Text provided by Henk van Galen (MO1200), Website Manager
When Issigonis designed the Oxford MO Traveller and its Morris Minor counterpart, he was clearly going through his "American" period. Both cars are inspired by the woodies then popular in the United States. The traveller is a very flexible car. Two hinged rear doors give access to a generous loading area that can even be enlarged by folding the rear seat down, thus creating a flat floor.
Another characteristic are the sliding side windows. The rear section consists of an ash frame combined with aluminium panels and roof. At the time, it was an efficient approach: both ash and aluminium were available at low cost, and the Body Branch had sufficient experience and tooling to provide a high quality frame.
Remarkably the Traveller is not based on the MCV chassis but uses the saloon's mono construction. Thus the wood is a structural part of the car (nowadays an MOT-factor) and requires careful maintenance.
Production was somewhat complex: the rear structure (frame and painted aluminium panelling) was manufactured by the Morris Motors Body Branch in Coventry, and then put on transport to Cowley. There, they were dropped onto the motorised cab and floor and bolted in place.
Early publicity material and some road test reports show Travellers with the early grille, but it seems that all production vehicles left the factory with the later, stainless steel type.
Unfortunately, from the 5500 Travellers produced between 1952 and 1954, the club only knows about some 25, possibly 30 survivors. Sometimes new examples show up but their state is often deplorable, especially regarding the ash frame.