|Engine||In-line 4-cylinder, 918cc|
The first Morris Eight rolled off the line at the newly completed Cowley plant in October 1934 and was an immediate success, with production reaching 120,000 units by March 1937, accounting for almost 30 per cent of the domestic market. The Eight was offered in a variety of guises, including a basic two-seater, an open tourer or saloon (with the option of a sliding “sunshine” roof) and powered by a side-valve four-cylinder engine displacing just under one litre, fed a single SU carburettor and with a healthy 23.5 horsepower on tap. The Eight’s three-speed transmission had synchro on second and top. The Morris used coil ignition, a six-volt electrical system and had Lockheed hydraulic brakes, a feature that set the car apart from many of its less sophisticated competitors. With an affordable asking price and rugged build quality, the much loved Morris proved a strong seller throughout its lifespan and nearly 165,000 were made before the revised Series 2 model was introduced in 1938, making it one of the most popular small cars on the road in Britain before the War. Morris restyled the Eight in September 1937, a painted radiator surround and so-called ‘Easiclean’ disc wheels being the most obvious giveaways, but the running gear remained unchanged. Sold as the 8/40 in Australia, the Series 2 lasted in production for just one year before the arrival of the more extensively revised Series E and approximately 54,000 of these interim models were made. Today, these charming little cars are greatly valued for the role they played in bringing the pleasures of motoring to so many during the Thirties and beyond and have a strong following around the world.