On this day in auto history - October 12th

Tue 12th Oct 2021

It was on this day in 1948 that the first Morris Minor went on sale, following its well-received debut at the Earls Court Motor Show the previous month.

The brainchild of a then junior designer Alec Issigonis (later to design the Mini) the Minor was initially only available in two door saloon form and came with a cost price of £382. The range was expanded to include a four-door saloon in 1950 and other variants were later added such as a wood-framed estate as well as panel vans and pick-up trucks.

In all its guises, the Morris Minor became a classic example of automotive design and a symbol of “Englishness” but - although it became the first British car to break the one million sales barrier in 1960 - it failed to penetrate the export market like its big rival, the Volkswagen Beetle, had.

The Minor was upstaged by its sexier, sleeker stablemate, the Mini, throughout the 1960’s but retained enough appeal to extend its production run until 1970, by which time over 1.6 million units had been sold in the UK alone.

The vehicle is still cherished by many classic car enthusiasts and, given that back-up parts for the vehicle are still in circulation, restored Morris Minors are not an uncommon sight on British roads today.