Following the much trumpeted launch of the £100 Side Valve Minor over Christmas1930, combined sales throughout 1931 of both the OHC and Side Valve Minors were well down on those of 1930. Some changes were introduced late in the 1931 season in an attempt to correct the situation and further, more radical changes were made for 1932. For the '32 season Morris Motors dropped the OHC range completely with the exception of the newly launched, long wheel-base Family Eight and Sports Coupe Minors. As a result of this downturn and to further boost publicity for the model, Morris Motors developed and built a supercharged single seat special based upon a side valve Minor chassis. This car, in the capable hands of 'Bill' Van de Becke achieved 100 mph at Brooklands in August 1931 and later, after a detuning exercise had taken place, covered over 100 miles on a gallon of fuel.
Morris sadly made little capital from this 100 MPH/100 MPG/ £100 Car publicity stunt and two years later passed the vehicle onto Carl Skinner, the Managing Director of S.U. (Skinner's Union) Carburetter Co. Ltd. He in turn constructed a lightweight body for the car and replaced the original Powerplus supercharger with a Zoller unit. His son Peter then set the world of motor sport 'buzzing' when he beat all-comers in his class at the September 1933 Shelsley Walsh meeting when aged just 19. This Morris car/driver combination beat the highly fancied Austins and M.G.'s and attained a time of 46.4 second just 1.4 seconds slower than the eventual winner of the larger capacity 1100 cc class. Later in the decade Peter replaced the original Minor engine with a much larger Hudson Straight Eight power unit and continued to compete successfully. After the war the car was acquired by Ted Lloyd -Jones before going to ground in the Channel Islands for a while.The Triangle Skinner Special thankfully has survived and is currently in the custody of Burlen Fuel Systems Ltd. who now own the S.U. Carburetter trade mark, the car being purchased from VSCC competitor Andrew Harding in May 2011.
Barbara, the elder of the two offspring was also developing a talent for competition driving around this period. She competed initially In a Morris Cowley Special (YF 15) but this eventually proved to be uncompetitive. In February 1934 her Father built her the White Minor after first obtaining, on loan, a side valve Minor chassis from Morris Motors, together with the use of the remaining spare engines and parts from the Van de Becke '100 mph' Brooklands car. The car differed from the Red Minor in having the engine located further back in the chassis in an attempt to improve the handling. That they succeeded is apparent by the numerous class victories Barbara achieved between 1934 and 1937 including the prestigous Ladies Championship Cup won on her first time out in the car in June 1934 at Shelsley, repeating the feat at the September meeting later the same year. Not content with class wins, Barbara achieved an outright win at the May 1937 Dancer's End event which probably turned out to be the highlight of her competitive career.
Barbara married John Bolster in October 1936 and Sir William Morris gave the couple the previously loaned White Minor's chassis as a wedding present. Barbara continued to compete in the White Minor until the middle of 1937. She later gave birth to a daughter Annabelle (now Swain) in April 1940 but Barbara was tragically killed in a motoring accident in1942. The car remained in the Bolster family untl 1955 when it was eventually sold on. Currently in the ownership of David Baldock the car was last seen on public display at the July 2014 Pre-war Prescott meeting where it was re-united once again with the Triangle Skinner Special.
Special thanks to Mike Harvey, author of the article 'Barbara's White Minor' and also to the Automobile magazine for permitting its use here.
Siblings Barbara and Peter Skinner competing at the wheel of their Minors. Their cars came via the benevolence of Morris Motors and their father Carl, M.D. of the S.U. Carburetter Co. Ltd.
To see an enlarged image simply click upon it to expand. To close, click upon the small square in the TRHC.
Whitney Straight greets Barbara Skinner while Peter sits inside the cockpit of the Red Minor.
Page last updated 27th November 2015
This advertisement was commissioned by Burlen Fuel Systems Ltd. in the summer of 2011 to commemorate their purchase of the Triangle Skinner Special, the successor to the Red Minor of the thirties. The image portrays Peter Skinner standing alongside the Red Minor just prior to the commencement of a race at the newly opened Donington Park circuit in 1934.
Barbara Bolster at the June 1937 Shelsley meeting once again in the white Skinner Special, universally known as the 'White Minor'.
All images copyright Ken Martin