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Homepage. This page: A rare Martin Walter bodied Morris in Australia

Morris 10cwt Utilevan by Martin Walter

Ian dropped me a line in 2006, after having read about other estate car conversions built by Martin Walter on my Ford E83W website. He owns the cracking Model Y Morris van shown below. The similarity between the 10cwt Morris Y van range, and the contemporary 10cwt Ford E83W van, is quite starting at first, as they look so similar. A closer look does show up quite a few differences, but it would have been easy to get them confused when they were both regular sights on our roads.

Morris Y Van

Morris van grille badge
Morris Utilevan
Morris Y Van interior with seats up
Morris Y Van interior with seats folded down
Morris dashboard
Morris sidevalve engine
Frontal styling on this classic van
Rear doors

More info on this rare Model Y van....

Ian sent me a number of emails about this rare estate car / van ... "I thought you might find this interesting. This is the only one of these we can locate at this point in time. I can't help but notice the likeness to the bottom one on your contact page [on the E83W website]. The chassis is identical as far as I can see. Mine is based on a Y Model 10cwt chassis. If you interested let me know and I will give you more details. Like you I am intrigued by my vehicle but unfortunately I can't find anyone to chat to about it !"

"My Grandfather bought it new in 1948. I have the original rego papers and the Y Model handbook. I decided to try and find a few more about it, and got on the internet about 2 months ago. I have emailed all types of clubs and muesums etc and so far the only thing I've got is a photo of one from the British Motor Industry Archives 2 days ago. Many people are fascinated by it and it is being featured in a couple of mags and on several web sites but still nothing. Your enthusiasm is really appreciated."

Martin Walter, who were based on Folkestone, England, converted many light commercials back in the 40s and 50s, and this Morris would have been one of them. Ian continues ...

"When Dad got hold of ours it was a bit derelict so he stripped and rebuilt it with the very limited funds he had available. It runs reasonably well and can be driven up to about 45mph quite OK. The biggest problem I have with it is that it is thermo-syphon cooling, and we live in a sub tropical area where most days are 25c or better. The Utilevan part is Martin Walter, it can seat 7 people, or the seats fold into the floor and it can be used as a van. The chassis looks virtually identical to the Ford. I find that very interesting. It has a sidevalve 12 hp 4cyl motor and 3 speed g/box on the floor. I can't understand why it seems to be so rare. Nobody in the Morris clubs knows of one."

"It was used as a mobile school library by my Auntie in it's early days, then as a farm vehicle for my grandfather. Dad rescued it in 1978, rebuilt it, then club toured it around South East Australia for 20 years. I took it over as the 3rd generation owner in 2000, but don't have the time to do much with it at all! My contribution to it's history is this worldwide hunt for info. To my absolute amazement this is the only one I can find. It has turned into an almost addictive adventure. Maybe you can relate to this !"

My understanding is that the Utilevans (Morris) and Utilecons (Ford) were built to special order, so consequently a tiny percentage of a vehicle's production output would have been converted in this way. This would account for so few converted vehicles having survived into the 21st century. It is interesting to wonder how this example found its way to Australia, did it go over there as a 'knocked down' kit, or was it shipped to Australia already converted and ready to use?

The Series Y van can trace its ancestry back to 1938 with the chrome rad Series II 10cwt vans which, again like the baby Ford van, had a semi forward control layout and offset engine. The Series Y was announced in 1939, though few sold til WW2 had ended in 1945. The engine continued to be the 11.9hp sidevalve unit, although all-steel construction now replaced the coachbuilt bodies found on the pre-war vans. The Y van continued in production for 10 years in all, with most (over 34,000) going to the GPO (General Post Office). A few coachbuilt examples were also built, and during WW2 a long wheelbase version was available for military use. Thanks to Ian for sending the photos and information over on his converted van. If you can help him with more info on this lovely little Utilevan, or supply him with a correct style oil filler cap for the Model Y Morris, please drop me a line and I'll forward your info on to Ian.

Some links that also relate to the 12/4 Y van:

Classic van forums at oldclassiccar
Morris Y Type ambulance
Free ads page for 10cwt Morris parts here at oldclassiccar
Buying and running a classic van


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