1957 Morris Minor Styleside Utility
Alec (later Sir Alexander) Issigonis was responsible for the Morris Minor, arguably the second most important new car of the 1940s after the Jaguar XK120. He conceived the wheel-at-each-corner idea, which endowed the Minor with dynamics rare in any sedan of any size in the era – the most obvious exception being Citroën’s wonderful Traction Avant (a car which Issigonis admired and which inspired some of his ideas). The Minor was of unitary construction and boasted torsion bar independent front suspension and rack and pinion steering. But the early Minors were underpowered, initially using a languid pre-war side-valve engine, disappointing in view of the model’s exemplary dynamics. In 1952 Austin and Morris merged their interests to become the British Motor Corporation with the former in the ascendancy. The new Austin A30 featured the new A-Series 803cc overhead-valve engine and this unit also found its way into the Minor. Despite its compact exterior dimension, the utility version of the Minor was a handy and popular workhorse. But the advent of a 1000cc version of the A-Series in 1956 turned the Austin A35 and Morris Minor 1000 into truly nippy small cars with lively acceleration and an unstrained top speed of 75 miles per hour. Any quick comparison of the Morris Minor with the Austin A30, shows the first to be radical and the second essentially unadventurous: call it the Issigonis difference! Undoubtedly, the Minor 1000 is the most desirable of all the Austin and Austin small cars of the 1950s.
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