Morris Oxford

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Morris Oxford
Morris Oxford Series V as in early Pinifarina 1489cc mfd 1959.JPG
Oxford Series V Saloon 1959
Manufacturer Morris BMC
Production 1913–71
Body and chassis
Class Small car

Morris Oxford is a series of motor car models produced by Morris Motors of the United Kingdom, from the 1913 "bullnose" Oxford to the 1961–71 Oxford VI.

Oxford bullnose 1913–14[edit]

Oxford bullnose
MHV Morris Oxford 1913.jpg
Oxford 2-seater 1913
Production 1913–14
1302 produced.[1]
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door tourer
Engine 1018 cc side-valve Straight-4
  • 84 in (2,100 mm) [1]
  • track 40 in (1,000 mm) soon increased to 42 in (1,100 mm)[2]
Length 125 in (3,200 mm) [1]
Width 45 in (1,100 mm) [1]

William Morris' first car was called the Oxford in recognition of its home city. It was announced in The Autocar magazine in October 1912 and production began in March 1913.[2] Because he had a limited amount of capital and was unwilling to share ownership of his business little was made in-house. Virtually all components were bought-in and assembled by Morris. It was a small car with a 1018 cc four-cylinder side-valve engine with fixed cylinder head from White and Poppe. Ignition was by a Bosch magneto.[1]

The chassis was of pressed-steel construction and suspension was by semi-elliptic leaf springs at the front and three-quarter ones at the rear. The brakes, on the rear wheels only, were external contracting type using metal shoes. A three-forward and reverse gearbox was fitted. The headlights were acetylene and the side and tail lamps oil.[1]

The car got its name from its distinctive round-topped radiator at first called the bullet nose. Most bodies, made by Raworth of Oxford, were of the two-seat open-tourer type, there was also a van version, but the chassis did not allow four-seat bodies to be fitted, it was not strong enough and too short.[3]

Production = 495[2]
  • 1913 352
  • 1914 82
  • 1915 61

Bullnose de luxe[edit]

It was first displayed at the Olympia Motor Show which opened 7 November 1913. The standard model remained in production unchanged. The new de luxe had a longer wheelbase, 90 in (2,300 mm), and track was now 45 in (1,100 mm). Its front axle and steering had been re-designed to reduce "bump-steer"and its radiator capacity increased.[2]

Production = 980[2]
  • 1913 41
  • 1914 827
  • 1915 98
  • 1916 13
  • 1917 1

The American engined Continental Cowley, with most other significant components US sourced, shown to the press in April 1915 was a larger engined (1495 cc against 1018 cc), longer, wider and better equipped version of this Morris Oxford with the same "Bullnose" radiator. Its stronger and larger construction could carry a four-passenger body.[2]

Oxford bullnose 1919–26[edit]

Oxford bullnose
1925 Morris Oxford 'bullnose' Tourer at Felbrigg Hall.jpg
Four-seater tourer on new long wheelbase chassis 1925
Production 1919–26
Body and chassis
Body style 4-seat tourer
Engine 69.5 x 102mm CA & CB or
75 x 102mm CE
69.5 x 102mm Silent Six
1548 cc 11.9 hp side-valve Straight-4
1802 cc 13.9 hp side-valve Straight-4 14/28
2322 cc 17.97 hp side-valve Straight-6[4]
Wheelbase 102 in (2,600 mm) [5]
108 in (2,700 mm) from 1925[5]
111 in (2,800 mm) Oxford Six[5]
Length 156 in (4,000 mm) Oxford Six[5]

The 1919 Oxford (advertised as early as September 1918) assembled from locally made components became an upmarket version of the, from August 1919, new downmarket "no frills" Cowley. It retained the pre-war Bullnose radiator style but in a larger version. The new car's 11.9 fiscal horsepower 1548 cc engine was the Cowley's Detroit USA Continental Motors Company design made under licence in Coventry for Morris by a British branch of the French Hotchkiss company at prices well undercutting White and Poppe who had made Oxford engines up to that time. (Morris bought Hotchkiss's British factory in May 1923 and named it Morris Engines) The Oxford was differentiated from the Cowley by having a self-starter, a better electrical system and took the Cowley's leather upholstery.

