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Morris 10 - did anyone else ever race one?


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#1 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 09:35

I've been asked by Alan Hemsley if he's the only person in the world ever to have circuit raced a Morris 10.

He made a fair fist of pestering much more modern machinery when he raced it at Warwick Farm and Oran Park in the early sixties.

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Even though the 203 came out the year the Morris was built, 1948, the Morris was definitely pre-war technology with a beam axle front end. Nevertheless, Alan got it fairly singing along:

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It had a top speed of 102mph, he says.

But what he wants to know, as asked above, is whether or not he was all alone when it came to punting such a device around the road racing circuits?

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#2 DanTra2858

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 07:04

Can not help with another Morris but how about a Austin 16 as hillclimbed in 1959 by Bill Johnson of Wollongong at Huntley Hill Climb, I believe it had a Austin A40/60 motor gearbox in it. From memory Bill ran the car at Huntley, Silverdale, Douglas Park & Castlereagh Sprints. As far as Sleepers this was a good one & gave many FJ Holdens & Sports car a run for their money.

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#3 Allan Lupton

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:20

Remembering that the engine of the Morris 10M was the basis of the MG engine known as XPAG (as used in TB/TC/TD), it would have been easy enough to incorporate some of the MG improvements and anyone who got a Morris 10 to do 102 m.p.h can be assumed to have done that!
A few MG-based chassis tweaks would help with the lap times too.

#4 Ray Bell

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 06:39

Originally posted by DanTra2858
Can not help with another Morris but how about a Austin 16 as hillclimbed in 1959 by Bill Johnson of Wollongong at Huntley Hill Climb, I believe it had a Austin A40/60 motor gearbox in it. From memory Bill ran the car at Huntley, Silverdale, Douglas Park & Castlereagh Sprints. As far as Sleepers this was a good one & gave many FJ Holdens & Sports car a run for their money.

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I find it hard to believe he reduced the engine size, Dan...

Much more likely he put an A90 Atlantic engine into it. Outwardly the same as his 16hp 2199cc engine, but considerably bigger inside. The A40 was around 1200cc, the A50 was 1500cc.

#5 David McKinney

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 07:30

Sorry to nit-pick, but I think you could also get a 1200cc A50 - in England, at least

To answer your original question, I don't recall anyone racing a Morris 10 in NZ, but wouldn't be surprised if they did. They raced everything else :lol:

#6 RCH

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 08:18

Try as hard as I can I cannot see an Austin 16 in that, unless the wheelbase has been reduced considerably? Given the Aussie propensity for making tourers out of mundane UK saloons may I suggest an Austin 10 with a 16/A70/Atlantic engine?

#7 bradbury west

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 16:09

Sorry to nit-pick, but I think you could also get a 1200cc A50 - in England, at least


The catalogue which I have here shows that the 1200cc engine was in the A40, as Devon, Dorset, short lived A40 Sports, , also the Somerset, and then into the new shape, post 1954 A40 Cambridge. The similarly bodied 1954 onwards A50 Cambridge had the new 1489cc engine.

I think the tourer shown racing might be in fact a 225cm wheelbase Austin 8 Tourer, 1939-1944, listed here with a 900cc engine, but I cannot say what combination was fitted for Australian use.
Roger Lund

#8 David McKinney

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 18:18

So you could get a 1200cc A50 - but it was called an A40 :)

#9 RCH

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 20:11

I think the tourer shown racing might be in fact a 225cm wheelbase Austin 8 Tourer, 1939-1944, listed here with a 900cc engine, but I cannot say what combination was fitted for Australian use.
Roger Lund


Of course, the military one. Appeared in an episode of Dad's Army.

#10 Allan Lupton

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 20:21

The catalogue which I have here shows that the 1200cc engine was in the A40, as Devon, Dorset, short lived A40 Sports, , also the Somerset, and then into the new shape, post 1954 A40 Cambridge. The similarly bodied 1954 onwards A50 Cambridge had the new 1489cc engine.

