This Morris 5 cwt van (RX 580?) was first registered in Berkshire at the very tail end of 1929. We know that, as the very first Berkshire County Council registration for 1930 was recorded as RX 5813. The van has no sign writing upon its flanks and may be owned by the proprieter of the shop in front of which it is parked. The bunting adorning both shops might also provide a clue as to when the photo was taken, perhaps for King George V’s Silver Jubilee in 1935 or to mark the coronation of George VI in 1937.
This is an ex Tim Harding Collection photograph which features a rare period image of three Morris Special Coupe models, including that of a lwb 1933 Morris Minor variant. Rare because just 181 Minor Special Coupes left Cowley during that 1933 season. JO 6336 was registered in the City of Oxford in (probably) late February/early March that year. Alongside the Minor are two further examples of the breed, a Morris Ten Special Coupe and an Oxford of a similar type. There is more information on the Minor Special Coupe in an article due to appear in the December 2023 edition of Morris Monthly.
AG 714? was a 1932 season Morris Eight Family Saloon first registered in Ayrshire in late 1931. The much older vehicle (1923) following on behind the Morris in this cavalcade carries a Fife registration, so it’s probably safe to assume that the parade was taking place in a Scottish town or village. The Stork atop the pole protruding through the Minor’s Pytchley roof would certainly require lowering should a tunnel be encountered en route.
PL 9079 is a 1931 Surrey registered Morris Minor Two-seater. What is interesting about this £100’er is the detail to be found on this simple family snapshot. The ‘Auster’ manufacturers badge can be clearly seen in the centre of the windscreen’s top rail, while the routing of the rubber flexible vacuum wiper hose is also evident. The positioning of the rear-view mirror on the windscreen upright has also been a point of discussion in the past but this image re-affirms its correct positioning. A siting of the Minor’s hood bag is also a rare occurence and reveals the use of flimsy ‘economy’ material. One change the owner has made is to site the spare wheel on the car’s tail as opposed to keeping it in the boot, thus freeing up some on-board stowage space.
This well looked after 1932 Morris Minor Tourer (VU 8725) was recently sold by a trader in South Norfolk, U.K. It was first registered in Manchester on 12th January 1932 before spending over 30 years of its post-war life in the Netherlands in the ownership of Eric Groot. Eric sold the car in 2016 when it returned to England. The pre-war photo is held in the car’s history file. (The car has featured here previously – see IOTW no.577.)
It is not difficult to find Morris car interest on British 1930s postcards, This mid-thirties item features two such vehicles, one of which is a 1932 Morris Minor Saloon, the second being a 1933 Morris Oxford Six Special Coupe. They are both pictured on a quayside road in the South Devon town of Kingsbridge, along with a Triumph Super Seven and an unidentified and partially obscured saloon.
Yet another eBay sourced snapshot, this time of an unidentified 1934 season Morris Minor Four-door Family Saloon. The photo was probably taken in the pre-war period, the car being in excellent condition. The matriarchal figure certainly looks imposing with her fox stole and pinned hat, much like the Gran of Giles cartoon fame.
While Lord Nuffield (William Morris) was an acclaimed philanthropist, working conditions in his factories for his tens of thousands of employees were basic and in some instances dangerous when set against those that prevail today. Here, in the paint shop at Cowley, a 1931 S.V. Minor chassis is spray painted by hand on a rotary jig with minimal protection for the painter. particularly for his lungs and eyes. There is a certain irony in that his charitable foundation funded and provided many hospitals with their first iron lung machines. N.B. Note the Keystone caption error. (Drag the blue arrow to see the full extent of each image)
Now this is an interesting snapshot. A quick glance reveals the Minor to be a 1932 sliding-head saloon with its distinctive constrasting colour inset in the door panel. A second look rapidly puts paid to that theory, as an OHC Minor radiator adorns the chassis as do Lucas 1120 side lamps along with 29-31 Minor wheels. The car’s Surrey registration (PG 7483) reveals the truth as it was issued in the spring of 1930. So at some point in the pre-war period its body was changed. The all important body joint on the scuttle is obscured by the two females, so what bonnet was fitted and was the fuel tank still scuttle mounted?
It’s unusual to see a Morris Minor 5 cwt van appearing in this spot, perhaps just a dozen or so over the almost 14 years that the IOTW feature has been running. This one can’t be positively identified as most of its number plate is obscured but the spacing of the two leading downsrokes could perhaps indicate that the letters in question are LJ. That was a period Bournemouth prefix which would ‘fit’ with the location of this partially coloured postcard image of The Solarium at Branksome Chine, Dorset.
A bleak winter snow scene captured on Silpho Moor, near Scarborough in January 1940. The unidentified 1932 Morris Minor Family Eight (?? 3529) is wearing a partially open radiator muff and also sports a blackout mask on its offside headlamp. The caption on the rear of the image reads “Mr. A. Pooks car on Silpho Moors near Scarborough. January 1940”. (Apologies for the poor image quality)
While this genre of holiday snap wasn’t just limited to Blackpool in the early post war years, there are significantly more captioned with this Lancastrian holiday resort as the venue than any other, although Welsh holiday resorts also appear regularly. This is the fourth such image to be displayed here that features a Morris Minor as the prop. (it may even be the same one) This one we know to be a 29-31 scuttle tank Tourer thanks to its ‘suicide’ doors, the ’32 onward models being hung from the front. The caption is helpful in that it simply states “Blackpool 1947”, while in another hand is written Radium Sudios 7-95.
Following on from IOTW no.692 is yet another John McDonald sourced image from New Zealand. This colour photograph was taken in the early sixties in Christchurch, the South Island’s largest city, with three imported British cars parked at the kerbside. The Morris Minor is a 1932 Two-door Saloon (680.469) model looking in reasonable condition for its thirty years as does the later Eight.
Ashburton is located in the Canterbury district of New Zealand’s South Island which is where this John McDonald sourced photograph was taken in 1959. Much like the UK at that time, many pre-war vehicles had survived and continued in service, as did this converted 1932 Morris Minor saloon, now operating as a ‘Ute’. The Bank of New Zealand building provides a regal contrast to the two run-down vehicles parked up outside its pillared facade.
Another period postcard, this one from the late thirties. An unidentified 1931 OHC version of the Morris 5-cwt van can be seen parked-up at the kerbside of Lytham St. Annes, Clifton Square. The van was one of just 871 OHC 5-cwt vans produced that year although by the end of 1934 a total of 9847 vans had been produced making the variant the second highest selling version of the model behind the swb saloons. The reverse of the postcard provides this additional information: “Lytham Corpn Terminus in later days (After Abandonment of East Beach Line. note old terminus turning off to the right. This was Terminus for Blackpool cars when East Beach was still running”
Colmore Depot were a Birmingham based Morris and Wolseley main dealer throughout the thirties decade. (they also had locations elsewhere) Here is a view of one of their Birmingham showrooms displaying both new and used models alongside one another. The photo was taken during the 1934 season as the new car prices are from that model year. On the right is a 1934 Morris Minor Sliding-head Saloon, its price ticket showing £130, while further along the line is a new Wolseley Nine listed at £179. The ‘used’ 1933 season Minor Special Coupe with its Birmingham registration of OJ 9650 has an asking price of just £118, quite a discount from its new price a year earlier of £165. There are at least three forum members with Minors carrying OJ prefixes, all of which are likely to have originally been sold through a Colmore Depot dealership.
This press photo was taken alongside the A127, Southend Road near Gallows Corner, Romford on Sunday 7th July 1935 and shows the traffic streaming out of London towards that famous resort. Note also the numerous cyclists who have taken to the road that day. Of interest is the Wolseley Hornet Special (TG 6173) which was first registered in Glamorgan in 1933. The E.W. Hornet is fully laden with four occupants, all of whom look as if they are anticipating a good day out at the Essex resort. Although only two years old at the time, the car’s nearside front tyre is already bereft of any tread.
This Morris Family Eight (HY 4647) was first registered in Bristol in the late spring of 1932 and was photographed for this postcard image parked up in the Somerset village of North Curry, six miles east of Taunton. The village overlooks the Somerset Levels, a place with which many more Minorists will be familiar by this time next year.
