I learnt to drive in a Minor and this is the first time I’ve driven one in 30 years. I’d forgotten how slow they are. If you were equipped with a decent motorbike or a Lotus Cortina 1n 1970 the little Morris wouldn’t see which way you went.
Normally Panda cars would be used by beat officers but this particular car was used as a supervisor’s car and would have been used to check on beat officers and respond to calls. Which is why it’s got an extra aerial on its rear wing. Hampton’s Minor used to be displayed at the original Police Traffic museum when it was based at Catford and is pretty much in the condition it was in when it left the force and has done just under 125,000 miles.
It’s difficult to tell whether it feels its age or not because I doubt it would ever have felt tight. Certainly the Morrie I learned in, which was only 10 years old and low mileage, didn’t.
The Minor is a museum favorurite and even the boss of the current traffic unit sneaks off in it occasionally. One thing that does work particularly well on this Minor is the heater, which must have been very welcome for the bobby driving it.
Funny how noises and sounds remain in the memory almost indefinately because the sound of the Minor’s gearbox and the distinctive rumble of the A-Series engine are totally familiar. Apart from the police radio there’s not a lot of kit in the Morris which means it probably weighs near its 775kg kerb weight. No wonder the touring fuel consumption is an impressive 39mpg.
Served in the force: 1970-1975
Top speed 78mph; 0-60mph 22.2sec; Kerbweight 775kg; Engine type in-line four-cylinder, 1098cc; Power 48bhp at 5100rpm; Torque 60lb ft at 2500rpm; Gearbox Four-speed manual