948 CC, VINTAGE MORRIS STYLING, REAL WOOD PANELING, GREAT BEACH-GOING VEHICLE
If you've spent any time in England, you're probably familiar with cars like this funky little 1963 Morris Minor Traveller. There are some folks who call it Britain's Beetle, but it's more than just inexpensive transportation; it's got personality. And finding one this well restored is somewhat rare today, as there are very few survivors.
Unquestionably the most valuable of the Morris Minors body styles, including the convertible, the Traveller (yes, that's how you spell it) has earned a cult following with its fans. With a tidy early post-war look with rounded fenders and bulging headlights, it has a delightfully old fashioned look. The rear section of the body is lined with real wood, which nobody was doing in 1963, and it was actually made by real British cabinetmakers and shipped to the Morris factory for installation. It's been properly restored, a process that probably cost a lot more than the car is worth, but with woodies, you always do it for love. The steel bodywork is in excellent shape with no sign of the demonic rust that plagues European Minors, and the wood was obviously refinished at the same time. Panel fit is probably better than new and the white paint with red pinstripe gives it a jaunty, authentic look. A few chrome bits dress up the front end, and the windows have been tinted, which updates it a bit and helps with the surfer motif, which includes the wooden rack and board strapped to the roof.
The car is tiny, but the interior is surprisingly spacious, even for us oversized Yanks. Handsome bucket seats up front in two-tone vinyl replicate the original look with durable materials. Matching door panels were installed along with relatively plus red carpets to give it a very luxurious feel that reminiscent of England's best. It's right-hand-drive, but you'll find that driving is easy after a few minutes of familiarization with the shift linkage to your left. Morris put the gauges in the middle of the dash since it would be putting the steering wheel on either side depending on the market, and someone has added a trio of aftermarket dials underneath. There's a decent-sized rear bench, too, and normal-sized folks won't complain about the accommodations. The cargo bay is very neatly finished with exposed wood slats and nice upholstery work that's handsome as well as durable.
The "1000" in the car's nomenclature comes from the 948 cc inline four that powered it originally, but somewhere along the line, this one received an upgraded engine that's a little more robust. I know it looks little in the engine bay, but remember that this is a little car and you'll probably find that it's an enthusiastic partner, particularly once you've mastered the 4-speed gearbox. The engine bay is tidy with no outrageous modifications, although many early Mini Cooper hot-rod parts will bolt right on if that's where you'd like to go. The underside offers additional confirmation that this was always a nice little car with none of the issues that seem to plague neglected examples, and the single exhaust system offers a perky tenor exhaust note that's just right. And maintaining it is insanely affordable, including tiny 175/65/14 radials on original steel wheels.
A very neat little woody that will make you forget about your folks' big slab-sided American wagon and fall in love with something a little more European. Call today!
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