Morris 850

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Morris 850

1961 - 1963
4 cyl.
850 cc
33 bhp
4 spd. man
Top Speed:
Number Built:
5,300,000+ (all models)
3 star
Morris 850
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3


The Mini may have been released in the UK in 1959, but it would take BMC's local operation until 1961 to have the then named Morris 850's rolling off the production line.

The very first cars were nearly identical to their UK counterparts, the only visual difference being the adoption of a slight bend in the gearstick to move it marginally closer to the driver.

Over the ensuing years other differences eventuated, particularly as more local content was introduced into the BMC production line.

Available in a limited number of colours (namely red, white, blue and yellow), the Australian built cars made a number of concessions to the harsh Aussie conditions.

There were stronger interior door handles, the trim used a stronger grade of vinyl, and soon after production began a switch was made to anodising the grille, rather than it just being painted.

In October 1962 BMC released the Mini Cooper, it being the first time the "Mini" name had been used in the local marketplace. The Aussie Coopers were fitted with a 997cc A series engine, which was upgraded to the 998cc version in 1963.

Subsequent cars would be referred to as a Mini, although the 1964 Mini Van used the same grille as that of the original 850's. For more information, please see the Mini section on this site.

BMC Announce The Morris 850

A car claimed to be tough enough for the countryman and ideal as a town runabout has been announced by the British Motor Corporation of Australia. It is the revolutionary new Morris 850, a five seater with front wheel drive.

The car which took ten years to develop, is 10 ft long and 4 ft 7 in. wide and only 4 ft 5 in high. It has a top speed of 78 m.p.h. with a petrol economy of more than 50 miles per gallon. One of the unconventional features of the "850" is an engine mounted sideways. Engine, gears, and differential share a common sump and the "hump" in the centre interior of the car, usually taken up by the transmission, is eliminated.

The Morris 850 is the first car produced by B.M.C. (Australia) for distribution through both Morris and Austin Dealers. The new car is powered by an 850 c.c. 4 cylinder engine which developed 34 brake horse power at 8,500 revolutions per minute. The engine, radiator, gears, differential, drive and suspension can be removed as one assembly. The whole rear suspension system can be also be lifted out in a matter of minutes.

When planning the body the design team sat four big adults between four wheels and literally built the body around them! The result of this  special "tailoring" is ample head and leg room for both front and rear passengers. As all ride well within the wheelbase,  there is better weight distribution, which in turn improves road holding and riding comfort.
Morris 850

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Also see:

Morris 850 Technical Specifications
Lost Marques - The William Morris Story
Reader Reviews page 1 of 1
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Posted Recently
Further to my earlier comment, I have since sold one of the 850's and will soon be moving to a new place which has a large shed so will be finally able to start restoring the car, looking forward to it joining my Clubman on the road again after sitting idle for so many years. What great cars the Mini range are when looking at their history.
Posted Recently
We have just puchased 2 x 850s, both needing restoration. Have owned a 1978 Clubman fo 17 years& can't fault the car. Last year I covered over 4,000 klms. with very little trouble apart from having the radiator cleaned in Mildura & an electrical glitch early in the journey. We have been searching for an early Mini for years & to come across 2 of them at the one place was just amazing. What a wonderful car!
Posted Recently
I was told that it was near impossible to roll a Mini Minor back in the day, I tell young guys and they don't believe me.. I am a 50 year old Woman and get that the Mini sits lower to the road and has a square body, so I believe that you can't roll them going around corners, it's only logical.
Can somebody Please tell me it I am right? My emails is [email protected] *** and please don't send dirty emails, I have seen them all! Nothing shocks me. I just need to know about the Mini, anyway I have only opened this email for this answer. DO THEY ROLL?
Cheers, Kate.
Posted Recently
I Have Not had much trouble with LUCAS Components, and would you prefer to put up with yank rubbish?
Posted Recently
Fantastic design but the engineering was typical British of that era absolutely woefull. Anything made by Lucas would fail regulary, distributors, wiper motors, starters and generators all rubbish. Timing chains, transfer gears and bearings, transfer cases,drive shafts, gear change mechanisms and engine mounts all poorly designed. But if you can life with all that and more the Mini was a fun car to drive.
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