The Morris Minor, Marina and Ital Years

The “Moggie” as it became known is one of the most popular and well known cars to ever be designed and built in Britain. The Morris Minor started life in 1948 and incredibly continued production until 1971, under the Morris, BMC and British Leyland brands. There had been an earlier model, but in name only.

Blue Morris Minor

The original models started out with split screens and 2 doors, but then evolved over the decades into single windscreen, 4 door saloon, van, pick up, traveller and even a convertible version. The original MM model, lasted from 1948 to 1953, Mk2 from 1952 to 1956, then the third version went from 1956 to 1971.

The Mk3 version was sometimes refereed to as the Morris 1000, due to its engine size, the 1000 would be transporting nurses, police, post office, doctors, local shop stock and farmers around. Through these decades, upgrades were made t0 try and modernise the car, but to honest in the later years, it was miles behind the advances of the competition. The tyical speedometer in the centre of the car, mirrored the mini for instance. If it wasn’t for the complacency of the British motor industry, it is likely the Minor would have been replaced long before it was.

Today it is seen as an entry level classic car, with many thousand still on the road. Parts for the minor have always been cheap and easily obtained, even today there is a copious supply. Other nations lived the car, especially in India and Sri Lanka, that still manufactures parts.

In the 90s, 2 versions of convertible was used for the popular TV series “Lovejoy” contributing to its popularity.

What Happened after The Minor

The production of the Morris Minor in hindsight was too long, so when a replacement was agreed, it needed to be done in a very short time. The result was the Morris Marina that sold extremely well, even though it is recognised as a car that never reached the standards of its competition such as the Ford Escort. Heavy to drive, not exactly good looking and they rusted like no tomorrow. Because of this there are fewer Marinas left than Minors, even though they could be decades younger and sometimes used as a joke on TV, such as Top Gear.

The Morris Ital Tried To Save The Marina

In order to save the Marina it was restyled in theory in Italy hence the name Morris Ital. But many argue the styling was done in the UK and just branded that way. The design was done on a shoe string budged in car manufacturing terms and did not get much praise from the press. But it still went on to sell well for British Leyland over 175,000. The Ital was built in saloon and the 5Dr Estate form from 1980 to 1984 another long production, if you start from 1971 when the Marina was first sold.