Morris minor - model car
Launched at the Earls Court Motor Show on 20th September 1948, the Morris Minor was the first British car to reach a production of one million. In fact over 1.6 million were eventually made at the manufacturing plants at Cowley in Oxfordshire, and exported to all four corners of the globe, until production ceased in 1971.
The Minor was built by William Morris (Lord Nuffield) of the Nuffield Organisation. which included (amongst many, many other firms), Wolseley, the SU carburettor company and Morris Garages, or MG.
All the Morris Minor prototypes were 57 inches wide, but the designer felt that this was too narrow, and ordered one of the eight prototypes to be cut down the middle. The change obviously had serious design implications for the design team, who had to recalculate hundreds of dimensions. But the extra width gave the car improved stability and road holding. A reminder of this historic decision can be seen on all Morris Minors, by the flat strip that runs down the centre of the bonnet.
The Morris Minors designer, Alec Issigonis, was later knighted and went onto design other famous vehicles including the Mini.
The Morris Minor is a British economy car that debuted at the Earls Court Motor Show, London, on 20 September 1948. Designed under the leadership of Alec Issigonis, more than 1.3 million were manufactured between 1948 and 1971. Initially available as a 2-door saloon and tourer (convertible), the range was subsequently expanded to include a 4-door saloon in 1950, and in 1952 a wood-framed estate (the Traveller), panel van and pick-up truck variants.
The Minor was manufactured in three series, Series I, Series II (1952) and finally the 1000 series (1956).
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. Internal politics inside BMC, the parent of Morris, may have led to the limited North American sales. The Minor prototype had been known as the Morris Mosquito.
More than 1.3 million of the lightweight, rear-wheel drive cars were eventually produced, mainly in Cowley, Oxfordshire, becoming Britain's first million seller, 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.
The Minor has been described as typifying "Englishness", a "British icon" and a "design classic".