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Derived from the Morris/BMC J4 and JU250 vans of the 1960s, the core vehicle went through a series of developments, the main one being the revision of the forward control layout of the J4 and moving the engine ahead of the cab and accessible via a bonnet.
This allowed the wheelbase to be extended resulting in greater stability, payload, side loading and the distinctive 'Sherpa' profile (though the last of the J4s and the first Sherpa are largely identical from the rear).
This was a somewhat raucous, noisy and unrefined engine but was however a very reliable unit capable of excellent fuel economy, although performance of the naturally aspirated engine was not a strong point.
Originally developed by British Leyland the model was launched in 1974 under the nameplate Leyland Van.
The range was redesignated accordingly: vans: 200, 230 and 250; pick ups: 230 and 250; minibus and crewbus: 250 only; chassis cab: 255 only.
A few months later, the Sherpa was rebadged as a Morris.
The Sherpa van could now be bought in 200, 230, 250 and 280 versions. Loadspace remained at 190 cubic feet (5.4 m), again with a choice of basic chassis cab GVWs.
The original, integral pick up had now been dropped in favour of a dropside pick up built on the Sherpa chassis-cab.
Alongside the original bodystyle there was new wide bodied variant (Freight Rover 300 Series).