Although not actually announced until Britain staged its first postwar Motor Show at Earls Court in October 1948, development of the Morris Minor Series MM had begun during the darkest days of World War Two.
A prototype car — named Mosquito — which, apart from being somewhat narrow bore a remarkable resemblance to the eventual Minor of 1948, first ran in 1943.
The Mosquito/Minor was almost wholly the brainchild of Alec Issigonis, a gifted engineer who had worked for Morris since before the war.
Issigonis was to become world-famous many years later as the creator of the Mini for BMC.
Nuffield's new Minor would have been an all-new post-war product if the company had allowed a brand-new engine to be chosen.
In the end, this very modern machine was lumbered with the ancient and under-powered side valve four of the Morris 8 Series E, which had its roots in the early 1930s. Issigonis was reportedly very much against fitting this dated engine in the Minor.
The engine had already been considerably updated, by the adoption of a counterbalanced crankshaft and replaceable shell bearings, for the Morris 8 Series E of 1939, although it was still without a water pump and oil filter in its latest application.
In the prevailing atmosphere of austerity of the immediate post-war years, the Morris Minor certainly continued the theme, with the original models available being only two-door saloons and convertibles, with the four-door saloon not released until 1950.
At a late stage in the Minor’s development, the body was widened and featured small, low-mounted headlamps on each side of the grille.