Early Moggie: 1949 Morris Minor

1949 Morris Minor

When I lived in Britain in my youth, the Morris Minor, or “Moggie”, was the most common car I saw on the roads. This very early “low light” model has been brought from storage in Canada to Battle Ground, Washington, and is for sale here on eBay where it is currently at $1,500 but has not met its reserve.

Early Morris Minor

There aren’t a lot of pictures with the auction, and no closeups of the rusty areas, underhood or interior. But there are two other Minors visible in the background, so hopefully the seller is an enthusiast. These early cars have some distinctive features in addition to the low headlight positions: a side-valve engine that doesn’t even have a water pump, semaphore turn signals, and an area in the center of both bumpers that was added when a late design change widened the car by 4 inches. It will be interesting to see if this car’s reserve is low enough to make it an economical restoration. What do you think the reserve should be?


  1. MacVaugh

    There must have been a number of those imported to North America. There were two low headlight models used for target practice by hunters in my youth around 1970 in Northwest Montana. My Dad explained that lots of British cars were exported following the war because British manufacturers were allotted raw materials based upon what they exported rather than what they made for local use. I have done no research to see if this 45 year old memory was accurate then nor now :) I recall the low headlights because we were enthusiasts and all my books showed the later models, but the plates on the hulks were Morris Minor.

  2. rusty

    Looks a reasonable starting point. If wanting to put this back to original by what i can see of the seats thru the windows they look to be much later seats from a thousand as they are square shape not rounded and very thin in contour..yes those uncomfortable later morris 1000 seats…the early seats were round back and lower and they were sprung underneath instead of webbing like the 1000 seats. A compromise would be Series 2 seats that look like early seats but have a steel pan underneath with sponge…these seats are much more comfortable, never collapse and look like early seats.

    Sidevalves are the sweetest running engines of all morry engines coupled with the smoothest morry gearbox. But are definately slow though on the flat will keep up with our non highway city speeds but hills will kill it.. Gearchange and clutch is lovely when not in a hurry and becomes a pleasant experience if not pushed. This car deserves to be restored to original as it is complete and looks sound. [at least externally]. If you want faster buy a 1000. If you need a hot rod find an incomplete or rough project car.

    These are plentiful here in Australia but I know you have very few in US. Dont do what many Aussies in the 80’s did to lovely sidevalves and put a Datto motor in it. Sure these are slow but if needed there are mods to motor that improve performance including overhead valve conversions but alas are very rare although some new heads are being cast. There was a twin carby conversion put out in Australia by Monaro Motors I had a few and i believe the manifolds have been recast. These period mods are accepted as exiting period accessories.

    If you are into vintage motoring these early morries reward you with the most modern of pre 1950 vintage driving. This car will reward you with a great handling car [sportscar like in its day] driven by a smooth but slow drivetrain but still usable in city traffic but make sure you have restored your brakes. they are good brakes for the car if maintained. People used to joke how bad morry brakes were but that was purely because they had bought a worn out car.

    In original condition these cars are very capable even today if you are not in a hurry and drive in less stressed town or city enviroment. For a sportier morry buy a Morry 1000 whose extra power coupled with a sportier/quicker gearbox shift gives that Sprite/Midget feel in a family 4 seat body.

  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    They were a good car for the most part although they wouldn’t win a lot of prizes in the looks department. I’ve noticed that those who have them now aren’t all that fussy about letting them go so there must be something about them that’s beyond looks. Myself if I was going for an old British-built car, I’d look more for a Ford Pilot…

  4. John Voelcker

    This rare LHD Export 1949 Minor with the “low lights” was sold only in Canada for the 1949 model year. In 1950, Canada got cars with lights raised to the legally-mandated U.S. height. Low-light cars were never sold in the U.S., which got “high-light” cars from the start.

    Lowlight Minor survivors are very, very rare here. But in fact any first-year 1949 Minor is rare in North America. Only a dozen are listed on the Morris Minor Registry for the U.S. and Canada together, and several of those are no longer traceable.

    Here’s a piece I did on 1949 Minors with more background: http://bsccoc.ca/20150307-1949MorrisMinors.php

    The owner of this car told me the car has “rust in ALL the usual Minor places….will need a COMPLETE restoration.” Hope this one finds a good and sympathetic home.

  5. Rory

    These provided many a young guy their first set of wheels in NZ

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