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 ‘J/B’. Not until the advent of this and 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, ‘Commercial’ part of the name was dropped and the van was marketed as the Morris J-type. This is patently not the case. Although the ‘rise and fall’ Morris~Commercial lettering gradually disappeared from sales literature for the J-type, the word ‘Commercial’ was clearly carried over until well after the J/B was introduced. The ‘Morris’ badge only appeared after 1957.

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!