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Homepage. This page: Memories of Peter's first car - a two door Morris Minor, bought for 65.

Peter's 803cc Moggie Minor.

Peter, a regular contributor on the site forum, kindly sent over a few words about his first car, a 1955 Morris Minor, along with a photograph and a scan of the purchase receipt that he still has. Over to Peter, about his times with this classic Morris saloon car...

Introducing OBC 211, a 1955 Minor splitscreen saloon.

803cc Morris Minor splitscreen
"Having read Don's account of owning a 1200 Beetle I thought I would send you a "grass is always greener" account of an 803 Morris Minor that was the first (4 wheeled) vehicle that I owned.
Given the number sold, Beetles and Morris Minors can't be all bad, but like Don, my experience of a Moggie certainly didn't put it in my list of favourite cars.

Jaguar XK120
I see from the receipt (amn't I sad?) that I paid 65 for my 803 Minor in January 1967. In today's money that's about 900. Jumping into it you needed to give the doors a good slam and given the sound they made you could equally have been shutting the lid on a metal tool box. I had bought OBC 211 partly because one of our neighbours had a Series MM and he had been very helpful in kindling my interest in cars and bikes. The same gent had raced motor bikes in his youth and had greatly impressed me with rides in his XK120 and later with the amazing cornering capabilities of his Mini, the first I'd ever been in. He also gave me an old LE Velocette to cut my teeth on. Needless to say he was one of my heroes.
Anyway, back to OBC211. Having got in the seating was far from comfortable for my 6' 2" frame and the view from the split windscreen seldom required a sun visor due to the high sitting position. My example was probably fairly clapped and its performance was abysmal. Very low gearing, no torque and no power but lots and lots of noise. One major source of clatter was the timing chain and I can remember having great difficulty getting her to start after replacing it. The old chain had stretched so much that on fitting a new one the ignition timing was ridiculously far out.
There weren't any tyre regulations back then so I generally kept the ones with tread for the front and put "slicks" (bald ones) on the rear. This gave quite good handling in the dry but she was a little tail happy in the wet. In those days originality gave way to modernity, in my book, and I replaced the marled plastic and sprung steering wheel for a black dished one from a Morris 1000 and trafficators gave way to orange lamps.
Don may not have thought highly of his Beetle but I well remember getting a shot of a 1200 and thinking how wonderful it was in comparison to my Minor. First impressions were that here was a car that had a nice vertical gear lever instead of that dreadful long dangly thing that emerged from under the parcel shelf of the Minor. On driving off it also had some torque and lovely high gearing. OK it was noisy but it definitely responded to the right foot and the heater wasn't any worse than the Smith's circular. I think the 803 engine in the Morris was much over cooled. In fact driving over the long steep hill to Applecross the heater ran virtually cold and not for lack of water.
Morris Minor 803 advertisement
In an attempt to improve the performance I did try fitting twin SUs to OBC. They were just a couple I had acquired from scrap yards and to connect the throttle spindles I just used some plastic petrol hose and Jubilee clips. This was fine when cold but didn't work quite as well when the plastic heated up. There did appear to be more power available but I was probably deceived by the unsilenced air intakes.

On the plus side the Minor was reliable transport but one day whilst driving over some bumps I found myself moving relative to the car. The rear springs had burst through the rear floor. That wasn't the end of OBC though. She got rolled onto her side and the spring shackles re-welded to a strengthened floor.

After owning her for about a year I spotted a nice Series II Minx deluxe for 80 and that was a dream in comparison to the Minor. OBC fetched 50 if I remember correctly and a love affair with Rootes Group cars started."
803 Morris Minor
Thanks for the story Peter!! Part two of his recollections, where he looks at the various Rootes Group cars he owned, can be found here. Although the Minor has long since disappeared, Peter has remained interested in older British motorcars, and currently runs this fine SS Jaguar saloon.
More motoring memoirs can be found in the motoring memories section at oldclassiccar.
Morris Minors feature in a number of places across this website, including photographs of a smart 2 door splitscreen Minor back in the 1950s, a later Minor 1000 in Tripoli of all places, a much earlier lowlight MM tourer in Sri Lanka, and a couple more photos of Minors here. Enthusiasts for the Morris Minor can also download a free Minor screensaver here.

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