This internet-sourced image of Morris Minor Saloon (TF 6995) is of a very early January 1932 Lancashire registered car. It’s seen here somewhere in Spain, heavily laden and driven by a Michael Tippet. This is all that is known of the backstory to this fascinating photograph. Since this initial caption was written Joe Rayner has carried out some internet research and uncovered the following: “…
There is a possibility that some will remember this photo as one of the first ten in this series. Its reprise is just a small commemoration of the life of Kathleen Stone who recently died. Kath, as she was universally known is the right-hand figure in this trio taken in 1939 when she was just ten years old. The photo was taken on Hayling Island on England’s south coast in August of that year, less than a month away from the start of the Second World War. The 1929 Morris Minor Fabric Saloon (MM 8069) is loaded to the gunwales with luggage and camping equipment and is a testament to its sturdiness. (RIP Kath Stone 1929-2023)
JY 2651 is a 1935 Plymouth registration which can be seen here adorning the front of a 1934 season Morris Minor Saloon. The car is parked up in the small Devonshire town of Ashburton just 24 miles from its place of first registration. The town centre looks to be busy on what is probably a late thirties summer Saturday morning with plenty of people around, including children of school age.
This eBay-sourced snapshot initially gave little away. The OHC Morris Minor Coachbuilt Saloon seen passing behind the two elegantly dressed ladies could not be identified as its registration plate was out of shot. The canopies shading the shop windows provided a clue to help identify the location. The two left-hand canopies simply read Florist and Fruiterer respectively, while on the third and fourth canopies the words Gilbert & Hall Chemist can just be discerned. A little internet searching revealed that Gilbert & Hall were a Bournemouth-based chemist during the thirties, the location and the ladies’ attire, therefore, being unsurprising and congruous.
TV 7166 started life as a Nottingham City Borough Council registered 1932 season Morris Minor Family Eight. It survived the war and the introduction of the first MOT (Ten-Year) Test in the early sixties to be purchased in Norwich by a young Neil Piper who contacted the Network earlier this month asking if his car had survived. Thankfully, it has, although not as a saloon. The car was largely intact as a lwb saloon in April 2016 when it was advertised on carandclassic (still located in Norwich) for £2000. It disappeared from view for a few years before re-emerging in August 2021 as a Minor special project just prior to being purchased by Network forumist Carolynne Campbell. The car is now undergoing a full rebuild as a lwb special and hopefully will emerge soon to begin a new lease of life in Carolynne’s hands.
Pendower is a small coastal village in Cornwall boasting a magnificent beach. This postcard image of WL 8201 a late 1929 Morris Minor Coachbuilt Saloon (minus its spare wheel) was taken prior to May 1934, the date of its postmark. The car was some considerable distance from its place of first registration and manufacture which of course was the City of Oxford.
This Morris Motors press photograph of their 1932 season Morris Minor Sliding-head Saloon is just one of a sequence of images taken of the car in that photo session. Of the six years that the Minor was in production the 1932 models have long been regarded by many as possessing the most pleasing lines, accentuated by the fluted radiator surround. Unlike the clinical environments in which today’s automobiles are produced the oil-stained floor upon which the Minor is standing would appear to indicate that in the thirties drips of oil were of little concern.
HD 4541 was a 1932 (’33 season) Dewsbury (West Yorkshire) registered Morris Minor Saloon photographed almost 100 miles south of its place of first registration in Tamworth, Staffs. To the right of the photograph can be seen a Taylor’s the Chemist shop, part of a national chain that was purchased by the Timothy White’s concern in 1935 becoming Timothy White’s & Taylor’s (The chain was eventually absorbed by Boots the Chemist in 1968). This fact enables the image to be dated far more accurately than is usually the case with postcards, as HD 4541 was a very late 1932 registration, so this was taken sometime in the intervening period prior to the Timothy White takeover.
According to the caption on the reverse of this photo, it was taken at Hopeman in Morayshire on the 11th of August 1952. The car is a 1934 Morris Minor Two-seater (MU 8953 or 59) first registered by the main London Morris Motors dealer, Stewart & Ardern. Already eighteen years old, the car was a long way from London’s environs and may have made the long trek north as transport for a holidaymaking couple from the ‘smoke’. It was after all the peak holiday period.
The vast majority of car owners today would not consider the passenger seat of a small saloon car as a suitable posing position for a family photograph. Nowadays it would have to be something fairly exotic to tempt the sitter to pose as this woman is. While car ownership in the West during the third decade of the twenty-first century is regarded as a right of passage, back in the recession hit U.K. of the 1930s it was a new experience for many working-class families and certainly worthy of a snapshot for the family album. This unidentified 1932 Morris Minor Sliding-head Saloon photo was sourced via the Internet.
Lyme Regis is regarded as the jewel at the centre of the Jurassic Coast and in the 21st century attracts visitors from around the globe, thanks to its U.N. World Heritage Site status. This postcard was taken post-1933 (although not posted until 1950) as a Morris Cowley of that vintage can be seen parked second from the left while a 1930 Morris Minor Coachbuilt Saloon carrying a Dorset registration (TK 5024) is just a short distance away. On the opposite side of this car park (which continues in use to this day) is another Minor, a Sliding-head model from 1932 or ’33. Unfortunately, its registration plate is partly obscured.
Finding suitable images for this spot from internet auction sites can be very frustrating as well as rewarding. The frustration comes when someone outbids you for a particularly interesting item, while a poorly described gem means that it is possible to pick up extremely good images for next to nothing. What you see above is certainly not a gem but is an interesting photo of an early 1933 Oxford City Borough Council £105 Morris Minor Two-seater (JO 6231). It has been fitted with the later 1934 radiator surround at some point, along with a pair of sidelights and what look to be oversized headlamps. It’s not clear when this photo was taken – it could be either pre or post war, while the caption on its reverse simply reads “Graham’s first car”.
Here we have an excellent photographic postcard image of East Street, Bridport, Dorset which was taken in or around 1933, certainly not much later. The Morris Minor featured here is AKE 468, a 1933 model Sliding-head Saloon which appears to be the youngest of the cars on view. The town’s clock indicates that the time is almost 11:30 AM on a mid-summers day judging by the brevity of the shadows.
These internet sourced images of a 1931 Middlesex registered MG Midget (HX 3785) were both taken in the village of Raphoe, County Donegal in August 1931. The captions on the rear of the photos indicate that they were taken at the village’s rectory (the building survives), while the dog-collared village reverend stands alongside the car. The Midget is equiped for touring with a luggage rack attached to the boot lid and a GB plate, the car’s occupants presumably over from England for a holiday.
Finding images of pre-war Morris Minor specials is not an everyday occurrence. Two of these images have been resident in the Network’s archive for almost two years, while the third (top left) was discovered on eBay very recently. Coventry Motor Sundries built an indeterminate number of Minor Specials between late 1929 and early 1931. John Grindlay a Managing Director of the company in October 1966 wrote to the Morris Register historian (Harry Edwards) informing him that “about 200” Minor specials were built, although some cast doubt on this figure. These photos are all of the same vehicle LG 4988, a late 1930 Cheshire-registered CMS Morris Minor Super Sports. The top right and lower images are from the late Tim Harding’s collection, while the third (the eBay souced pic) was clearly taken at the same time. Although these images have been separated from one another for some time it’s appropriate that they get to be reunited via our IOTW feature.
JF 2437 is a December 1931 Leicester City Borough Council registered 1932 season Morris Minor Saloon. The left-hand image originates on a 35mm colour slide recently purchased on eBay. The photo looks to have been taken in the mid to late sixties and the car, although apparently in regular use, is in a very sorry state. The doors have dropped, the scruffy paintwork is edged in rust and a large dent is visible on the rear wing. The second image was taken in 2018 at the Wilton Country Fair near Salisbury and here the restored car is being exhibited by its owner. According to the DVLA, it last changed hands in 2015 while prior to that it was auctioned by Richards Edmunds in 2012. There are other images of the restored car dating back to 2009 which are held in the Network’s archive.
This recently acquired period factory photograph of a 1932 Morris Minor (sliding-head) Saloon illustrates the direction car design was taking in the early thirties. For Morris Motors that meant the removal of the roof overhang above the windscreen, which must have marginally improved aerodynamics, or using their terminology created an “eddyfree” frontage. The doors were also significantly larger than those seen on the 1931 season model, improving access and egress for the car’s occupants. The Pytchley sliding roof was similarly regarded as a big step forward when compared to its Kopalapso fabric forerunner as fitted to the 29-31 Coachbuilt Saloons, while the larger Dunlop Magna wheel centres were also an updated feature for the Minor. (Morris Motors negative no. 10126)
Depicted here is an OHC Morris Minor Saloon in a scrapyard setting, the photo being taken in the early postwar years, possibly as late as the mid-fifties. The Minor version looks to be that of an early nickel-plated radiator Fabric Saloon, the clue being the dull rad-surround. Its n/s rear wing could also have white blackout paint on its outer edge. Sadly, the number plate is almost totally obscured hampering accurate dating. Thank you to Halbe Tjepkema for submitting the photo which he unearthed on Facebook.
