IOTW no.374

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A 1934 holiday

This snapshot photo was purchased on eBay in 2012. The 1932 Nottingham City Borough Council registered Minor Saloon (TV 7488) had conveyed this family (or two couples) on a camping holiday to a location that is perhaps somewhere on the east coast of England. The lightweight caravan appears to be skinned in canvas although the Minor doesn’t appear to have a towbar in place and the long grass around the supporting block suggests that the caravan is a resident on the site. The caption on the rear of the photo simply reads ‘1934’.

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IOTW no.373

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The 1938 MCC London-Lands End Trial was held over Good Friday & Easter Saturday 15th & 16th April. There were two sections for competitors to complete in the Blue Hills mine complex near St. Agnes, Cornwall on Saturday. As was usual throughout the 30s decade huge crowds assembled to watch the cars negotiate the famous test hills and the 1938 ‘Lands End’ was no exception. This retouched photograph appeared in the 22nd April edition of The Autocar and shows a section of the spectator car park at Blue Hills mine. How many different manufacturers products can you identify? (Photoscan courtesy of LAT Images)

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IOTW no.372

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Throughout the thirties decade a 1930 Hornet Coachbuilt Saloon appeared in many Autocar photographs. There are a number of instances of the car in question appearing in the background of  photographs featuring other cars, while it also appeared as the feature vehicle itself on headings for the magazine’s correspondence section or on the banner for the regular ‘Touring Topics’ articles. The car appears even more frequently in The Autocar‘s photographic archive where the vast majority of images viewed have never been published. The car in question carries a 1930 Surrey registration (PL 2347) and is of the early (Morris Minor) body shape. It was almost certainly owned by an Autocar journalist or employee but to date the name of the individual concerned  has eluded the writer. Whoever owned the car kept it for a considerable time as it continued to appear in Autocar photographs until the latter part of 1938 and even then looked to be well cared for. In this photograph the glass plate wasn’t marked with the location of the shot, but was found among a series of images featuring Devon and Cornwall holiday locations.
PL 2347 has a photographic gallery of its own and this can be found on the archived website at the foot of the page in question here.

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IOTW no.371

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The Global Minor

In the correspondence section (p756) of 6th May 1932 edition of The Autocar is a letter from a Japanese Minor owner, Isao Miyahara. Isao submitted an image of his 1930 Coachbuilt Saloon (16.339) parked-up alongside a dry river bed in the Hyogo prefecture of the Kansai Region, located on Japan’s main island of Honshu. While it’s not known if Morris Motors had an export arm located in Japan at that time the Minor’s reputation was sufficiently well established for at least one example to have found its way there. (This re-touched photoscan appears here courtesy of LAT Images)

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IOTW no.370

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A second N.Z. special

Discovering a special bodied Minor is one thing, but discovering two such cars in the same photograph is quite another. The previous IOTW (no.369) captured a special bodied 1931 Coupe taking part in a local car club trial in hilly terrain near Christchurch on North island. Appearing further along that same line of cars was this SV Minor Special, almost certainly of similar 1931 vintage despite its partial disguise behind a chromed radiator surround. Sitting in-between an Austin Seven ‘Chummy’ and a Riley tourer only part of the car’s body is visible. The front portion of the car to the scuttle is instantly recognisable while the windscreen is mounted in the same fashion as that on a standard Minor Tourer model. However the windscreen is a single pane affair unlike the two-piece screen on the factory Tourer model. The low-cut shape of the offside of the body presumably aides ingress for the driver as no door is evident. Unfortunately the rear of the car is hidden and so we can only speculate as to its form. As mentioned in IOTW 369 this re-touched photo-scan first appeared in a February 1932 edition of The Autocar and appears here courtesy of LAT Images.

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IOTW no.369

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1931 Minor Special

New Zealand was a significant market for the Minor with many cars being imported as rolling chassis prior to local coachbuilders constructing bodies that in the majority of cases echoed the shape of models available in the UK. However, a significant number didn’t follow this trend and locally designed, lightweight bodies began to appear. The example seen here is based upon a 1931 season car, its high headlamps and black radiator surround providing the clues. Unfortunately the rear of the car is obscured but enough of the well proportioned two-seater coupe body can be seen to assess its appearance. The image from which this extract was taken includes three Minors, all of which were taking part in a reliability trial in the Christchurch district of South Island during late 1931 or early 1932, the image appearing in a February 1932 edition of The Autocar. (Photoscan courtesy of LAT Images)

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IOTW no.368

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1930 Minor Fabric Saloon

This snapshot image of a mid-1930 Manchester registered car (VR 8409) has little to commend it as it is typical of so many ‘car and their owner’ shots of the period. It was during the tail-end of the twenties decade and throughout the thirties that car ownership became far more widespread – while still bestowing a certain cachet upon the owner resulting in the plethora of similar images to be found today on eBay and elsewhere. In this photo the car may well have been owned by a company who provided it for their ‘commercial traveler’ or sales representative. The be-suited man leaning against the Fabric Saloon certainly has that appearance and even carries a pen and pencil in his waistcoat breast pocket.

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IOTW no.367

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1928 Minor prototype UD 2268

Just how many Minor Fabric Saloon prototypes were built in the spring and early summer of 1928 is frequently debated. The earliest known image is the famous shot of UD 2071 with William Morris standing alongside. However there are a number of other images particularly of UD 2268 (as seen here) and UD 2270, this car being the subject of a publicity  photo-shoot in Bibery, Glos during the summer of that year. Additionally UD 2483 was photographed around the same time in Norfolk while other publicity photographs of the period show Minors with number plates deliberately removed. It has also been pointed out that the factory moved plates from one car to another with complete disregard to the law despite their ability to affix trade plates. While the answer to the question of how many Fabric Saloon prototypes or development cars were built is likely to remain unanswered, we do know that there were at least four evidenced by the images taken that summer, the big assumption being that number plates were not swapped around!

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IOTW no.366

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1931 Swallow Hornet Tourer

When launched the four-seat Hornet tourer was priced at £225, just £5 more than its two-seat counterpart. By 1933 the prices of the (by now) very successful Swallow models had risen dramatically, with the two-seater selling through sole agents Henly’s at £255 while the price of the four-seater had reached £260. The Henly empire had grown significantly by 1933, with branches opening away from its London hub including a new outlet in Manchester. This undoubtedly aided sales of the all Swallow models including the Hornet variants. (The re-touched image is a scan of a piece of Autocar artwork and appears here courtesy of LAT Images)

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IOTW no.365

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The Morris Eight

The Minor’s successor on the Cowley production lines was the Morris Eight. Surprisingly it wasn’t packed with new technology and even reverted to a three speed gearbox but it was a completely new car from the wheels up with a brand new three bearing crank, 918 cc engine. Its up to date styling mimicked that of the February 1932 launched Ford Eight Y Type Saloon and the outgoing Minor’s appearance looked dated alongside the thoroughly modern Eight. The car was a big hit with customers who seemed to far prefer the Morris version over competing models from Ford, Standard and Singer. The Morris Eight quickly became Morris Motors best-ever selling car with the Series E Eight continuing in production after WWII, with the last versions leaving Cowley in 1948. The car seen here is a 1936 Sliding-head two-door Saloon, this image first appearing in a June 1936 edition of The Autocar. (This is an Autocar photo-scan appearing here courtesy of LAT Images)

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