The Morris Minor was initially dismissed by Lord Nuffield as a ‘poached egg’. Certainly, few would have thought it capable of selling in the numbers it did when the car made its debut at the 1948 British Motor Show; it went down in history in 1960 as the first British car to sell a million units.
The Minor was a revolutionary machine, with a spec that shamed cars twice its price – unitary construction, independent front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering. It was, however, somewhat let down by its traditional sidevalve engine. The Minor was intended for export across the world, so the untested flat-four that Alec Issigonis had incorporated into his design was considered too radical. Following the Austin/ Morris merger in 1952, the Minor’s lack of power was quickly addressed when it inherited the same powerplant as its Austin A30 rival. The A-series engine grew to 948cc four years later and the Morris was renamed the Minor 1000. At the same time the 1000 gained a close-ratio gearbox with a higher final drive, plus a singlepiece curved windscreen (previous models had a split screen) and a larger rear window.
‘Our’ car is one of the last to be made prior to the introduction of what is considered by many to be the ultimate version of the Minor – the revised 1000, with its A-series engine bored out to 1098cc, resulting in a power hike from 37bhp to 48bhp.
The Minor 1000 was always available as both a two- and four-door saloon, in addition to an opentop Tourer, wood-framed Traveller estate and as a practical van and pick-up.