1964 Morris Minor Custom – UK Style

Morris Minor Kustom hot rodMinnie the Moocher
1964 Morris Minor 2 door sedan (See the Custom Morris Minor)

Written by: “Tootall” Paul from Cornwall, United Kingdom

‘Minnie’ is my Wife’s ‘64 Morris. She had wanted a kustom for a while and has a particular taste for ‘round’ cars. When one of our clubmates (We are members of UK Kustoms) suggested a Minor we looked harder at them and realized that one would make a great sled. When we were told that if we could find one before the 2002 NASC Nationals then the club would chop it for us, the search was on.

We bought her from a young chap who made us promise that we would look after her. We assured him that we would take great care of her and we have – though maybe not quite in the way he would have expected. We had owned her for 2 weeks before we drove her the 300 miles to the Nationals. She was driven there on Friday, stripped of her glass and interior on Saturday, chopped on Sunday and, with a plastic windscreen installed, driven the 300 miles home again on Monday.

I should mention here that when I say the car was chopped in the showfield, I do literally mean in a field. ‘Chopper’ John and ‘Sawzall’ Phil did the chop in one day, with generator power only. This included welding in the smaller rear window from an earlier split window car and hardtopping the roof.

Morris Minor Kustom hot rod -before chopMorris Minor Kustom hot rod - chop progress

Morris Minor Kustom hot rod - chop back window finishedMorris Minor Kustom hot rod - chop back window

Once home, I taught myself to weld by finishing off some small jobs. The swage around the bottom of the roof needed lengthening to make it look more finished. I also fabricated runners for the rear side glass, which now slides in. While the torch was out, I nosed and decked the car and removed some badges and trim. Now I would hate for you to get the idea that I do all the wrenching and my Wife does all the driving. That’s just not so. While I did the work mentioned above, she did the filler work on the roof and elsewhere and touched in the paint. The whole car is a team effort and has been a learning exercise for us both!

Once the chop was looking finished, it was time to bring Minnie a little closer to the floor. Doing one side each, we lowered the front end by simply turning the torsion bars. Of course I got my side wrong and lowered it too much! It looked great but was un-driveable. The rear end was brought down by fitting some home made lowering blocks to bring the whole thing down by around 4 inches.

The car originally came with a 1098cc 4-cylinder motor. Unfortunately that one didn’t last too long. It blew up on the way back from a show on the South coast, though my Wife still managed to get a speeding ticket even with the blown motor! The old engine was swapped for a 1275cc unit bought cheap from a friend. This one lasted around 250 miles before it too went up in smoke on the way back from a show. We now have another 1275 motor installed. This one was built for us by a Clubmate (good old Chopper John again) so we know it’s gonna last.

We still have a lot of plans for this car: The rear fenders will be extended down and the rear bumper moved down to make her look lower. Fender skirts are in the pipeline too and we want to do something with the front end to disguise the Morris origins. Oh yes and new rear lights too. First of all though is a ‘C’ notch in the rear chassis rails as it sits on the bumpstops and has no suspension apart from the 1 ½ inch thick rubber stops. This makes it a pretty bouncy ride and can be a little uncomfortable on a long run.

All in all we have managed to pretty much achieve what we set out to do. Minnie is well on the way to being a British take on a traditional kustom. She is useable, generally pretty reliable and most importantly with the stupid price of gas in the UK, economical. She has been built on a budget and with an enormous amount of help and encouragement from our clubmates. Most importantly, every time my Wife gets into her, she has a smile on her face. For me, that’s all the encouragement I need.

Thanks Paul!

Please take a look at Paul’s Garage and the Morris Minor in it. He didn’t mention the extensive, (not for the faint of heart) rust repair needed. The car had some issues. But Minnie and Paul got it done to make what I think is a fantastic little custom. Paul’s also got a Falcon Wagon, so he’s definitely all right in my book!