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Chassis No. OFB493435

Morris green and grey vinyl interior with canvas top

Engine: four cylinder, in-line, pushrod overhead valve, 948cc, 37bhp at 5,500rpm (see text); Gearbox: four speed manual with synchromesh on top three ratios; Suspension: front, wishbones and torsion bars, rear, semi-elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: front and rear hydraulic drum. Left hand drive.

First shown in 1948 and remaining in production until 1971, the Morris Minor has been called England's answer to the Volkswagen Beetle, offering reliable and economical motoring to the masses without sacrificing the smiles and whimsy. Built to a more conventional formula than the VW, with an engine in the front that drives the rear wheels, the Minor - the work of Alec Issigonis, who would go on to design the Mini - was widely recognized as an innovative machine upon its release, with unit-construction body, torsion-bar front suspension and rack and pinion steering. The Minor was steadily improved through its first decade and a half with the introduction of overhead valve and larger displacement engines which were borrowed from its maker, the British Motor Corporation and their Austin line, but development never went further despite, or thanks to, seemingly eternal demand for the car.

Though it did not influence the American consciousness as deeply as the Beetle, the Minor sold well in the States, with as many as 25,000 finding homes in the 1950s, making the US a leading export market for BMC. Most were two and four door sedans, convertibles and station wagons. Considerably less common were the ¼ ton commercial vehicles, vans and pick ups, with only 1200 believed to have been officially imported during the years 1959 through 1961.

The truck offered here is an exceptionally restored example of a charming "Moggy Truck" (as they are affectionately known in their homeland). It has seen limited use since its restoration's completion and is described as being ready to be enjoyed immediately. The practical grey vinyl interior contrasts well with the period choice of Morris green exterior and canvas top. Moggy trucks, albeit unladen, are surprisingly spritely performers and quite economical. As it is fun to drive and a delight to onlookers, this truck could double as a superb utility truck and transporter of supplies to vintage race meetings or as a charismatic run-around for weekend errands. Because so many have been destroyed by overuse or by rust, this is a rare opportunity.

When the Moggy Truck's current owner commissioned its restoration, the truck was completely disassembled, down to a rolling chassis. All the panels were cleaned of rust, of which there was very little, attesting to its years in the California climate with its previous owner. The serial number was decoded to find the original Morris Green color (as well as the grey interior) and then the body panels were individually primed and sprayed with four coats of match as exact as possible. It was then re-assembled using all new rubber, wiring loom, fuel and other lines. In addition, new rubber trim pieces, wheels, and original Morris bumperettes were all replaced. A correct steering wheel, glove and storage box liners, and ash tray were procured as well. Finally, in the spirit of these lively little trucks, the engine was fitted with twin SU carburetors and the compression was increased. Having traveled limited miles since its restoration 8 years ago, always garaged and well enjoyed, it is grudgingly offered, as with most impressive collections, due to space limitations. This is one of the finest examples to come to market and would make a useful and fun addition to any collection.

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