Mor­ris Mi­nor

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Matt Richard­son

ENGINE 948cc/4-cyl/OHV POWER 37bhp@4750rpm TORQUE 48lb ft@3000rpm MAX­I­MUM SPEED 75mph 0-60MPH 31.1sec FUEL CON­SUMP­TION 33-41mpg TRANS­MIS­SION RWD, four-speed man­ual MoT Ex­empt ODOME­TER 88,222 miles

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?

Our ‘test’ of this barn-find Mi­nor project was limited to the ven­dor’s pri­vate land. There are no brakes – the pedal goes straight to the floor – but the hand­brake is still ef­fec­tive. The mo­tor has been re­placed with a newer Mi­nor engine, the bat­tery holds charge and the car starts read­ily at the first turn the key, de­spite hav­ing not run in years. Af­ter ini­tially smok­ing, as old petrol and oil in the bores burns off, the engine runs well and the gears en­gage eas­ily. The clutch hasn’t stuck dur­ing stor­age and still works as it should. The steer­ing is tight without un­due play in the mech­a­nism. Old, low tyres (le­gal tread depth on all of them, but they’re cracked) make the Mi­nor feel a lit­tle heavy, but it seems OK over­all.

BODY­WORK CHECK

The Mor­ris looks worse than it is. The body­work takes patina to a new level with flat paint and sur­face rust on ev­ery panel. Rust has per­fo­rated the lower edges of the doors and in spots on the wings. The chrome has seen bet­ter days – it’s mostly miss­ing from the front bumper and the rear is be­yond re­pair. The door han­dles are all flat and pit­ted. The glass is good all round and all the lenses are fine, bar the near­side rear lamp. The wheels have lost most of their paint. The chas­sis has ei­ther been un­der­sealed or coated in old oil for many years and is amaz­ingly solid and rust-free. It has been in­spected on a ramp and seems to be in good or­der.

HOW’S THE IN­TE­RIOR?

The dash­board is in great con­di­tion un­der the spi­der webs and the head­lin­ing is very good, which is more than can be said for much else inside the car. It will need a full re-trim as the car­pets are very tired and the front seats are so worn that a pre­vi­ous owner has glued house car­pet to the squabs. The rear seats are bet­ter but would need cov­er­ing to match the fronts. An af­ter­mar­ket am­me­ter has been fit­ted un­der the dash­board, and there’s a pump but­ton for man­ual wind­screen wash­ers.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

The engine bay has been painted with engine oil – it looks messy and dirty, but has pre­vented cor­ro­sion so the metal is in good shape. There is oil seep­age from the rocker cover gas­ket, but nowhere else. The bat­tery and fuel pump ap­pear rel­a­tively new and the sus­pen­sion and bushes look in good con­di­tion. The engine is a later 948cc A-se­ries, giv­ing bet­ter per­for­mance than the 803cc orig­i­nal. It is a wellex­e­cuted con­ver­sion and has in­cluded a swap to the later hand­brake, as the early type hits the later gear lever.

THE CCW VIEW

De­spite ap­pear­ances this Mi­nor is solid and me­chan­i­cally sound; new tyres, brakes and a ser­vice could see it run­ning. The in­te­rior needs at­ten­tion but whether the ex­te­rior is ti­died is a per­sonal de­ci­sion.

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