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Weekend Edition Quick Hit – A 1969 Austin Morris Traveller with a Heart Transplant…

Jim Brennan February 7, 2015 For Sale, Weekend Edition 23 Comments

1969 Austin Morris Traveller wFiat 1800cc twin cam BRILLIANT FUN! - Google Chrome 272015 14242 PM.bmp

Welcome to the Weekend Edition, and once again I am here in New England under the threat of more snow, while places in the mid-west (Like Denver for example) have been basking in record setting mild temperatures. Bloody Hell… Anyway, I thought I would start with this gem… This is a 1969 Austin Morris Traveller with the infamous Wood Panels. Did you know they continued to make these right up to 1972? That is truly amazing. But this car has a surprise lurking under the bonnet… but you will have to make the jump to find out what…


1969 Austin Morris Traveller wFiat 1800cc twin cam BRILLIANT FUN! - Google Chrome 272015 14324 PM.bmp

The engine that was originally powering this car would have been the 1,098 cc A-series inline-four that produced a whopping 48HP by this time, and would have powered this retro woody up to an indicated 75 MPH top speed. However, this particular Traveller received an engine upgrade in the form of a Fiat 1800 cc Twin Cam unit from a 124, together with a 5-speed manual transmission. I will let the entire ad speak for itself:

1969 Austin Morris Traveller wFiat 1800cc twin cam BRILLIANT FUN! - Google Chrome 272015 14312 PM.bmp

The Morris Minor was released to critical acclaim at the Earls Court Motor Show in 1948. Designed under the leadership of Alec Issigonis of Mini fame, more than 1.3 million were manufactured between 1948 and 1972. Initially available as a two-door sedan and convertible, the hugely successful car’s range was subsequently expanded to include a four-door saloon, panel van, pick-up truck, and a wood-framed station wagon, or estate, the Traveller.

1969 Austin Morris Traveller wFiat 1800cc twin cam BRILLIANT FUN! - Google Chrome 272015 14344 PM.bmp

The Traveller featured an external wooden structural frame, in ash, for the rear bodywork, with two side-hinged rear doors. The frame was varnished rather than painted and a highly visible feature of the body style, similar to the American “Woodie” from most of the U.S. manufacturers.

1969 Austin Morris Traveller wFiat 1800cc twin cam BRILLIANT FUN! - Google Chrome 272015 14431 PM.bmp

The car offered here is a bit of a sleeper, however. The A-series 1098cc engine has been replaced with an 1800cc twin-cam engine from a Fiat 124, together with the 5-speed manual gearbox. In standard trim, the Traveller could boast 48bhp. Now, this diminutive British icon produces 116 bhp, propelling the car with far more modern performance figures. It’s a blast and sounds the part too!

1969 Austin Morris Traveller wFiat 1800cc twin cam BRILLIANT FUN! - Google Chrome 272015 14426 PM.bmp

The professionally performed engine swap was undertaken several years ago, with great attention to detail, including Morris-badged cam covers. The exhaust is routed through a twin box system to deliver a nice, throaty sound, and disc brakes at all 4 corners are served by a booster for modern stopping power. Suspension upgrades include converted tube shocks and thick front and rear sway bars for great handling. The build included a full rewire of the electrical system with modern style fuse and relay panel, a great improvement over the original Lucas system.

1969 Austin Morris Traveller wFiat 1800cc twin cam BRILLIANT FUN! - Google Chrome 272015 14417 PM.bmp

The engine starts easily, idles well and has great responsive power. The clutch is excellent, and the car shifts well, though 3rd gear synchro is a little weak. Brakes, suspension and steering are great. The wheels are scuff-free and shod with good tires with plenty of tread remaining. To ready the car for sale, it has just been fully serviced and a new battery installed.

1969 Austin Morris Traveller wFiat 1800cc twin cam BRILLIANT FUN! - Google Chrome 272015 14409 PM.bmp

The interior is in good condition. The freshly restored reclining bucket seats are a departure from the original, as is the Mountney steering wheel. A full array of gauges, including ammeter, tachometer, and oil and water temperature, have been nicely installed behind the steering wheel, complimenting the center speedometer. The pedals are top-hung – a very nice upgrade — and the green light on the end of the indicator stalk is fully functional. The original door panels are in good condition, as is the rear seat. The carpet is in perfectly reasonable condition.

1969 Austin Morris Traveller wFiat 1800cc twin cam BRILLIANT FUN! - Google Chrome 272015 14355 PM.bmp

Paint and body on the car are fair to good. The all-important wood is in good, solid condition. Subject to an older repaint, it is showing wear, though the finish is consistent. There is no evidence of accident damage or repair. The body is generally rust-free, but the bottom of the door’s outer surface is showing some rust bubbling through. The floors, sills, and rear wheel tubs are solid as well as all other panels. There is rust in the rear valance, though it looks to be an easy repair. It could be a rolling restoration — drive it as is, or restore it as you go.

