John Webber
John Webber
12/14/17 2:50 p.m.

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Participants in the 2006 Hot Rod Power Tour were amazed to find a little British Morris Minor Traveller hidden among the lead sleds and ratrods. As the weeklong tour progressed through brutal summer heat, those observers turned downright envious: The little woody swallowed the interstate at 75 mph, cruise control on, driver and passenger relaxing in air-conditioned comfort as they enjoyed their favorite tunes on a custom sound system. Maybe the 51-year-old economy jitney didn’t vie for top honors at the drag strip or on the dyno, but it drew admiring crowds at every stop. Some rodders—despite the lure of more exotic, big-bucks creations—adopted the Morris as an unofficial mascot. After the tour, when the Traveller finally wandered back to its South Carolina home, it had averaged more than 33 miles per gallon over the 3122-mile trip. Take that, big blocks. To prove this adventure was no fluke, the next year the Traveller made a successful round trip to the British Invasion in Stowe, Vermont. And last fall—repaired and improved after an unfortunate encounter with a flatbed truck—the well-traveled Traveller again made the long trek to Stowe. This time, accessorized with a roof rack loaded with vintage sporting equipment, it pulled a wood-bodied, one-wheeled Allstate utility trailer. Once in Vermont, the intrepid Traveller conquered twisty roads, mountain inclines and sheets of rain. The car wowed crowds and gained celebrity status as participants dubbed it “the talk of the show.” On this trip, the Morris covered 2500 miles with zero problems, including one 750-mile day. It delivered between 33 and 35 mpg. Is there anything this wonder woody can’t do? Is there more to this varnished wagon than meets the eye? As it turns out, some of the car’s best traits are hidden from view. Under its modest Morris skin lies an engineering marvel—elegantly fabricated, tidily packaged and road tested. The body might not be an old-school staple, but this Morris’s engine certainly is: Toyota’s twin-cam 4A-GE.

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frenchyd
frenchyd Dork
12/14/17 3:35 p.m.

I’ve loved Travellers since I was a young boy. In fact I owned one at age 16.  I paid only $15 for it but had to give the newish battery to the owners to get it that cheap.  

I bought it not running and without a battery so I had a buddy tow me home.  Brakes? I don’t need no brakes I’ll just put it in gear and let the compression stop me.  

Did you know that a car with a generator will run without a battery?  I didn’t.  But apparently they do because about 4 stops later I couldn’t stop when the engine started. ( I’d left the key in the on position)  so I ran into my buddies pickup truck. Luckily he had a big wooden timber as a rear bumper and it was bumper height of a Morris Minor. 

That was just the beginning of my adventures with that Woodie.  Eventually we blew up the old 948 throwing a rod out the side of the block.  Miles from home in the early hours of the morning I just kept driving on the freeway at reduced rpm but throttle flat to the floor.  I’d love to tell you it got me home but it lacked a block and a half when it finally ground to a halt.  

The replacement engine was out of a Desoto Hemi  red ram and no it wasn’t tidy.  I’ve since owned 5 others but would dearly love to rescue one more

 

slantvaliant
slantvaliant UltraDork
12/14/17 3:41 p.m.

I saw this Morris in 2013 at the Power Tour.  It was wearing Tweels.  Really cool car.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
12/14/17 3:49 p.m.

Where did they get Tweels?  I didn't think those were actually available for sale.

Hal
Hal UltraDork
12/14/17 7:29 p.m.

I would love to have a Morris Minor 1000 again.  Only this time it would have a supercharged Zetec instead of a built 1275.

MotorsportsGordon
MotorsportsGordon New Reader
12/14/17 7:53 p.m.

That’s a neat build and probably goes pretty good. That being a lot of engines in a minor would make it a rocket compared to stock lol.

Dirtydog
Dirtydog Reader
12/15/17 8:19 a.m.

Very nice ride.  Always had a strange fascination for offbeat vehicles.  This particular Woody gives me a.....well you know!

spitfirebill
spitfirebill UltimaDork
12/15/17 10:11 a.m.

That car has been to our British car show at Furman a few times.  It is extremely well done.     

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