Seen here is what looks to be an almost new 1934 Morris Minor Saloon (JF 5851) sitting between its proud owners. The car was first registered in the spring of 1934 by the Leicester City Borough Council. The besuited male with his smart pin-collar shirt and the RAC membership badge attached to the radiator cap might indicate that he was a commercial traveller by trade. (Image ex the late Tim Harding collection)
VO 6655 is a late 1931 (1932 season) Nottinghamshire-registered Morris Minor Saloon. The snapshot tells us little other than that the Minor has been fitted with a front bumper, a non-standard item, while the driver is seen holding a biscuit in his left hand. There is no caption on the reverse to enlighten us as to why.
UG 8642 is a 1934 Morris Minor sliding-head saloon that was first registered in Leeds, Yorks. There are very few clues as to where or when this damaged image was taken, although it’s likely to have been in the pre-war years. For those of a certain age, familiar with UK television programs from the seventies, the character on the left of the photo bares some resemblance to Dick Emery’s son.
JJ 6245 is a 1933 London-registered Wolseley Hornet Saloon. This family snapshot was probably taken in the mid-thirties on a warm summer weekend afternoon somewhere in the home counties. With the household’s small dog in the foreground and the car’s male driver behind the camera lens, this is an archetypical British middle-class image of the period. They may well have lived in Metroland, their six-cylinder Hornet Saloon an appropriate status symbol.
David Tennant from Ottawa, Canada recently contacted the Network enquiring about the whereabouts of VG 3260 a Coachbuilt saloon he owned in the mid-fifties. We know that David’s old saloon body now sits on a Minor chassis in Devon while VG’s chassis is now adorned with a CMS Sports body. The photos below depict VG 3260 when in David’s ownership in the fifties (TL), as a Semi-Sports replica (TR), as purchased by Mike Houston (BL) and with it’s restored body, before it was separated from the chassis and sold. David writes:
I obtained the car in about April 1956 from my brother, a car mechanic, who had owned it for 18 months or so (before this he had a 1931 or 32 MG F Magna). He gave it a pretty extensive engine overhaul and I think I paid him about 50 or 60 pounds for the car (about the same as the oil pressure when cold!), he in the meantime had gone upmarket to a 1932 4-door ohc model!
I was a sergeant in the RAF at the time stationed at RAF Langtoft near Market Deeping in Lincolnshire and my first journey was from my home in Belton near Gt Yarmouth to camp, about 100 miles or so. Over the course of the next 6 months or so it made numerous trips back and to Langtoft with never a missed beat and always getting 30 plus mpg with 3 occupants. As well, as I was in charge of the transmitting and receiving radio stations at RAF Langtoft and these were physically well separated, I used it as my daily transport between locations rather than using an RAF issue bicycle! The photo you attached may still have the Bosch windscreen wiper motor which I installed on it. When I bought it was Blue with black mudguards and I repainted it with Valspar enamel and it looked, to my eyes anyway, pretty good. In about September or so 1956, I part exchanged it for a 1937 Morris 8 series 1 with a fellow sergeant Albert Watchman. I was demobbed in Nov 1956 so I don’t know its history after then. Bert Watchman was a long-term regular airman so he may well have moved on from RAF Langtoft although I think he was nearing the end of his service. His home town was West Hartlepool. My right calf muscle is a little larger than my left likely as a result of the braking pressure required. The only other problem I recall was, I think a common one, that the oil seal into the cam box was nowhere near 100% effective and the dynamo performance suffered somewhat through leakage. However, at that time it was a maintenance problem although a previous owner had obviously cut down the oil feed to the cams and it showed. I think I replaced a couple of tyres 4.00X19 ( a contemporary upmarket wheel diameter!) When I had it the folding roof mechanism was still present but inoperable. You will note the photo I attached has been cropped. Somewhere or other I have the original. On the left was a split-screen post-war Minor and on the right was my brother’s 4-door 1932 Minor. Collectively in this day and age worth a bit! BTW I am now 88 years of age.
Finding an image of a Morris Minor Semi-Sports is always cause for a small celebration. Just 744 were built in its one season of production (1931) although well over 500 of them were actually sold in the late summer and autumn of 1930. It was of course the launch of the £100 S.V. Minor Two-seater just prior to Christmas 1930 that was the cause of this rapid fall-off in orders for the £125 OHC car. RX 7482 is a late summer Berkshire registration, so an early example of the model. Little else can be gleaned from the photo other than to record that the six-light saloon standing alongside was a late twenties Liverpool registered car, while the building could be a single storey domestic residence, despite its corrugated steel roof.
J.S. Fry & Son were a Bristol based confectioner with a history dating back to the late 18th century. During a large portion of the 20th century they were among the top three chocolate manufacturers in the U.K. having been taken over by the Cadbury concern in 1919. Perhaps their best known product was Fry’s Turkish Delight, a top selling confection well into the 1970’s. By the early 1950’s Fry was was the largest employer in Bristol and their chocolate was sold across the globe. This photo was taken at their (then) ultra modern and partially completed factory in Somerdale during 1931 and shows a line-up of six company liveried and locally registered Morris 5 cwt vans. The Bristol factory was closed in 2010 when Cadbury was purchased by the American food giant, Kraft. (Image courtesy Jonathan Barwick)
Here are two of a trio of photographs of a 1928 City of Lincoln registered Morris Minor Fabric Saloon (VL 1379). It belonged to a wholesale firm of boot and leather traders known as Leslie E. Whattam Ltd who were located on the outskirts of the cathedral city. The third unpublished shot shows the front of the Minor along with what looks like a Cowley saloon with their noses protruding from a garage doorway. On the reverse of the image displaying the Minor in a seriously damaged state is a caption which reads: Accident occurred on September 27th 1929 at 9:50 on the Wragby Outer Circle road. The internet reveals very little about the firm but a very sad end (at least for the body) for what was one of the earliest Minors to leave Cowley.
BR 9151 is a late 1931 (32 season) Sunderland registered Morris Minor Saloon owned by a female driver as the handwritten caption on its reverse reveals. Occupying the rear seat is the owner’s pet dog, which according to the caption is only just big enough to accommodate the animal.
This photo of a gathering of cars outside an historic building was probably taken in 1931 or 1932, The registration plates of the vehicles involved indicate that the building may have been a hotel as cars have gathered from the home counties and as far west and northwest as Gloucestershire and Warwickshire. The 1930 Surrey registered MG Midget (PL 2595), has its owner sitting astride the bonnet, although why is not apparent. If anyone recognises the building please make contact via firstname.lastname@example.org
The photographer who took this snapshot has not made it easy to determine precisely which model of light car the subject is standing alongside. The man is positioned directly in front of the car’s rear end while his stance blocks the view of the offside back wheel where a glimpse of a hubcap may have provided an important clue. It has many of the hallmarks of a 1929 MG Midget, including the forward opening doors, the shape of the seat back and the curvature of the door top. The depth of the radiator surround and bonnet louvres again shout Midget while the lighting, windscreen glass and steering wheel are definitely not original to a factory M Type. However, the big giveaways are the side-valence louvres which are just about visible, confirming the car to be a MG Midget. Dating the photograph is also not straightforward, although the man’s attire indicates that is was probably taken in the forties or fifties.
The Silver Jubilee of King George V marking his 25 years on the throne was widely celebrated on 6th May 1935. The owner of this barely recognisable 1930 Gloucestershire registered Morris Minor Saloon (DF 9932) had adorned his car with flags and bunting, along with two huge coins featuring the king’s head as part of his village’s celebrations. The photo appeared on page 926 of the 24th May 1935 edition of The Autocar. (LAT photoscan courtesy Motorsport Images.)
