Date:July 04, 2013

Breathing Life Back into a Morris Minor Traveller

There’s no doubt that the Morris Minor Traveller is an all-time classic.

When something like that comes into the garage at White’s Bodyworks, we all gather around and purr with delight. There’s something quintessentially British about this car that evokes memories of a bygone age, trips to the seaside, open roads and fresh air.

Through the 50s, 60s and 70s the Morris Minor Traveller was one of the most popular cars on British roads. With its distinctive square back and wood frame it was often used as a light commercial vehicle, particularly by the GPO, as the Royal Mail was then known. The Moggie or Morrie as it is lovingly tagged is perhaps one of the most regularly restored classic cars in the UK. And it’s not just here that it is popular – you can find them regularly on the streets of India and Australasia.

You can see why this car has attracted so many dedicated enthusiasts who want to collect it and drive it out on the road. They regularly gather together at vintage car shows and rallies from Brighton to Leicester and Leeds.
It’s a classic car that elicits a certain amount of emotion and pride.

That’s why when this particular Morris Minor Traveller came to us, we were more than happy to put our considerable expertise to work. In our opinion, classic cars shouldn’t be left rusting away in some garage or yard if it can be helped. They need the right care and expert attention, but they can be saved.

In short, they need restoring to former glory.

We’ve done it in the past with such classics as Riley One-Point-Five and Volvo P1800 to name just a few that we’ve brought back to life recently. It was now time to roll up our sleeves and get down to the real work and get this baby back on the road.

How the Car Came to White’s Bodyworks

Wheeler Dealers originally gave us the job of restoring this classic. Fans of the programme will know that they take classic cars and restore them to their former glory and we have been honoured to work for them in the past.

The car came to us half stripped down, which had been carried out by another classic car enthusiast Edd China. For those of you who don’t know, Edd is a one in a million sort of guy who holds the Guinness World Record for largest motorised shopping cart and the fastest toilet as well as working on Wheeler Dealers as a presenter.

Restoring the Morris Minor Traveller

When we got the car down at White’s Bodyworks, we had to finish the strip down by removing the front doors and all its components, front wings, bonnet, front lights, everything we could until we had just the shell left. The reason this was done was because we needed to inspect it for rust and damage.

Once the Morris Minor Traveller was fully stripped down, we gave all the panels and certain key areas of the car a good sandblast. This is done to remove any rust and paint, so it’ll be clean and a good key for priming.

Some of the panels Wheeler Dealers had sourced for us were second-hand, a little rusty and had many layers of paint on them, so they all had to be sandblasted as well, right back to the bare metal, removing any surface rust as well as various layers of paint.

Let’s face it, this particular Morris Minor Traveller was extremely rusty. It led to a full restoration, where we had to cut off, line up and weld in most of the panels including a complete rear floor, both rear arches, rear panels, and both A posts.

The rear arches, floor and rear panels had to be tack welded first and lined up perfectly before the final weld up. We lined it up by using the wooden sides that the traveller has, putting them in place and clamping them tight, hanging the rear doors in place so the whole of the rear end would match up.

Once we were happy with the lining up and panel gaps then the final MIG welding began. There were many other areas that needed to have rust cut out and plates welding in, for example, the front panels, front floor sections, suspension areas, and front inner wings.

Once everything was welded to our satisfaction, we then had to undertake the many dent repairs especially on the second hand panels (the panels which were purchased new just had to be primed and painted).

Once all the dent repairs were completed, we then primed up the car and new panels with an etching primer followed by a high build primer over the top. When the 2k high build primer was fully cured we rubbed it all down ready for top coating. Once rubbed down we applied the 2k direct gloss topcoat in almond green.

It’s a big job returning a classic like this back to its former glory. The pride we feel as it suddenly begins to take shape in the garage, and we know that the job is near completion, is something that is difficult to explain to anyone but another classic car enthusiast.

Saving the Country’s Classic Cars and Motorcycles

You could say it’s our mission in life. While little dents and dings can be done in a few hours, the restoration of a classic car like the Morris Minor Traveller takes a good deal of loving care and attention. It’s not just experience that counts in situations like this, though we have bags full of that, but a passion for the task in hand.

While repairing and working on modern cars is our bread and butter, the work we do on classic cars and motorcycles is what really floats our boat. There’s nothing better than seeing that rusting ‘has-been’ suddenly transformed into a working car again that looks just as good as the day it rolled off the factory floor.





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