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The Victory Industries Morris Minor

Part 3

1949 - 1951

Victory's Electra model boat was launched in the summer of 1949. At around the same time the company began work on its next project, the essence of which would form the backbone of the companies production for the next decade. This project was to be a detailed, large scale model replica of the new Morris Minor saloon. Significantly this model would be funded and marketed by the Nuffield organisation (the parent group for Morris Motors) as a promotional model - a very unusual step for any British car manufacturer before or since.

Exactly who or what it was that initiated this project isn’t known and nor are any precise details of the arrangements reached between the two companies. From the little that I have been able to establish, it seems that for a series of payments from Morris Motors over a specified period, Victory agreed to provide them with a set number of models which Morris would then be free to dispose of by whatever manner it saw fit throughout it’s worldwide dealerships. 

From the outset, it was intended that this model would use broadly similar running gear to the Mighty Midget racer. John Steadman - Victory’s development engineer - realised that it would be possible to obtain a far more accurate representation of the various swoops and curves of the Minors bodywork if the body for the model was produced in plastic using the latest commercially produced injection moulding machines. Tooling costs would be higher, but these would be off-set by the much lower production costs for each model. The high cost of the large injection moulding machine required to accommodate a mould of this size meant that this work was handled by an outside agent while all other metal and small plastic component parts were manufactured in-house at Victory.

For the first couple of years, material supply problems meant it wasn’t possible to obtain a good match for the official Morris colours for the body in solid plastic, the plastic mouldings were supplied to Victory in a wide variety of colours which were then spray painted with cellulose paint at the factory in either Black, Blue, Grey or Green to precisely match the colours of the real cars.  

On these early models, the chassis is a sturdy but simple tinplate pressing which is a spring fit into the front of the body and retained by a single screw at the rear. The steering assembly is identical to that used on the Mighty Midget Racer and the plastic wheel hubs are retained by a large chrome plated washer that sits beneath a domed hub cap with a built in spring clip.  This was replaced by a larger single piece hub cap on all subsequent models at some time in 1951.

The first models were distributed toward the end of 1950 and were presented in a box that was said to be a replica of the full sized packing cases used by Nuffield Exports. Several details on the model dates this type of Minor to 1949 but the cars were presented as the latest 1951 version and all these early cars carry the registration number MM1951.

By 1951 the correct colour plastics were available and many hundreds of Minors were subsequently moulded in the correct Morris shades of green or blue although bodies in various other ”unofficial” solid colours seem to have been carried over and used as well!

The UK launch price of £1.19.9 including purchase tax (equivalent in value to around £40 today) meant these models were certainly no pocket money toy but it seems that Morris didn’t have any problem in shifting them and they proved particularly popular with the car dealerships for window displays.

Next -  Victory's Vauxhall Velox