In 1923 the engine was enlarged to 13.9 fiscal horsepower, 1802 cc[6] and this became known as the 14/28 engine. In 1925 it got a longer wheelbase chassis to move it further from the Cowley, and four-wheel brakes.[6] This model of the Oxford would be the basis of the first MG, the 14/28 Super Sports.

Red Flash 1925
Brooklands racing special

Production of both Cowley and Oxford bullnose vehicles[edit]

Total = 154,244[2]
  • 1913 393
  • 1914 907
  • 1915 320
  • 1916 697
  • 1917 126
  • 1918 198
  • 1919 360
  • 1920 1,932
  • 1921 3,077
  • 1922 6,937
  • 1923 20,024
  • 1924 32,939
  • 1925 54,151
  • 1926 32,183 mid-year switch to flatnose

Oxford Six F-type bullnose[edit]

William Morris's personal
Oxford Silent Six

A short-lived six-cylinder variant, The F-Type Oxford Six, was announced in 1920, the first open four-seater tourer was sold to Lord Redesdale. Only 50 were made and it remained available until 1926. The 2320 cc engine (1548 + 774) proved unreliable, two intense vibration periods weakened and broke crankshafts and few were sold. Although the car was longer than the four by 9 inches (230 mm) all the extra space was given over to the engine.[6]

Oxford flatnose 1926–30[edit]

Oxford flatnose
1927 Morris Oxford 1697cc Flat Nose.jpg
Oxford 4-door saloon 1927
Production 1926–30 (4-cylinder)
32,282 made.[7]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door tourer
4-door saloon
4-door fabric saloon
2-door coupé
Engine 1802 cc side-valve Straight-4
Wheelbase 114 in (2,900 mm) [5]

The distinctive bullnose radiator was dropped in 1926 in an updated version of the car. The engines remained the same but a new range of bodies was offered including all-steel saloons.[6]

Oxford Six 1929-1934[edit]

Oxford Six
Morris Oxford Six saloon 1930.jpg
Oxford Six six-light saloon 1930
Production 1929–33 [7]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
4-door fabric saloon
Related Morris Fifteen Six
Engine 1938 cc side-valve Straight-6
2062 cc

A 1938 cc six-cylinder version, the LA series Oxford Six, was made between 1929 and 1933 and was much more successful than the 1920 version. Alongside the tourer and steel saloon, a fabric-bodied car was offered until 1932, when it and the tourer were dropped and a coupé introduced.

In 1932, the gearbox gained a fourth speed and the engine grew to 2062 cc with the Q-series unit.[7]

It was superseded by the Oxford Sixteen Six

Oxford Sixteen Six and Oxford Twenty Six 1934–35[edit]

Sixteen and Twenty
1935 Morris Oxford Sixteen 4343081473.jpg
Oxford Sixteen Six six-light saloon 1935
with freewheel and Bendix automatic clutch
Production 1934–35
6308 made[7]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon, coupé
Related Isis, Cowley
Engine 2062 cc side-valve Straight-6
2561 cc side-valve Straight-6
Wheelbase 114 in (2,900 mm) [5]

A completely new car was announced for 1934 with a longer and stronger chassis with flexible mounting for the 2062 cc engine. The gearbox gained synchromesh. Initially it kept the Six name (reflecting the number of cylinders in the engine) but this changed to Sixteen Six (which came from the car's 16hp tax horsepower category) in 1935 when it was joined by the 2561 cc Twenty.[7]

Oxford Six six-light saloon 1934
Oxford Twenty Six six-light saloon 1935

Replaced by the Morris Big Six series II range Sixteen or Eighteen and Twenty-one or Twenty Five announced 2 July 1935.

The Oxford name disappeared until 1948.

