The Secret Life Of The Morris Minor

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The Secret Life Of The Morris Minor, by Karen Pender. Veloce, £12.99.

This is a fun book, reminding us of the many roles of the Morris Minor — the one that followed the pre-war Minors but preceded the Mini Minor. In 95 pages there are over 90 colour and other pictures and descriptions of the many, now often forgotten, aspects of these once popular Morris Minors and Morris 1000s (which you still occasionally encounter, usually of smart appearance on the road).

The reader is reminded of Issigonis’s look at things from fridges to locomotives, says the author, before styling his Minor. It was certainly a notable and welcome advance in small-car concepts – I recall, after driving one for the first time, rushing into the house and saying to my wife: “At last here is a British small car which handles as well as the better Continental ones. .” This book is a nice refresher course in why this was so, and how it was put across in advertising, publicity material, cartoons and so on. Rivals such as the Citroen 2CV, VW Beetle, and the interim Morris Eight are recalled and development of the Morris Minor covered, as are its Wolseley and Riley derivatives. A bit of fun really, with very good and varied illustrations from a girl who has been a member of the Morris Minor OC for ten years and likes trams. W B

The Bullnose Morris Club has issued a simply splendid landscape spirally-bound 160 glossy-page treatises on the power-units used in bullnose and flat-radiator Morris cars, with their industrial and marine derivatives. It must constitute one of the best references to original specifications and parts identity ever attempted by a one-make Club. There is also history of the Hotchkiss connection, and explanations of the Ricardo and Whatmough combustion theories (which nearly drove me mad in my youth), plus an account of how these engineers approached Morris Motors Ltd and the latter’s legal action against them. Also much Morris memorabilia, with advertisement and instruction-book eproductions, etc. But this is primarily a guide to the mechanical aspect, which will be of enormous assistance to so many Morris owners. Numbering, from 1920 to 1931 , of engine mods and change points, with colours and identifications, and chapters on carburettors, magnetos, dynamotors, pedal-linkages, indeed on every conceivable part is covered with marvellously clear illustrations. Gearboxes, wiring diagrams, even van engines and the ohv Gilchrist ohv powerunit, are included. The author, Peter J Seymour, has left nothing out and all Morris users should find it essential; it is available from D E Way, Ridgestone, Roycroft Lane, Barkham, Wokingham, Berks RG40 4HN, fo E20, UK post free.