The Morris Minor in the Groove

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68

Sir,

I have noticed in your columns (and others) frequent reference to the excellent handling of the post-war Morris Minor car.

Whilst I agree that the handling is better than many other post-war cars, I find I am in strong disagreement with such statements as are from time to time made suggesting that this car handles like a racing car – it doesn’t !

My experience is that at low speeds it handles well, but if cornered on – or over – the limit the car becomes completely uncontrollable. The tendency can be simulated at quite reasonable speeds by using well-worn covers at the rear and in the wet; the tail, having rolled as far as it wants to will proceed to waltz round so fast that full correcting lock won’t stop the car turning right round and leaving the corner stern first ! To compare such behaviour with say a pre-war Frazer-Nash – or an Aston-Martin – is just misleading. People who say the Mortis Minor handles “like a racing car” should try driving it round corners at racing-car speeds. They will find it fails – and very naturally too, because it was not built for such treatment.

My purpose in writing the foregoing is not merely to de-bunk a legend which may well be the cause of some relatively inexperienced enthusiast getting himself into a position from which neither his own skill nor the handling qualities of the car can extricate him.

Most of us who have driven, say, a G.P. Bugatti have probably at some time committed some serious error of judgment from which the handling of the Bugatti has extricated us. This the Minor could not do.

Now, to be constructive: how can the handling of the Minor be improved to bring it nearer the ideal of “like a racing car”? I am asking for information. I suggest that more weight, lower down at the rear, combined with some form of anti-roll stabiliser and stiffer rear shock-absorbers, might well provide considerable improvement.

Have any of your readers perchance tried – and succeeded in – improving the handling of this very nice little car ?

I am, Yours, etc.,

J. CARMALT-JONES.

London, S.W.1.

(We said some years ago, when the Minor was a frequent subject of debate, that excellent as it was (and is), to compare its cornering with that of a G.P. racing car was rubbish. – Ed)