By the time of the Eight, William Morris had amassed quite a consortium of automotive component suppliers under the umbrella of Morris Motors Ltd. Hotchkiss and Wolesley provided engines, Pressed Steel Co. made body panels, Bishop supplied brakes and steering components, SU gave carburetors, and Wrigley made transmissions. Having all of these under his control assured Morris of a steady supply, at a controlled price, and consistent quality. This from-the-bottom-up manufacturing control led Morris to become Britain’s leading car manufacturer, in both quantity and profitability.
The Spartan nature of the 1930s Morris Minor, coupled with the success of Ford’s export-market Model Y led to the development of the slightly larger and more comfortable Eight, debuting at the 1934 London Motor Show. (“Eight” referred to the British system of taxable horsepower – the Ford Model Y was in the same “8” class.) Morris Eights built prior to July of 1935 were referred to as “Pre-Series” Eights, because Morris standardized all naming protocols in the summer of 1935, with all model ranges getting a Series number; i.e. the Eight became the Series I, then the II, III and later the Series E. (The Eight Series E of 1939 was almost completely new, with a waterfall grille and OHV engine.)
Morris used his success with the Eight, the Ten, and other models to acquire other manufacturers, such as Wolesley, M.G., and Riley, to become The Nuffield Organization. Nuffield merged with Austin in 1952 to form BMC – the British Motor Corporation – and enjoyed virtual domination of the British market for decades to come.
Manufacturer: Morris Motors Ltd
Country of Origin: Great Britain
Drivetrain Configuration: Front engine, rear wheel drive
Engine: Wolseley-designed Morris UB, 918cc water-cooled side-valve engine, 23.5 HP
Transmission: 3 speed manual
Top Speed: 60 mph
Years of Production: Late 1934-1937
Number Produced: Over 160,000
Original Cost: £118; in 2013 dollars, around $10,500