Why this MORRIS MINOR is the best car for London

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Welcome to the Silent D Motor Show. I’m your host Silent D. In this episode we’re going to take a drive around London in
this very unique Morris Minor. But first let’s go and meet the builder and owner Matt
at his garage and he will explain exactly why it’s so unique and why this is quite
possibly the best, and certainly most affordable car, you can drive in London
right now. Hey Matt, thanks for letting us check out your Morris Minor. Hey Erlend,
how you doing? Good, how are you? Very well thanks. Would you like a cup of tea? Yes, please. Brilliant. Here you go! Thank you! So it’s a 1953 Series II Morris Minor. That we have taken…, it’s completely original, so we’ve taken out the 1098
motor that was originally in it, and we’ve replaced that with an electric
motor and batteries. And who’s… who are we? That’s your company, right? So it’s London Electric Cars, something I
started in December last year and I’m trying to figure out ways of getting
people driving electric cars in a more affordable way. Can we have a look? Yes, absolutely! We have nine prismatic Thunder Sky cells at the front, we’ve got
another 16 in the boot where the fuel tank used to be. The motor is under the
front battery pack. You can just see it through the grill and it’s bolted
directly to the original gearbox, so we kept the gearbox, four-speed gearbox. So you can use the gears if you want to. But in reality, I tend to, you start
in second, drive around like an automatic and then occasionally put it into fourth,
and skip third gear, and the fourth is a straight-through drive gear, so it
becomes completely silent. Can we take it for a ride? Absolutely! Let’s go
for spin. So we’re in second gear right now, as a
start, I didn’t use a clutch, you’ll see I’m just on the gas basically. And then… And when we get going I’ll stick it in forth. And it just becomes completely quiet. And here watch, if we stick to forth, so clutch in, into fourth. Now we’re in fourth, can you hear that’s a street through drive. Noise completely disappears. So the Morris Minor is basically the Volkswagen Beetle of England, right? Yes, it’s the British Beetle. Exactly. They made over a million of them. They made them for 20 years basically,
maybe 25 years. Every British family has like a story of, you know, the Minor in the family. And they made.. like I’ve seen the Pickup,
Van… Yeah! Yeah! The Traveler, the Convertible, and
then also quite often they’ll take the Saloon, the two-door Saloon like this and
turn it into Convertible. Yeah, they made tons of variants. The Vans are very
sought-after. And it’s one of those cars, that you know,
you find them everywhere, and that’s part of the, the sort of argument of getting
people to drive old electric, so old cars convert to electric, is just
that they’re cheap. Getting spare parts for it is really easy. Every junkyard seems to
have a few in them. And they’re just so easy to maintain. The average journey in London is 4 to 5 miles. This has a range of 45 miles. Which is… I’ve done that.., you know, some people might say oh that’s a bit short,
but it’s been done because that’s… it’s much cheaper. The most expensive
parts of the car is the battery pack. And in this case it’s got a 13 kilowatt
battery pack. If you compare that to say a Tesla where I think the base model is
now 75, used to be 65, and they got rid of that, and now I think it’s 75. So they’re 75 kilowatts to 100 kilowatts,
this is 13. Imagine the difference in cost. But if the average journey in London is 4
to 5 miles, and this can do 45 miles on a
charge… I charge it once a week. I charge it at home, and yeah just sort of when I
feel like it really. And you told me earlier that it’s about 1 pound per charge. Yes. So you spend fifty quid a year. Yeah, well, and then and then as you’re saying you don’t
condone it but there’s an awful lot of unclaimed 13 amp sockets lying around
London, and people are very generous, you know, if you rock up in your electric car
and you say – do you mind if I plug in for a few hours? They say – yeah, go for it! You know, they want to talk to you about it. So, to be honest I rarely pay to charge it. We’re in the Congestion Zone right now, which
means… that to enter it you have to pay 12,50 pounds
these days. Per day? Per day, yep. But with this being an electric car, it’s free. Road tax, this is free. It’s also
free because it’s an old car, if your car is over 40 years old you don’t
pay road tax. And what about insurance? So insurance… It’s classic car insurance, but you then call
them up and say it’s been converted and they’ll generally then use
that as an excuse to charge you a bit more, but not a lot. You also become really aware
when you’re in a car like this how gross all the other cars are. You know, it’s
just that they’re just sitting here, particularly these taxis. Just [engine noise]. I smile at other electric car drivers because
we’re the sort of fellow non-polluters, but
obviously they can’t tell that I’m in an electric car, so they just think I’m
crazy! So there’s like nothing on this car other than the lack of the noise of
the combustion engine that would give it away? Well the lack of exhaust pipe. Oh yeah there’s that. And then the fact I’ve got a big sign in the
back window, but you only see that if you’re
behind me, so… So people are being like really nice to you when you drive around in
this, right? Oh totally! You can get away with anything? Yeah, so for example we’re about to make a
right-hand turn here I’m not allowed to make a right-hand turn, but I don’t think
anyone’s gonna complain. No, no, hold on, I can’t do this, there’s a police car here. They’re gonna
give me shit. So what would you say are good cars is to do this kind of
conversions? Well, so, I would say.. all the
Morrises are great, lots of people have done Beetles. Those are the sort of main
ones you get coming out of California. But yeah anything really. I mean as
long as there’s plenty of space, which most of these cars do have these days, they have
tons, you know, compared to modern cars, there’s so much space in
them, because it’s just not all the… What about a Volvo 240? Ah, hell yeah! I think that’d be awesome to do! Thank you! So Matt, are you gonna let me try driving
this car? I don’t know Erlend. Huh, yeah go then. Hehe ok. So what do I gotta do? Just try.. If you
put your foot on the gas you’ll hear the motor to spin a little bit. Gently. Can you
hear that? Yeah. Okay, so then you just put it into second gear. You don’t
need to put the clutch down. Oh. Straight into second gear. There you go. And then you just go! This is easy enough. Yeah. Did you feel the engine braking there? Yeah. That’s the re-gen braking. Can also feel how right when you put
your foot down there’s a slight pause, because I turn down like the initial hit
from the torque just to save the old drivetrain, it just slightly feeds in. I feel like it’s really responsive though. Oh yeah yeah yeah, I mean, if you jam it, it’ll go! Wow. This is fun, this is awesome. I love this! Thank you so much for letting me
shoot this episode, for letting me try your car. My pleasure. Absolutely. It’s been a lot of fun. Yeah.
I think so too. And also thank you so much to you for watching. If you enjoyed it, then please click the Subscribe button, click the Like button, share it! You
know it goes and I shall see you next time! You missed Big Ben bonging for the last time for like 4 years. Everyone got terribly emotional about it for no particular reason. What’s that about? Big Ben. They’re repairing it. You can see how they’re covering it all up. So it stopped bonging. It stopped its ringing. And they all got really, all the traditionalists got really upset about it.

