It seems appropriate that, since Minis are prominent in this issue of Unique Cars mag, we recognise another product of Sir Alec Issigonis – the Morris Minor.
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In many ways it was the forebear to the Mini even though the two cars ended up being sold side-by side.
Launched in 1948, it was produced until 1971 and was assembled not only the UK, but Australia, New Zealand Malaysia. Over 1.6 million were built.
This was one of a generation of post-war cars that were intended to mobilise a ready and willing audience across Europe that didn’t necessarily have a whole lot of resources. Keep in mind that Britain experienced rationing until 1954.
Though a little larger than a Mini, it was no giant, with a two-door weighing some 750kg. It was initially powered by a 918cc inline-four sidevalve engine (essentially a 1930s design), matched to a four-speed manual transmission. Top speed was around 95km/h.
That engine was eventually replaced by 948cc and then 1048cc A-series powerplants, which saw top speed climb to a more motorway-friendly 120kmh/h and acceleration significantly improved.
They may not have been fast, but the Minors developed a reputation for being ultra-tough and long-lived. However owners in more recent decades have often fitted alternative powerplants, with a four out of a Datsun 120Y for a time being a popular choice.
Several variants were produced over the years, including with two and four doors, soft-tops and wagons or vans. These days they’ve become collectible, with the Traveller ‘woody’ station wagon being particularly highly prized.