Filed Under: News

From the archives of Bob Montgomery, motoring historian

THE BRITTAIN MINORS: The first post-war motor show at Earl’s Court, London, in October 1948, was significant for the unveiling of three new Morris models: the Morris Six MS, the Morris Oxford MO and the Morris Minor Series MM.

It was the new Morris Minor which stole the show, being displayed in two versions, a two-door saloon and a tourer (drop-head) version. For once the motoring press and the manufacturer’s advertising were in agreement – the new Morris was “the World’s Supreme Small Car”. The Motor even went so far as to say that the car “approached perfection”.

The weak economy of post-war Britain meant that over 75 per cent of production of the new Minor was exported and there were even restrictions in Britain on the purchase of new cars.

In Ireland the Morris Minor was assembled by G A Brittain at Portabello, Dublin. In fact, Ireland received the first CKD Morris Minors dispatched for export anywhere in the world, making this the first outside Britain to have Morris Minor production.

In the years that followed, Brittains assembled all versions of the Series MM, but, after the Series II models were introduced in February 1953, they restricted their production mainly to two- and four-door saloons with a small quantity of Tourers.

The Minor was in continuous production by Brittains until 1971 and ended with the production of a two-door saloon. However, after some time the company decided to use its remaining parts to build another car for display in its showroom.

This “final” car was a four-door saloon finished in “teal blue” with a matching light blue interior. This unique car was sold, after Brittain went into liquidation in 1975, to a Ken Smith, who in turn sold it to its current owner, Paul Hanley, in 1985.

A number of items peculiar to the Irish-assembled cars feature on this car – the grille and road wheels being painted in the body colour, as well as wing piping which is black on all Irish models of the Morris Minor, rather than being matched to the body colour as on British examples.

After Australia and the US, Ireland was the third most important CKD market for this much loved car. Happily, many fine road-worthy examples are still in evidence today.