Up to the present time," writes J. G. C. Bond, "I have not seen
in T.O.S.C. any reference to the side-valve Morris Minor, and feel
that this is a very sad state of affairs. I shall endeavour, therefore,
to relate my experiences with both the 1932 and the 1934 versions.
"After competing in the 1931 Gloucester trial with a sports Austin
and gaining a bronze I became badly infected with trials fever,
and decided to buy a new 1932 s.v. Morris Minor and modify it for
competitions. After running-in carefully for 2,000 miles, work was
then commenced on some extra b.h.p. The head was lifted, valves,
manifolds and other items were removed, and many hours spent polishing
and lining up ports and manifolds. "A Silvertop aluminium cylinder
head was obtained, giving a compression ratio of 6.5 to 1 ; this
was polished up even further. The valves were carefully ground in,
using only a fine paste, and these were then reassembled with a
set of Terry double valve springs. The new head was fitted and carefully
tightened down (this is most important, otherwise these heads are
liable to distort) and manifolds were refitted.
"The ignition department next received attention. A Scintilla high-voltage
coil and distributor were fitted and the h.t. leads to the distributor
and plugs rewired with the highest grade of h.t. cable obtainable.
On test, plugs did not now seem to be too happy; the K.L.G. people
were most helpful, and a long-reach edition of the KS5 was eventually
tried and found ideal. (These were afterwards listed as the KS6).
"Several carburettor needles
were tried, and the most satisfactory for the single S.U. was the
M6. The Minnow, tested over a number of trials sections, proved
to be quite up to expectations. "Other modifications carried out
included the fitting of a Burgess silencer, made up specially to
take the standard inlet pipe, and a 2in outlet ; this I suppose
could be termed megaphoned. The dampers fitted as standard were
replaced by double Hartfords fore and aft. "It was found from competition
experience that the oil temperature ran a bit too high for peace
of mind and the sump was therefore enlarged, the capacity being
approximately 9 pints, as against the 4 pints of the original. "A
higher degree of comfort and "steerability" was effected by lengthening
the steering column and fitting an Ashby 17in sprung steering wheel.
The windscreen supports were cut and quadrants made up and welded
to the supports to enable the screen to fold flat. "Before dealing
with the 1934 car a few notes on the capabilities of the 1932 model
may be of interest. "It proved to be reasonably successful, and
absolutely reliable in trials; one of its first efforts was the
1932 Brighton-Beer, and although it gained a first-class award,
and narrowly missed the Hewitt Trophy (by 1/5 sec in the brake test)
bottom gear (18.8) did not seem quite low enough for Simms, whereas
the car had power in hand on Fingle Bridge. Anyway, it collected
an award in every event entered, including a first-class award in
the 1932 Gloucester."When the 1934 version was announced the specification
sounded so good that it was decided to part-exchange GT3399 for
AYF395 ; improvements were as follows:-
Four-speed gear box (synchromesh).
Ratios: First 22.4, second 12.4, third 8.5
and top 5.375 to 1.
Lockheed hydraulic brakes.
Modified cylinder head.
S.U. petrol pump.
Battery master switch.
Improved steering (Bishop cam).
Improved appearance and leather upholstery.
The cost was £110.
"Before a deal was struck with the salesman,
some quick work was put in on GT3399, standard fittings replacing
the Scintilla, Silvertop head, Burgess, Hartfords, and other items
to be transferred to AYF395. As a point of interest, 46,000 miles
had been covered in just two years, without a cost apart from tuning
expenses. Original pistons and bearings were still in use, oil consumption
and pressure still being remarkably good. Morris Minor "I now commenced
operations on AYF395, the same efforts on top tuning being carried
out as described for GT 3399, and the fitting of the various special
bits and pieces. When approximately 4,000 miles had been covered,
it was decided to experiment with the standard iron head ; this
was machined up and well polished and then copper-plated, a millimetre
having been `planed off.' Exhaust valves, upon examination, appeared
somewhat unhealthy, and a set of K965s for both exhaust and inlet
were obtained and fitted with double valve springs. "Tappet clearance
was increased to 0.004 inlet and 0.006 exhaust, when hot, a bit
higher than Morris recommended, but I found these to be much more
satisfactory for higher revving, and the engine kept its tune longer.
"Results on test showed that the copperized head was quite as efficient
as the Silvertop; I also tried an Alta aluminium head and there
was no apparent difference. "In top gear a steady speed of approximately
20 m.p.h. could be held on a gradient of 1 in 10; the summit of
Brockley Hill, Edgware, could be cleaned at 35 m.p.h. in top; I
think this is a fair indication of power. "A 6in rev counter was
obtained complete with fittings, and was driven off the rear end
of the dynamo armature, through a gear box.
<"Further experiments with carburation, for
more b.h.p., resulted in a manifold being modified to take two 26mm
S.U. carburettors, but results were not up to expectation, better
acceleration being obtained up to 3,000 r.p.m. but nothing phenomenal
after. The best results were obtained with a 30mm S.U. with the
M6 needle. A Scintilla Vertex improved matters somewhat, a further
300 r.p.m. then being possible. Not only did it win a first-class
award but it also made the best performance by a Brighton and Hove
M.C. entry. "I was now quite satisfied with the general performance,
and was certain that without a Laystall crank and rods, things would
begin to fly about if I persevered in my hunt for more horses. "Already
I had had to have the original propeller-shaft replaced by an M.G.
shaft, with Hardy Spicer universal joints, as weird vibrations emanated
from under the floorboards at speeds over 65 m.p.h. on the original.
The new shaft cured this nasty feeling, and it was now possible
to get maximum top gear revs, it being found that 5,000 r.p.m. Was
obtainable (approximately 75 m.p.h.). "The engine seemed to delight
in high revs and I had to watch the tachometer on trials sections
in bottom gear, for it would nip round to 6,000 r.p.m. Not wishing
to disintegrate the works I kept the limit down to 5,500 r.p.m.
"Maximum ground clearance was 7in and was quite adequate apart from
clouting the silencer on several occasions; I had, in fact, toyed
with the idea of fitting a three-branch exhaust manifold and mounting
the silencer along the chassis frame to overcome this. "With the
Andre dampers fairly hard, road holding and cornering were excellent.
The steering was high geared and positive, needing 1 1/2 turns from
lock to lock, and with a turning circle of 30 ft, coupled with the
short wheelbase, one could almost emulate the gyrations of a taxi.
"Discol fuel was always used and consumption, checked over a period
of six months, resulted in 34 m.p.g.; this, of course, included
plenty of work for the indirect gears in trials. "The total weight,
complete with two spare wheels and a full tank, was exactly 13cwt
- too heavy, in my opinion. The body, as fitted by Morris, although
a nice affair, was much too hefty from a trials point of view. "At
40,000 miles the engine was taken down and afterwards I covered
38,500 miles before I sold it, making a total mileage of 78,500.
"Total bag with the two Minors described amounted to 75 awards,
including several best performances. Running with T. Wagner and
W. E. C. Greenleaf's Minors, the car helped to pull off several