In September 1931 Morris Motors launched two new long wheel base 'Minors' alongside a much truncated range of short wheel base models. The expensive to manufacture overhead camshaft engine had been all but phased out along with the cars they powered, to be replaced by the new side valve unit, the exceptions being the new Family Eight and Family Eight Sports Coupe models, where the OHV 20 BHP unit was still preferred to the 19 BHP side valve engine.
The cars were priced at £152-10s-0d for the Saloon and £175 for the Sports Coupe and were built upon a lengthened chassis that had been developed in parallel to that fitted to the updated Wolseley Hornet six cylinder car, the two chassis frames bearing many similarities.
The cars were launched to provide further customer options in the expanding 8 horse power sector of the market with, as expected, more cabin space available in the Saloon than in the short wheel base version of the model. The Sports Coupe however was really just a 2+2 with little room on the small rear bench seat for passengers but more legroom and luxury equipment was provided for the driver and front seat passenger. The performance of both cars was unexceptional despite Morris claiming that their engines had been updated. Whatever these 'updates' were the additional weight inherent in a longer chassis and larger bodies succesfully negated any performance advantages.
The Saloon model was (unsurprisingly) targeted at the family man, the magazine advertisements of the time heralding the additional room and the extra safety associated with the use of Lockheed hydraulic brakes. Many such advertisements for the saloon appeared during the course of 1932 and yet the author has found just two such advertisement for the Sports Coupe. A total of 4484 OHC long wheel base cars were produced in the 1932 model season, although no seperate production figures are available for the Saloon and Sports Coupe models. If the numbers of surviving vehicles is an indicator of the numbers originally built of each model then the Saloon version was the most numerous by far.
For 1933 the two models also adopted the all pervading side valve engine and amazingly lost their hydraulic brakes, reverting to cables. A further cost cutting exercise saw the car's sidelights removed frem the wings with a sidelamp bulb being incorporated into the headlamp shells as with the swb cars. The cars were however provided with a four speed gearbox as standard. For the 1934 and final season both lwb models regained their hydraulic brakes and were now provided with a synchromesh four speed gearbox. For these two seasons no production figures are available as Morris used the same numbering sequence for both their swb and lwb cars adding an L for 'Long' and S for 'Short' to the already established side valve car numbering system.
There were other changes during the models short, three year production run, including three different radiator surround designs and new front wings. By the time it was replaced in the late summer of 1934 the saloon had begun to look decidedly dated following the launch in 1932 of the Ford Y Type saloon. Neither model could lay claim to have captured the attention or affection of the buying public and probably fewer than 15,000 cars found customers.
This art deco image by Morten depicts the Family Eight Saloon as an altogether longer and leaner vehicle than it actually was.
E. Morton colour illustrated the 1932 Morris Motors range brochure. Here is his depiction of the new long wheel base Minor Sports Coupe.