Cheap & Cheerful: 1958 Morris Minor Convertible

It’s not often you find a seller with as reasonable expectations as the one that is selling this cute little 1958 Morris Minor 1000 convertible here on eBay. The opening bid is only $350 and there’s no reserve. Considering the price of a set of metal accessory rear wheel spats is only a little short of that, if this one stays anywhere close to that figure someone’s going to get a bargain (just kidding, the ones on this car look like they are made of plywood). The small convertible is located in Southold, New York.

I actually don’t remember seeing a Minor with spats before, although I did find some from Australian suppliers for older Minors and it intrigues me enough that if I ever end up with a Minor I might just have to fabricate some. It really does change the look of the car. However, we are looking at a project here, although I’m not sure it’s quite as bad as the seller makes it out to be. They speak of too much rust under the car for them to handle; I wish they had included a picture of the underside so that we could judge this a little better.

What I do see is that some important and difficult to find parts like the top frame are there, as well as a nice looking steering wheel (could it really be uncracked?) and that all the glass is there and intact as well.

The seller also tells us that the door panels are not with the car; Newton Commercial in the UK as well as many other suppliers make anything you might need for the interior of a Minor. Of course, if you weren’t concerned with originality, plain door panels (cards, for our UK readers) could be mocked up quite easily.

To be honest, at that price I was surprised an engine came with this car at all, but it’s a Bugeye Sprite engine and smooth case transmission. The original engine and transmission have been disassembled but are also included as well. Since this car is going to be unoriginal when returned to the road anyway, I think I’d look for a 1275 and ribcase transmission from a later MG Midget and sell these on to a needy Bugeye owner. So what do you think? Anyone have experience with rust repair on a Minor convertible? Because I’d like to know in time to bid on this auction!

Fast Finds


  1. S Ryan

    This Minor is a Major project.

  2. Scateater

    Awesome write up Jamie. Plywood spats look like a good fit.

    • williamcleary

      Could they have been patterns for the metal ones?

  3. Coventrycat

    Those fender skirts look to be made of old growth plywood.

  4. Brakeservo

    Rust is ALWAYS WORSE than a seller says . . . so if he says it’s bad. Just sayin’
    As far as I can remember, the only difference between a 948cc Morris Minor motor and a 948cc Bugeye Sprite motor is the dual SU’s and both cars used “smooth case” transmissions originally, the only difference being the throwout fork came out on different sides and the linkage was mechanical on the Morris, and leaky hydraulic on the Sprite!

  5. Brakeservo

    Oh, one more thing . . . the wooden skirts are for when you’re just lumbering down the road . . .

  6. Wolfgang Gullich

    Be careful of rust underneath a Minor as it’s likely structural as the car is a unibody. These are pretty easy to work on and just about every part is available. Added bonus: the Minor was the first car Sir Alec Issigonis designed by himself, the father of the Mini.

  7. Ben T. Spanner

    Since it will not be original, upgrade to a Datsun five speed. My friend has a pickup with that conversion and it is much more highway usable. Convert to disc brakes with a booster.

    The amount of rust could be the deciding factor. The car is in the rust belt.

  8. Big Al

    I never understood the lack of frame protection at the factory, even today, wtf

    • Bill McCoskey

      Big Al;

      These cars were never intended to be in use after about 10 years. The manufacturers assumed most of them would have hit the scrap yards by then. Plus, unit body construction was in it’s infancy, and there simply wasn’t a lot of understanding about how corrosion would affect unit construction.

      Two of the biggest problems these unit body cars faced was trapped moisture under the carpets or rubber mats, and a build up of mud inside supposedly sealed body cavities, again trapping moisture.

      Vehicles today benefit from several changes compared to these older cars;
      1. Manufacturers understand better WHY rust thru happens.
      2. They design body panels to be less likely to trap dirt & moisture.
      3. Car companies began to realize that it was bad for their image when other drivers saw cars with gaping holes, now that the mechanical parts were lasting longer than the sheet metal.
      4.Today’s cars are expected to last over 150,000 miles, instead of 75,000 miles. Back when the Minor was built, It didn’t matter if the car started rusting out at 60,000 miles, if it would be retired shortly thereafter!

  9. Nevis Beeman

    The man from Canterbury Convertibles, Preston, Kent, UK. (google them) would likley provide an accurate assessment as to how feasible a rescue would be….

  10. john

    The floors don`t look that bad but the door sag makes me want to see the underside

  11. Allen Member

    Just looking at those spats… I wooden do a thing like that… ;-)

  12. John

    This car is right near the top of the “Cute” list. Please, somebody buy it and restore it. I’ll loan you my garage if you need space.

  13. Bapid

    Back in the late sixties a school friend had a minor with a nice hole in the floor. As he was not a welder he decided to manufacture his own floor out of concrete which of course made the car a lot heavier and to compensate he added a rover v8 engine and transmission. It didn’t last too long as it took a leap off the road and hit a tree.

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