Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Long-Lived Morris Minor

Morris Minor automobiles were produced for more than 20 years (1948-1971) without a major styling change and sold well.  From what I read, my impression is that the Minor remains the most highly-regarded low-priced British car launched the first few years after World War 2 ended.  Background information can be found here.

As for its styling, the Minor falls into the evolutionary zone American designs reached in 1942.  Given that its body design was 1942-43 vintage (see here), the Morris Minor had up-to-date styling that was on the verge of being out-of-date by the time it was announced to the public in the fall of 1948.  But its warm marketplace acceptance eliminated the need for other than a few modifications over the years..

Gallery

Morris "Mosquito" prototype
The "Mosquito" name was discarded before production.  The styling theme seen here was carried over to production models that had slightly larger proportions.

1950 Morris Minor MM
The wheels seem too small for my taste, but the large windows give the car a light, airy look.

1950 Morris Minor - sales photo
The front fenders extending over the doors give the Minor a solid appearance without the potential bloat that flow-through or pontoon fenders might have yielded.  The doors are hinged at the front, unlike some cars with similar fenders that had to have "suicide" aft-hinged doors for engineering reasons.

1950 Morris Minor - sales photo
From the door aft, aside from the large side windows, the Minor reminds me of 1940-vintage American car styling.

1953 Morris Minor Series II
Minors were facelifted for a second series built 1952-56.  The main change was repositioning the headlights from the grille area to the fenders.  This might have been done to satisfy regulations in export-target countries.  Note that the car in the photo is a four-door model.

1957 Morris Minor 1000 - Classic Auctions photo
An example of the final revision with its new one-piece windshield.  The grille ensemble, including the sheet metal surround, is very close in extent to the ensemble seen on the earliest Minors.

1968 Morris Minor 1000 (never driven!) - via London Telegraph
Side view of a four-door Minor auctioned not long ago and noteworthy for its extremely low mileage.  Two-door Minors look better because they didn't have the cramped appearance of four-door models such as this one.

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