Britain’s 64th favourite classic car

The Morris Marina has been voted Britain’s 64th favourite classic car, in a poll of Practical Classics readers. One hundred classic cars assembled at the top secret Millbrook circuit for a celebration of Britain’s favourite classics, following a survey by Practical Classics magazine.


Get your £1 money off voucher for the December edition of Practical Classics (MMOC & IR Login required) 


Do it in a day


So you have a daily driver that needs attention, or a project that needs work but you don’t have a lot of time to get really stuck into it? Why not figure out what jobs you could do in one day.

In an up and coming series we will guide you through some of the jobs that don’t have to take an age to complete, if you plan and prepare the parts and tools in advance.

Not only will we be covering general mechanical jobs, but a bit of welding and bodywork too. We will also go through some more basic tasks for owners that are new to the Marina or new to cars in general.

So stick around and take note of Do it in a day.


Coming up in this series:

Repair broken manifold stud – Live now!

Valve grinding and stem seals

Jacking point repair

Floor pan replacement

If you have any jobs that you want covering, please let us know and we will do our best to fit them in.

Converting to automatic













Simply put, to turn your classic car from a manual gearbox to an automatic you just need to find the right parts. If the car in question had an option for a slush box, then all the better. But why bother? Sure, if you wanted to shoehorn more horsepower into a British classic relatively cheaply, an automatic box will take more torque than its manual equivalent. The Marina auto versions were all low compression engines, denoted by the ‘L’ in their engine number. With the low-down torque these engines make the automatic box is very well suited and can transfer this into a very well-mannered car around town, but still kick down and pull hard when provoked out on the motorway and B roads.

These conversions seem to be carried out as a necessary evil, rather than an upgrade to an already capable car. Owners often want to keep their pride and joy, but may feel strain when using the clutch – switching to an automatic means they can keep the car but drive it in comfort.

The car we converted is a manual spec Marina HL but all of the steps are for 1800/1300 single and twin SU cars.

Parts for these are no longer off the shelf, so it is vital to make a list of what is needed before striping your car of its manual box. I’ve heard of complete cars being pillaged for their autos, linkages and connections – but this really isn’t necessary if you know what, and where to look for it. For example, the Marina auto engine is identical to any other Marina with a manual transmission – and it is more than possible to add an automatic to a high compression engine. The low comp engine would work better with the torque converter, making better use of the power, but all that is needed would be a set of LC pistons should you want to go this route.



Parts required for 1800/1300 auto conversion

Auto box/torque converter:

Borg warner 35 (mk1 ->73) or Borg warner 65 (mk1 73->, mk2, mk3 and Ital) – Boxes are available both new and second hand via Club contacts.

Flex plate

Made up of a starter ring gear and round plate welded and balanced. Certainly something that a good machine shop could make up or available through Club contacts.



Selector and linkages:

Ok, so technically these are only available on Marina automatics – but when you look closely you could make something up from various BL cars of the era. For example, have a look at small triumph cars of the 70s such as the 1850 Dolomite as it may be in better supply through Triumph specialists. The selector rod is only a piece of steel rod with a threaded end and adjuster linked onto it – something that could be made up with some hand tools, a pillar drill and a tap and die set.


Engine back plate

On the automatic version there is a 1 ¾” round hole that sits between the sump that allows access to the torque converter bolts when the box is in the car. If you don’t have an auto back plate simply measure up the distance between one of the bolt holes on the flex plate and the back plate, then use a pillar drill and hole saw to open up the plate.

Crank spacer

Now this part is what allows the flex plate to sit out further from the end of the crank and centres the starter ring gear with the starter motor – a rare part but if you are serious about making an automatic Marina the Club can have one machined up for you (P.O.E)

Spigot bush

Removal of the bronze bush is required before fitting the crank spacer.



Kick down

This function not only allows the box to drop down a gear when the accelerator is pushed to the floor, but monitors the location of the throttle position and makes the box change down correctly – A kick down that is incorrectly fitted or missing will mean the box will not function as designed. The bracketry for the Marina is simply made up by an angled metal edge and crude connector on the end of the rear SU carburettor. For our conversion we had to guess as at the time we couldn't find an accurate diagram – whilst it is crude, it allows the accelerator to operate between idle and wide open throttle and kick down to work as designed.

Inhibitor switch

Part number: DRC2918 – same as Rover SD1 and London taxis!


Inhibitor wiring

The Marina wiring for manuals is identical to the autos. The only difference is a connector block that sits under the heater box. On the manuals it has a loop for the starter circuit, and on the auto it connects into the inhibitor. Three cables needed here and a connector. Available from many auto spark companies.

Prop shaft

Identical to the manual version

Gearbox mount

Identical to the manual version


In conclusion

So, before you venture into buying a complete Marina auto to convert your classic, be sure to contact the MMOC & IR to see if we can help you. Marinas and Itals are in limited numbers and we are committed to help new and existing owners keep these cars on the road for future generations.