100 comments

  1. Loved it and love the whine it produces when you pull away loved it I hope your business goes well it reminds me of my old Austin 7

  2. This is the best electric car I have ever seen !. Something very British, Iconic and practical in central London. I imagine any old classic that has a traditional drive train, ie engine then gearbox then back axle could be converted. Mazda MX5 your next project, or maybe a MGB ?!. Then there is the Jags, BMW’s, gosh we can keep the best on the road once the petrol has run out….

  3. He states there is no pollution from this car, not directly, but there is pollution where the electricity is generated. So not pollution free.

  4. Only the power plant converted?
    Stock MM gearbox and electric torque not a long term solution. They can barely last with a 15 hp side valve engine.
    Stock MM brakes in modern traffic? Even at 20 mph a big risk.
    Apart from that a great city car as long as you don't get hit by an SUV in a hurry.
    Boosted disc brakes or even Morris Major drum brakes would be a massive improvement. You can now get Electric brake boosters that are used on cars like the Leaf.

  5. To the pedants fulminating below about Silent D's qualified superlative ("very unique"), he is clearly not speaking his native tongue. Criticism of a supposed gaff is thus terribly bad form. Could we really avoid tiny errors in our own second or third language? True gentlemen would choose etiquette over unsolicited grammar advice by saying nothing. Matt is reminiscent of a young David Cameron (quite a cross for the poor chap to bear).

  6. 6.19 yes that biker would have loved you if you made that illegal right turn, nice car but do us all a favour & obey the signs please.

  7. Only way I would ever drive a electrical car is if my country cut gasoline cars entirely, something they said they want to do by 2025… So I might end up hotriding old veterans, my first car is a old Ford granada and I love old cars, I just can't Imagen myself driving a new car, driven new cars many times but it makes me sleepy and less consentrated as I am not as connected to what happends around me as in a old more raw car

  8. No seat belts or head restraint… Nice otherwise though. Get it up to 200 mile radius and you've got a winner

  9. I mean, in London the big ben its pratically the last symbol of British culture so yeah, if i was getting raided by violent, colonialists muslims from all over the globe from sharia law lovers country I foi would be upset, but what do I know NICE VIDEO THO LOVED IT

  10. What a waste of a classic car. The fact you lose you boot space completely makes it totally impractical. As for it being non polluting how bout the electricity used to power it?

  11. I am proberly wrong but electric cars seem a bit counter intuitive to me cuz don't u have to burn fossil fuels to run them. And to power more cars needs more electric and renewable energy is years an years away from having sufficient output x

  12. I had a friend who had several Morris Minors here in the US and none of them had reverse, he had several cars and several trucks!

  13. None polluting my ass ,were do you think the electricity comes from? And ps those batterys have made created more pollution by being made, than a petrol car does in a lifetime.

  14. Electric cars don't usually have a gearbox, so why have you retained the gearbox?
    Have you upgraded the brakes, and refurbished the steering and suspension?
    How much does all this cost?
    I love the idea though and I bet it is fun to drive.
    And why is it very unique, either it is unique or it isn't?

