Morris Minor: The Biography - Sixty Years of Britain's Favourite Car

Martin Wainwright

Morris Minor: The Biography - Sixty Years of Britain's Favourite Car

The split screen, the indicators poking up like perspex orange fingers, the notoriously rust-prone floors, the pootling exhaust note...just some of the much-loved characteristics of the Morris Minor or Morris 1000. Designed by Sir Alec Issigonis back in 1948, in a sense it was Britain's answer to the Beetle - a bulbous little creation that was also Britain's first mass-appeal car. Between then and 1972 when production belatedly ceased some 1.6 million were built. There were variants like the Morris Traveller (timber-framed estate car) and the Morris Million (painted pink), while the convertible was another popular choice. For thousands of 'newly-marrieds', or penurious students, it was their first car. It was also the kind of car in which the district nurse did her rounds.In 2008, it is 60 years old, and Martin Wainwright (who proposed to his wife over the gear stick of a Morris Minor) gives us a quirky and fascinating history of this quintessentially British car. You'll find everything from the post-70s vogue for restoring and rebuilding Morris Minors (several garages still exist to do just that), to the alarming habit of their bonnets to open at speed and entirely obscure your vision, their unreliable trunnions, and not to mention the esoteric photo exhibition some years ago devoted to abandoned Morris Minors on the West Coast of Ireland. 4.0 out of 5 based on 3 reviews
Morris Minor: The Biography - Sixty Years of Britain's Favourite Car

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Family & Lifestyle, Technology
Format Hardback
Pages 224
RRP £12.99
Date of Publication October 2008
ISBN 978-1845133788
Publisher Aurum
 

The split screen, the indicators poking up like perspex orange fingers, the notoriously rust-prone floors, the pootling exhaust note...just some of the much-loved characteristics of the Morris Minor or Morris 1000. Designed by Sir Alec Issigonis back in 1948, in a sense it was Britain's answer to the Beetle - a bulbous little creation that was also Britain's first mass-appeal car. Between then and 1972 when production belatedly ceased some 1.6 million were built. There were variants like the Morris Traveller (timber-framed estate car) and the Morris Million (painted pink), while the convertible was another popular choice. For thousands of 'newly-marrieds', or penurious students, it was their first car. It was also the kind of car in which the district nurse did her rounds.In 2008, it is 60 years old, and Martin Wainwright (who proposed to his wife over the gear stick of a Morris Minor) gives us a quirky and fascinating history of this quintessentially British car. You'll find everything from the post-70s vogue for restoring and rebuilding Morris Minors (several garages still exist to do just that), to the alarming habit of their bonnets to open at speed and entirely obscure your vision, their unreliable trunnions, and not to mention the esoteric photo exhibition some years ago devoted to abandoned Morris Minors on the West Coast of Ireland.

Reviews

The Independent

Jay Merrick

Wainwright's recollections are seamed with chunks of the car's history. He is pathological in pursuit of even the most trifling detail and there hangs over this strange romance something of the pathos of the East Anglian (as opposed to Ford Anglian) wanderings of W G Sebald... Wainwright's unerringly common touch roots the car's supposedly pathetic qualities in a book that is, ultimately, a celebration of cultural detail, memory, obsession, and of lives lived by choice in the slow, humane lane.

01/12/2008

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The Daily Mail

Carla McKay

Wainwright, who is deeply in love with his subject, meets first, second and third generation owners in his research for this quirky little history, and visits a tumbledown factory in Sri Lanka which to this day turns out new MM body shells... Packed with riveting MM information and anecdotes, this is the story of a remarkable product of British engineering, a gripping sliver of social history and, above all, a love story.

11/11/2008

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The Guardian

Kathryn Hughes

In this gentle potter of a book, Wainright tracks down as many of the surviving Minors as is practical. He chases them up suburban drives and finds them languishing under tarpaulins on the Irish coast. Elsewhere we watch as a caravanserai of Minors climbs wheezily up the Yorkshire Dales for a cancer charity rally, and spot one chuntering along a country lane to deliver a bride to the church on time. Wainwright even goes in search of the semi-mythical Morris Million, 349 of which were produced to commemorate the moment in 1960 when the millionth car rolled off the assembly line. Only 63 "Millions" survive today, each conspicuous by its limited edition shade known within the Minor community as "purple vomit".

06/12/2008

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