1969 Austin Morris Traveller wFiat 1800cc twin cam BRILLIANT FUN! - Google Chrome 272015 14400 PM.bmp

All in all, this is a fantastically fun bit of iconic British design with the heart of an Italian sportscar. How can that not be a blast to own and drive. It gets waves and appreciation everywhere it goes, with a little surprise under the hood.

1969 Austin Morris Traveller wFiat 1800cc twin cam BRILLIANT FUN! - Google Chrome 272015 14320 PM.bmp

Asking price for this very interesting car is $13,900, obo. I really can’t add anything else other than say that’s not out of line, so if you go to have something like this, take a look at the Craigslist Ad here, and tell me what you think about it…

1969 Austin Morris Traveller wFiat 1800cc twin cam BRILLIANT FUN! - Google Chrome 272015 14242 PM.bmp

    • mac350

      I have a feeling you're going to use this gif a lot.

  • stigshift

    I wonder if the Fiat engine will cause the car to rust much quicker?

    • spotty

      they can rust quicker ???????

      • stigshift

        Just parking a Fiat nearby has been scientifically proven to make even Volvos rust. And I do love Fiats anyway…

    • Alcology

      This car will definitely BE quicker while it rusts.

  • Van_Sarockin

    Great idea. Tidy execution The rust monster makes it sound like something to flee from rapidly.

  • So, uhmm… is it RWD now?

    • stigshift

      It always was.

    • Giannibu

      Minors were always RWD, not to be confused with the Mini.

  • spotty

    this was actually quite a common conversion in england, people would wait for their fiat to finally dissolve, sweep the brown flaky deposits out of the garage and roll a moggy minor over the top of the engine and suspension. fiats weren't worth the trouble of trying to save (pushing $#!t uphill in a country where salting of the roads is considered a good idea), whereas the english always loved their morries and consequently spares availability has never been a problem. you can even still get full traveller 'woody' replacement bits (though i'm sure they rust out in time too)
    the same was done to an awful lot of Ladas too (but i still wouldn't have one)

  • Rover_1

    It's important to note that the wood doesn't rust.

    But it does rot.

    The good news is that you can fix it with out knowing how to weld.

    With the help of these guys. http://www.morriswoodwork.co.uk/spares-wood.html

    <img src="http://www.morriswoodwork.co.uk/images/diagwood.gif"width="600"&gt;

    And of course Minis were available with this body construction. This is an original Mini Countryman, from where the current bloated version derives only it's name. I find this one much more desirable.

    <img src="http://www.morriswoodwork.co.uk/images/mini2.jpg"width="600"&gt;

    • spotty

      ^^^^^^^^^^^^
      if anyone can get wood to rust, it's the english

      incidentally, my uncle had one of those mini's when i was a kid, him and aunty Cath in the front and my 4 cousins rolling round in the back, and shock horror , not one of them was killed to death even once due to lack of approved child restraint devices

    • John V

      The crucial difference here is that the wood on the Mini was pasted onto a metal-bodied estate car, whereas on the Minor it was structural. Remove the rear wood-framed portion of a Minor, and you've got a chassis-cab. But the Mini estate came both with and without wood–it's strictly an applique (albeit of genuine ash).

  • Owing to the high wood content of these they are classified as motorised wardrobes and therefore exempt from licensing.

    Phakt.

  • John V

    Also, there is NO SUCH THING as an "Austin Morris Traveller"–that's like saying a "Ford Mercury Mustang".

    This is a car Morris Minor Traveller, not to be confused with the Morris Mini-Minor Traveller shown above in the Mini photo.

    Austin and Morris were owned by the same company, but the Minor was only ever a Morris (except for a small number of Minor LCVs sold under the Austin badge for a couple of years at the end of the run).

  • dukeisduke

    What are those steelies? They remind me of early Honda Accord, or late '70s or early '80s Civic.

  • John V

    I'm betting they're 13-inch late Sixties/mid Seventies Spridget wheels, which are some of the few that fit the Minor's 4-inch bolt pattern. (Vega wheels used to be very popular in the Eighties, but … ummmmm … find me a spare set of Vega wheels lately!)

  • mac350

    Let's see…If I look at from a different angle…errrr…maybe if I squint a little…no…not really…got nothing.

  • Let's see trade Lucas electrics for Fiat engine, don't know where the reliability isue was solved.





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