Something a bit different this week, and with it, something a bit cheeky, too. This is a 1964 Morris Minor, Jim, but not as you know it. To look at, it’s every bit the vision of Issigonis that it was always meant to be. In two-door guise, it’s arguable the best body shape for the Minor. The car has recently been restored, including four new wings and a welcome splash of period Clarendon Grey paint, which serves to make this little Moggy sparkle like a new car. The chrome is bright, the glass is free of blemishes and inside the seats and trim are as good – if not better – than they would have been when this Minor rolled off the assembly line. The banjo steering wheel, the vinyl seats, the new headlining, the new door panels, it’s all perfect.
But we’re not here to sing the praises of a lovingly restored Morris Minor. You see, this particular Mog is more than that. Look again at the pictures and you’ll spot the minilite wheels on tyres that seem to be far too capable for the A series engine you’ll normally find betwixt the front wings of a Minor. Except this particular Minor doesn’t have an A series engine. It has something wholly more exotic.
Under that curvaceous bonnet you won’t find British Leyland’s go-to engine. Instead, you’ll find a wroughty 1600cc Fiat Twin-Cam engine from a Fiat Supermirafiori. Needless to say, this gives this Minor a bit more bite than it originally had, but that’s no bad thing. It’s also worth noting that this is proper, well thought-out conversion. The vendor states that the engine was actually fitted some thirty years ago and the conversion consisted of more than just a fancy Italian engine. There is a matching Fiat 5-speed manual transmission bolted onto the back of the twin-cam, the rear differential is a 3.7:1 unit from an MG, so it’s geared accordingly. The front brakes have been converted to disc from a Marina, so stopping power is plentiful, the suspension has been upgraded, and to top it all off there is a Powerflow stainless steel exhaust, too.
It all adds up to being one very cheeky little Morris Minor. No, the 1.6 Fiat engine isn’t going to set the rear tyres on fire, but that’s not the point. It will make this car much more usable and more capable in amongst modern traffic, plus, it will sound glorious. And before you worry about the reliability of a classic Fiat engine, don’t. This conversion, as we mentioned, was done thirty years ago. If it was a rubbish engine, it would have been tossed in the scrap heap a long time ago. And pleasingly, parts availability for the Fiat twin-cam is good, so keeping it going won’t be an issue.
We love this little Moggy. It’s something different, something that seems to be in wonderful condition but most importantly of all, it’s something fun. And we need more fun. This little Minor is a welcome tonic today, something to put a smile on your face at the turn of a key. And all for just £7,500. You couldn’t build this car, in this spec, in this condition for that amount of money, which makes it a bargain. Go on, you know you want to.