History provided by the car owner, Joan Dallas.
My love affair with my Morris Minor Traveller began while living outside London during my husband’s military assignment.
I had fallen in love with my friend’s Morris Minor convertible with its curved bonnet, and wings. Its small size (86 inches) would also be perfect for maneuvering down narrow roads, and parking. Plentiful parts, repair specialists, and an outstanding Owners Club added to its appeal.
We decided to attend the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Morris Minor being held at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire figuring this would be a terrific opportunity to see lots of Morris Minors, talk to their owners and learn more about these cars. Every owner we spoke with had wonderful stories about their Minors, and most were in regular, if not daily use. My son Benjamin and I became quite taken with the ash-framed Traveller wagon. I purchased and became the 7th owner of my 1966 Almond Green Traveller at the show.
A previous owner had a Morris Minor repair specialist carry out “accepted practice” engine and suspension modifications. My Morris now had a 1.3 Morris Marina Engine and improved suspension incorporating telescopic shocks, 13-inch Marina wheels, and servo assisted front disc brakes. Owners who desired additional performance from their Minors had been carrying out various modifications since the 1950s.
Following the advice of our Morris Minor repair shop in Deptford, London, we replaced the original Morris 4-speed gearbox with a Ford Sierra 5-speed gearbox. It would be better suited for the modified engine and the longer distances and sustained speeds we would return to in America.
The Traveller model was introduced to the Morris Minor range in 1953. The Traveller’s front-end assembly and floor pan was based on the existing saloon and convertible models. A completely new arrangement occurred behind the B-post. The remaining panels that make up the wagon are comprised of structural ash side-frames inset with aluminum panels and an aluminum rear roof bolted to the front- end assembly. The ash-framed rear doors also have aluminum panels. Four roof rails are attached to the cant rails on the side frames. They provide additional support to the rear roof section, as well as lateral support. The rear roof section is nailed to the side-frames and the drip rail is then attached with another row of nails. Then part of the drip rail, which is also aluminum, is carefully bent to cover the nails and then painted the body color. The rear wings are formed from a single piece of steel made specifically for the Traveller. Piping is then attached to the jointed wheel arch on the side-frame before the wings are attached. Pilot holes must be drilled to prevent splitting any portion of the ash-frame by a nail, screw, or bolt. The ash side-frames must be treated with wood preservative prior to putting the frames together. The frames are then varnished with multiple coats of a Marine grade varnish with UV protection, sanding between each coat.
When the time came for the wood to be replaced on my Traveller I knew this would be an extensive job, and typically there is a lot of rust hiding behind those frames. My car was no exception.
I feel very fortunate to have had Vintage Restorations Ltd. carry out my “partial” restoration. They are a group of highly talented craftsmen and my “like new” British classic is the result of those skills.
I have since had Vintage Restorations Ltd. install an anti-roll bar that has noticeably improved the handling of my car. Additionally, they’ve recently installed a Lucas Hazard Warning Light Kit which functions through the turn signal lights—a terrific safety improvement.