I think the tourer shown racing might be in fact a 225cm wheelbase Austin 8 Tourer, 1939-1944, listed here with a 900cc engine, but I cannot say what combination was fitted for Australian use.
Roger Lund

Yes the 65.48mm × 89mm 1200cc A40 was the first version of the engine that eventually became the BMC B series being enlarged to 1489 cc (73.025 × 89) for A50/MG ZA/ZB/MGA/Morris Oxford II/III/Riley 1.5/Wolseley 1500/ 15/50 then to 1622cc and eventually to 80.26 × 89 (1798cc) for the MGB.

I agree the car looks like an Austin 8, but I wouldn't have expected many to have been manufactured in UK in 1939-44 but on reflection I think you're right and the tourer was made then for military use. I'm pretty sure the saloon was current post-war up to about 1947.

#11 Paul Hamilton

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 08:12

[quote name='Allan Lupton' date='Mar 21 2012, 07:21' post='5609197']
Yes the 65.48mm × 89mm 1200cc A40 was the first version of the engine that eventually became the BMC B series being enlarged to 1489 cc (73.025 × 89) for A50/MG ZA/ZB/MGA/Morris Oxford II/III/Riley 1.5/Wolseley 1500/ 15/50 then to 1622cc and eventually to 80.26 × 89 (1798cc) for the MGB.


Despite similar dimensions the 1200cc A40 engine had no resemblance at all to the XPAG MG engine (66.5m x 90mm = 1250cc) or its predecessor as used in the MG TA and Morris 10 (63mm x 102mm). While the BMC 'B' series which was developed from it ultimately turned out to be a reasonably good engine, at the time the newly formed BMC discarded the XPAG and its successor the XPEG (72mm x 90mm = 1466cc) in favour of the Austin developed engines, it was generally regarded as a backward step. Certainly, in my opinion, the 'B' series engine with its siamised centre exhaust port and similarly siamised inlet ports incapable of the sort of separation which was common in modified MG engines, was markedly inferior to the earlier MOWOG engines.

Along with many of my MG enthusiast mates (we were still in our teens at the time!!) I followed the exploits of Alan Hemsley's Morris 10 with great enthusiasm and would be very interested to know just how much XPAG had been incorporated into it. Apart from its shorter stroke the XPAG had a totally different cylinder head to the original Morris 10 or MG TA engine.

#12 RCH

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 08:14

Better known was the "Tilly" a pick up version with a canvas tilt, but was that an Austin 10?

Back to the Morris, would I be right in thinking it was actually an MG YA under the skin? Or vice versa.

PS. Oops, bit ambiguous there, I meant Morris 10 in general, not this particular one.

Edited by RCH, 21 March 2012 - 08:18.


#13 bradbury west

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 09:32

Back to the Morris, would I be right in thinking it was actually an MG YA under the skin? Or vice versa.

In which case did it run with IFS which, IIRC, the YA had, as opposed to the cart-sprung beam axle of the 10? The YAs were successful in UK Production Car races at the time, IIRC with Dick Jacobs.
Roger Lund

#14 GMACKIE

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 10:30

From what I recall of Alan Hemsley's Morris, it conformed to Appendix 'J' Touring Car rules. The front end was beam axle, and the engine, and rest of the car was modified within the rules. No major changes could be made, however the capacity could be increased....providing that this did not take it out of it's class [1300cc]. Wheel width could be increased by up to 1", but track could not be changed. That car was very close to stock Morris 10, and for that reason was quite amazing. :clap:

#15 Allan Lupton

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 13:57

Paul Hamilton quotes me and then seems to be finding fault with something else. He wrote
Despite similar dimensions the 1200cc A40 engine had no resemblance at all to the XPAG MG engine and I never said it had.
As I wrote some way up this thread the Morris 10M had the similar engine to the XPAG so could have been tuned to that standard. We then drifted onto an Austin (probably an Eight) which lead to a discussion about A40s and so forth. I traced the development of the Austin engine which became the B series.

