We enjoy the Morris Isis Traveller and put it fully to the test
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.
4 tHE loNG WEEKEND
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.