Conceived during the course of 1929, the prototype 5 cwt van (see images 1 & 2 below) originally sported the 'Snubnose' radiator as found on the 1929 season 78 cubic feet capacity Morris Light Van, this also necessitated the use of a non Minor bonnet. However when production commenced in September 1929, all 5 cwt vehicles were fitted with the Minor car radiator and short bonnet as seen on the 29-31 scuttle tank car range.
Introduced for the 1930 season and selling for £135, the first 38 cubic feet capacity Minor van was well equipped throughout and included a spare wheel and a full set of tools. Its powerplant was the 8 HP OHC engine while its running gear was also identical to that on the Minor car range, although being supplied to customers painted in 'shop grey'. The position of the spare wheel appears to have altered from season to season, hanging on both nearside and offside doors during the course of the original van's five year production run.
For 1931 the price of the van was reduced to just £125 and for this sum an opening front screen was included while all other features remained as for the 1930 season model. During the course of the 1931 season the S.V. (Side Valve) Minor range of cars was introduced to sell alongside the OHC vehicles. A S.V. van was included in this range and was launched with little or no fanfare in April 1931 at a price of just £110; undercutting the current OHC vehicle by £15. The side valve vans were de-featured by the fitting of three lamp Lucas lighting sets in place of the 5 lamp sets of the OHC vehicle and the removal of brightwork, this being replaced by the application of black paint. However all OHC van production ceased at the end of July 1931.
For 1932 and 1933 the S.V. van continued virtually unchanged, retaining the scuttle fuel tank although re-gaining the chrome on its radiator and screen surrounds. In 1933 the van also gained Magna type wheels while the price remained constant at £110 throughout the period.
N.B. Rather belatedly the most significant orders for the vehicle came in 1932. The state owned General Post Office (G.P.O.) placed an initial order for 12 vans for their Royal Mail division (see image above) which was followed by further orders from their Post Office Telphones arm. Over the course of the next eight years Morris Motors were to supply many hundreds of 5cwt vans to the the G.P.O. of both this early Minor type and the later hybrid Minor van which shared some components with the later Morris Eight, including the engine.
For the 1934 season the van underwent an extensive facelift. The new 'Eddyfree' body now had the fuel tank to the rear and could be supplied in a choice of three colours as well as the standard 'shop grey'. The running gear was also updated with hydraulic shock absorbers, together with an optional four speed synchromesh gear box. Surprisingly the brakes remained cable operated. These standard innovations carried a £5 price premium and the 1934 van sold for £115. A grand total of 9847 Minor vans were produced between 1929 and 1934.
This page was constructed with the assistance of Tony Gamble, Ken Martin, Ewan Lambess and Roger Lucke, to whom many thanks.
The first twelve Minor 5cwt vans to be supplied to the G.P.O. in the shape of Royal Mail delivery vehicles, line up at their Oxford depot.
A trio of 5cwt Minor vans all registered in Kent, the oldest being KR 971 a 1930 OHC version of the model.
( Extract from LAT Plate C4245)