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Morris Minor (1948 - 1971)

Last updated 8 August 2014


Buying Guide


  • If the outer panels are a bit ropey, don’t panic – new panels are readily available, although the cost can soon add up.
  • If it looks tatty on the outside, there’s a good chance that the monocoque to which the panels are bolted will need extensive (and expensive) repairs.
  • Woodwork on the Traveller is structural so make sure there are not discoloured areas. New wood will cost about £3000.
  • Check the Minor’s Achilles’ heel – its rear spring hangers. These can take a day (each side) to repair.
  • Rust can take hold in the rear chassis extension and front chassis legs (which run either side of the engine).
  • Other common rot spots include the sills and the doors, especially along the bottom edges.
  • Good-quality repair panels for doors are available (vans, pick-ups and four-door saloons used the same doors, too).
  • Crucial pressings like the floorpans and the crossmember (which braces the whole shell) are common rot spots.
  • To identify a genuine Tourer, check the plate on the offside bulkhead onto which the body number is stamped. The second letter of a 1952-1958 Tourer's chassis number will be C, while later cars used an MAT prefix. Any car built after June 1969 will be a conversion.

Engine & Gearbox

  • Sidevalve engine shares many components with the Morris Eight Series E.
  • Exhaust valves burn out as a result of incorrect tappet adjustment.
  • Timing settings can be thrown out because of the distributor not being lubricated often enough.
  • Post-1956 cars got the 948cc A-series unit, which is hard-wearing and reliable.
  • Look for exhaust smoke under power, noisy tappets and reduced performance (it’s not great to begin with).
  • Listen for big-end knocks when the engine is started, timing chain rattle and an oil light that's slow to go out.
  • Final and most usable version of the A-series is the 1098cc unit.
  • You can upgrade the A-series by fitting an unleaded-ready head and duplex timing chain conversion.
  • Gearboxes are a weak spot – synchromesh gives up easily (no Minor had it on first gear).
  • Once the teeth are chipped the ‘’box will become noisy and start jumping out of gear.
  • If the rear axle is noisy when you lift off at speed, the differential is worn.

Running Gear

  • Trunnions and swivel pins at the front wear out unless they're greased at least every 3000 miles or three months.
  • Pressed-steel wheels were fitted to all Minors as standard, and they don't give any problems.
  • The brake master cylinder lives under the driver's footwell and gets attacked by all the debris thrown up from the road.

Electrics and trim

  • Good news: just about everything available for the interior of a Minor, and none of it is very expensive.
  • Switchgear and instrumentation is also available, except for the Bakelite switches used on early cars (although plastic replacements can be bought).
  • Electrical issues are generally caused by previous bodges or old/cracked wires. New looms are available and easy to fit.

Can I run it on unleaded?

  • No. An additive is essential, or you can fit an unleaded head.


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