#16 Ray Bell

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 03:35

Originally posted by GMACKIE
.....however the capacity could be increased.... providing that this did not take it out of it's class [1300cc].....


Was the class limit 1300cc those days? I thought 1500cc...

.....Wheel width could be increased by up to 1", but track could not be changed. That car was very close to stock Morris 10, and for that reason was quite amazing.


Indeed... I don't think the wheels were even widened, were they? And the only reason that the guards seem to have been filled out with tyres is because you see the inside of the car in the corner and the springs are severely distorted to allow the body to lean heavily to the other side.

Of interest, Alan told me that after he stopped racing he one day had a clatter begin as he drove to work. The engine lost power, but it still ran, so he continued driving all the way to Balmain, then headed back home that evening.

Pulling it apart, he found the crank had broken, the jagged edges of the break keeping it from having the two halves try to turn separately. A new crank from Leichhardt Spares and he was away again, then he sold the car.

#17 Ray Bell

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 03:54

Originally posed by Paul Hamilton
.....at the time the newly formed BMC discarded the XPAG and its successor the XPEG (72mm x 90mm = 1466cc) in favour of the Austin developed engines, it was generally regarded as a backward step. Certainly, in my opinion, the 'B' series engine with its siamesed centre exhaust port and similarly siamised inlet ports incapable of the sort of separation which was common in modified MG engines, was markedly inferior to the earlier MOWOG engines.....


I think Alan told me he did the port separation thing on his engine...

As for the choice of the MOWOG engine versus the XPAG/XPEG (last used in the Wolseley 4/44, was it not?), I would think that the left-hand manifolding was a big point in favour of the Austin engine. As they were largely manufacturing for RHD usage, the routing of the exhaust down the passenger's side made for much easier maintenance and access.

Not that the Poms seemed to worry about that sort of thing all that much.

#18 GMACKIE

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 05:10

Was the class limit 1300cc those days? I thought 1500cc...



Indeed... I don't think the wheels were even widened, were they? And the only reason that the guards seem to have been filled out with tyres is because you see the inside of the car in the corner and the springs are severely distorted to allow the body to lean heavily to the other side.


The class was 1001-1300cc, the same class as my Beetle. Although over 1300cc required more than 2 doors, Alan's Morris was under 1300cc, so it had to stay in that class.


Widening of the wheels was not compulsory. Mine were 4"x15" [Stock] front, 5"x15" [Customline rims] rear.


#19 RCH

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 08:48

I think Alan told me he did the port separation thing on his engine...

As for the choice of the MOWOG engine versus the XPAG/XPEG (last used in the Wolseley 4/44, was it not?),


I think with the creation of BMC Austin dominated so the use of the Austin engine was a bit of a "not invented here" thing. Possibly it was easier/cheaper to build in quantity?

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#20 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 11:51

I spoke to Alan again today...

He told me the car was lowered about an inch or an inch and a half. The rear rims were widened to 6", front were standard. He liberally drilled the backing plates and put air scoops on them, but they were still hopeless.

He fitted anti-roll bars front and rear, the rear was too stiff so he fitted a lighter one.

He also said he wished he'd have taken a photo of the engine, especially when he put a "poor man's supercharger" on it. He made up an alloy cold air box arrangement, it had a large hole in the front and a small hole in the back, and there was a tube that came from up near the radiator into the top of it.

"It was only in the last six months I was racing it that I added that," he said, "and when you got to sixty or seventy miles an hour it was like having another cam come in!"

In later years he hillclimbed a TR4A. Sprinted and hillclimbed, actually. I wonder if anyone has photos of him at Silverdale or Amaroo hill?

Edited by Ray Bell, 30 March 2012 - 14:14.