When introduced at the Motor Show in October 1938, the Series ‘E’ was a major step forward for Morris as the replacement for the popular Series I and II models. The new model boasted a modern-style radiator grille and was the first British mass production car to feature headlamps fared into the wings.
The Series ‘E’ offered exceptional value, with a saloon costing from £128 (the tourer was £135). The car retained the rugged 918cc engine from the previous cars but it was modernised with a new head design and a counterbalanced crankshaft.
Initially available as an open tourer and as a two or four-door saloon, production halted at the outbreak of WW2 in September 1939. After the war, the Series E was only produced in saloon form. In this form the production continued until the introduction of the Issigonis designed Morris Minor in 1948.
My Series E tourer was bought by my mother and father in the spring of 1956. Black, and in not very good repair, my mother is shown seated behind the wheel in the photo (right) which was taken on their first holiday in the car later that year.
Manufactured in 1939, my father gave the car - already 18 years old in 1956 - its first major overhaul with a new engine and extensive chassis repairs in the following year.
The Series E suffers long-term from the clever design of the chassis which is made from folded steel. Whilst this was, no doubt, an engineering virtue at the time; saving both cost and weight, it seriously undermines the car's longevity because water collects in the rear wheel-arches where the springs anchor and rots the lower section of the box beyond repair. This is probably the most common form of death of a Series E. More of this later......
My parents repainted the car in autumn of 1957 and I have a photo of my Dad standing in the car painted in only its undercoat taken in September 1957. The re-paint transformed the car from black to British Racing Green, a colour it has retained to today.
I inherited the car when my father died in 1987. One further engine refit (this time obtained from the Ministry of Defence as a surplus auxillary power unit for a Centurion tank!) was made in early ninetees.
Finally however, that box section chassis let the car down again and, following an MOT fail near the turn of the century, a second full body-off chassis replacement was necessary.
Which, apart from minor work on the brakes and so on, brings the story of this little car up to date (2015).
These days, the car lives mostly at our farm in France and is only expected to do very light duties in the sunshine, a life commensurate with an age of 76 years old and a member of our family for nearly 60 years!
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