The Baby Hindustan – Good things come in small packages.

The Baby Hindustan – Good things come in small packages.

This car was nowhere near as successful as the other three detailed here, but had a far more enduring impact on what constitutes good small car design. Until this car and the Volkswagen Beetle became popular, small cars were expected to be bad compromises – a bad small car for a manufacturer meant a guaranteed upgrade to a normal sized car.

The Morris Minor was first showcased in 1948 as a small car for the British masses. The car would feature revolutionary technical advances such as independent front suspension with coil springs, a rack & pinion steering and almost unibody construction. The front engine rear-wheel drive configuration was also uncommon amongst small cars. The Original Morris Minor had side valve engines while the Baby Hindustan would be available between 1953 to 1958 with an OHV Austin 948 cc engine. Globally, and for the home UK market, the Morris Minor would be produced for almost 23 years from 1948 and would go on to become a design classic.

Hindustan manufactured the Morris till 1953 and the OHV powered car which replaced it was called the Baby Hindustan.

The Morris Minor was always known for its supple ride and understeer prone handling. The beauty of the small car lies in the packaging efficiency achieved in such a small footprint. Many space saving features which enhance packaging efficiency, like folding split rear seats to allow greater luggage area can be found in this 70+ year old car. One of the unique features of the Morris Minor was sealed beam headlamps which were uncommon at that time, but they provided better illumination than conventional separate bulb and reflector designs. Aesthetically earlier Morris Minors came fitted with a split front windscreen whereas later models moved to a single piece design. It was also of the first cars to have heating & ventilation.

The author can be excused for having an almost unfair fondness for this car. He has often been accused of falling asleep before the car left the driveway, as a baby in a Morris Minor Tiger, in navy blue, owned first by his father & later his grandfather. After this car was sold off in the early 1990s, the said father and grandfather combo could often be spotted with the author in tow, at the portico of the Woodlands Hotel in Central Bangalore, ogling at a well-maintained example that would be parked there.

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