In the never-ending hunt to find and photograph curbside classics, you never know when you’ll come upon something that is a real head-scratcher. To wit: this Morris Minor 1000, which I found parked at a large park in Zionsville, Indiana. How did it get here?
The car doesn’t wear an Indiana license plate, deepening the mystery. Unless someone lowered it into this space from an airplane, it had to drive on local roads to be here.
Actually, I’m sure some Zionsvillian, probably someone well known around here, owns this car and occasionally drives it short distances around town. The Zionsville police probably know all about this car’s owner and pretend not to notice when they see this car out and about. Zionsville is that kind of place.
Morris made Minors for years and years and I’m not going to try to figure out when this one was made. I see that the owner has fitted wheels to this one that take modern tires, which I’m sure makes tires easier to source and makes the car a little more roadable. Good for him or her for taking it out for the occasional spin.
I think I remember seeing this car on the road once within the last 2 or 3 years.
On the plate, I know that Indiana has some lax requirements on antiques/classics, including allowing a “year of manufacture” plate. I wonder if someone managed to convince the BMV that this English plate qualifies under the rules for a classic plate here? I have not researched it, so don’t know whether or not this is cricket. (sorry). It is certainly possible that your theory is correct too, and that the owner is banking on the kindness of law enforcement.
I saw a Minor Traveler (woodie wagon) towing a little trailer in remote Nevada at a gas station on my recent trip. So they do tend to get around.
It appears there is a US state license plate affixed to the rear bumper. The photos don’t show it except from a narrow angle.
I see it too and it does appear to be the current IN plate based on the dark blue letters/numbers and the bit of the trees. https://www.in.gov/bmv/registration-plates/license-plates-overview/license-plate-designs/
Oh duh! It *is* there. How did I miss it? Oh well.
Neat find, and a classic Moggie colour! According to our Government, it’s a 1962 car and someone’s done some work, adding a 1275cc engine (not an unusual swap and it goes straight in), as well as the wheels and the seats, and maybe more we can’t see.
Must be interesting when there’s a Kenworth and semi-trailer alongside……
Hey, bingo! I guessed the same as what your guvmint actually knows (more or less)!
I’d also hazard a guess at front discs – the Marina has its uses after all – as it would be no fun on the standard brakes which are only ’50’s adequate (meaning not) at best.
I know it’s pretty much a resto-mod by then, but with good power, good brakes and good seats, the fun handling and size of the car would be fully alive. Actually, folk have been doing such stuff to Morries since I was a kid in the ’70’s, so it’s an old tradition of its own rather than a resto-mod, perhaps: either way, it’s the only way I’d ever have one.
Alex Issigonis in the same week designed the 1948 Lo-lite Minor (sidevalve Morris 8/40 engined) & the Hi-lite (same divided windshield) which adopted the 5 port OHV 803cc Austin A30, later expanded to nominal 1000cc, 850cc in the Mini, and ultimately 1275cc. A common mod for Minors from the late 1950s &60s was quick bolt-on replacement of the 7″ drums & backing plates with 9″ wider, from Morris Major, Austin Lancer, Wolseley 1500, all same track, wheelbase, wheelstud pattern, steering geometry, rack & pinion & rear axle casing. As well as decent brakes, shocks and an 1800 B-series, Stage 10, with suitable close ratio gearbox I gave my 2door hillclimber “Yellow Peril” the aluminium diff body and 3.7:1 axle ratio from a Wolseley. “A” arm to top of diff housing eliminated hot Morris Minor’s notorious axle tramp. Chev Impala 14″ x 7″ rims on reinforced Morris Major centres held Dunlop Greenspots, with Pirelli for cacophanous commuting.
Austin Healey Sprite and MG Midget brakes etc bolt right into Morris Minors as do the go faster engine parts add the diff centre from a Wolseley 1500 or Morris Major and you get something that will cruise at 80mph,
these kind of games can be played with most British cars, the sporty models were always based on ordinary cars.
That is a lustrous paint job on the Morrie, and, from the 273 known variations, an especially fetching shade of BRG, though such lavishment on a boggo 4-door 1000 does rather beg the question of “why” almost as much as its RHD presence a long way from Oxford in the wilds of the American mid-west does. Each to their own, ofcourse. Mine would be the much better-looking 2-door, or best still, the woodie wagon (or in truth, if I lived out there where fuel is cheap and roads straight, none of the above, but I digress).
The best I can tell of the model is it’s a series three (post ’56), with the big windows front and back, and I reckon the trafficator shapes on the B-pillars have never had trafficators, so somewhere after about ’62 or so. The mag wheels are modern Minilites, or perhaps an imitation thereof, all based on the 10-inch design fitted originally to some Cooper Minis in the ’60’s.
That is Almond Green, also used on early Minis. About 40 years ago an old friend of mine had a 4-door Moggie and had it repainted in that same shade. It sets off the wood of a Traveller well.
The rear lights are the last design, larger with orange indicators front and rear, though inside the steering wheel is still the sprung steel ‘wire’ type. The very late ones had the plastic steering wheel as used in the FWD 1100. So, late ’63 to late ’64, assuming they didn’t change the steering wheel to the earlier type.
I’m sure that 1963 was the introduction of year date plates in the UK so surely a late ’63 to late ’64 car would have an ‘A’ or even ‘B’ reg plate suffix ?
Not all registration areas used the ‘A’ reg plates, using up existing unsuffixed numbers, so ‘A’ reg cars have always been relatively rare. Most reg. offices did use the ‘B’ plates when they arrived in January ’64 and by ‘C’ reg. (1965) it was compulsory.
UK govt data shows a first registration of March 1962
So it must have had the lighting updated, possibly when it was restored/upgraded.
Great looking car.. found this ad a while back… heady days back then
That ad again
These are a favourite of mine. In high school in Toronto my best friend’s mother had a 2 door in Old English White. We had both just got our licences and he got to drive the Morris fairly often. It was introduction to manual chokes, separate starter switches and other British idiosyncrasies. It had a heater (kind of necessary in Canada) but to turn it on there was only a valve under the “bonnet”. Only the passenger door had a keyed lock so you had to open it and reach across to the driver’s door. You have to accept things like this if you are going to drive on the right (I.e. the wrong) side of the road.
For all of that I loved the car. It was so different from anything else I had ridden in up to that time.
I have a Popular Mechanics foreign-car price guide from 1959 and it notes that the Minor undercut the VW Beetle price in the US by holding the heater out as an option where VW’s was standard.
I would assume that BMC sent no heaterless Morris Minors to Canada, where it would likely offer a lower price than VW anyway due to Commonwealth tariff preference.
My grandmother’s 56 Minor never had a heater heat soak thru the firewall was enough the elderly lady drove that car hard, I learned as a child how to hold it in gear for and shift to help her arthritis the car was traded on a HB Viva in 70 completely knackered mechanically with 43,000 miles showing those 803 Austin engines werent a patch on the rugged Morris 918cc sidevalve they replaced.
A Chrysler PT Cruiser from the 1950s
Quick: what car is normally associated with that particular allow wheel ?
. . . alloy wheel . . .
I like this one .
I have a 1960 Minor two door languishing on my back yard, I wish I could fine an honest and competent mechanic to re assemble it .