Morris Minor MM
|1948 to 1953|
|Production||1948–53; 250,962 produced|
|Assembly||Oxford, England Victoria Park, Australia|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2/4-door saloon 2-door convertible|
|Engine||918 cc Morris Sidevalve I4|
|Wheelbase||86 in (2,184 mm)|
|Length||148 in (3,759 mm)|
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 owner 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 1972 (for the commercial variants and estate only). The last Morris Minor (commercial) was assembled at Stoke, Nelson, New Zealand in 1974.
The original Minor MM series lasted from 1948 until 1953. It included a pair of four-seat saloons, two-door and (from 1950) a four-door, and a convertible four-seat Tourer. The front torsion bar suspension was shared with the larger Morris Oxford, as was the almost-unibody construction. Although the Minor was originally designed to accept a flat-4 engine, with four distinctive gaps in the engine bay to accommodate it, late in the development stage it was replaced by a 918 cc (56.0 cu in) side-valve inline-four engine pretty much unchanged from the outgoing Morris 8, and producing 27.5 hp (21 kW) and 39 lbf·ft (53 N·m) of torque. This little engine pushed the Minor to just 64 mph (103 km/h) but delivered 40 miles per imperial gallon (7.1 L/100 km; 33 mpg-US). Brakes were four-wheel drums.
Early cars had a painted section in the centre of the bumpers to cover the widening of the production car from the prototypes. This widening of 4 inches (102 mm) is also visible in the creases in the bonnet. Exports to the United States began in 1949 with the headlamps removed from within the grille surround to be mounted higher on the wings to meet local safety requirements. In 1950 a four-door version appeared, initially available only for export, and featuring from the start the headlamps faired into the wings rather than set lower down on either side of the grille. The raised headlight position became standard on all Minors in time for 1951. From the start, the Minor had semaphore-type turn indicators, and subsequent Minor versions persisted with these until 1961. An Autocar Magazine road test in 1950 reported that these were "not of the usual self-cancelling type, but incorporate[d] a time-basis return mechanism in a switch below the facia, in front of the driver". It was all too easy for a passenger hurriedly emerging from the front passenger seat to collide with and snap off a tardy indicator "flipper" that was still sticking out of the B-pillar, having not yet been safely returned by the time-basis return mechanism to its folded position.
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 1972. Initially available as a two-door saloon and tourer (convertible), the range was subsequently expanded to include a four-door saloon in 1950, a wood-framed estate (the Traveller) from 1952 and panel van and pick-up truck variants from 1953.
Another innovation towards the end of 1950 was a water pump (replacing a gravity dependent system) which permitted the manufacturer to offer an interior heater "as optional equipment".
When production of the first series ended, just over a quarter of a million had been sold, 30% of them the convertible Tourer model.
A tourer tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1950 had a top speed of 58.7 mph (94.5 km/h) and could accelerate from 0–50 mph (80 km/h) in 29.2 seconds for the 1,098 cc engine. However, the 918 cc engine did 0-60 mph in 50+ seconds. A fuel consumption of 42 miles per imperial gallon (6.7 L/100 km; 35 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £382 including taxes.
The Minor was manufactured in three series: the MM (1948), the Series II (1952) and finally the 1000 series (1956).