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Barn Find: 1956 Morris Minor Series II Project

Looking for an uncommon alternative to a VW Bug? We’ve got just the thing! Here on facebook Marketplace is a 1956 Morris Minor series II four-door sedan with an asking price of $3500, located in Bidwell, Ohio. Thanks to JMB#7 for this so-appropriate tip – a barn find for Barn Finds. The seller says this car had been sitting for at least thirty years before he purchased it. It doesn’t currently run but the motor turns. No photos of the engine bay are provided, but it should be equipped with this tidy 803 cc BMC A-series in-line four-cylinder. Don’t be in a big hurry to get ’round the block, because the 30 hp Minor takes a leisurely 52 seconds to reach 60 mph, and once you’re there, you’ve just about topped out. The gearshift is a four-speed manual with synchros on the three top gears and the wheels are braked with drums all around. But fret not: plenty of performance equipment is available. In fact, if you are looking for a simple project with a wide scope for improvement, a Minor should be in your garage. Swapping to a 1275 cc motor married to a five-speed gearbox will make your Minor feel like…. well, more like a normal car!

This is a late series II car, with a split windshield and still sporting trafficators. In October 1956, the company introduced the Minor 1000 with a continuous curved windshield, turn signal lights (by 1961), and an upgraded motor. In the market, the early split windshield enjoys some favor. BMC offered the Minor in four colors in 1956, and black over maroon was one of those. Note that the grille surround is broken.

Like the exterior, the interior needs work. The maroon carpets are in tatters. The seats look mostly intact, if filthy. That flat steering wheel is another hallmark of a series II car; the Minor 1000 gained a dished wheel. Obviously, this is a right-hand drive example. Over 1 million Morris Minor sedans were made from 1948 through 1971, so if you do hanker for a left-hand drive version, you’ll certainly be able to find it.

The rear shows the partial chrome base of the tail lights (hard to see), yet another series II tell-tale. Speaking of chrome, brass wool can do wonders to spruce up brightwork. Of course, it can’t work miracles. This car’s body panels are reasonably straight, and though rust is not evident, the seller is silent on that score, and we’re not provided undercarriage photos. In terms of value, Morris Minors haven’t moved much over the last five years. The model remains very approachable with outstanding examples fetching around $20k. How much would you pay for this fun project?


  1. Jerry Becker

    My dad brought home TWO of these about a month apart. Had to be the earliest years. I was around eight years old and EVERY kid in the neighborhood learned how to drive on them! I waited for my turn like every other kid there.We packed as many kids as possible. Inside and outside. We had two lots for our home. The second was empty and that’s where we raced!! What a blast! Thanks dad. Miss you and mom daily.

    Like 15
  2. John Eder

    Many years ago, my ex-in laws had one of these while living in Greece. They named it “Minor Catastrophe”. When traffic got really bad in Athens, they resorted to driving it on the sidewalk.

    Like 5
  3. Jerry Becker

    Loads of fun! The cars ,kids and the days of old!

    Like 3
  4. OldCarGuy

    My first car was a one-owner (lady school teacher) 1949 MM with the flathead engine, and it would do well over 60, but you could forget 70, although it was in sight, on the flats. Got into an impromptu Saturday morning race, on a damp fairgrounds dirt track, with my school chums, in their parent’s 1954 Chev 4-door 6 cyl with 3 on the tree. Nice day, they had all the windows rolled down, and came out of nowhere when I was just tootling around the track, so it was ON! I’d had the car for just 2 weeks, and it was my first of many races. I found I couldn’t pass on the straights, or even keep up, but the corners were mine. Unfortunately, I got a little too inside, got into the really damp bits, and, because I was dirt-tracking it, I spun mud all up the LH side of their car, through the open windows, and right into the rear parcel shelf. They were kind enough to wave off my volunteering to help clean it up.

    That MM lit my passion for small-engined cars that handled. I then commenced to practice my cornering skills on rural dirt roads, and got the fright of my life one day, heading west from Udora, Ontario, intending to run a stop sign at a T intersection, where the next road went downhill, cut into a bank such that it was a blind left turn, heading uphill for me, but it was quite safe to run the sign, as I could see all traffic for a half mile, either side of that intersection. So I go hammering into the corner, down into third, pedal to the metal, back all hung out and spitting dirt & gravel, my arms all pretzelled up with reverse lock, and, looking up the road, and then straight ahead, through my windshield, and what do I see but an Ontario Provincial Police cruiser, parked next to the ditch, hidden by the high dirt bank, with the officer having been making notes to keep up-to-date, but now he is looking at me, calmly, while I am sliding sideways, at pretty well 90 degrees to my path of travel, with full right lock on the steering wheel, and coming extremely close to needing a change of underwear! I got the car straight, did a lot of praying, and mirror checking, and never went over 30 mph for the whole rest of the day. We had some very nice OPP officers, back in the day.

    I won’t go into the story of buying my first Mini Cooper, and putting 1100 miles on the clock, in 24 hours, ferrying my chums through all the well-known twisty bits in our area. Oops, I just did. :>))

    Like 4
  5. Johnmloghry johnmloghry

    Once again we’re presented here with a strange little car for those who love these little cars. As a young boy growing up in the 50’s and 60’s we had a neighbor down the road a spell who drove these Morris Minor cars. Mr. Black and his wife never had any children but they had a nice home on a few acres with a stream running through that formed a nice little pool at one point where the neighbor kids would swim in the summer months. They were nice people though very frugal on most everything including the car they drove. Thanks Mr. and Mrs. Black for being such nice neighbors.

    God Bless America

    Like 8
  6. Casey Evans

    I own a coupe – super fun to drive. Prone to rust on forward frame rails

    Like 3
  7. MikeH

    I’m always amazed that someone will spend the money to import a car and then abandon it. These are fun cars and practically all parts are available.

    Like 6
  8. jetfire88

    The grille surround is not broken. It is a diecast 3-piece item, top bar and two side hockey sticks. This is missing the sticks.

    I suspect the reason they are gone is that the engine/trans has been removed at some time. To pull them as a unit, you must remove the grille/radiator as an assembly. The sticks must be removed because they hold in the core support to the body. The diecast studs invariably break.

    Like 5
    • Paulhcomer

      My highschool friend had one in 1965 in his parents house garage and shoehorned a Chevy small block in it with a powerglide tranny. And drove it to school. His 1st car project and next did a 1960 MGA the same route. I was impressed but never looked at the frames . Probably would of scared 😱 me.

      Like 2
  9. Kelly Breen

    Don’t let the stats fool you….
    There is a YouTube video of a stolen Morris Minor using its extreme agility and small size to escape from a lengthy police pursuit somewhere in the UK.
    Check it out. No one gets hurt and it is entertaining. The thief even give the Bobbies a playful “meep!” Meep!” As he escapes.

    Like 2
    • CVPanther Member

      That was a lot of fun for a 3 minute video, that driver did a great job twisting that little Morris around those corners and away from those rozzers.
      And the little beeps were the icing on the cake.
      (Not that I condone stealing anyone’s vintage ride)

      And thanks MikeH for posting the video link.

      Like 0
  10. MikeH
  11. matt

    Neat story fro m oldcarguy !!

    Like 0

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