Oxford MO 1948–54[edit]

Oxford MO
Morris Oxford MO 1952.jpg
Oxford four-door saloon 1952
Also called Hindustan Fourteen (India)
Production 1948–54
159,960 produced.[8]
Assembly United Kingdom
Australia [9]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
2-door estate
Related Wolseley 4/50 / 6/80
Engine 1476 cc side-valve Straight-4
Wheelbase 97 in (2,500 mm) [5]
Length 165.5 in (4,200 mm) [5]
Width 65 in (1,700 mm) [5]
Height 64 in (1,600 mm) [10]
Predecessor Morris Ten series M
Morris Twelve
Morris Fourteen
Successor Oxford II

After the Second World War the 13.5 fiscal horsepower Oxford MO had to replace the Ten horsepower series M, Morris's Twelve and Morris's Fourteen. It was announced along with the new 918cc Minor and the 2.2-litre Six on 26 October 1948 and was produced until 1954. The design was shared with Nuffield Organisation stable-mate Wolseley 4/50 which used a traditional grille and better finishes.

Designed by Alec Issigonis, the Oxford, along with the Morris Minor, introduced unit construction techniques,[clarification needed] although it is not widely recognized as a true unibody car.[clarification needed] Torsion bar front suspension was another novelty, and hydraulically operated 8-inch (200 mm) drum brakes were fitted all around. Under the bonnet, the MO was a step back in technology from the pre-war Ten. It used a side-valve straight-4 rather than the older overhead-valve unit. The single SU-carburetted engine displaced 1.5 L (1476 cc/90 in3) and with its output of 40.5 bhp (30.2 kW) at 4200 rpm could propel the car to 72 mph (116 km/h). The four-speed gearbox had a column gearchange and steering was by rack and pinion.

Interior fittings were reasonably comprehensive by the standards of the time, with a full width shelf under the dashboard and "useful pivoting ventilator panels" (hinged quarterlights) at the front edge of each of the front doors and a rear window blind included in the price.[11] Instrumentation included an oil pressure gauge, an ammeter and an electric clock.[11] Also available, albeit at extra cost, was a heater.[11]

Traveller registered November 1953

The MO was sold as a 4-door saloon and 2-door Traveller estate with an exposed wooden frame at the rear. Both were four-seaters.

Just 3½ inches longer than the saloon which its dimensions otherwise matched the Traveller was given bench seats front and back, the front backrest split for access to the back. Six could be seated in reasonable comfort, though the back squab was narrowed by the rear wheel arches, and furthermore there was a large platform behind for luggage or freight. Folding forward the rear seat made an area nearly five feet square and three feet high. The front part of the car remained the same as the saloon and no comfort was sacrificed by front seat passengers. Normal winding windows were retained in front but the side windows at the rear (which provided excellent vision for the driver) could slide horizontally, the first for more than two feet and the second only a short distance to give ventilation. The vague steering column gear change lever still showed no improvement over previous Oxfords[12]

The Motor magazine tested a Traveller in 1952 but only attained a top speed of 64 mph (103 km/h) and acceleration from 0–50 mph (80 km/h) in 26.2 seconds. A fuel consumption of 26.4 miles per imperial gallon (10.7 L/100 km; 22.0 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £825 including taxes.[10] The final drive ratio had been lowered from 4.55 to 1 to 4.875 to 1 in 1949 "in the interests of top gear acceleration, which still keeping top gear reasonably high, as is ...Morris policy", according to a statement attributed to the manufacture.[11]

A six-cylinder version was sold as the Morris Six MS.

It was replaced by the Oxford series II announced Tuesday 18 May 1954.[13]

Hindustan Motors of India produced the Oxford MO as the Hindustan Fourteen.

