Morris Minor Traveller.

An overview of the classic Morris "woodie" estate car.

Morris and in fact BMC as a whole in the post-war years were masters at extracting the very most from their car designs, offering a wide variety of superficially similar-looking vehicles with very different methods of construction under their bodywork. The Morris Minor saloons and tourers employed full monocoque construction, while the light commercials utilised a separate chassis. The Morris Minor Traveller was different again, in that the exposed rear body frame was constructed from ash, with an aluminium roof section covering the estate body. The front roof panel, and indeed the front end structure were steel and lifted straight from the saloon, while the rear body sides - between the ash frame members - were again fashioned from aluminium.

A closer look at the Minor Traveller.

The Morris Minor Traveller was introduced in 1952, coinciding with the introduction of the Series II saloons, some four years after the first cars had made their appearance in sidevalve, low-light, form. While the commercials would go on to be offered in both Morris and Austin guises, the woodie estate car - just like the saloons - would always be Morris-badged. The use of wood in the construction of the body would prove to be expensive for BMC to produce, because unlike on the Mini Travellers, that on the Minor would be structural rather than cosmetic.

Morris Minor Travellers for sale, plus spare parts and books.

Enter the Morris Minor 1000 Traveller.

Changes to the Traveller would echo those introduced to the Minor car range. In 1954 the "cheese-grater" grille would be replaced by one incorporating horizontal bars, while the A-Series four-cylinder OHV engine would be enlarged from 803cc to 948cc in 1956, the car now being badged as Morris Minor 1000. A one-piece windscreen would replace the split-screen arrangement at this time, making the split-screen Minor Travellers particularly scarce now. In 1962 the engine's capacity would be stretched to 1098cc, where it would remain until Minor production ended in 1971.
Morris Minor Traveller

Buying a Minor Traveller today.

Owners of Morris Minors are particularly well served when it comes to the availability of spare parts, with most items being no more than a phonecall away. While car buyers need to concentrate on looking for terminal rust in a potential purchase, anyone looking to buy a Traveller will also need to keep their eyes open for decayed woodwork, in addition to the ever-present problem of corroded steelwork, in the floorpans and sills especially.
New wood kits are available, but installation is perhaps best left to gifted DIY-ers and professional restorers - many's the Minor Traveller project that ends up being abandoned, once a decayed rear body has been dismantled into a sodden mass of moth-eaten timber. The steel panels used on the front half of the body are readily available secondhand, so is of less relative importance than the condition of the back end. Many tired ash frames have been cobbled together with nails, wood filler and gallons of varnish to keep them soldiering along a little longer, so carefully inspection of each section must be made before committing to buy a Traveller. The fit of the two rear doors can be a good guide as to the general condition of the structure as a whole, look for doors that sag when opened, possibly caused by weakened door pillars, and doors that don't line up properly when they're closed.
Mechanically the A-Series powered Minors are pretty robust, with spares for all but the earliest (803cc) versions being fairly easy to track down. In fact many 803cc cars have been upgraded to 948cc propulsion, a worthwhile modification unless absolute originality is critical to you. Spares for the 948 are much easier to find, and give the car a useful increase in performance while still looking virtually identical to the earlier engine. Anyone keen to further upgrade their Minor Traveller could well be tempted by five-speed gearbox conversions, 1275cc engines, and adaptor kits that enable disc brake conversions to be fitted.
As a charismatic, practical and attractive classic that is also a pleasure to drive, the Minor Traveller has a great deal going for it.
Go back up the page to view the Travellers and parts for sale.
A Morris Minor 1000 Traveller
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