  15. You know what mate. I thought many years ago about making such a car with a portable generator on board and wondered how that would be as far as the road tax is concerned. It would still be an electric car wouldn’t it.

  16. From 1952–56, an 803 cc a A-Series inline-four engine was used. 1098 did not appear until 1962. I would have opted for a late model, but nice idea.

  17. I didnt want to like this because im all about classic cars being original… But I really like it, the ability to change gears is awesome too!

  18. Long ago here in the former colonies, I owned an Austin Somerset, never got the heater to work, do you have the same problem? do you have a heater?

  19. Is the steering heavier due to the weight of the batteries or is the weight equivalent to that of the old A-Series engine?

  20. RUINED A GOOD CLASSIC CAR,, TO PLEASE THE GREEN FREAKS AGAIN
    HE WOULD DO BETTER LOOSING THAT AWFULL DISGUSTING BEARD,,

  21. How about the Water insulation of electronic components used when during heavy rain and there is water when you are driving ..?

  22. lovely idea lovely car, too nice to drive it around in london though , too many bad impatient drivers and nutcase cyclists who will prang it, I would love an electric woody or a deux- chevaux Charleston

  23. I love the jelly mould especially in black. No spontaneous shopping expeditions though with a 45 mile range though. But it's a start..

  24. The one time I miss modern technology with my 1966 Volvo is with parallel parking. No back up camera's; no little buzzers telling you the distance to the next vehicle and no power steering! I need a much bigger parking space than modern vehicles.

  25. NOT a 1098 originally!!!! But anyway great idea don’t produce more cars convert the ones we already have !!!! If you sold it as a kit and the range was increased a hell of a lot more it would sell really well produce kits for all the classics with big numbers like morris,vw,landrover this could do really well !

  26. Having owned three Minors, they have terrible brakes, the suspension is held together by thumbtacks in relation to other autos, underpowered and slow response times lead to the logical conversion to electric power…..With electric window conversion and A/C the main great features besides it's classic looks is it's headroom and short length. At least 1/3 the value of a converted VW… IMHO…

  27. No pollution ? Does this moron think electricity is produced with fairy dust ? Stupid 'greenie' idiots have ZERO common sense, ZERO thought process.

  28. Yeah mate job well done and it's a very clean car but I like my muscle cars and I like The Rumbling sound of the V8 I'll stick with them

  29. With all the talk of costs you’d think you’d say the cost of buying the car. Nothing on their website

  30. Im not a Fan of Electric cars, not because i dont Like the technology, but because of the Design and Cost of a factory-built Electric car. They are so ugly, Look at the BMW i3 or the Renault twizy. Even the teslas are Not very good looking in my opinion. I would definetly buy and drive such a classic Electric car if someone in my country would make them. Very unique and i love the classic shapes. With safety Regulations, the car shapes went to shit nowadays. Great Job and greets from germany.

  31. No car is good for London – even if your car is electric and silent etc etc, you’ll still contribute to and get stuck in traffic – ride a bike!

  32. Yes ok but to be practical why not electrify a new Micra or Fiat 500 rather than spoil a classic car?

  33. So I guess my dad’s Traveller is a perfect candidate for this type of conversion (helps that there’s no engine, but still has the gearbox). Though maybe I’d opt for a battery with a little more range, but eh, 45 miles isn’t bad at all.

  34. Wonderful! But no seatbelts? Also, "unique" means "one of a kind", so it can't be "very unique". 😉

  35. Better value for your money because of the low depreciaton. O! did i mentioned it was my fathers/ouwer dealy driver? It was a two door in Dove Grey.

  36. My leaf holds 12.5 to 13 Kwhrs on its battery 2013 base model and has chademo and 6.6kw charger. Avg distance 38 miles.

  37. Part of the Charm of my moggy is that unique exhaust vibration as you go back down through the gears, I would miss that greatly.

  38. So our good old morris minor is going to survive for a long time in new avatar , good job my dear. thank you . Hail E- Minor

  39. I suspect the traditionalists would be upset if Big Ben were to experience an electrical conversion…..

  40. My gran had a nice one of these but when she was suffering from Alzheimers some gyppos knocked on her door and bought it for only £50 in 1985….Fuckers.

  41. I'm a devout petrol head but it's quite clear that cities will be banning petrol/diesel cars soon, so I approve of these electric conversions to keep these older cars relevant.
    I won't be converting my '99 M5, '77 XJ-S or '70 Stag though.

  42. Electric cars are a dead end. I bet this guy went to a public school and if he lived outside of luvvie London he'd not be so keen on this ridiculous technology

  43. This is the best alternative for the environment and a thousand times more fun than modern cars. Quit scrapping the classics!!

  44. Love the idea, however at between 12-20,000 UK pounds, I question the value. I'll wait another 10 years before converting mine.

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