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Morris Minor vs VW Beetle

Discussion in 'The Pub' at netrider.net.au started by mattb, Apr 17, 2010.

  1. I'm looking for some advice. Thought there might be some people here who know something about old cars, or know people who do, and could give me a disinterested opinion.

    Having never owned a car, because they're so boring, I've decided that once the SR500 is reliable for everyday riding, I'll have a go at car enthusiast ownership. I'll have to sell the Hornet 600 and the money I get from that will roughly be the budget for buying the car.

    One of the only cars that really interests me is the Morris Minor. It has the aura of dusty roads through old towns that I love about old bikes. Another option, because it's so similar, is a VW Beetle. The VW doesn't have the same aura, but it does have an air-cooled engine (a design which I particularly like) and there are plenty about.

    Power is no big issue to me - when I drive a car I enter ultra-easy-going mode. I'd want the car to be able to travel around town (Melbourne) maybe a few times a week, generally not in peak hour (work is shift and only 20 mins away, otherwise it'd be night-time cruising). Particularly, I want the option to sometimes - moreso on stormy winter days - to do my weekly country cruise in the car instead. It'd be just like a ride - an all-day trip tootling along farm roads to Murchison and back at 60-80kph is typical - say 400-500km.

    I get the sense that the VW is a more robust car than the Morris, probably both because of slightly better design but also they're 15-20 years younger typically. Are they that much more robust/reliable? I also see more talk of rust - terrible hidden rust - in Morris Minors than I've noticed re VWs, but maybe it's because I've spent more time reading Morrie anecdotes.

    Any opinions? If VWs aren't that much better I'll go a Morris; but if they are then, considering it's more important to be on the road than looking at a parked pile of expense, I'll lean toward the VW. Ultimately it will be decided on what's available when I've got the cash, but such issues need consideration, especially given I never have much money spare to throw at things - if it were a simple matter of favouring the one which most moves the soul I'd be riding a BSA and not my trusty Yamaha, but I like my vehicles to move my body as much as my soul.



  2. Vee Dub has more character and also can be customised better.
  3. In the same mold of tough workhorse / people's car, have you considered the Citroen 2CV? It would be less popular and familiar than the other two but still be a worthy choice to restore. Those things went every where the French had territory, no matter the terrain.

    Yeah, yeah.... I know, the French can't make cars, but this one was an anomaly. And no... I am not French.


    Good luck with your search.
  4. I've owned a 69 Mini Cooper S and a 68 Mini Deluxe (still got this hidden a long way away in a very sad shape).

    The dak dak will probly be more robust for the reasons you noted, and coz they won't have Lucas electrics :roll: The minor has a variety of engines, most are the same as in the Minis. Best thing about the Minor is that the distributor isn't right at the front in the rain like the Mini!

    A place near Ringwood are specialists in the A series engine (Mini, Minor etc) and they do a sweet Supercharger for them for about 7 grand :grin:

    But I digress. It's up to you, VW will probly be a bit more reliable. But I personally have a thing for the BMC so would got the Morrie. Much more character IMO. Everyone has Dub.
  5. Go the VW. I have just sold my 74 1600L bug as I do not have the room for it any more. I prefer the earlier beetles though. I would not buy a 1300 as they are not independant rear suspension All the semi autos are independant rear even the 69 models. The manual beetle was independant from 71? I think. All old cars rust so the beetle is no different. The main advantage of the beetle is the amount of parts both new and used that are avaliable. You will find German, mexican and brazilian parts both standard and moddified avaliable. They are simple and cheap to repair but like all old vehicles will need constant maintainence as you will be looking at cars 35-45 years old. A good internet site for prices and pictures is http://www.classicveedub.com.au
    There is a good shop in Thomastown called Volkshome Automotive, John the owner is one of the more honnest in the VW game and has been working on them for years (Mum first took her beetle there in 1982). I would look at buying a stock standard car that needs work for a low price and then do it up the way you want with the parts you want.
    Good luck.
  6. Beetle have much more parts for all any model.easy to fix any much more loved car.
  7. I never liked either Mini FTW, but both cars are extensively restored globally and all parts are available for both. BTW if I remember rightly the 1275 midget engine and box drops straight into a Minor...
  8. Definitely the VW.

