Cold Start: Minor Threat

Cs Minor

There’s so much to like here: the use of the word “mighty” when talking about a nearly half-minute zero to 60 time, the suggestion that whatever you drove before needed a full minute to get to 60, the strange perspective of that drawing, which makes the wheels look tiny and the headlights look huge. Everything about this works just right. No notes.

My friend in LA just took ownership of a Morris Minor project, and I’m so excited to see it up and running. These are such charming little proper puttering cars. Also, I think they’re one of that class of car where the second-generation redesign actually made the car look significantly better. Remember, the Minor started life with its headlights down low as the Morris Minor MM from 1948 and in 1953 the Series II moved them up into the fenders:

Cs Minor2Personally, I think the higher-headlight version has a much more appealing face, even if the double chrome trim around the grille is kind of strange. The old one reminds me of a proboscis monkey for some reason that the newer one doesn’t even though that central hood lump is unchanged.

What do you think? Is it just me?

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47 Responses

  1. I think Jason needs to draw a Mighty Changli illustration in the same style as this Morris ad, touting its blistering 28-second 0-25 time. “Now you move down(hill) TWICE AS FAST!”

  2. Still holding out for a Traveller.

    That said, even a regular Minor saloon would do, especially if I could give it front discs and a built 1275. Fast, these were not. They were, however, fun to drive and easy on fuel.

    The late, high-headlight versions are definitely prettier, IMO.

    1. Not a 1st gen but a later (around 1960) version, Nic Mann used to hillclimb a Morris Minor with a turbocharged Rover V8, with nitrous injection which he drove to the hill, adjusted the settings, bolted on the slicks which he carried in the back, and usually won his saloon car class. Absolute hero and a bonkers car.

  3. Given that the average Morris Minor buyer was probably upgrading their personal transport solution from either a pre-war Austin7 or a bicycle then the “twice as fast” claim is not so ridiculous.

  4. This makes me wonder how long we generally take to get from 0-60 in real world driving? I have never thought about it unless I was on straight empty road just trying to see what my car would do. I was a teenager then though. I think it’s safe to say no one really needs a car to do it in 3 or even 6 seconds despite what manufactures want us to think. Sure, that’s fun, but not really practical for real driving.

    1. Theoretically, my Corvair will hit 60 in maybe 14 seconds, but, with everyone having their phones in their laps at red lights and whatnot, I will very often be a block ahead before the car behind me even starts moving through the intersection, and that’s just driving pretty normally. Most people’s minds are pretty out of it in traffic. I mean, Teslas have supercar-beating performance, and most of the ones I see on the Interstate seem to dawdle along in the right lane at 10 under the limit

  5. Well, we are talking about England here, which is a pretty small island. By the time you get up to 60, you’re probably about to run out of England and have to stop before you go swimming.

  6. That second line of chrome looks like a milk mustache.

    Did some research on the vehicle I’ve owned over the years for their 0-60 times (all automatics):

    1984 Buick Century (V6): 11.1

    1986 Cutlass Ciera (Iron Puke 4 cyl): 15.3

    1988 Cutlass Calais (Quad 4 “regular”): 8.8

    1995 Chevy Cavalier (2.2l): 10.1

    1999 Chevy Tracker (4cyl): 8.4

    2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara (v6): 8.6

    2012 GMC Acadia: 7.1

    2017 Chevy Volt: 7.5

    Going from memory, no way did I think my Chevy Tracker was quicker off the line than the Calais. And the Acadia makes quite a bit more noise to beat its garage mate Volt.

    1. Interesting idea, let’s see for me:

      1984 Honda Civic (1.3l, 5-speed manual) 12
      1998 Ford Escort ZX2 (5-speed manual) 7.4
      2009 Toyota Matrix XR (5-speed manual) 8
      2013 Hyundai Elantra GT (6-speed manual) 8.9
      2018 Hyundai Elantra GT (6-speed automatic) 8

      This is from the google. I could have swore the 2013 was faster – it certainly felt faster – but for the most part I sure have kept everything in the same rough speed range huh?

  7. As a resident of Alabama and a member of the Dorset Chapter MMOC I applaud today’s entry!
    There are currently two in my garage..a 1959 Tourer and a 1968 Traveller.

    The Tourer is an export LHD model purchased new in San Diego by the woman from whom I bought it last year. It’s a complete tear down restoration project but every time I look at the shiny factory paint in the sills I remind myself that it’s worth it.
    The Traveller I bought from a Facebook ad for £800 ($1,200) and had sent over. Thanks to a dear friend in Ringwood a lot was done to it there before shipping. New wood..bottom end rebuild of the 1098..welding..so on..so forth.

    They are a joy to drive. A return to simple times. Yes – not fast – but…pleasant. They’re comfortable for for a full size person, they handle very well and they make people smile. What more could you ask?

    1. Lew gets it: they are a (very) basic car-and engaging to drive! I urge anyone who gets a chance to drive one. People smile and wave and they’re just so fun that you won’t even care it take a 1/2 minute to get to 60. The ‘59 convertible I looked after couldn’t have weighed 1500lbs and was almost nimble. I was always smiling while driving, and that’s what being a gearhead (wait: properly a petrolhead) is all about, no?

  8. My dad had a Minor for several years. It was originally a saloon, but the previous owner had it converted to a tourer. My dad bought it mostly restored already and he loved to drive it around town. Had to sell it when they moved out of country. It was a fun little car.

    Also, that ad at the top looks like it’s straight out of A-ha’s Take On Me video.

    1. I can vouch for that 0-60 time. My dad bought a new Morris Minor 1000 in 1960 (the “high headlight” model.) It was fun – once it got moving. He loved driving from the San Fernando Valley to Hollywood via Cahuenga Drive at well over the posted speed limit. The Morris served us well until he decided to buy a Lincoln Continental – which was a dramatic switch, to say the least.

    2. I don’t think my Dad’s 1971 VW Bus could have managed a 28-second 0-60 time, except on a fairly steep downhill — and even then, only if the wind conditions were favorable.

      One time on the big-ass hill coming out of Cincinnati on I71 & 75 south, I had to stop at the bottom due to construction and traffic. When we got moving again, I couldn’t get it above second gear. We actually got passed by a loaded cement truck with its flashers on. Highway humiliation, Type 2 style.

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