dropped by British Leyland in 1971 1.6 million examples had been built. The Minor’s remit was to provide relatively roomy, low cost family transport and Sir Alec Issigonis nailed the brief with a light and airy car that also had excellent handling and roadholding and light rack-and-pinion steering.
Today the most desirable version is the Convertible and it’s not hard to see why. It retains the charm and handling of the Saloon versions but unfurling the hood makes it an excellent drop-top for summer fun. Even slipping behind the wheel with the roof up on a chilly March morning brings a smile to your face and that’s without driving the car!
Early Minors weren’t performance powerhouses and even late models like this example with the 1,098cc version of the classic A Series engine weren’t quick cars, but are more than capable of keeping up with modern traffic on all but the motorway. As well as being perfectly usable a Minor makes a brilliant classic in so many ways. There’s a legion of specialists devoted to keeping them on the road and parts supply is excellent. They’re also very simple and easy to work on, making a Minor an ideal machine on which to learn the basics of car mechanics. That it’s an iconic design that’s a hoot to drive – hood up or down – is the icing on the cake.
This car has spent many years on the island of Guernsey and was a well known car there. An old tax disc in the car suggests that it was originally used on the UK mainland but was imported to Guernsey at some point in its history.
The current owner purchased the car in Guernsey having always had a soft spot for Minor Convertibles. It was bought around three years ago with the intention of restoring it back to its former glory but sadly this is a task that he’s not quite found the time for. Thus it’s now up for sale so a new owner can enjoy the delights of this Minor Convertible.
Sadly there isn’t a history file with the Minor but it’s general appearance would suggest it’s been loved and used while in Guernsey. The odometer reads 1,130 miles which we assume to be at least 101,130.
The car has been imported to the UK and any outstanding taxes have been paid. A new V5C has been applied for but has yet to arrive.
Perhaps the most classic colour combination for a Minor Convertible is Old English White paintwork with the Cherokee red interior and that’s exactly what we have here. The seats themselves are in good condition with just a very little sagging but they’re still comfortable to sit in. For a car that’s over 50 years old they’re in very good shape.
The matching door trim panels also look pretty good and still fit pretty well although there is a little bit of a wavy finish to the driver’s side panel suggesting the cardboard type lining has got damp at some point. The door furniture is present and correct with the door pulls still in good shape – they’re usually one of the things to get worn first. There’s very slight surface pitting to the chrome work but this doesn’t really detract from the interior charm.
Originally we think the carpet would have been red but this has faded over the years. It’s in generally good condition though. The hood looks to be pretty new and still fits well with a nice and clear rear screen. The hood lining is also in good condition and the hood frame looks to be in solid usable condition, too.
If you’ve looked at the images you’ll be able to see that it’s this Minor’s bodywork that lets it down. Years spent near the sea have taken their toll and it’s very rusty and will require a significant amount of welding to bring it back to its former glory.
The good news is that all the car’s trim is still present and correct and generally presents well with just the right amount of patina.
The trusty A Series engine starts on the button and sounds very healthy when being manoeuvred for photography, eliciting all the classic Morris Minor noises you’d expect to hear coming from under its shapely bonnet.
Naturally enough it’ll need a through service after a period of inactivity but from what we could hear there’s no reason to expect any more significant repairs will be needed. The Minor’s brakes will require attention though as the hydraulic set up is currently not working, needing to be stopped on the handbrake.
The correct Minor Convertible chassis plate is sitting on the bulkhead starting with the correct ‘MAT’ sequence of letters indicating that this is a genuine factory Minor Convertible and not a Saloon that’s been subsequently turned into a soft-top.
There’s something about a Morris Minor that just makes you want to smile and even when needing a full renovation like this one it’s not difficult to see its appeal. Cute looks, trusty mechanicals, low running costs and plenty of top down summer evening frolics are on the horizon.
Yes, it does need a significant amount of work before that scenario becomes a reality but what better way to learn about classic cars than by restoring one? All the parts are readily available and this highly original car would be an excellent basis for a restoration that will be an absolute delight when it’s finished.
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