    I am biased because I've had a Kombi van for over 5 years now, but I grew up around British cars too (MG's). The VW is easier to maintain and there are more of them so parts are still readily available... nice and cheap too. In the whole time I've had the van it hasn't let me down. It's had it's minor quirks, but nothing that you wouldn't expect as routine maintenance for an older machine. There is also an amazing culture that surrounds VW's once you start looking into the scene. People from all different walks of life coming together within a common interest. There are several events throughout the year which are all pretty good fun and relaxed. Nothing too 'official' in the dub scene.

    Morris tends to attract the more 'experienced' members of society who like to talk to you endlessly at service stations about how they used to have one, and how they'd buy their bread in it, and drive it to the newsagency to see Bill about a gate hinge, then over to the local bowls club..... etc.

    The Morris is a cute little car, but it is seriously underpowered for today's traffic woes and would probably be more trouble than it's worth keeping it running. I used to drive a little MG 1300 and it's now in my parents garage on club reg to be used only for events. Too many hassles to keep a 40 year old British car alive for ordinary use.

    For reliability, culture, access to cheap parts, cheap maintenance, and regular use... go the Dub. ;)
  9. Your timing is impeccable Matt; the new vintage/classic rego scheme is due to be released (actually I think it's overdue), which allows vehicles over 25 or 30yo to be used 90 days per year for much less than the normal rego cost. Currently the scheme only allows you to use the vehicle for club events - there are no such restrictions with the new scheme.

    Day, wash your mouth out! The French have always made excellent cars (bias alert - I come from a dyed-in-the-wool Peugeot family). A 2CV would be a great car for the purpose, but they are quite expensive, especially when you consider their humble 'every-man' origins.

    Because you want a car that is reasonably practical, I'd value a strong enthusiast network over just about anything else. Spare parts availability is never going to be great with an old car, but if you get to know the enthusiasts they will tell you how to fix the part you have, or where to find a good second hand part, or how to contact Fred who made a dozen on his lathe at home etc.

    Seems you've cast a fairly narrow net, but I guess you've been thinking about it for a while. Good luck!
  10. My mother had a minor.
    So just on that, get the beetle.
  11. I had a 1500cc Beetle for many years. Wonderful car, plenty of support and went quite well.

    I had the first of the 12 volt ones with disc brakes. Rugged as hell. We drove to Adelaide in it numerous times and never had a problem. The above mentioned guy in Thomastown has been there a long time and has a good reputation.
  12. I'll be honest, I wouldn't buy either. They're both boring, ill handling cars (both have at least ons serious handling issue) that stop poorly, have a great propensity to rust.
    What's your budget?

    Regards, Andrew.
  13. this is what u want, hand/elephant crafted

  14. Joseph Lucas Electrics?

    get the VW
  15.  Top
  16. I had a Minor when I was young. It's performance was so bad that you had to blow on the inside of the windscreen to get it to go up hills. The Lucas electric fuel pump failed with monotonous regularity and the "swizzle stick" gear lever was vague at best. The 1000cc version was much better and the short throw gear lever improved things considerably.

    However the upgrades disn't extend to the fuel pump which was still a source of constant frustration to most Morris Minor owners.

    But, despite what someone has typed above, the car handled brilliantly, far better than most of its peers and a lot of cars that came after it as well.

    Buy the VW.
  17. Beetle is the better drive. It's also the more reliable and it has plenty of character. The downside is that they are just weird and require learning from scratch. There are quite a few jobs that should be easy on any other car, but just aren't on a beetle. Spares aren't really cheap, either (at least not the European ones).
    The minor you can fix in a few minutes, but you'll need to, several times a day.

    BTW, a friend of mine dropped a Corolla motor straight into a Minor and drove it across Africa, no problems.
  18. Baha! MattB and I have been hearing this at club meets for the last three years. Just like snufalufagus, it's always about to turn up.

    I'll believe it when I see it, sadly.