Good service from a Morris Major


I was sorry that Mr. Crozier in his article last month did not mention any experiences with his mother’s Morris Major to compare with the one my sister owned. Produced in the latter part of 1930, hers was technically vintage though not of the fully vintage tradition, and the design known as the 1931 model continued for one year only, to be superseded by a re-hashed and very cooking version of 14 h.p..

The 1931 15-h.p. 2-litre model was something of a mixture of Oxford 6-cylinder engine and chassis with 5-seater Cowley body. The engine was quite remarkably smooth and with careful tuning would give a reliable tick-over below 200 r.p.m. The 6-lobe contact breaker cam defeated high revs, but by setting the gap nearly 45 m.p.h. could be reached on 2nd gear in the 3-speed box on a final drive of 4.75:1. It may interest those who know Liverpool to learn that from the bottom of Leece Street hill the Philharmonic Hall could be passed at over 40 m.p.h. in the days of no speed limit. The speedometer readings stopped at 60 m.p.h. and a contemporary Autocar test gave the car a top speed of only 58.44 m.p.h., but our car on level concrete in a two-way timed test against a friend’s Rover Meteor gave 70 m.p.h. with the contact breaker gap doctored as previously mentioned. Mechanical brakes stopped the 22.5 cwt. dry weight in 39 ft. from 30 m.p.h. With grouped chassis nipples, silk door pulls, roof net, sunshine roof, thermostatically-operated radiator shutters, water-temperature gauge and the rest it was a fine buy at £225.

In five years’ ownership the principal replacements were a rebore, new pistons and detachable bearing shells and two clutches, and one rear brake relined.

We covered a large mileage, much of it over country by-ways, with never a let down on the road. The old roads over Red Bank, Honister, Hardknott and Wrynose were frequently used. The old road from the Bridge of A’rchy to Glencoe round the west side of Loch Tulla, the present road over the Black Mount did not exist, and roads like the old coast road frbm Hylerken to Partree were considered good fun but not inconveniencing. More exacting were some of the back tracks of the Lake District and around Sedbergh where I was at school, and some of which have since unfortunately been resurfaced and/or improved (sic). When the car was exchanged in 1935 we missed that sparkling 2nd-gear performance.