MINOR: WHAT’S THE APPEAL?
Cars that came from the Nuffield stable were always a cut above anything from Longbridge. With Riley, Wolseley and MG as part of the stable as well as Alec Issigonis on board, Morris were not going to turn out anything half hearted and as such the Minor was an instant hit with anyone that enjoyed driving.
The steering and handling were years ahead of the competition, to the extent that many owners regarded the Minor as a fixed roof sports car, albeit without much power. The original MM with the 918cc side valve was okay but underpowered and the Series II with the 803cc A-Series from the A30 was probably worse – a combination of feeble power, grossly incorrect gearing and an engine that was not the most robust thing ever made. Most will now have had a 950 or 1100 engine, gearbox and axle fitted.
The A-Series was reworked by Morris Engines and became the 948cc unit and in 1956 the Series II became the Minor 1000. The 948 was a superb engine – strong, revvy and reliable. It now had sensible gearing and a snappy short shift gear lever along with other improvements. Even in 1959 the Minor was perhaps old fashioned but was very comparable to the new 105E Anglia and in many ways a better car. The 1962 1098cc version had taller gearing, more power and torque, better brakes and even today in standard form remains a surprisingly drivable car.
(Left) Many owners will agree that simple is best when it comes to the Minor’s plain but functional interior. (Right) The engine bay was designed for a flat four-cylinder unit and the extra space provides excellent access to all the service items.