Oxford series II 1954–56[edit]

Oxford II
Morris Oxford Series II front.jpg
Oxford saloon series II 1954
Production 1954–56
87,341 produced [14]
Assembly United Kingdom
Australia [15]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
2-door estate
Related Morris Cowley
Engine 1489 cc B-Series Straight-4
Wheelbase 97 in (2,500 mm) [5]
Length 171 in (4,300 mm) [5]
Width 65 in (1,700 mm) [5]
Height 63 in (1,600 mm) [16]

The fully redesigned Oxford announced in May 1954[13] was given a new shape directly foreshadowing the BMC ADO17 and, following the formation of BMC, notably getting the Austin-designed B-Series OHV straight-4. This modern 1.5 L (1489 cc/90 in3) engine produced a respectable 50 hp (37 kW)[16] and allowed the Oxford to reach 74 mph (119 km/h). Hydraulic drum brakes all round were still used but increased to 9-inch (230 mm) diameter. Steering was still of the beautifully light and precise[12] rack and pinion type.[17]

Styling was entirely new though the rounded body maintained a family resemblance to the Morris Minor. Again, a pair of four-seat configurations, 4-door saloon and 2-door Traveller, were offered. The column gear change and front bench seat allowed the saloon to be advertised as a full six-seater. The handbrake lever was located between the side of the seat and the driver's side door. Unusually for a British car of its class at the time, the heater was a standard fitting but the radio remained an extra.[16] Sales remained strong when the Series III arrived in 1956.

The British Motor magazine tested a Series II saloon in 1954 recording a top speed of 74.2 mph (119.4 km/h) and acceleration from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 28.9 seconds and a fuel consumption of 28.2 miles per imperial gallon (10.0 L/100 km; 23.5 mpg-US). The test car cost £744 including taxes.[16]

A 2.6-litre six-cylinder 7-inches longer Morris Isis version was announced 12 July 1955 with a saloon or Traveller estate body: the rear half of the Traveller body used the same timber-frame ("half-timbered") construction as that used for the better remembered Morris Minor Traveller.

Hindustan Motors of India produced the four-cylinder version of this car (except the air-vent situated upon the bonnet) naming it Hindustan Landmaster.

Oxford series III 1956–59[edit]

Oxford III
Morris Oxford Series III side.jpg
Oxford series III
Production 1956–59
58,117 produced inc. Series IV;[14] still made in India as Hindustan Ambassador
Assembly United Kingdom
Australia [18]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
2-door estate
Related Hindustan Ambassador
Engine 1489 cc BMC B-Series engine Straight-4
Transmission 4-speed manual[19]
Wheelbase 97 in (2,500 mm) [5]
Length 178 in (4,500 mm)[19]
Width 65 in (1,700 mm) [5]
Height 64 in (1,600 mm)[19]

The Oxford was updated for 1957 with a new fluted bonnet and small rear fins and an optional two-tone paint scheme all announced on 18 October 1956.[20] Inside the bench seats trimmed in leather remained but the instrument cluster was revised and a new dished steering wheel fitted. The engine now produced 55 hp (41 kW) following an increase in compression ratio though the top speed and acceleration remained the same. A semi-automatic, two pedal, "Manumatic" transmission with centrifugal clutch with vacuum operation coupled to gear changes was optional.

Independent front-suspension with forward torsion bars continued to promise "above average comfort" for the car's occupants.[19]

The woody Series III Traveller was replaced by the Series IV in 1957, though the saloon remained in production until the Pininfarina-styled Series V was introduced in 1959. 58,117 Series III and Series IV Oxfords were built.

Motor magazine tested a Series III manumatic equipped saloon in 1957 recording a top speed of 74.4 mph (119.7 km/h), virtually unchanged from the Series II and acceleration from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 30.5 seconds, adversely affected by the Manumatic option. Fuel consumption of 27.0 miles per imperial gallon (10.5 L/100 km; 22.5 mpg-US) was found. The test car cost £898 including taxes of £300.[21]

This car was the basis for the Hindustan Ambassador, since 1957 which was built in India for some 50 years after the Oxford III's demise, though with a few notable styling updates but keeping the original look, albeit with modern powertrains. Hindustan Motors have stopped production of the Ambassador cars as at May 2014.[22] With the 'Amby' sales declining rapidly from a high of 24,000 units a year in the mid-1980s to under 12,000 a decade later and less than 6,000 in the mid-2000s, the HM management struggled to position the car

