The ‘J’ type was updated in 1957, with the fitting of the O.H.V. 1489 cc, 42 bhp, ‘B’ series engine, mated to a 4-speed box. Chassis numbers, starting at 36,266, carried on from the earlier ‘J’ type but were now prefixed with JB/MR (B series/Morris). To distinguish it from its predecessor, the van became known as the Morris~Commercial ‘J/B’. Not until the advent of the Austin version of the van did the ‘Morris~Commercial’ front grille badge give way to the larger ‘Morris’ one.

Other websites, including Wikipedia, have claimed that,  after 1952, the J-type carried a Morris badge. This is patently not the case. Although they lost the ‘rise and fall’ Morris~Commercial lettering, sales literature for the J-type clearly carried the word ‘Commercial’ until well after the J/B was introduced.

The Austin 101 (‘57 ~ ‘61)

Badge-engineering by the British Motor Corporation saw an Austin version of the J/B introduced, known as the Austin ‘101’, which differed from the J/B only in the design of the front grille panel and the badging. These carried chassis numbers in sequence with the J/B but prefixed by JB/AR (B series/Austin) so it is impossible to work out how many of the Austin version were produced.

Production ends

Production of the J/B and the 101 ceased early in 1961, although vehicles were still being registered as late as December of the same year. The very last van produced carried chassis number JB/MR 48,621, which allows us to state that approximately 12,355 J/Bs and 101s were made, but the separation of these figures into Austin and Morris quantities can never be known.

Approximate production figures for J-types, J/Bs and 101s combined have been worked out by the Morris~Commercial Club, using data from period Glass’ Guides:

1949: 750           1950: 5,347            1951: 5,051            1952: 4,098           1953: 5,027         1954: 6,000        1955: 6,894            1956: 3,169            1957: 3,284           1958: 3,131         1959: 2,965        1960: 2,516            1961: 362

In comparison, the Volkswagen Type 2 (commonly known as a ‘Splittie’), produced between 1951 and 1967, had a production run of 1,853,439 – over 1.8 million more than the combined production run of J-types, J/Bs and 101 vans!