This was a header photo to an article on parking which appeared in the 12th April 1935 edition of The Autocar (P627). The photo was taken at the Waterloo Place car park in London and is interesting on a number of counts, not least of which is the question of the photographer’s vantage point. However, there is one significant element of Morris Minor interest sitting immediately below the ‘I’ of the word ‘parking’. Here is seen a lwb Minor special in the shape of a Cunard Calshot. It’s not known how many Calshots were built, but there are just three known survivors. Could this be a photo of one of those? How many other Minors are in shot? (LAT photoscan – Courtesy of Motorsport Images)
Here we have an unidentified 1932 Morris Minor Saloon with its extremities painted white in order to comply with wartime blackout regulations. Alongside stands an RAF Sergeant Frank and his sister, Eva. It’s probable that the RAF NCO was home on leave, very precious moments in a time of conflict. The photo appears here courtesy of member Paul Brigden, who writes: “The pic was taken in Dawlish and its pretty obvious ‘when’ with the hand painted blackout white stripes. Cousin Frank was demobbed from the RAF post war and started a garage business offering petrol, car sales and repairs which he ran until his retirement, while Eva had a sweet shop.”
Following on from IOTW no.652 taken in Mablethorpe, we have another Lincolnshire seaside town postcard shot, on this occasion taken 17 miles further south in Skegness. The photographer occupies a lofty position looking down over a junction where a police constable directs the traffic. Approaching the junction is a 1932 Morris Minor Sliding-head Saloon (VV 1523), a Northamptonshire registered vehicle.
Both of these images were discovered by Jonathan Barwick on a postcard site here. Coincidently, in each shot a 1932 Morris Minor Saloon is seen parked up outside of a pub. The left-hand shot shows a late 1931 Breconshire registered car (EU 4699) in the village of Llanfihangel-Nant-Melan, Powys, parked adjacent to the Red Lion, an establishment that survives to this day. Unfortunately, the number plate of the Minor in the right hand photo is illegible, although it’s known that the inn was named The Talbot Hotel, located in New Radnor. The Red Lion and the Talbot Hotel were just 3 miles apart, so could the same Minor be featuring in both photos?
It really is amazing just how many Morris Minors featured on 1930’s postcards. Some of them don’t just feature, they are the main focus of attention, as is RY 7890 a 1929 Tourer in this image. The car was first registered in the City of Leicester, while the photo was taken in the seaside resort of Mablethorpe, Lincs, just 80 miles distant from the city in question. The photograph was almost certainly taken during July or August, at 5-55 PM, if the clock on a building to the left is correct, the shadows appearing to bear this out. The Minor is fully laden with four adults on board, with seemingly little or no space to accomodate the child standing on the running board. Despite the time of year, the car still wears a louvred/slatted radiator blind normally fitted for the winter months and then removed each spring.
The Enfield & District Motor Club held one of their club trials in early November each year, naming it the ‘Guy Fawkes’ trial for an obvious reason. In pre-war years it was always a well attended event, both by spectators and participants alike. This retouched Autocar photograph was taken at the 1933 event and features a 1930 Morris Minor Semi-Sports (WM 5679) negotiating a sea of mud. The car was first registered in Southport, Lancs, which may indicate the national appeal of the event, the motoring magazines always giving it a mention. The driver’s name is unknown. (Photo courtesy of Motorsport Images)
Thanks to Andy Brown for forwarding this snapshot image of AXB 458, a 1933 Morris Minor Post Office Telephones Linesman’s 5 cwt van. The van was registered in London at the tail-end of 1933 and its body was probably built by Duple, the GPO contracting much of its specialist body construction work to this company at that time. Note the bulb horn on the scuttle and extendable ladder strapped to the vehicle’s roof.
This sketch of a 51 year old William Morris (as he was then known) by automotive artist Algernon Rowe was drawn in August 1928, the month in which the Morris Minor was officially launched. He went on to become a peer of the realm, eventually being honoured with the title Viscount Nuffield in 1938 for both his industrial achievements and his philanthropic funding of institutions and research facilities. He died, aged 85 in August 1963. (Photoscan courtesy of Motorsport Images)
Morris Register member Neil Truslove submitted this family photograph from the mid-thirties. The car is either a 1932 or 33 Morris Minor Saloon, the couple standing alongside hiding the model-year tell-tale signs. The image is so redolent of the period, in that the family car featured in so many snapshot images from the twenties right through to the sixties. In the 21st century ‘selfies’ seem to dominate and unless you own a Porsche or some other form of exotica, a car is rarely deliberately included in the shot.
This extract from a larger Autocar print shows a Morris Minor Arrow Two-seater Special lined-up alongside an M.G. Midget at the Eastbourne Concours Event in September 1930 (magazine edition dated 19-9-30). Both cars will have been relatively new at that time, the first production Midgets leaving Oxford in February 1929, with the first A.P. Compton bodied Arrow Minors appearing in the late autumn of that year. While no production statistics are known to have survived from the various concerns that inherited the Arrow name, the motoring magazine ‘small ads’ columns of the period clearly indicate that Morris Minor Arrow bodies were by far and away the most popular ‘special’ type to adorn the pre-war Morris Minor chassis. (Photo extract courtesy of Motorsport Images)
Hawkes Bay in New Zealand is best known for its wine and magnificent coastal scenery. Back at the end of July 1987 the local vintage car community were celebrating the return to competition of 80 year-old Bart O’Rouke. The Hawkes Bay Car Club arranged a special sprint event to mark their 40th anniversary and Bart ( a founder club member) got to drive the car in which he first competed back in the 1950’s. His 1931 Morris Minor Coachbuilt Saloon (M24532) had been sold to NZ Minor enthusiast Neville Wilson three years earlier, and he was very happy to permit Bart to be reunited with his old saloon for that special occasion.
Why does a Valentine’s postcard of a 1933 Morris Ten-Four (– 2007) feature this week? A good question, answered by stating that at the time of purchase on eBay it was believed to be that of a Morris Minor. Closer inspection revealed the tell-tale Lucas Altette horn centrally affixed to the wingbrace cross-member along with the car’s headlamps. The family likeness is apparent in the similarity of the Ten-Four’s front profile with that of the Minor. The photograph is also well worth seeing, providing an interesting period view of Winchester High Street, framed by the city’s West Gate.
Following on from IOTW no.643 here is another Birmingham postcard image, this one taken in Tyburn Road and forwarded to the Network once again by Mike Tebbett. (Thank you, Mike.) OC 3315 is a 1933 or ’34 season Morris long wheelbase Saloon. The car has certainly seen better days, the likelihood being that this photo was taken in the years immediately following WWII if the signage and clothing fashions are anything to go by. The city’s early tram network closed in 1953, so this image pre-dates that time. Parking that close to a roundabout on a busy main road would prompt a very speedy response from the constabulary, should anyone be foolish enough to do that today.
Thanks goes to Mike Tebbett for forwarding this postcard image of a 1931 Surrey registered Wolseley Hornet Saloon (PJ 441). The car looks to be the fabric bodied version as there is no evidence of the Kopalapso roof, which was a standard fitment on the Coachbuilt model. The postcard’s caption is missing, therefore the location is unknown. Could this be a Croydon suburb, the overhead trolleybus cables providing a small clue, along with the car’s Surrey registration plate? Thanks to Jonathan Barwick’s detective work, we now know that this photograph was taken on Coventry Road, Sheldon, Birmingham, which is where The Waggon & Horses pub is located. This link provides the lowdown: www.francisfrith.com/sheldon/sheldon-wa … 7_s1018503
Gordon England was a noted automotive personality throughout the Twenties and well on into the Thirties decades. His car designs owed much to his WWI aviation background. His use of lightweight timbers and body bracing cross members coming directly from that experience. His ‘England’ Specials, produced at Wembley, all had rubber mounted bodies to help isolate the occupants from bumps and other uneveness in the road surface. The two models seen here were available to purchase from late 1929 to the early spring of 1931, the two-seater providing the inspiration for the Gordon England designed 1931 Morris Minor Semi-Sports model.
Another postcard image, this one featuring the town of Maldon in Essex. The photo was taken on Monday 5th June 1933, at the town’s Whitsun parade. The brass band is being followed by an open 1933 Morris Minor and a Rover saloon, the cars possibly advertising the services of the Maldon Garage in Station Road, Morris agents for the town.
This Morris Motors image of the engine used in their newly launched Morris Minor, graced page 444 of the 14th August 1928 edition of The Autocar. The same photo was used in the 1929 and 1930 editions of The Morris Minor Operation Manual for the model despite the production engines possessing slightly visually different features. (Autocar photoscan courtesy of Motorsport Images)
This eBay sourced image is difficult to date precisely. HN 7026 is a very late 1929 Darlington registered Morris Minor Fabric Saloon. The be-suited young man may be a commercial traveller, the Minor being his company vehicle. The car looks to be in good condition and could still be wearing its original three-stud Dunlop tyres.
