Article header
Parts
Homepage. This page: Various photographs showing pre-war Morris Minors.

The original Morris Minor.

Visit any classic car show and you'll doubtless trip over a good number of post-war Minors, such as this mid '50s Series 2 Moggie, but go looking for the pre-war Minor, and you could have quite a search. The Austin works at Longbridge were churning out huge numbers of Austin 7s in the 1920s, so naturally William Morris and the Morris Motor Company were keen to get in on the action. In 1928 they launched their Minor, a diminutive motorcar aimed at the private motorist. Whereas the Austin, as did many makers in those days, made do with a sidevalve engine up front, Morris were able to use a modified and smaller version of an overhead cam unit first seen under the bonnet of a Wolseley (the company being part of the Morris empire by this time).
Initially, buyers could choose from a two door fabric bodied saloon, or a four seat tourer. Two years later the all-steel saloon would go on sale (as shown on this page), as would a tiny van. With braking to all four corners, and the engine producing a modest 20bhp, these Minors were for the most part fairly reliable, although there were issues with the engine, not least its complexity to build, plus some internal oil leak problems. In 1931 a revised version of the engine, this time in sidevalve form, was offered, and the OHC unit was dropped from the market shortly afterwards. A year later, in 1932, the bodyshell was given a gentle make-over, softening some of the edges and bringing things upto date. 1934 would be the final year for the Morris Minor, by which time all models had hydraulic braking (first introduced to the saloon mid-way through production), and a four speed gearbox. Later that same year, the Minor bowed out, to be replaced by the new Morris Eight range.

1. An example of all-steel 2 door Minor saloon car

Front view of the 1930-34 Minor
Side view of the pre-war Morris Minor
The first photograph shows an all-steel Morris, registration PO 7554, with three people stood alongside. Note the differing tread patterns on the two front tyres, drivers didn't worry so much about mixing tyre brands in those days. The second picture shows the owner, with lady friend and faithful hound, relaxing alongside the same car.

2. A different pre-war Minor photograph surfaces.

Graham sent this black and white photo over, asking if I could identify the car. It shows another example of a pre-war Morris Minor, registered VX 6745, a number hailing from the Essex area. Graham wonders if the car might still be around - a look on the DVLA site doesn't show any record of this car, so chances are it's final journey was to the breaker's yard, unless anyone knows different?
A 30's Morris Minor

3. Another photo of an early Morris Minor saloon.

Vic kindly sent this great photo in. It shows a Morris Minor parked in Kettering, circa 1954, by which time the car was already some 20-25 years old. A close look at the car, a part- fabric covered saloon, reveals some damage to the body covering on the scuttle. VO 1555 is a Nottinghamshire number, it ran from October 1928 through to March 1933, almost mirroring the production run of the Minor itself. Two dapper chaps are photographed with the Minor, the one on the left sporting a fine pair of leather driving gloves. Note how the style of radiator changes throughout the production run of the Minor.
Another pre-war Morris Minor

4. A Morris Minor parked outside Lincoln prison.

Michael sent this photo over, it shows a pre-war Minor saloon parked outside H.M.P. Lincoln. Quite why the car is parked there, and why someone wanted their photo taken outside the Prison entrance, isn't known sadly (unless perhaps it was on the day of their release??!?). The Morris was registered VL 2893, a Lincolnshire number. It's interesting to note how the style of radiator on these early Minors changed over a production run of just a few years - for instance the Minor in the photo below doesn't feature the chrome radiator surround. The painted surround appeared for 1930, but by 1932 has been dropped in favour of a chrome-plated type.
A Morris Minor outside HMP Lincoln

5. A family with their pre-war Minor.

This under-exposed old photograph, printed on card, was found in 2010. It shows three children, and their mother, posed with a pre-war Minor saloon. Judging by their dress, the bare trees in the background, and the fitment of a radiator muff on the Morris, it was a cold winter's day.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
A pre-war Morris car and the family that owned it

6. A 1933-season Minor saloon car.

Graham kindly sent this old photo over, wondering what the car was that belonged to his grandfather. It is a Morris Minor saloon, the style of radiator suggests a 1933-season car (identical to the Minor shown at the top of this page). Note the trafficator - on the passenger side only it would seem - and the wartime blackout mask fitted to the nearside headlamp.
A 1933 Morris Minor

7. Two ladies and a vintage Minor.

This next Morris Minor photo isn't the best, but as it shows an early, vintage, Minor, it's worth including here. Giveaways of an early Minor are the wheel centres, sliding door glasses, the peak above the screen, and the radiator, all of which differ on later Minors (such as my '34). It appears to be a seaside location, but sadly no information on the car, or its owner(s), is known. It sports a very unusual radiator mascot - definitely not a Morris fitment, most likely removed from a contemporary Armstrong-Siddeley.
Vintage Morris Minor with two ladies for company

8. A four-seat tourer in a studio.

Posing cars within a photographer's studio, and placing a scenic backdrop on the wall behind, was not all that uncommon in the 1930s, and a number of old photographs like this can be found on the site. Unusually though, this one is dated - 1945 - and the location is given as Blackpool, a popular holiday destination then, and to this day. The un-named girl was aged 12 years at the time of the photograph, sadly we'll never know who she was as no further information is recorded on the picture's reverse.
The car itself is quite unusual though, in that it is a four-seat tourer version of the pre-war Minor. It even has a tax disc still in the holder, so perhaps this was the studio owner's own car. It also sports a natty pair of full-width wheel discs, an accessory of the era which was designed to modernise the look of cars fitted with spoked wheels. Note the "30 MPH" road sign positioned beyond the car, forming part of the scenery. Troubling speed limits isn't usually a concern for most pre-war Minor owners!
Four-seat tourer version
Return to Old Vehicle Photos Page 6.

Other Minor-related items on OCC.

Photographs of the sporty Morris Minor "Semi Sports" can now be seen here, and memories of buying a 2-seat Minor for just five pounds can be discovered here in the Motoring Memories section. Photos of the two-seat Minor tourer will be added to this page.
An interesting item of correspondence between a Bristol garage and a potential customer, in 1931, regarding the part-exchange of a pre-war Minor against a Singer Junior, may also be found on this page.
Custom Search
www.oldclassiccar.co.uk (C) R. Jones. Content not to be reproduced elsewhere.
Website by ableweb.
Privacy Policy, Cookies & Disclaimers