Driven Daily! 1961 Morris Minor 4X4

What happens when you combine a Morris Minor with a Suzuki Samurai? Ta-Da, this! The seller refers to it this way, “Suzuki reliability with ’60s English car charm!” You have to appreciate the sense of automotive imagination that could create the likes of a Japanese powered, vintage British 4X4. This “hybrid” is located in Bend, Oregon and is available, here on craigslist for $12,500.

The Morris Minor was a storied British automobile model, produced between the years of 1948 and 1971. Total output reached 1.3 M copies with body styles available in two and four-door sedans, a convertible, and a two-door station wagon. I have a friend that had a ’66 wagon for a number of years and I marveled at the quality of the woodwork. I think what I found most intriguing about his wagon was the fact that genuine wood trim was still being used by Morris long after domestic brands had abandoned any use of the cellulose-based material.

The seller does not state which body style was the source for this conversion but he does state that the cargo bed was custom made. The bodywork appears to have been expertly facilitated though there is a problem with failing clearcoat and lifting skim filler. Nevertheless, this diminutive off-roader presents a cool, rugged persona. The shade of green chosen is perfect (yes, I like green) and the five-slot wheels, reminiscent of a Chevrolet rally-wheel, cap off the exterior perfectly.

The seller states that a Samurai chassis, axles, and engine/transmission, utilizing the Suzuki 1.6 liter, four-cylinder engine, has served as the underpinnings and powertrain for this 4X4. The last bit of craziness that I saw involving a Suzuki Samari was a Roadkill episode where Freiberger and Dulcich squeezed a Mopar 440 V8 into a junkyard sourced Samurai, a bit more adventurous than the 95 HP that the 1.6 in this Morris will kick out. The seller claims, “80 mph and 35 mpg. 4wd is great in the snow”. The seller also mentions that in the last 5,000 miles, he has replaced the timing belt, water pump, clutch, and fuel tank/pump.

To add to the charm, this 4X4 is a right-hand driver! The interior is simple and clean, though modernized with modern bucket seats. Nothing appears out of sorts though the seller indicates that the driver’s seat is showing some wear – not surprising as this Morris is a daily driver with 155K miles on its clock. Check out that billet gear shift lever!

No doubt about it, this Morris/Suzuki is totally unique. The issues with the cosmetics are minor – no pun intended and can be easily remedied. It looks like a lot of fun, especially for off-road escapades though I’m not too certain about its use as a daily driver. Buy this Morris and you’re likely to have the only one. While neither a Morris Minor nor a Suzuki Samurai are particularly exciting, the intersection of the two is something to consider, don’t you think?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Oh, you don’t want to know what I think. In case you do, a so-so find, love the Morris pickup part, but a poorer choice for a drivetrain, I doubt they could have used. I’ve spoke before of a friend that bought a Samari new, and went through 2 motors( in like 50K miles, Suzuki failed to give her a 3rd), I’d have to think a stock Morris engine grafted in somehow would be better. The Samari chassis probably fit the Morris the best, but any small 4×4 would work. Cool half find.

    Like 4
    • 4spdBernie Member

      half-find, lol

      Like 3
    • Mike

      Had an 84 Sam. Sold with 175000 miles. Besides a clutch water pump and timing belt. Zero problems.

      Like 4
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    The Morris Minor did come in pickup form. Might be a custom bed but they used a Morris pickup bed as a base. Don’t think they built a press to make the tailgate do you? Got a friend doing a full rebuild of a left hand drive pickup as we speak but he’s using a Spridget 1275 engine and a later model transmission and disc brakes to keep it rolling. With a 3.9 rear gear it should be a great highway crusier with adequate power. It also has the frames for the canvass bed top. Should be cool. I agree on the drivetrain choice comment but this one is still a neat rig.

    Like 4
    • nlpnt

      There was a factory pickup but it wasn’t a stepside. It actually had bed sides wider than the cab section.

      • Mike

        Right you are – I think this looks better than the original. (just my opinion)

        Like 5
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    Howard… Forgot to mention the drive train parts mentioned above are all bolt ins. We use the original Morris quarter ton pickup 4.55 rear gear in our autocross car. It will only go about 80 mph but gets there real fast.

    Like 3
  4. Vegaman Dan

    I happen to like the Suzuki choice. Taken care of, these are very healthy rigs and actually desirable off road due to their short wheelbase, drive train, and ability to get places. No, it’s not a V8, but then you don’t need that in a properly geared setup.

    I’d happily drive it.

    Like 7
  5. Mike

    I think the total Minor production was closer to 1.5 million.
    The ash timber used on the wagon (Traveller) is actually a structural part of the car!
    They also made a “panel van”.

    Like 1
  6. nlpnt

    I think those are Chevy Citation wheels. First thing I’d do is paint them and the grille slats white.

  7. Steve Clinton

    I love cars with personality, and this certainly applies. Lovin’ the ‘deer in the headlights’ front end. If I had an extra $12,500 I’d snap it up, and be the only one in town (or the world?) with this little surf-mobile!

    Like 1
  8. Steve Clinton

    (what is it with the ridiculously slooooow uploads on barn finds???)

    Like 2
  9. Tin Box

    A friend of mine built this abt 10 / 15 yrs ago in bc. Started with the longer cab from a traveller to get more interior room – the pickup rear cap bolts on – made the box from scratch including the pressed tailgate, because he didn’t like the oddball stock box.
    Sourced a rhd samauri chassis because all mm’s look better in rhd – more ‘English’
    It was a vehicle built to be used, enjoyed, and to actually go off road while having some character.
    And the engines, if actually cared for and serviced, are bulletproof.

    Like 6
    • Russell

      I contacted the seller about this truck a week ago. He confirmed it was built in BC and sent a few extra pictures. The center gauge is custom built with kph speedo, temp, fuel, and all warning lights, etc. Very cool truck, but needs attention on the lifting and cracking skin coat right away.

      Like 1
  10. Nic

    The same Suzuki set up was/is on CL in S F,CA off & on.
    Looking for $20 K + as I recall.
    Used the Traveler’s longer body . The pickup & van bodied Utes had the shorter cabs from the 4 door saloons, Traveler

  11. Jerry Minick

    I bought a new Suzuki Samurai in 1986 that burned up it’s transmission in about 50k miles and the engine was toast at 85k. Only vehicle I ever bought, new or used that had to have the engine and transmission replaced.

  12. Michael n.

    I bought my wife’s father’s 1961 Morris Minor pickup that he restored they bought it new in California I think I gave him $5,000 and drove it for 5 years as a daily driver, I should have dropped A small block Chevy or a Subaru whoever gets this little truck will enjoy it for years.

    Like 1
  13. chrlsful

    a Brit copy of usa, copy of a Brit w/Japanese thrown in. I’d never think it but it hits the right spots (single thickness box, step side, small, 4WD, nice style ie grill, fenders, hood, cab). I’d just switch the steer. wheel over to save the right hand seat/have a nice driver’s !
    8^ 0

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