This wonderful little
car was a treat to drive and a delight to look at. It had the Sprite 998cc
engine with a single SU carburetter on a long intake manifold. With a good run
at it, the hill up 395 from Mission Valley could be conquered without shifting
to third gear, but barely. As in the case of the Sprite I put spacers under the
front of the driver seat mounts. In this car the seat tilt was perfect and had
no ill consequences.
Now that I am thinking about it, I really lavished
attention and man-hours on this car. Did a hand-rubbed polish job to bring up
the color. Cleaned and refinished all the exterior woodwork. Cleaned and refinshed
the upholstery, including doorpanels. Cleaned, sanded and masked the dashboard
and gave it a flat black wrinkle finish out of a few cans of JC Whitney spray
paint. Installed a neat-o tachometer and a turn-indicator light in a place you
could see, as well as a toggle switch for the horn. Removed the glove box door,
stripped it of its chromed trim and fabric back-lining and refinished the face
that would be hidden with several coats of the spar varnish I used on the outside
wood. If you have a Morris Minor Traveller with an absolutely flawless back-of-the-glovebox-door,
I bet I did it in 1966 while we lived in that ex-military Linda Vista two-bedroom.
What else about this car . . . ? It was honestly short on power for
the freeway world of Southern California. I wrote to Jerry Titus, Sports Car
Graphics' technical guru and world-class race driver, about swapping in some
larger engine, an MG A or B for example. He sent back a pleasant letter in which
he offered some hope and refrained from calling me an idiot. I have the letter
here, somewhere. When we catch up with each other, I'll scan and post.
The throw-some-technology-and-money-at-it easy-for-me solution to the lack of
power was from Conshohocken, PA. Judson made a supercharger for the Sprite, and
I figured bolting on a 15% hp increase should be easy enough. I know it worked
wonders for the TD.
First week of possession I had done a valve job on
the Morris cylinder head and reassembled it with Sprite valve springs. The valve
job was necessary, since it ran on only three cylinders at low engine speeds.
When looking for this car I had stopped at a lot on El Cajon Boulevard's Endless
Mile Of Sleazy Car Dealers, and mentioned to a salesman what I was looking for.
Three days later he called and said he had it. I went to see, and sure enough,
he had . . . >>>