Our car:
engine type     naturally aspirated petrol
engine manufacturer  Morris
engine code 18V
cylinders          Straight 4
capacity           1.8 litre 1799 cc (109.782 cu in)
bore × stroke   80.26 × 88.9 mm 3.16 × 3.5 in
bore/stroke ratio        0.9
overhead valve (OHV) 2 valves per cylinder 8 valves in total
maximum power output (din)    86 PS (85 bhp) (63 kW) at 5500 rpm
specific output (din)    47.2 bhp/litre 0.77 bhp/cu in
maximum torque (din)    135 Nm (100 ft·lb) (13.8 kgm) at 3000 rpm
specific torque (din)    75.04 Nm/litre 0.91 ft·lb/cu3
compression ratio       9:1
fuel system     2 SU carbs
bmep (brake mean effective pressure)         943 kPa (136.8 psi)
engine coolant            Water
unitary capacity          449.75 cc
aspiration        Normal

May & June 269 Club Results

Morris Marina 1.8 TC Coupe - boot badge

May and June Results

May and June results for the MMOC&IR 269 Club:

Want to join up? Download the forms here:

26th May      
  Winnings Ticket Number Name
First Prize 60%= £14.40 10

Mr R Clayton
(to be left in the fund)

Second Prize 30%= £7.20 12

Mr R Snaith

Third Prize 10%= £2.40 18

M C Talkington

Total £24.00    
Independently drawn by

Independently drawn by Solicitor Mr David Leigh-Hunt in association with Moore & Tibbits  Royal Leamington. 

30th June      
  Winnings Ticket Number Name
First Prize 60%= £14.40 21

Mr E Furnell

Second Prize 30%= £7.20 13

Mr B Viney

Third Prize 10%= £2.40 8

 Mr V Watson

Total £20.00    
Independently drawn by

Mr James Justice from 

Justice Roach Web Designers Royal Leamington Spa

March and April 269 Club Results


March and April results for the MMOC&IR 269 Club:

Want to join up? Download the forms here:

31st March      
  Winnings Ticket Number Name
First Prize 60%= £12.00 12 Mr R Snaith
Second Prize 30%= £6.00 20 Mr G Prossor
Third Prize 10%= £2.00 6 Mr M Hanson
Total £20.00    
Independently drawn by Mr Paul Scally of Tebis UK
28th April      
  Winnings Ticket Number Name
First Prize 60%= £12.00 19 Mr P Dunster
Second Prize 30%= £6.00 9 Mr C Weedon
Third Prize 10%= £2.00 6 M M Hanson
Total £20.00    
Independently drawn by Mr Paul Scally of Tebis UK

February Draw for the MMOC&IR 269 Club


We have 21 members  that have paid. The rules state each member pays £24.00 pa on a rolling year. Allocation is a 12th which equates to £2.00 per month, 50% stays in the 296 club leaving £21.00 for prize money. As stated in the Spring 2015 ”UNDEERSTEER” the first draw is a rollover the prize money equates to £42.00.

The draw was drawn by Mr P Bullas of “Wilfirs” of  Coventry

Prize money allocated as per the 269 Club  rules are as follows:-

· First Prize           60% =£25.20      Ticket Number 3 

· Second Prize     30%= £12.60      Ticket Number 4 

· Third Prize          10% = £4.20        Ticket Number 8


· Total                               £42.00

March’s prize money can only be increased  with new members. Currently prize money for each month stands at £21.00 so come on all you Marina Club members and get your friends to join.  The funds are for the benefit of the club.

Surplus funds held in the A/C, one  possible option that has been suggested is to purchase some wheel arches to hold in stock as these are the most popular along with jacking points.

Club member and want to join in? Click here to download the sign up form. Good luck!

Raising money whilst having a flutter!


What better way to raise funds for your car club than an old school 100 club.

That’s what we have done here at the MMOC&IR; our members, their friends and families simply pay £24.00 per year and get entered into monthly draws. 50% of the subs go to the clubs funds and the remaining 50% is awarded as prizes each month.

  • 50% of the month’s net payments shall make up the prize fund. The prize fund will be paid out each month as 3 prizes (60% first prize, 30% second prize, 10% third prize).
  • The remaining 50% of the net payments will be allocated to Morris Marina Owners Club fundraising account.
  • Only one prize can be won per number per draw.

A great way for members to support us whilst having a bit of a flutter!

Anybody over 16 years of age can become a member of the 269 Club. The 269 Club shall not be limited to 269 members. The more numbers we sell, the bigger the prizes!

Members can log onto to get a 269 application pack and see who has won each month.

If your car club wishes to do something similar but needs some advice, please use the contact forms on this website and we would be more than happy to help.

Do you Understeer?


Spring 2016 Understeer

 After a long couple of weeks compiling the latest Club magazine, we are nearly ready to post it out to members. 

The Club magazine is going from strength to strength and this quarter is no different. 

We have interviews, project profiles and even an exclusive from Harris Mann, designer of the Morris Ital.

So, do you Understeer? If not why not join the Club: Join securely online!