The 1948 Introduction

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The ‘J’ type was introduced at the 1948 Commercial Motor Show at Earls Court. The pre-production van which Morris~Commercial exhibited on their stand at the show differed in many details from the production vehicle that was to follow in the autumn of 1949. The easiclean wheels gave way to pressed steel disc items, whilst the front grille, headlamp/sidelight units, and many other items were redesigned before full production commenced. The 1949 Geneva Commercial Vehicle Show van still had the soon-to-be-discarded easiclean wheels, but also had a front chrome bumper unlike anything seen subsequently.

1948: Morris~Commercial's stand at the Commercial Motor Show

Morris~Commercial had introduced the 15/20 cwt ‘PV’ model, with a forward control layout similar to that subsequently used in the ‘J’ type, in 1939 ~ although few were made before the outbreak of the Second World War brought production to a halt. Production resumed in 1945.

Morris~Commercial post-war management meeting minutes indicate that the J-type was being designed to take a new flat-4 engine under development alongside the smaller flat-4 that was being evaluated for the Morris Minor. Neither engine got the go-ahead due to cost considerations.

Photographs exist of two different ‘J’ type prototypes, one of which shows that the Morris~Commercial designers had experimented with incorporating the Company’s then-current ‘PV’ frontal styling, featuring a vertical slatted grille, into the vehicle. This ‘J’ type prototype, with its very stylishly curvaceous pressed steel body, much improved on the ‘PV’s boxy appearance. The Register also holds drawings that show that in 1948, by which time the J-type styling would have been fully approved and tooled up, Morris~Commercial were experimenting with creating a replacement for the PV using the J-type’s styling theme. This eventually developed into the LD van.

J-type'PV-experiment

Morris Motors at Cowley, another part of the same Nuffield empire, had been manufacturing a 10 cwt van since the mid-’30s. Although not fully forward control, the van had many similarities with the ‘J’ type, which mirrored its overall compact size and its offset engine.