Archive : End of the Minor

End Of The Minor

The Morris Minor saloon is to be phased out of production at the end of this year, British Leyland Motor Corporation announced yesterday. But the Minor Traveller estate car and delivery van will still be made and saloons will be available for another 12 months.

One of the British motor industry’s greatest successes, the Minor first went into production in 1948. Manufacture of the convertible ceased a year ago. Total output of all versions of the Minor had reached 1,536,000 at the end of 1969 and in recent years about 40 per cent of production has been exported.

The Minor still looks much the same as it did when it was launched at the first postwar London Motor Show 22 years ago.

By David Benson

It’s goodbye soon the to an “Old Faithful” of motoring world – the Morris Minor. The car was a sensation when it was introduced at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show. The forerunner of the Mini – the Minor was the first car produced by B.M.C; to be designed in its entirety by Sir Alec Issigonis, the brain behind the Mini, 1100, and 1800.

And now Lord Stokes, head of British Leyland, has decided to phase out Britain’s most successful post-war car. Toughness and reliability were the secret of. the car’s success, so much so that it refused to die despite frequent attempts by the management to drop it.

A company spokesman said: “The car will probably go out of production towards the end of September or early October but the saloon car will be available for at least another 12 months from now.”

Saved from the axe are the Traveller and van versions.

Keith Adams


  1. The Minor did very well to reach that total number produced in spite of Lord Nuffield’s own dislike for the car.

    It has been brought up that the Minor could have been equipped with the 918cc Wolseley Eight OHV engine (amongst a number of options), the idea being briefly revisited in a slightly enlarged 980cc guise when the formation of BMC led to its abandonment in favour of the newer if initially underpowered A-Series when first introduced.

    What am interested in exploring is how the Minor could have been viably improved before the merger between Morris and Austin in 1952 to slightly enhance its position relative to the Volkswagen Beetle prior to the boon of the latter after 1950 beyond?

    Would the adoption of the Wolseley Eight OHV engine at launch have been enough to address complaints about lack of power before the post-merger Wolseley 1500?

    Or assuming it was an option and on the basis the latter was apparently related to the above, was it possible for the Minor to be equipped by some form of XP / S-Series motor as used in the Morris Ten, Wolseley 4/44 and MG TC/TD in export markets or was the engine to heavy and noisy notwithstanding the potential cost savings in sharing a detuned version of engine used in the MG TC/TD selling well across the Atlantic?

    Taking it further with the benefit of hindsight would the larger Oxford MO have also benefited from using the XP / X-Series or an OHV version of the 1.5-litre SV engine (with the addition of a Minor specific 1.1-litre OHV version of the 1.5-litre OHC-derived 1.1 planned for the Minor-based MG 1100), which by extension could have also translated to the Six MS receiving an OHV version of the 2.2-litre OHC engine?

  2. As envisaged by Issigonis, the Minor was to have a flat four engine ( I cannot remember definitely, but think this was a sidevalve ) but it was vetoed by Miles Thomas and Nuffield as requiring too much expense on tooling. The 918 sv however was readily available , was in fact a very reliable and reasonable performer, and only had one major defect which was a tendency to pinking ( which in fact I never encountered in the 3 Morris 8s I had, but by then ( 1962 ) fuels were much better. In fact , the performance of the Minor was not really improved until the advent of the 1000 in 1956 – the 803 gave no better performance than the 918

    • I heard the the OHV version of the 918cc engine used in the Wolsley 8 was supposed to go in the Minor, but this was dropped due to the creation of BMC.

  3. The Jon Pressnell book on Morris notes the Flat-Four grew from 800-1100cc for use in what became the Minor and planned as a 1250-1500cc for what became the Oxford, up to 1800-2500cc for the Gutty, though it was an expensive indulgence and unnecessary distraction as were ideas for 1.1 versions of the 1.5 OHC Wolseley 4/50 for use in both MG and Wolseley Minor variants.

    The 918cc Wolseley OHV was briefly considered for the Minor prior to its launch and later planned once more in 980cc form pre-BMC. It is worth noting as well that a softly uprated 1250cc version of the 37 hp 1140cc XP engine used in the Morris Ten would have made virtually the same output as the 40 hp 1476cc SV in the Morris Oxford MO.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.