What could be more mundane than a picture of a factory and one of its car parks? This Excel Series postcard image however will be of interest to those who hold the Morris marque in esteem along with the cars that left these works in Cowley, Oxon. Could the car park be for the shop floor workers at the factory or for those in management roles? From what can be seen, none of the cars are post 1932 models and plenty of them appear to be Minors, with no non-Morris models evident. If they were shop floor worker’s vehicles, then Morris Motors were well paying their staff, as the recession was biting particularly hard at this time.
UP 4425 is a 1930 Durham registered Morris Minor Fabric Saloon. It has been photographed here in mountainous terrain, perhaps in the English Lake District, or as seems more likely, the Scottish Highlands; the tartan kilt worn by the seated female providing the clue. Progress through the mountains must have been slow if any distance was travelled along that mountain track. (The photograph forms part of the late Tim Harding‘s collection)
The Austin Seven will always be associated with the term ‘Baby car’ and for good reason. Its open four-seat version was dubbed ‘Chummy’, another reference to the model’s diminutive stature. The 14th October 1927 edition of The Autocar went one step further and attempted (by cut and pasting photographs) to make it appear even smaller. (LAT photoscan courtesy of Motorsport Images)
This is an official Jensen Motors image of a 1932 season Jensen Minor Special. It’s know that it is a Jensen model as the rear bumper bar is clearly marked thus. It’s also know that RC 300 the McEvoy Minor Minor prototype sits upon chassis no. 7012 which was the 58th 1932 season rolling chassis (as opposed to a complete vehicle) to leave Cowley on 20th October 1931. The Jensen brothers were renown for their body designs and were commissioned by their friend Michael McEvoy to design and produce such a body for his tuned Morris Minor engine. Could one of the 57 earlier chassis to leave Cowley have arrived in West Bromwich prior to 7012? Which raises the possibility that the Jensen Brothers first iteration of their design was ‘badged’ as a Jensen, and that this was the resulting photograph?
Two postcard shots of OHC Minor Saloons feature this week which co-incidently were both taken in Kentish towns. The top image was taken in Maidstone town centre with an Essex registered 1930 Morris Minor Coachbuilt Saloon (VX 7593) holding the photographer’s attention. The lower, (badly) hand coloured photo looks to have been taken later in the thirties decade in Hythe, on Kent’s south coast. Here a 1931 Morris Minor Fabric Saloon (KJ 1658) has been poorly parked at the kerbside outside an Estate Agents. Neither registration is currently recorded on the DVLA’s database
This eBay sourced image depicts what may simply be a mother and son who have exchanged hats, or perhaps a music hall act posing by the roadside, both carrying a set of golf clubs? It’s of interest to us as the car behind them may or may not be a 1934 Morris Minor Four-door Saloon, or possibly a 10/4. What does our forum panel think?
This 1930 Southampton registered OHC Morris Minor special (TR 9693) was a surprising find among a batch of Motor 35 mm negatives, particularly as they were dated February 1939 and taken at the Chiltern Car Club’s annual trial. A little research in the archive revealed that the car was owned by H.S. Pearson and used competitively by him from 1937 onwards. Other images of this car (which has a squared-off tail) appeared in in a 1938 edition of Light Car while a third can be found among the Bill Brunell collection held at Beaulieu. (Photo courtesy of Motorsport Images)
Here we have two internet sourced images of 1933 Morris Minor Two-seater XJ 6716, a February 1933 Manchester registered car. The photos look like they were taken either just prior to, or just after WWII if the condition of the vehicle is anything to go by. The Two-seater has been fitted with a luggage rack along with a spotlight and bumpers, the latter two of being favoured add-ons by owners.
Two period postcards, both with unidentified Minors provide the subject matter for this week’s IOTW. The first of these sees a 1931 scuttle tank SV Minor Coachbuilt Saloon parked-up in the market square of Stourminster Newton, a small Dorset village, nestling in the Blackmore Vale. The location for the second postcard image is Dunfermline in Fife, several hundred miles further north from Dorset. Here a 1933 long wheelbase Morris Family Eight Saloon sits below the town’s Abbey walls. (N.B. Dunfermline has very recently been granted city status)
John McDonald has been a rich source of Minor images for this slot, all of which have originated in New Zealand. John believes that this image dates from around 1935 and was taken in Kauwhata and was found in the BNZ archive. It features a 1932 Morris Minor Family Eight (X19.738) but arguably the most interesting element in the photograph is the versatility of the wooden building, alongside of which the car is parked. It appears to serve at least four purposes. Clearly a branch of an NZ bank, it also dispenses petrol, serves as a hairdressing salon and houses the office of a local solicitor!
Yet another New Zealand Minor photograph, unearthed (as on many previous occassions) by John McDonald. The image captures the opening of a new facility for the Maungaturoto Dairy Company, Northland, N.Z. on 23rd November 1934. The parked 1932 Morris Minor Saloon is dwarfed by the large American built Fords, Buicks and Dodges, the models from Detroit and Dearborn massively outselling the British imports in New Zealand at that time. (Note the even smaller Austin Seven) The image can be found in The Auckland Memorial Museum.
TM 4531 is a 1929 Bedfordshire registered Morris Minor Fabric Saloon. The image is uncaptioned but it’s apparent that the photograph was taken during wartime as the car’s headlamps are shrouded in accordance with the law, while the wing edges have also been painted white. The Minor is showing its age with the lower section of the door having been subjected to a poor fabric repair. Is the tall young man a student or perhaps someone in a reserved occupation? As always, many unanswered questions! (Photo ex Tim Harding collection)
This is another great photo from the late Tim Harding’s collection. Here Morris Minor Coachbuilt Saloon (TK 4394), a Dorset registration) provides the centrepiece for a family album snapshop captioned “Bere Regis 12th April 1931”. Perhaps the occasion was a christening for the child perched upon the bonnet? At that time the Minor would have been just under a year old. Today, Bere Regis is a small rural community of under 2000 inhabitants with just a solitary shop according to Wikipedia.
MM 7873 is a 1929 Middlesex registered Morris Minor Fabric Saloon which was owned in the thirties by a family of optimists/masochists. It’s clear that they were determined to enjoy the picnic they had prepared despite the prevailing weather conditions of rain and what looks like a heavy sea mist or fog. Overcoats, umbrellas and deck chairs; it could only happen in Britain. This image was from a collection assembled by the late Tim Harding.
Like the south coast concourse events, caravan rallies were another Thirties speciality. Here a rarely photographed 1931 Wolseley Hornet Coupe, carrying an Edinburgh registration (FS 494) is seen with its proud Scottish owner alongside, who, it is likely will have travelled the over 420 miles to Minehead, where this Autocar sponsored event was taking place. (LATplate B8983 – Courtesy of Motorsport Images)
This uncaptioned image is one of two of this car from the late Tim Harding’s collection of historic automotive photos. WO 611? is a 1932 Monmouthshire registered Morris Minor Two-seater and that really is about all we can gleen from the photo. The second image, which is in very poor condition, shows the car in profile passing a railway arch with even less detail apparent. What we can determine from this photo and the smile on the owners face, is that he was enjoying his time behind the wheel of his Minor!
The list of Morris Minors known to have appeared competitively at Brooklands is not a very long one. However, this photo does provide proof that 1932 Morris Minor Sliding-head Saloon (PJ 8425) can safely be added to that number as it is seen hear climbing the famous Brooklands Test Hill. While the event is described as the JCC First Meeting, the name of the driver remains unknown. (LATplate B9562 – courtesy of Motorsport Images)
Lancefield was a respected firm of coachbuilders located in a hotspot for that industry among the west London boroughs. Their usual clients were those with large cars and deep pockets but they did occasionally turn their hand and their design skills to building bodies for lighter models. Here are two examples of their Parallite body for the Wolseley Hornet. The 1933 saloon version can be seen in the top image, while their earlier 1932 two-seater FHC can be found below. At the time these designs were deemed to be fururistic by some, while the passage of time has confirmed that in reality they were always ugly. (Lower image from the LAT collection Motor Plate 777-23 – courtesy of Motorsport Images)
These post-war images of 1933 Blackpool registered Morris Minor Two-seater (FV 3304) were kindly submitted by Stuart Clarke. The photos, which were probably taken in the late fifties or early sixties, show a car that has been on the receiving end of some notable modifications, including the repositioning of its driving lights, the addition of sidelights and a wing support bar, Hartford shock absorbers and strangely, black paint to the lower portion of the windscreen. The bespectacled young man and his hat-wearing border collie appears to affirm the Minor’s role as a student hack.
