Morris Minor assembled by Brittain in Ireland | Season 1 – Episode 47
Wheels Feb 17, 2022
The Morris Minor was seen as a ‘new generation’ of small car when it was announced at the 1948 London Motor Show. Initially available as a two-door saloon and tourer (convertible).
The engine was a 917cc side-valve unit derived from the Series E Morris Eight and first seen in 1934. While relatively slow, it could manage 62 mph, it was said that everyone who drove it quickly discovered that it was sure-footed and light. The rack-and-pinion steering (another innovation for a small car) made it a delight to drive.
Other cars felt clumsy and unresponsive by comparison, and Minor owners were soon having fun leaving far more powerful cars behind on Irish winding roads.
In 1950 the range subsequently expanded to include a four-door saloon. Two years later saw the arrival of the iconic wood-framed estate ‘The Traveller)’, a panel van and pick-up truck variants.
In Ireland in the 1950s and 60s, a Morris Minor did not warrant a second glance as they seemed to everywhere. They provided utilitarian transportation for countless families. Most Morris Minor owners drove the standard saloon version and some tradesmen bought the van for carrying tools and equipment. It was transportation for the masses and it was much more liked than the Mini which practical rural Irish people considered too small.
The cars were assembled In Ireland by the Brittain Group based in Dublin.
The ‘Series II’ Minor was announced in July 1952 and apart from the engine, little else was changed. A face-lift in 1955, saw the a slatted grille replace the mesh-type and the speedometer took up its position in the middle of the dash.
In 1956 the Minor 1000 arrived with a new 948cc engine which allowed it to maintain higher average speeds. A further landmark came as 1961 approached, the millionth Morris Minor was completed, becoming the first British car ever to achieve this production figure.
The arrival of the new Austin / Morris 1100 and the Ford Escort in the late ’60s saw the start of the decline the Morris Minor. The convertible was phased out in 1969, the two and four door saloons in 1970, and finally, the popular Traveller version in 1971. The ‘light commercial’ variants (van and pick-up) met the same fate, and the end of an era in British motoring had come.
1.3 million Morris Minors were manufactured before production completed ceased in 1972.
Information sources: Irish Morris Minor Owners Club, Morrisminor.org.uk, thewildgeese.irish
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