The name Morris Minor was first used for a car manufactured by Morris Motors in Cowley in 1928 though this was a sit-up-and-beg model very different from what we mostly recognize as the Morris Minor. The latter is a smooth rounded car with a style very contemporary to its time. This car was designed by the famous car designer Alexander Issigonis, who later went on to design the Mini. The first Morris Minor was launched in 1948. There were a number of model options, including two door and four door saloons and a convertible. The cars were powered by a 918cc engine giving it a top speed of 64 mph. This model series is easily characterized from later models as it has a split windscreen with a metal bar running down the windscreen center.
A new Morris Minor, the Series Two, was introduced in 1952. The engine was replaced by a smaller 803cc engine and a new body version, the Morris Traveler was introduced. This was essentially an estate car and had a very sophisticated appearance including a wooden frame. A Morris Minor van was also manufactured which came as a covered van or as a pick-up style.
A third series, called the Morris 1000, was launched in 1956. The engine was upgraded to 948cc and the body was modernized as were many internal features of the car. Subsequently an alternative 1.1 liter engine was introduced which increased the top speed for 64mph to 77 mph. Production ended in 1971.
As well over one million Morris Minors were made (in fact the millionth car was sold in 1961) in many ways it is the ideal classic car to own. It is relatively easy to find good bargains and car parts online. The cars themselves are easy to work on and the engines are still of simple design and straight forward to strip and rebuild.
There are many beautifully restored Morris Minors to be seen at any classic car rally. Somewhat untidy examples can be sourced for just a few hundred pounds, whilst top quality examples can fetch several thousand pounds.
This is a big investment opportunity for the classic car restoring enthusiast and a great first project or any amateur.