A Century of Cars: 7. Corgi Morris Minor Saloon
The Morris Minor was a popular British
motor car aimed at the family market. It was the work of a team led
by Alec Issigonis, who would go on to design (and be knighted for)
the successful Mini. The Minor was launched at the Earls Court Motor
Show, London, on 20 September 1948.
At launch there were several variants, including the standard saloon, a wood-framed estate called the Traveller, and a convertible, plus a van and a pick-up truck version. The Traveller was very popular, and remained in production until 1971, a year after the saloon had been discontinued. The Minor was manufactured in three series, Series I, Series II (1952) and finally the 1000 series (1956).
The Series 1 cars originally had lights in the grille and a 918cc side valve engine. By the time the Series 2 came along the lights had been moved into the wings and a new 803cc Austin designed engine was introduced. Both Series 1 & 2 cars had a split windscreen. The 1956 Series 3, Minor 1000, is the car we recognise. It has the one-piece screen and all the familiar design cues that say Morris Minor.
Sir Alec Issigonis' concept was to combine the luxury and convenience of a good motor car at a price affordable by the working classes. The Minor was a roomy vehicle with superior cornering and handling characteristics.
More than 1.3 million of the lightweight, rear-wheel drive cars were eventually produced, mainly in Cowley, Oxfordshire, and exported around the world, with many variants of the original model. Production continued in Birmingham, England until 1971 (for the commercial variants and estate only). The last Morris Minor (commercial) was assembled at Stoke, Nelson, New Zealand in 1974..