Saloons and glamour are not words that you often see adjacent to one other and the long-wheelbase Minors typified that adage. They were rarely mentioned in dispatches or seen participating in pre-war sporting events, spending most of their time performing the mundane tasks for which they were originally designed. That is not to say that their owners didn’t appreciate them for what they were. Here a proud custodian stands alongside his pride and joy, an unidentified 1932 Morris Family Eight. The four word caption on the reverse of the photo reveals all : “The new little car!”
This post-war image of an Antipodean bodied Morris Minor was submitted by regular contributor, John McDonald from Christchurch, New Zealand. It’s believed to be a 1933 season Minor chassis, upon which sits a body that possesses some of the attributes of the later Morris Eight tourer, such as the sloping back and ‘suicide’ cut-away doors. These styling cues may indicate that the body and chassis were not united until later in the thirties dcade.
Wartime snapshot images such as this example can be potent and bring home the hardship of that period far more forcefully than the written word. Here the ‘blackout’ headlamp covers on 1934 Carlisle registered Morris Minor Saloon (HH 7204) help pinpoint the period while the stance and general weariness displayed on the face of the woman standing alongside contrasts starkley with that of the two children.
Over 20,000 Morris Minor Saloons left Cowley between the autumn of 1928 and the late summer of 1930. Of these, the greater number were to be the Fabric Saloon model, the only available version for 1929 and a cheaper option to the Coachbuilt Saloon, which was introduced for 1930. It should therefore come as no surprise that the majority of period snapshots of these OHC saloons, found on eBay and elsewhere, feature the Fabric Saloon. This photo is just another such example, this one being an unidentified 1930 model year car (?? 3259), while the image was almost certainly taken during the run-up to the commencement of The Second World War.
The car seen here is a spring 1929, London registered Morris Minor Fabric Saloon. (GU 4622). There is little to commend about this photo apart from the moment selected by the photographer to operate the camera’s shutter. The image as taken was badly skewed, decapitating the proud owner standing alongside, while even the pooch’s face is in shadow. The car looks to be in reasonable ‘as built’ condition, although dirty. Its Dunlop triple stud tyres are well treaded, something very rarely seen in these pre-war snapshots.
1934 Morris 5 cwt van AEL 98
This image was among the late Mick Worthington-Williams photographic collection, part of which is currently being sold on eBay. The reverse of this relatively modern photograph is captioned “LOT 58 Ixion – 1931 Morris Minor 5CWT Van – D80” That caption is incorrect as the Bournemouth Borough Council registration dates from May 1934 and the vehicle is clearly a 1934 model with its larger body and ‘eddy free’ roof line. A check on the DVLA database revealed nothing at all, which may indicate that the vehicle has been scrapped, sold abroad or may even be languishing in a lock-up somewhere. A delve into the Harry Edward archive provides an ideal caption (to be seen below the photo) and confirms that even Sotheby’s can make mistakes, while Harry misspelt Donington!
Pickering, North Yorks Mid-Fifties. This drab winter postcard scene depicts a 1931 SV Morris Minor Coachbuilt Saloon (MU 2938) parked-up in a Pickering side street. The tired looking Minor has a later pattern spare-wheel attached, along with a non-original paint scheme. Its MU registration indicates that it was almost certainly originally supplied by London based, Morris main dealer Stewart & Ardern, while the two Austin A35s help date the shot.
OU 922 is a 1929 Hampshire registered Morris Minor Fabric Saloon, the vehicle perhaps being supplied by Wadham Bros of Southampton, the Morris main dealer for the area. Although the Minor features in this image, the family members are the main focus of attention. If the car belongs to the parents of the four children, then family trips would have been extremely cosy and probably very noisy.
Registered in London in December 1931 this 1932 season Morris Minor Sliding-head Saloon (GW 5945) was nowhere near the metropolis when this photograph was taken. One almost bald tyre might indicate that the photo was taken some time after the car’s manufacture and while the tax disc would tell us a lot more precisely than guesswork, the all important date is not legible. The photograph was probably taken at waist level on a bellows box camera using either 120 or 620 film.
UT 6205 is a late 1929 (1930 season) Leicestershire registered Morris Minor Fabric Saloon. An interesting photo in that it’s not immediately clear under what circumstances this image was taken. The car’and its occupants look to be parked outside the entrance of a grand house. Is the male driver a manservant of some kind and is the female his wife, or a ‘lady of the house’? All becomes a little clearer when the bottom of a sign is spotted, presumably hanging from the facade of the building, the likelihood being that this is a hotel and that the car’s occupants are just about to leave, although the presence of a dog muddies the waters a little. (Image ex Tim Harding collection.)
The registration appearing on this Morris Minor Fabric Saloon is UY 4986, first issued in Worcestershire in early 1929. The photo is absolutely typical of the period and reflects the growing spread and social status of car ownership at that time. Ten years previously it would have been very unusual to find car owners among the artisans of the early twenties. As for the car itself, the only non-standard feature noted is the mud remover/shoe cleaner mounted upon the running board.
It is surprising just how many Minor special photos surface. This snapshot of a 1930 two-seater model from Maltby of Folkestone could at first glance be mistaken for a 1932 onward Morris factory offering. A second glance reveals the rear hinged doors, front bumper, sidelights, lower set headlamps and early type wheels associated with the 29-31 OHC model chassis. As is always the case with coachbuilt Minor specials, the numbers constructed are unknown. However, this lad is unlikely to forget in a hurry his short stint sitting at the wheel of the family Morris Minor.
The London registration of this 1930 season Morris Minor Fabric Saloon is UW 2719 which was issued in the early autumn of 1929. The caption on the rear of the photo reveals that it was taken in Stamford Hill, North London in 1930 while the affected pose adopted by the young man would suggest that he takes his driving very seriously indeed. His neatly brushed hair, driving gloves and tweed suit with plus-fours would indicate that he was a dedicated follower of fashion and quite the young buck, or at least that is what he would like us to believe!
GC 4057 is a London registered, spring 1930 Morris Minor Fabric Saloon. These 1930 season cars had lost the Morris script from the radiator honeycombe and differed from the very early cars in adopting the 1929 in-season changes, such as the smooth bonnet, ala the recently launched Coachbuilt Saloon, (no stipple effect or parallel bottoms), larger rear windows, a chromed radiator (replacing the nickel type), a new SU OM carburettor (replacing the unsatisfactory bottom float version) along with many other under-the-skin detail changes. This period snapshot is uncaptioned, while the dog (breed unknown) looks as well cared for as the owner’s Minor.
This grainy snapshot image is of a June 1932 London registered Morris Minor Two-seater. (GY 5036) Obviously a posed shot, presumably taken by the partner of the woman at the wheel, was clearly not shot in the area in which the car was registered and shows it parked-up in a sunken road somewhere in the suburbs or countryside. Like almost every period image of pre-war ‘open’ Minors, the lowered hood is not tidily packed away in the hood bag provided by the manufacturers but left with its edges exposed to flap around in its wake.
PJ 1691 is an autumn 1931 Surrey registration, thus making this an early 1932 season Morris Minor Two-seater. We also know from the handwritten caption on the reverse that the photo was taken in December 1933 confirming that the car was just over two years old at that time. It also looks very well cared for, with almost new tyres and gleaming paintwork. A further caption also reveals via a cryptic two words that the name of the very well dressed women is likely to be “Anxious Annie”. (Ex Tim Harding Collection image)
At first glance this just looks to be a run-of-the-mill snapshot of what could be a 1932 Family Eight. A closer look reveals that it isn’t. Athough this car is fitted with sidelights it doesn’t have an OHC engine under its bonnet, while the give-away is that other than a development model, the long wheelbase Minor was never fitted with a short ‘fluted’ radiator as installed on the 1932 season short wheelbase models. The last clue is that BNO 475 is a June 1934 Essex registration making it a final season Minor Four-door Saloon with of course the upright headlamps as seen on all SV models. (From the Tim Harding Collection)
This Morris Minor (M26128, UR 7238) has had at least three incarnations over the course of its 91 year life span. It left Cowley on 16th June 1930 as a Tourer and was registered in Hertfordshire just a week or so later. At some point later in its history, although definitely before 1970, it acquired another open four-seat body that looks to have been professionally constructed. In recent times (in the past five years) it has changed hands and the new owner has removed the non-standard body and an original shaped tub has been re-instated. Interestingly, the colour chosen is not one that was originally applied to these bodies by the factory.
