Hundred-pound Morris Minors

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Sir,

W.B. is less than fair to Graham Robson over the hundred-pound Morris Minors. The £100 two-seater (announced in the press during the last week of December, 1930 and thus, theoretically, a Vintage model) was the first side-valver of all, previous Minors having all had the overhead-cam engine. What is more, the alternative s.v styles — I remember a tourer, fabric and coachbuilt saloons, and the inevitable 5-cwt van — didn’t arrive on the scene until February or March of 1931. Curiously though, our own rather large family, which seems to have had most of the more offbeat Morrises at some time in the 30s — didn’t go for the black radiator species. We did however run a ’33 s.v tourer and a similarly bodied ’30 o.h.c. model which later became my first car.

I also think the £100 Ford saloon actually reached the public at this price, as I can’t recall many later Ys with sliding roofs and other extras tacked on. The alternative four-door saloon (despite a fairly high survival rate) was pretty rare after 1935.

Even more intriguing is the ‘T-F.L.A.G’ house-sign observed on the 1904 Thornycroft sampled by ‘W.B’. It MAY be a house sign, but can it be coincidence that Thornycroft’s Italian licencees were the Fabbrica Ligure Automobili Genova of Genoa, whose products bore the FLAG. badge, These were supposed to include licence-built Thornycroft cars and trucks, but so far no positive evidence has been unearthed to suggest that there were actually any Thornycrofts made in Italy.

Alas, there are two flaws to my argument. First, the Thornycroft-F.L.A.G deal wasn’t signed till 1906, or some two years later the Leyland-owned car was built, and second, Italian firms were adept at choosing initials ‘to fit the crime’. The classic instance is 1915’s Societa Italiana Aeronautica, the first aircraft-oriented venture by Fiao. The name was logical enough, but the initial (SIA) spell ‘let it be’ in Italian, or a literal translation from the Latin of the parent’s company name!

It wpuld be interesting to hear some more expert views on this one.

Midhurst – Michael Sedgwick.