• Full, ‘body-off’ restoration during 2017 • Presents in extraordinary condition throughout • Technically updated for modern driving conditions
The Morris Minor is a compact British family car that made its debut at the Earls Court Motor Show in London on 20th September, 1948.
Designed under the leadership of Sir Alec Issigonis (he of Morris Mini fame), more than 1.6 million Morris Minors were manufactured between 1948 and 1972 in three series: the MM (1948 - 1953), the Series II (1952 - 1956) and the 1000 series (1956 - 1971), as offered here.
The Morris Minor Traveller was introduced in 1954 as a Series II model. The unit construction floor and ‘cab’ section was built at the main Morris plant at Cowley and subsequently shipped to the MG factory at Abingdon near Oxford to be paired with the wood and aluminium rear ‘doghouse’ structure.
At the time, MG was in the process of phasing out the wood frame-bodied TF to make way for the all steel MGA and their fully staffed wood shop was just the ticket for the Traveller’s hand-crafted woodwork. Always popular, the ‘Woodies’ were built alongside Morris trucks and other commercials until the end of production in 1971. According to the website howmanyleft.co.uk, in 2021 there were 800 Morris Minor Travellers registered taxed in the UK, with an additional 392 ‘Woodies’ untaxed and brandishing Statutory Off-Road Notices (SORNs).
This low-mileage, low-ownership and highly presentable Morris Minor Traveller rolled off the Abingdon production line in late August, 1970 and received its first UK registration on 16th September of that year. During the intervening 52 years, the car has been lovingly enjoyed by just five former keepers, the current of whom acquired the car in September, 2018.
During 2017, KPO 587J underwent a full ‘nut-and-bolt’, ‘body-off’ restoration by expert craftsmen at Charles Ware Morris Minor Centre, Bristol. Two photo albums recording the restoration project will accompany the sale of the car, some images from which have been reproduced in the gallery.
When not in use, ‘Betty’ as the car is affectionately called, is dry-stored and only removed from the garage for brief local excursions to keep the mechanicals active and lubricated. At the time of the rebuild, a new odometer was installed. In the five years since then, the car has been driven a little under 4,000 miles. The car will come with a long MoT valid to 3rd December, 2022.
Accompanying the sale will be the car’s V5C, two sets of keys, a small file of past paperwork which details spares acquired and maintenance undertaken in recent years and of course, the aforementioned photo albums of the restoration project.
During the car’s restoration five years ago, the brief was to retain as much of the original interior as possible. This has been done – with additional upgrades to make the car more suitable for modern roads and driving conditions.
A full set of front and rear ‘deluxe’ seats have been fitted, swathed in light blue leather. Each space has its own modern three-point seatbelt. There is a small secondary instrument cluster displaying a clock and dual water/oil temperatures, plus a cigar lighter and/or convenient 12V power outlet. Both the front and rear furniture are super-comfy and overall, the interior is as welcoming as it is immersive and would be a great place to while away some productive road time.
The current vendor has made a rolled rear tonneau cover for the boot, which extends to the rear passenger windows when the rear seat upright is folded down...perfect for keeping valuables and keepsakes away from prying eyes. The cover is retained by the use of clips mounted along the side sills of the rear windows, as pictured.
The door cards and fittings are in very good order as is the roof lining, carpets and other soft furnishings. The vendor reports all the electrics to be in full working order including the heated rear windows.
Like the cabin, the boot presents in a clean and tidy condition and the under-cubby contains the spare wheel, jack and wheel wrench. It should be noted that no interior blemishes of any description are in evidence.
Along with the smart and tidy interior, this exterior of the Morris Traveller is equally highly presentable. The period blue paint gleams to a high standard and all the brightwork shines as intended. The front and rear lights are clear and all exterior electrics are in full working order and the underside of the boot lid is in excellent condition. As a safety measure, the car was recently fitted with a reversing light.
Special mention must be made of the truly extraordinary quality of the wooded framework of this Morris Traveller. Presented in blonde oak, the finish is remarkable and testament to the master craftsmen at Charles Ware Morris Minor Centre in Bristol.
A cursory glance down each flank of the car shows no evidence of damage and the front number plate, bumper and valance – for all their vulnerability – remain in remarkably good condition.
The front, rear and side sills of the car are blemish-free, as are each of the door under-sills. The condition of the car highlights the love and care that has continued to be afforded the car in the years since its restoration.
Unlike the interior, there is need to report two minor issues to do with Betty’s paintwork There is a small scratch to the panel of the left rear door and another small scratch to the right front mudguard near the driver’s door. Both of these are depicted in the accompanying gallery. That evidenced, their repair would present no particular challenge to a professional automotive paint shop worthy of the name.
With just five years since its full restoration – which included and engine rebuild, full mechanical refurbishment and the inclusion of an alternator, the custodian reports the car to be very good mechanical condition, with the steering, brakes, engine, drivetrain and running gear performing as well as their respective British engineers intended over fifty years ago.
At the photo location, the 1100cc engine started each time and settled into an appreciative four-pot burble. The four-speed manual gearbox connected smoothly and the clutch engaged with no drama, requiring a just gentle rev to get underway.
The engine bay is very tidy and clean (and delightfully roomy) and, like the immediately visible parts of this Morris Minor Traveller, the underside of the car presents in good order without the usual degree of natural oxidation that may reasonably be expected of a car this age.
At classic car shows up and down the country, you can almost guarantee that there will be a Morris Minor Traveller present...and there are many good reasons for that. Aside from being many owner’s pride and joy, the cars are often affordable, parts are widely available and inexpensive, servicing is straightforward and the driving experience is well judged for a car intended to offer populist appeal.
In ‘Betty’, we have a very healthy, fully restored example of Morris Traveller as the model approached the end of its production life. It presents in outstanding condition inside, outside and under and its new keeper will have a hard act to follow in maintaining the condition of this car.
There is a very active UK Morris Minor Owner’s Club, the members of which are as helpful and as knowledgeable as they come and would welcome an approach with open arms if needed.
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1970 Morris Minor Traveller
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