When Alec Issigonis originally conceived the Series II Morris Minor, he envisaged it fitted with a brand new flat four engine, like the Volkswagen Beetle. This idea, however, was stillborn in the austerity years following World War Two, so the car was initially fitted with the rather asthmatic Morris 8 engine which was originally based on a pre-war Ford side-valve. As a result of the merger between Morris and Austin in 1952, the Series II Morris Minor inherited the overhead valve engine from the Austin A30.
This engine was only 803cc and the car was still underpowered, although the Issigonis unitary construction chassis and revolutionary independent front suspension endowed the car with handling far superior to its predecessor although it was quite heavy. Its unusual American-based styling, its handling and rack and pinion steering made it a firm favourite with drivers of the early post-war years who were more used to a diet of warmed-over, pre-war designs. So successful did the car become that it stayed in production until the early 1970s, over twenty-five years after the first prototypes ran.