16 Facts About Morris Minor


Morris Minor is a British economy family car that made its debut at the Earls Court Motor Show, London, in October 1948.

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Thomas named the project 'Mosquito' and ensured that it remained as secret as possible, both from the Ministry of Supply and from company founder William Morris Minor, who was still chairman of Morris Minor Motors, and as widely expected, would not look favourably on Issigonis' radical ideas.

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Morris Minor particularly objected to the Mosquito's expensive and unconventional engine design.

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The Morris Minor board insisted on launching the Mosquito at the first postwar British Motor Show in October 1948.

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Morris Minor had the prototype cut lengthways and the two halves moved apart until it looked "right".

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Also, Issigonis' last-minute size increase and the fitment of the larger-than-planned sidevalve engine needed to be considered; while still a small car, the new Morris Minor was no longer the ultra-compact economy car that it had been on the drawing board, and the Mosquito name seemed inappropriate.

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So, the Minor name, intended for the midsized model in Thomas' planned trio of new cars, was adopted for what would become the smallest postwar Morris.

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The original 1928 Morris Minor had itself introduced a number of innovative features and had been the first four-wheeled car to sell for £100.

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New Morris Minor was launched at the British Motor Show at Earls Court in London on 27 October 1948.

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In 1952, the Minor was substantially re-engineered following the merger of the Nuffield Organization with the Austin Motor Company to form the British Motor Corporation.

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In 1956, the Morris Minor received a major programme of updates intended to keep the car competitive into the 1960s.

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The millionth Morris Minor was donated to the National Union of Journalists, which planned to use it as a prize in a competition in aid of the union's Widow and Orphan Fund.

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Decline and cancellation of Morris Minor production was source of some consternation by industry commentators in the late 1960s, who believed that further development of the car had the potential to challenge the Volkswagen Beetle in export markets.

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The Volkswagen, which was developed as a small family car with a very similar brief to the Morris Minor, had been upgraded consistently over 25 years, and retained a healthy market share in export markets, where it was very often the lowest priced new car on the market.

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Many other Morris Minor components, including much of the suspension, were used in the running gear, which served to streamline production changeover and minimise the financial outlay associated with chassis development and retooling.

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Replacement panels for the Morris Minor were still being made in 2002 by the Durable Car Company in Sri Lanka.

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