We en­joy the Morris Isis Trav­eller and put it fully to the test

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Driving -

1 DailY DriV­iNG

In the­ory, an Isis Trav­eller would stand up well to ev­ery­day mo­tor­ing. The won­der­fully flex­i­ble engine and well-cho­sen gear ra­tios would be great in traffic, and al­though the steer­ing isn’t ex­actly fin­ger­tip light, it’s not too heavy. It’s the same story with the clutch. The bench seats are ex­tremely com­fort­able – you seem to sink into them in a cos­set­ing way as you hang on to that big steer­ing wheel. The BMC C-se­ries of­fers plenty of power and is vir­tu­ally bul­let­proof. Ob­vi­ously, there’s a vast amount of stor­age space for even the big­gest weekly shop, and you can carry lots of peo­ple around, too.

2 iN tHE sEr­ViCE BaY

There’s noth­ing un­duly com­plex about this car as far as main­te­nance is con­cerned, though you’ll be chang­ing the oil ev­ery 3000 miles or so. You’ll need to shoot from the hip with a grease gun in ac­cor­dance with the car’s hand­book, too, if you want to avoid rapid sus­pen­sion and steer­ing wear. The C-se­ries engine was used to power other BMC cars, such as the AustinHealey and – in mod­i­fied form – the MGC, so spares are read­ily avail­able, if fairly ex­pen­sive. Sim­i­larly, most of the brake and sus­pen­sion com­po­nents were used on other cars and should still be ob­tain­able, though you may have to do a bit of home­work as part of your search.

3 oN tHE sHoW Cir­CUit

One you’ve con­vinced the or­gan­is­ers that a visit by the Isis is no bad thing, you should have a great show at­trac­tion on your hands. Sadly, of the 50 or so sur­vivors, there are only four Isis Trav­ellers known to be on the road in Bri­tain, so you won’t be asked to park with other sim­i­lar cars. Ex­pect to at­tract lots of at­ten­tion and the chance to ex­cite vis­i­tors by list­ing the var­i­ous fea­tures of the ‘woody’ body. You can also show off the eight-seater ar­range­ment and fend off of­fers from Austin-Healey own­ers for that lovely straight-six BMC engine.


There’s no doubt­ing the Isis Trav­eller’s ca­pac­ity for swal­low­ing peo­ple and lug­gage. You re­ally could trans­port eight peo­ple, though two of them might not rel­ish trav­el­ling in the two rear­wards fac­ing seats in the back of the car. Won­der if you could fit seat­belts? Fold them away, though, and the Trav­eller has 35 cu­bic feet (0.98 cu­bic me­tres) of lug­gage ca­pac­ity, which grows to an amaz­ing 65 cu­bic feet (1.8 cu­bic me­tres) load ca­pac­ity with the seats for the sec­ond row also folded for­ward. The only prob­lem would be keep­ing prying eyes away from the fam­ily of bi­son or what­ever you’d cho­sen to fill the car with.

5 tHE B-roaD Blast

Make the most of this car’s six-cylin­der engine via the ex­cel­lent gear ra­tios and con­sid­er­able low­down torque and you’ll cover a lot of ground quickly. Twist­ing bends could catch you out, though the car’s abun­dant un­der­steer is con­trol­lable once you get used to it; then you could re­ally have some fun, if that’s your bag. The car is def­i­nitely more sta­ble than its high cen­tre of grav­ity might sug­gest, and a set of ra­dial tyres would have a pos­i­tive ef­fect on the han­dling. The steer­ing is pretty good con­sid­er­ing it’s cam and peg sys­tem, too, and at the car should stop rea­son­ably well at the end of your B-road blast.

loads of space and com­fort for at least six of eight po­ten­tial oc­cu­pants, but it’s short on lux­ury touches. Dash­board is rather ba­sic, given its new price. Note the tiny clock nestling in the speedome­ter hous­ing.

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