This post is about my own Morris Minor upgrades to ELB503J

ELB503J was my first introduction to the world of Morris Minors.

I bought the car for £250 with a short MOT (annual safety test), in 1989.

I was a teenager in 1989, and most of my freinds wanted Hot Hatches, such as the XR3I or Peugeot 205 GTi.

So why a Morris Minor?

Well I have an early memory of seeing a green one, when leaving Playschool (like a Kindergarten).

It wasnt love at first site, as I thought they looked odd.

Even as a young teenager I couldnt understand why people were still driving them in the 1980’s.

So how did I come to buy one you may well ask.

Did I have a bump on the head.

Was the sweet music of that exhaust sound, intoxicating.

The truth is my first car was a Mini!

A 1973 Mini Clubman Estate no less.

Lets just say in the first six months of ownership, I got plenty of mechancal maintenance practice.

Whilst the Mini was great fun to drive, I soon became bored with it.

But what does the Mini have in common with the Morris Minor.

Well actually quite a bit.

First off, they were both designed by the same chap.

The great and talented car designer Alex Issigonis.

Secondly they shared the same engine.

Well the last statement is mostly true.

The Mini which was launched in 1959, had the famous ‘A Series’ petrol engine.

The Morris Minor also had the ‘A Series’ engine from 1953.

Prior to 1953 the Minor had a 918cc sidevalve engine.

This sidevalve engine was a pre-war design, and not that powerful.

Following the merger of the Austin & Morris car companies in 1952, the Austin ‘A Series’ engine was available to Morris.

Initially the ‘A Series’ engine fitted to the Morris Minor, was 803cc.

The keen eyed among you dear readers will have noticed its smaller than the sidevalve engine it replaced.

Ah yes, but the new 803cc engine was OHV, not sidevalve.

OHV stands for Over Head Valve, and was pretty cool and modern in 1952.

It also delivered more power, which made the car faster, and the buying public happier.

Right then lets try and navigate back to the blog posts title, namely Morris Minor Upgrades.

The Morris Minor became the Morris 1000 in 1956.

This is when they fitted a ‘massive’ 948cc engine.

An even bigger engine was fitted in 1962, which was 1098cc.

Initial Tweaks

Driving my newly purchased Minor home, it soon became apparent that it was slow.

I managed to get it up to 50MPH eventually, but wasnt satisfied.

My initial tweaks included adjusting the fuel / air ratio.

This was achieved by using a special see through spark plug, which allowed you to inside the engine.

Being able to see inside the engine when it was running, allowed you to tweak the combustion efficiency.

After some experimentation, the car accelerated better, and could achieve over 70MPH.

Morris Minor upgrades have always been popular, and parts easy to come by.

Having read a library book on tuning the A Series engine, by David Vizard, I was ready for the next step.


Published by Craig Miles

Craig Miles

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