The Morris Minor Traveller made its debut at the Earls Court Motor Show in October 1953 with customer deliveries commencing early the following year. Based on the Minor 11 model utilising the 803CC overhead valve ‘A’ series engine adopted from the Austin A30, replacing the 918cc side-valve engine from the earlier MM series.
The car was characterised by its split screen configuration, ‘cheese-grater’ front grille and gold coloured dashboard with instrumentation behind the steering wheel. In October 1954, just twelve months after launch, the front grille was replaced, featuring horizontal bars and the dashboard redesigned, placing the instrumentation centrally.
This particular Traveller was first registered in Stockton on the 13th October 1954 and would be one of the very last ‘cheese grater’ models delivered. With a production run of just twelve months and only seven ’54 models existing today, this really is quite a rarity. We suspect that it was ordered as a Deluxe model, a £23 option featuring leather seat facings, Smiths heater, passenger sun visor and front bumper over riders.
During the first 50 years, the car was kept by four owners in total, the fifth owner keeping the car for almost fourteen years during which time it was assigned to occasional film work, most notably appearing in Miss Marple’s Sleeping Murder TV episode. In 2019, the last owner, a highly skilled Vintage Car restorer of over 40 years treated the car to a comprehensive restoration which took almost two years to complete.
Reassuringly, the complete Ash wood frame was replaced during the restoration and a new 1098cc engine fitted with lead-free compatibility and Duplex timing chain. The engine has barely covered 200 miles since replacement and is silky smooth, the ‘burping’ exhaust note is further exaggerated by the fitment of a stainless steel exhaust system. The semaphore indicators are functioning correctly and have been complimented by rear indicators more suited for modern day driving.
There is an extensive parts list and ‘before and after’ A5 picture album with the car and a DVD featuring the Traveller in Sleeping Murder. For complete peace of mind we shall be conducting a new MOT prior to delivery.
The pictures paint a thousand words and to find another ’54 Traveller in this condition and price point would be a very difficult task.