Morris Minor (1948 – 1971) Review

Morris Minor (1948 – 1971) At A Glance


+There's a Minor to suit all budgets, good to drive, brilliant parts and specialist back-up, A-series powered ones are easily tuned to stay up with modern traffic, classic flatulent exhaust note

-If you like your classics rare, you might want to look elsewhere

The original Minor - or poached egg as Lord Nufflield delightfully called it - initially complete with side-valve engine, was a sedate performer, and is even more so today, but thanks to delightful handling and steering, it's still a great car to drive.

The Minor MM, launched so memorably at the Earls Court Motor Show in 1948, was originally sold as a two-door saloon or Tourer, with grille-mounted headlamps, until the four-door saloon was introduced in September 1950. These had their headlamps mounted in restyled front wings, and the change was adopted by two-doors and Tourers from January 1951.

The low-lamp Minor was replaced by the facelifted Series II in 1952. It retained the split-screen, but now was now powered by the (Austin-designed) A-series engine from Austin’s A30. This engine only appeared in four-door models during 1952, but all models received it from February '53. Later that year the wood-framed Traveller was added to the range. Many of these cars have been fitted with the stronger 948, 1098 and 1275cc engines from a
later Minor or other BMC product.

The 1956 Minor 1000 was the best of the lot - and remains so for those who want one to drive as well as to show. The larger A-series engines finally provided power to match the handling, more so after September 1962 when a 1098cc engine replaced the 948. Larger front brakes were added at the same time. The 1000s are easily distinguished by their curved one-piece windscreen and larger rear window.

Convertibles were dropped in June 1969, saloon production ended in November 1970, but Travellers soldiered on until April 1971. 

Ask Honest John

How can I give my modified Morris Minor better ground clearance?

"I have a Morris Minor fitted with an 1800cc Morris Marina engine and running gear. The heavier engine and reduced ground clearance causes the sump to ground out over deep potholes. I have already put 40 grade oil in shocks but there's not much improvement. I have ordered from ESM a telescopic conversion kit which is designed for standard Morris Minor, not one fitted with a lot heavier engine. My idea is to fit this kit and change to stiffer shocks. What do you suggest?"
One option may be to fit a modified sump to give additional ground clearance, but you would need to ensure there is enough capacity to hold the required amount of oil. Stiffer shock absorbers may help a little but you would need to match this to stiffer springs, as these will have a greater impact on the amount of suspension travel. We would suggest going back to ESM and explaining your requirements as they will likely be able to offer advice and the right components to counter the lack of ground clearance.
Answered by David Ross

Are classic cars exempt from the London Congestion Charge?

"I'm looking to buy a 1960 Morris Minor. I live in Central London. I understand that cars over 40 years old are exempt from the ULEZ, however, I can't find any information on whether or not I'd have to pay the congestion charge. Do you know?"
Hi Andy, I don't believe there's an exemption for historic vehicles in regards to the Congestion Charge, though there is for the ULEZ - like you say. You can see all the exemptions and discounts here:
Answered by Georgia Petrie

Should we scrap an old car that hasn't moved for 25 years?

"I was wondering if you had any ideas to help with my dad's car. He owns a Morris Minor Traveller that has not been used for about 25 years. It is parked on the drive but has been gradually rotting away and there is no possibility of moving it on its own wheels, and will probably not be able to be towed on to a trailer without falling apart, though I don't think it would even move like that. He's now been taken into hospital and if he is to move back home it will have to be moved in order for some work to be done to facilitate this. Any ideas about how we can remove it would be gratefully received. "
Don't scrap it. This car will be worth something to someone somewhere. Get in contact with the Morris Minor Owners' Club ( as they might be able to help.
Answered by Keith Moody

Is there any way of keeping warm in a classic car with no heater?

"My son bought his dream car, a Morris Traveller. He has no garage but can have it winter stored. His thoughts about this are the poor heater in the Moggy. As a result, he will need a "reliable" banger. Is there an alternative such as a mobile heater to quickly defrost and heat up a car?"
There's good and bad news, I'm afraid. Yes, you can get portable car heaters - but they mostly run off a 12v 'cigarette lighter' socket. This is a fairly easy upgrade, though, if you choose to go that route. Alternatively, you can also invest in a jump starter pack (not a bad idea) with a 12v socket to run the heater.
Answered by Keith Moody
More Questions

What does a Morris Minor (1948 – 1971) cost?