The Morris 8 was a small family car produced by Morris Motors from 1935 to 1948. It was inspired by the sales popularity of the Ford Model Y, styling of which the “8” closely followed.
The car was powered by a Morris UB series 918 cc four-cylinder side-valve engine with three-bearing crankshaft and single SU carburettor with maximum power of 23.5 bhp. The gearbox was a three-speed unit with synchromesh on the top two speeds and Lockheed hydraulic brakes were fitted. Coil ignition was used in a Lucas electrical system powered by a 6-volt battery and third brush dynamo.
The body, which was either a saloon or open tourer, was mounted on a separate channel section chassis with a 7 feet 6 inches wheelbase. The tourer could reach 58 mph and return 45 miles per gallon although the saloons were a little slower. The chrome-plated radiator shell and honeycomb grille were actually dummies, disguising the real one hidden behind.
When it was first built the bare chassis was offered for £95. For buyers of complete cars, prices ranged from £118 for the basic two-seater to £142 for the four door saloon with “sunshine” roof and leather seats. Bumpers and indicators were £2.10 shillings (£2.50) extra.
Compared with the similarly priced, but much lighter and longer established Austin 7, the Morris 8 was relatively well equipped. The driver was provided with a full set of instruments including a speedometer with a built in odometer, oil pressure and fuel level gauges and an ammeter.
The more modern design of the Morris was reflected in the superior performance of its hydraulically operated 8-inch drum brakes. The Morris also scored over its Ford rival by incorporating an electric windscreen wiper rather than the more old-fashioned vacuum powered equivalent, while its relatively wide 45 inch track aided directional stability on corners.
Still something of a luxury for most families at the time, it must have been a real squash even if you were lucky enough to have one….although the thrill of just being out on the road at that time must have made the inconvenience pale by comparison!!
However, the car proved a huge success and eventually enabled Morris to regain its position as Britain’s largest motor manufacturer.