Morris Isis

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Morris Isis
Overview
Manufacturer Morris BMC
Production 1929–31
1955–58
Body and chassis
Class Mid-size
Layout FR layout

The Morris Isis name was first briefly used by Morris Motors LImited on a six-cylinder car made from 1929 to 1931. It was resurrected on a new six-cylinder midsize car from the British Motor Corporation in the 1950s to replace the Morris Six MS.

The name died out in 1958.

Morris Isis (1929–35) and Twenty Five (1933–35)[edit]

Morris Isis and Twenty Five
1932 Morris Isis Saloon.jpg
Isis 2468cc first registered 24 March 1932
Overview
Manufacturer Morris
Production 1929–35
7406 made[1]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
4-door tourer
coupé
Powertrain
Engine 2.5 L or 3.5 L Straight-6
Transmission 3- or 4-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 120 in (3,048 mm)[2]
Length 178 in (4,521 mm)[2]
Width 71 in (1,803 mm)[2]

The Isis was a revised version of the 1927 Morris Six (JA series) and used the same 2468 cc engine and 3-speed gearbox. It had an all-new chassis, and the steel body had an American look, not surprising, as the body pressing dies made by Budd for the Morris-Budd joint venture, Pressed Steel Company, were shared with some Dodge models.[3] William Morris had recognised the potential of pressed steel car bodies and introduced them to Europe in Pressed Steel Company, a joint venture with Budd, sited beside William Morris's Cowley plant.

It was the first Morris to have hydraulic brakes and chromium plating replaced the previous nickel finish on brightwork.

The car could exceed 65 mph (105 km/h) and return 28 miles per imperial gallon (10 L/100 km; 23 mpg-US).

Isis Special Coupé reg'd 1933

Facelift[edit]

After 3939 of the original Isis model had been made it received a facelift announced 1 September 1932. Following the court-forced separation of William Morris from his joint venture with Edward G Budd the all steel body was replaced by a traditional wood frame construction. Mechanically the car was similar but the gearbox received syncromesh and a fourth speed (Twin-Top), the chassis received additional cross bracing in 1934 and an automatic clutch and freewheel were fitted to some models. 3467 of the new Isis were made (including Twenty-Five models).[1]

Isis saloon reg July 1934

Morris Twenty-Five[edit]

A de-luxe version, the Morris Twenty-Five was launched 12 October 1932 for the 1932 London Motor Show with larger 3485 cc engine. It was replaced in July 1935 by a new Twenty-Five, the flagship of the series II Morris range, and given an overhead valve engine (as the series III) in August 1938 with the rest of the Morris range.

Isis Series I (1955–56)[edit]

Morris Isis Series I
Morris Isis Series I front.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer BMC
Production 1955–56
8541 made[4]
Assembly United Kingdom
Victoria Park, Australia [5]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
2-door estate car
Related Morris Oxford Series II
Powertrain
Engine 2.6 L C-Series Straight-6
Transmission 4-speed manualoptional overdrive
Chronology
Predecessor Morris Six MS

The Series I Isis was launched in 1955 as a replacement for the Morris Six MS. It featured a six-cylinder engine, the 2.6 L (2639 cc/161 in³), 86 bhp C-Series unit from the Austin Westminster. Unlike the Westminster, the Isis had a single SU carburettor. The four-speed gearbox had a column change and was available with an optional Borg-Warner overdrive unit.

The car was based on the 4-cylinder Oxford Series II, sharing its almost-unibody shell and torsion bar front suspension. The wheelbase and front end were lengthened to accept the larger straight-6 engine, and a "woody" 2-door estate version was a novelty. With the strong engine, the Isis could reach 90 mph (145 km/h).

Unlike its sister car the Austin Westminster, which enjoyed moderate success against the volume-selling Ford and Vauxhall sixes of the time, sales were poor, with just 8,500 sold.

Isis Series II (1956–58)[edit]

Morris Isis Series II
Morris Isis Series II.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer BMC
Production 1956–58
3614 made[4]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
2-door estate car
Powertrain
Engine 2.6 L C-Series Straight-6
Transmission 4-speed manual, Overdrive optional, Automatic available
Dimensions
Wheelbase 107.5 in (2,730 mm)[6]
Length 178 in (4,521 mm)[6]
Width 65 in (1,651 mm)[6]
Chronology
Successor line discontinued

The Morris Isis Series II was based on the Morris Oxford Series III body but with longer wheelbase and front wings & bonnet to accommodate the 6-cylinder engine.

In line with changes to the corresponding Oxford line, BMC redesigned the Isis for 1956 with updated styling including a more elaborate mesh grille, chrome side strips and small fins. The engine power increased to 90 bhp. An automatic transmission option was also added. The manual version had a four-speed box operated by a short gearstick located on the right-hand side of the front bench seat. The handbrake lever was located just behind the gearstick. Sales remained weak, and the line ended in 1958.

A de luxe saloon with overdrive tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1956 had a top speed of 90 mph (140 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 17.6 seconds. A fuel consumption of 26.2 miles per imperial gallon (10.8 L/100 km; 21.8 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1025 including taxes. The overdrive unit had added £63 to the price.[6]

There was also a Traveller version with similar rear design to the Morris Oxford Estate car. The ISIS Estate accommodated the spare wheel either within the rear well or, when it was required to use this region for a passenger (the small floor area was hinged awith padded underside so that the passenger faced “backwards” – hardly considered safe by today’s standards), then the spare would be attached to the nearside, again to the rear of the vehicle. In this way it would be possible to accommodate two adult passengers on the front bench seat next to the driver, three in the middle rear bench seat and one on the very back. The writer owned both a series I and Series II Travellers in the 1960s. The latter was upgraded by the owner to a 2912 cc engine and overdrive giving a top speed in excess of 100m.p.h. Maximum torque was at 2000 rpm making this an ideal towing vehicle.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sedgwick, M. (1989). A-Z of Cars of the 1930s. Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-38-9. 
  2. ^ a b c Culshaw; Horrobin (1974). Complete Catalogue of British Cars. Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-16689-2. 
  3. ^ Baldwin, N. (1994). A-Z of Cars of the 1920s. Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-53-2. 
  4. ^ a b Sedgwick, M.; Gillies, M. (1986). A-Z of Cars 1945–1970. Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-39-7. 
  5. ^ BMC-Leyland Australia Heritage Group, Building Cars in Australia, 2012, page 38
  6. ^ a b c d "The Morris Isis de luxe Saloon". The Motor. July 11, 1956.