Free Room and Board: 1982 Morris Marina SunTor

050316 Barn Finds - 1982 Morris Marina - 1

Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

This unusual 1982 Morris Marina SunTor Camper is in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom and it’s found on eBay with a price of £2,250 ($3,272). I haven’t seen too many of these and I have never seen one in person. I think this would be a fun vehicle to own; it’s certainly more unique than most “campers” found in the US are.

050316 Barn Finds - 1982 Morris Marina - 4

Closed, and open. “Torcars” was founded in late-1968 and they started making SunTor camper conversions mainly for Austin/Morris vehicles. This one has had some rust fixed, or they mention that both doors were replaced because they were “gone at the bottom”.

050316 Barn Finds - 1982 Morris Marina - 2

This thing is cool, I wonder why something like this never caught on in the US. I guess the folding top is somewhat similar to what VW had, but I haven’t seen too many on a regular car before. This one looks nice with the MGB wheels, but the originals come with the car.

050316 Barn Finds - 1982 Morris Marina - 5

The interior looks like it’s in good nick, as Edd China would say. This is a manual transmission car and this one has a newly-installed “gold seal” transmission and new clutch so you’re good for quite a few moons as far as that goes. The rear is where the camping action happens; let’s check it out.

050316 Barn Finds - 1982 Morris Marina - 6

She looks nice, no? There is a small ‘fridge, a small gas stove, and a sink in the back; that’s nice packaging. The seller says that the engine has been partially rebuilt and runs great, and then there’s that fresh transmission and clutch, too. Wouldn’t this be a fun thing to show up with at the local campground? It would sure turn some heads in the US, and maybe in the United Kingdom, too. Have you ever seen one of these Morris Marina campers in person?

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Comments

  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    My wife and I have just had a wonderful 5 minutes fantasizing about buying this find and taking a two-week tour of the UK, then shipping it home. Thanks, Scotty! You know it would go very well with the Marina race car as a camper at LeMons events! I’m already a member of the Marina/Ital club. Oh if only…

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    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty G Staff

      Ha, I thought you might like that one, Jamie. It sure would be fun, and there’s a little trailer hitch on the back.. hmm..

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  2. xroads

    I love this thing! Too bad it’s right hand drive. Also, where is the bed? Do you just sleep in the aisle? I have a brit friend that ships cars both ways that may be able to help with shipping.

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    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Ok…as my wife and I ended up talking a lot longer than 5 minutes…can you give me an idea of the going rate to, say, Norfolk VA? Thanks!

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      • xroads

        I have not asked him on ths one. Typically, it cost 1000 to get it to the coast from the midwest(I’m in WI). The boat ride is another 1000, shipped “loose” in the hull or 2000 in a shipping container. My friend is generally shipping from US to UK. He rents an entire container, then packs 2 cars and several motorcycles in. The entire container is 2000 port to port. If you are serious, Jamie, I can get you connected to my friend Jon or the shipping company directly.

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      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        xroads…I did the math and I can’t pull this one off from a timing standpoint. However…will keep this in mind for the future–and thanks!

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      If you look at the 5th photo, in the canopy along the left side are handles. I believe that would be the cot that pulls out.

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  3. Bill

    As I understand it, the Marina (the one’s who have survived and not had a piano accidentally fall on them) have the same engine block as the MGB. Setting one up with the dual SU’s header and such from an MGB would be a nice addition. I’d totally drive this one . I just fear the shipping would kill the deal.

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    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      This particular one has the smaller, A-series (1275cc) engine. The ones we got on this side of the pond all had the MGB block, though, and you could certainly retrofit one.

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    • racer99

      Would be a waste of a perfectly good piano. 😉

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  4. Bobsmyuncle

    This thing is super cool. The ergonomics look challenging I’d think users would need to be lithe.

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  5. sheffield cortina centre

    there all manual 1275 A series powered,
    you sleep in the roof.

    best thing for this would be to push it overboard half way across yuck!!

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  6. brakesevo

    Take what was deservedly an unsuccessful car (at least here in the us) and make a camper out of it, now you have an unsuccessful camper as well. Yes, I’ve owned an Austin Marina, USA version 1800cc and automatic. With this, at least you’ve got a place to stay while the tow truck arrives.

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    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      You know I’m one of the sole defenders of the Marina in the US…of course, I’m the only one crazy enough to race one, too…

      If you accept it for what it was, a parts-bin assembly with a tin shell holding everything together, it’s not that bad. Now if you expect it to be a state of the art car, that’s another story!

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      • Nate Harris

        Jamie,
        These cars are easy to hate, because they take a little imagination to take advantage of their full potential. I’m restoring one now and have found out how much I really like the car. I grew up in them and avoided them like the plague my whole life. But now find them to be cool cars, with a little effort even good looking cars. The powerplant is the exact same as the MGB, so fitting a twin carb manifold with dual SU HIF carbs is simple and makes a huge difference in performance. For a couple hours of your time and $50 you can buy some lowering blocks and lower the rear and the torsion bar front end can be lowered with a wrench. This drops the CG and improves handling immensely, especially when combined with some 15″ wheels and tires that are pushed out to the edge of the wheel wells. The biggest shame is how many of them have been left to die from rot or crushed.

        Here’s mine as it sits today, about 90% of the restoration complete…

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      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        Nate, that’s beautiful! Hey, I have one thing you might be interested in — I have a set of the rare Van front torsion bars (stiffer) that we were going to put on the race car but never did. Let me know. Your Dad has been a huge help over the years and I can’t wait to see how your project ends up!

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      • Nate Harris

        Hey Jamie,
        Yeah, they sound like a good addition to stiffen up the front end without having to add anti-sway bars. Shoot me an email: nate@nateharris.com

        And I try to keep the gallery of the restoration updated here:
        http://marinaman.org/blog/marinamans-gt-restoration/documenting-nates-4dr-restoration/

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      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        I also have a custom anti roll bar, brackets & modified front suspension components. I’ll send you an email 🙂

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  7. Bill McCoskey

    Has no one else noticed that when the gas stove is in use, it requires that the rear doors be open to the weather? There are no visible snaps around the rear door opening to secure a rain cover [only window curtain clips]. Considering the amount of rain the UK gets every year, this appears to be a major error in design!

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  8. Chebby

    Makes me want to put a Westfalia pop-top on a Pinto cruising wagon!

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  9. Rich

    These are rare anywhere, I spoke to a banger racer who was in the process of converting one to race (yes a camper). He also had various saloons being prepped for their final journey into oblivion.
    He was one of the better ones who strips useful parts and tries to sell them, but aparently there were no takers for any of the interior fittings – probably because there are so few left anywhere.
    These type of campers were never as popular as VW/Bedford/Ford Transit, but occasionally you will find a MK1/2 Escort van conversion; there’s even one with a Cosworth engine fitted…

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  10. BarryP

    These cars were great cars and fun to drive. I had two of them while I lived in the Uk and loved both of them. You could purchase the GT model with the twin carbs already installed which made them very quick. Here in Canada and the USA I think it was all the emission control stuff that was added that made them so bad plus the salt that was on the roads during winter which certainly didn’t help. That coupled with the Lucas parts.

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