VU 8466 is a late 1931 Manchester registration which originally adorned a 1932 season Morris Minor Saloon. Instead of a Baby Calormeter sitting on top of this car’s radiator, this owner has gone one better and used a real baby as its mascot! This charming shot, taken in the thirties or forties was among an auction ‘lot’ of photographs originally assembled by the late Tim Harding and recently acquired by this website.
The website has a small collection of these professionally taken holiday memento photographs. It’s apparent that one such photographer was active throughout the late thirties and forties in the seaside resort of Blackpool, during which period he used an OHC Morris Minor Tourer as a prop in his studio. Here, the caption tells us that Audrey and Arthur visited Blackpool in June 1946.
This image has appeared here previously as one of a quartet of photos in I(s)OTW no. 509. It is worth re-showing as this Morris Minor Tourer is a very early example with parallel bottom edges to the bonnet and rear hinged doors. The Cumberland registration (RM 6065) also confirms the car’s antiquity as being a late 1928 example. As to when this and the other three photos were taken is not clarified by their captions.
This 1930 Chester registered Wolseley Hornet Coachbuilt Saloon (FM 6224) is seen parked on a beach while two of the occupants dressed in semi-formal attire, ‘take the air’. This very middle class posed shot could have been taken on Southport sands or perhaps at Rhyl or Llandudno, all three locations being about an hour’s drive or so from the City of Chester itself, which was probably from whence the vehicle started out.
This well composed F. Frith & Co image of the market square in Farnham, Surrey was originally sold by their business as a mounted print and not as a postcard. The interest for Morris Minor enthusiasts centres around a 1931 scuttle tank S.V. Saloon (PL 9729), one of 2816 built between February and August 1931, almost twice as many as the famous £100 Two-seater model. Interestingly, the two banks seen here merged almost 40 years later to become National Westminster, or Natwest as they are known today.
Harold Connolly‘s automotive art which appeared throughout the thirties is widely acclaimed today. He has a particular association with the MG marque, his work appearing in many of their advertisements and car brochures during that period. This image however appeared in an October 1933 Morris Owner magazine as a ‘header’ to an article on British cars at that years motor show. Note how only the three Morris owned brands are legible, although there are nods to suppliers, Dunlop and Lucas.
A strange co-incidence.
Many of the photographs, primarily the snapshops that appear here, are purchased via eBay, as were the uppermost pair of this trio. These photos, of what could possibly have been either a homebuilt special MG M Type or a Morris Minor were successfully bid upon and an envelope containing them dropped through the letterbox on 8th September. On the 11th September the colour photo above was taken at the Pre-war Prescott event in Gloucestershire. During the captioning process for the colour image an archive check was carried out (using the vehicle’s registration) to establish if further information was held digitally. It was, as the two very recently acquired b&w photos appeared along with three others taken at the 2019 PWP event. It has to be said that 1932 MG Midget UF 8788 (now owned by Matt Harnden) looks far healthier in 2021 than it did in the late fifties or early sixties! (PS Restored by Garry Waiting c2005)
This unidentified 1932 season Morris Minor Two-seater was owned by British Army 2nd Lt. B. T. V. Cowey (Bernard Turing Vionnee) of the Welch Regiment and was taken according to its caption in 1931. While it’s not known what happened to the Minor, it is recorded that by 1945 Cowey had attained the rank of Temporary Lt. Colonel in his regiment, reverting to the rank of Major following the ceasing of hostilities.
Here are two more images of HX 5228, a 1931 season OHC Morris Minor Coachbuilt Saloon. We know from the captions on the reverse of these snapshots, that they are of “Jim’s first car”. Jim is the young man standing alongside his Minor. It seems likely that the smartly attired Jim was a commercial traveller and HX 5228 his company car?
These images of a 1934 Morris Minor 5 cwt van clearly show two of the most significant differences between this model and those preceding it. The first of these is the “Eddyfree” van roof, which no longer overhangs the windscreen, thus enabling the uninterupted flow of air across the top of the van body. The second change concerns the van’s lower rear quarter, where the right-angular shape of the earlier body type has been replaced by a subtle curve which apparently serves no useful purpose, the change seemingly having been made for purely cosmetic reasons. Beech-Nut chewing gum was an American brand available in the UK throughout the middle decades of the twentieth century.
This is one of five snapshot images featuring 1931 Morris Minor Coachbuilt Saloon (HX 5228), a registration set associated with West London. All five images are captioned and we learn that these photos are of “Jim’s first car”and were taken during the summer of 1931. The full caption on the rear of this image reads: “This snap is handy. Thought perhaps you would like it. If you have one, kindly return”. The other four photos feature various family members standing alongside, or in the case of Jim’s grandparents, seated inside the Minor. This caption rather cruely reads: “Off for their honeymoon – I don’t think”!
Period photographs of the 1931 season Morris Minor Semi-Sports do not surface often. This one came via Facebook and depicts RT 7279, a late 1930 East Suffolk registered vehicle. The car had seen far better days and had lost its original windscreen and front lighting equipment by the time this photo was taken, which was probably the late fifties or early sixties. If indeed the photo was taken in the sixties, it did not long survive the rigours of the newly introduced ‘MOT Ten Year Test’, as its registration is not recorded on the DVLA database.
GE 5860 is Glasgow registered 1929 Morris Minor Saloon. It was almost certainly constructed as a Coachbuilt model as this late thirties photograph show the variant’s Kopalapso roof in an open position. However, it’s clear that the roof has been (badly) re-canvassed at some point, while the A pillar mounted spotlight and bulb horn were not uncommon accessories.
OC 957 is a summer 1933 Birmingham registered Morris Minor Two-seater and a survivor. There is a strong possibility that this snapshot (one of three of the car) was taken in the late pre-war early post-war era. There are plenty of aftermarket fitments in evidence, including the front wing tie-bar, Hartford shock absorbers, side light and trafficators. The Morris Register is aware of the car which is currently on a SORN and was last taxed in 2013.
These two images were taken by Irish concert pianist Dorothy Stokes (1898-1982) and appear in one of her 25 photographic albums which are now held in the National Library of Ireland. They were discovered on Facebook and forwarded to the Network by Kartik Lunia and depict a 1932 Morris Minor (BZ 961). The photo looks to have been taken in the fifties. Does its Irish registration provide any further clues that might help date the images?
Very unusually, a latter-day photograph appears in the IOTW spot this week. 1934 Morris Minor Saloon (OU 3191) was once owned by member John Young and boasts a role in the 2004 film Ladies in Lavender in which acting royalty Dame(s) Judi Dench and Maggie Smith starred. Unfortunately, its original registration JO 7738 now adorns a white Audi and was replaced by 380 UXS. John managed to secure the much more appropriate Hants registration OU 3191 before selling the car on as it was simply too small for him. Back to the photo itself, which was found on Facebook and was forwarded to the PWMN without a caption or accreditation. This beautifully sharp image was taken on England’s south coast, but where precisely (Kent?) and who is now the owner of OU 3191?
GU 5663 – Now this is an interesting eBay find. This Morris Minor Fabric Saloon was first registered in London in the spring of 1929, despite it missing its ‘Morris’ radiator script, a standard fitment for the model. Thanks to the record keeping of Minor enthusiast Ken Martin we know that a D.J. McLennan took part in the MCC High Speed Trial in a Morris Minor on 14th September 1929. What Ken didn’t know was in which Minor variant McLennan took part. Fortunately, the photograph came with the caption; “Donald McLennan after winning Gold Medal”. As a result his name could be matched to Ken’s list and the gaps filled-in, including the car’s registration details. In addittion, we now know that McLennan wore a suit (with plus-fours) for the occasion and that his Minor carried competition number 15, a small but important detail when researching old Brooklands photographs.
WL 6523 is a spring 1929 Oxford built MG Midget, therefore an early production version built prior to the company’s move to Abingdon later that same year. While 1930 season Midgets (and beyond) had cable operated brakes the launch season cars had front brakes that were rod-actuated. To enable a straight run for the rods, the brake cross-shaft penetrated the louvred side valances, this being a key recognition indicator for 1929 models. This particular car also has painted Lucas 1130 side lights while some early Midgets, perhaps the majority, were fitted with plated examples. It’s difficult to ascertain when these images were taken although the poor condition of the car’s fabric skin might indicate that it’s quite some time after its manufacture.
Click the image to see it full size.
This photo appeared among the images in a recent eBay listing for HY 1833. The car is a comparatively rare Bristol registered 1931 OHC Morris Minor Tourer which has spent a large part of its life in the west country. Sadly, the car has been neglected in recent years and now requires a full restoration. The photo depicts a happy family holiday scene and looks to have been taken in the early seventies at what surely must be a recognisable seaside/port venue?
Although a somewhat underwhelming photo, it does tell a story. The photo is captioned ‘Dorset 1939’, which means that this unidentified 1934 Morris Minor Sliding-head Saloon was only five years old at the time the image was taken. It has obviously led a very hard life if the very shabby bodywork and flat rear springs are anything to go by. How many other Minors had been scrapped by the outbreak of World War Two?
This photo of an unidentified special was almost certainly taken in the fifties or early sixties. The huge headlights , bulb horn and neglected bodywork is indicative of the student specials to be seen on the roads prior to the introduction of the ‘Ten Year Test’ as the MOT test was known at that time. The 28 louvre, two catch bonnet would seem to point to a 1934 season car.
The founding fathers of the Dutch branch of the Morris Register gathered in April 1978 to pose for this photo. One of these gents is Eric Groot who owned the 1932 Morris Minor Tourer 43-TL-99, the car continuing in his ownership until the summer of 2018. Eric and his wife attended the 2008 VMR Rally based at Thorpe Abbotts, Suffolk U.K. and were among a strong Dutch contingent present.
This is almost certainly one of the very last Morris Minor publicity photographs. It was taken to promote the 1934 season Morris Minor Two-door sliding-head saloon. It’s seen here in Windsor Great Park sporting bumpers, a very smart optional extra.
Absolutely nothing is known about this internet sourced image. What can be determined from the clues provided by the photo is that the car is a 1932 or 33 Morris Minor Two-seater, while the shot was likely to have been taken in the late fifties or early sixties. That conclusion was reached by noting the car’s general run-down condition and the attire of the pipe smoking student. The sartorial indicators are the young man’s long scarf, his scruffy duffle coat and peaked ‘ratting’ hat, all of which were fashion ‘badges’ of the period. The car’s many non-standard features including Lucas 1130 side lights, easyclean wheels and non-Minor bumpers, further indications of a pre-MOT Test scrap yard candidate!
This photo was taken at Beaulieu in May 1967 according to the handwritten caption on its reverse. The car is an unidentified 1934 Morris Minor Two-seater wearing polished wheel discs, an aftermarket accessory that was available from motor factors such as James Grose, Brown Bros and Halfords among others throughout the thirties. The Network’s photo archive contains just one other similar photo of a Minor, the wheel discs in that instance appearing on a 1930 Gordon England Two-seater Minor special.
Here is an interesting eBay sourced snapshot of a 1934 Morris Minor Two-seater (AFY 46), which was a February or March 1934 Southport, Lancs registered car. The garments worn by the two young females would seem to indicate the the photo was taken in the late fifties or early sixties just prior to their departure on a summer holiday. A check in the Harry Edwards maintained hand written register records that this was Minor car number 34/MS/43819. Harry further recounts that his data was extracted from an “album photograph” and that AFY 46 was offered for sale in Classic Car Weekly in June 1999 for £5,500. Although not on a SORN, a DVLA check reveals that it was last taxed in 2007, which means that it is still likely to be out there somewhere.
FJ 7579 is regarded as one of just sixteen survivors of the 744 Morris Minor Semi-Sports models that were constructed during the 1931 model season. This photo of the car resides in the Harry Edwards Archive while a note in his register made in 1982 states that the vehicle is M32806 which at that point was in the custody of M. Chamberlayne of Lincs. The DVLA records that the car was last taxed in the spring of 1993. It’s clear from the photo that its body had been rebuilt at some point, although the photo quality is such that it can’t be determined if it has retained its stippled bonnet as originally supplied. There are no 21st century photographs of the car, so let’s hope that it’s still intact somewhere. (Note its lack of running-boards and outriggers)
TE 8277 was a 1929 Lancashire registration which adorned this Morris Minor Special. The image originates in the Harry Edwards Photographic Archive and is one of three photos of the car. Harry was a meticulous note taker, yet his register notes fail to mention this car at all. The special body bares some of the hallmarks of the 1933 military Minor scout/radio cars but could also well be that of a homebuilt. The greatcoat and military style hat of the man standing alongside TE 8277 might also indicate that he was a member of His Majesty’s armed forces, although that could be a Royal Mail cap badge!
Yet another internet sourced snapshot, this time of a 1933 Morris Minor Sliding-head Saloon. The registration prefix of ‘UG’ informs that it was first registered in the city of Leeds, while its caption indicates that the photo was taken in ‘The Cheviots’ on the Anglo-Scottish border. The shot was almost certainly taken in the years preceding World War II, perhaps while the family were on their summer holiday.
These two photos of WN 4621, a 1932 Swansea registered Morris Minor Two-seater were scanned from small negative images found on the internet (with apologies for the poor quality). It wasn’t until they were inverted to become positives that it was apparent that the photos had been taken in the late fifties or sixties. A check in the Harry Edwards archive revealed that the car was known to the Morris Register, his note referencing Network member, Ken Martin. Perhaps Ken can provide more detail?
It’s unusual to find an advertisement for the Morris Minor that is infrequently seen. This one is such an ‘ad’. The model featured is a 1929 season Fabric Saloon, the ‘ad’ appearing in The Light Car & Cyclecar on 9th August 1929. The copy extolls the virtues of the car’s long range touring capabilities, citing a recent 1200 mile Morris Motors sponsored trip to the French Riviera and back. This expedition had warranted a full blown article (written by ‘Mileator) which appeared in the March 1929 edition of the Morris Owner magazine.
MG 704 – A McEvoy Midget
There are just two known surviving images of J.A. Berry‘s 1930 McEvoy bodied Midget (MG 704) both of which appear here. Berry successfully competed in his factory bodied Midget throughout 1930 and 1931 before exchanging the body for a McEvoy example built by the Jensen Brothers in West Bromwich in the spring of 1932. The similarities between the McEvoy Minor and Midget bodies are clear to see in the images to be seen above. (The lower two items appear here courtesy of Motorsport Images)
This postcard of Midhurst in the heart of rural West Sussex was taken in 1938. Parked-up at the kerbside is 1934 Morris Minor Two-seater (AHW 212). The Minor was first registered in Bristol in June 1934, so already four years old and some distance from home territory. What’s perhaps noticeable about this image is that the Minor and the DHC on the right are the only true ‘open’ cars to be seen. Had a photo been taken from this spot in 1928, there would undoubtedly have been many more open models in shot.
Yet another image about which little is known. This was recently found uncaptioned in the archive, having lain there unnoticed since 2003. The Minor 5 cwt van in question was first registered in Birmingham in 1930, although to which of the various Newnhams’ scattered across England this vehicle was associated is anyones guess. It had served a useful community purpose as a private mobile lending library, perhaps doubling as a grocery delivery vehicle? Neverless, a sad end to what was probably a hard working life.
Thanks to member Mike Taylor, more is now known about this van. It’s not a an OF (Birmingham) registration but DF 9897, first registered in Gloucestershire in 1930. Mike knew of the van’s existance from the late 50s through to the 70’s and confirms that it was saved and restored. The Newnham village concerned was Newnham-on-Severn, Glos. (The DVLA records that the van was last taxed in 1994.
1930 Morris 8HP Fire Tender
The Minor based Fire Tender was first catalogued in the 1931 Morris Motors range brochure. As can be seen in this photograph it was extremely well equipped, although the chemical fire exstinguishers were not included in the £170 asking price. Comparatively few images exist of the model, this one being a recent eBay find. The vehicle depicted here was almost certainly photographed at an Olympia exhibition, the patterned stand floor tiling matching numerous thirties Motor Show shots. Few Fire Tenders made it to customers and just four are documented. These included one that serviced the Morris Motors Cowley site, while a second was gifted to the City of Oxford Fire Brigade. A third example was purchased by an Indian Maharaja, while a fourth made it all the way to Wellington, New Zealand.