Oxford Traveller all-steel series IV 1957–60[edit]

Oxford Traveller
all-steel series IV
Oxford Series IV front.jpg
Oxford Traveller all-steel estate
Production 1957–60
58,117 produced inc Series III
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door estate
Engine 1489 cc BMC B-Series engine Straight-4
Wheelbase 97 in (2,500 mm) [5]
Length 171 in (4,300 mm) [5]
Width 65 in (1,700 mm) [5]

The Oxford IV was only made in the Traveller estate version. A steel-bodied replacement for the "woody" Series III Traveller, it was similar to the Series III saloon in most respects. The IV was introduced in 1957, announced by BMC with the Riley Two-Point-Six on 23 August 1957[23] and produced alongside the Series V until 1960. An interesting feature was having fillers on both sides of the car, for the single fuel tank.

A Traveller estate car version of the series V Farina body was announced 28 September 1960. The new body now provided a double bed size sleeping compartment about 6 ft long and 4 ft wide. The back of the car had a tail-board hinged at the bottom and an upper panel hinged at the top. The Morris version had a single bench front seat and cost £10 more than the equivalent Austin Countryman.[24]

Oxford series V 1959–61[edit]

Oxford series V
Morris Oxford Series V front.jpg
Oxford series V
Production 1959–61
87,432 produced[14]
Assembly United Kingdom
Australia [25]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
4-door estate
Related Austin A55 Cambridge
Riley 4/68
MG Magnette III
Wolseley 15/60
Engine 1489 cc BMC B-Series engine Straight-4
Wheelbase 99 in (2,500 mm) [5]
Length 175.5 in (4,460 mm) [5]
Width 63.5 in (1,610 mm) [5]

For 1959, the Oxford, announced on Lady Day 25 March 1959,[26] was merged into the mid-sized Pininfarina-designed BMC Farina range along with a half-dozen other previously announced models, including the 1958 Wolseley 15/60 and 1959 Riley 4/68, Austin A55 Cambridge Mark II, and MG Magnette Mark III. The Austin and Morris cars were nearly identical but were produced in separate factories. Differences in the Morris included some of the chrome and interior trim, and the rear lights. Inside, a front bench seat and special dashboard fitted with speedometer, oil pressure gauge, coolant temperature gauge, fuel gauge and clock (optional) were used. A choice of floor or column gear change was available. The handbrake was floor-mounted to the side of the seat. The 1.5 L B-Series engine continued. Drum brakes of 9 in (230 mm) diameter were fitted front and rear and the steering used a cam and peg system. The suspension was independent at the front using coil springs and had a live axle and semi-elliptic leaf springs at the rear.

The Series IV Traveller was still sold for the first year after which a Series V Traveller was made.

When tested by The Motor magazine the car had a top speed of 78 mph (126 km/h) and could accelerate from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 25.4 seconds. A "touring" fuel consumption of 29.8 miles per imperial gallon (9.5 L/100 km; 24.8 mpg-US) was recorded.[27]

Both standard and de-luxe versions were offered. The de-luxe package included a heater, manual screen washer, twin sun visors, twin horns, bumper over-riders, a clock and leather-covered seat. A two-tone paint scheme and a radio were available as options.[27]

On the home market the Standard version cost £815 and the de-luxe £844 including taxes.[27]

In all, 87,432 Series V Oxfords were built.

Oxford series VI 1961–71[edit]

Oxford series VI
Morris Oxford 1964 1.JPG
Oxford series VI 1965
Production 1961–71
208,823 produced[14]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
4-door estate
Related Austin A60 Cambridge
Riley 4/72
Engine 1622 cc BMC B-Series engine Straight-4
Wheelbase 100 in (2,500 mm) [5]
Length 174 in (4,400 mm) [5]
Width 63.5 in (1,610 mm) [5]
Successor Morris 1800 (ADO17 "Landcrab")
Morris Marina

All five Farina cars were updated in October 1961[28] with a new 1.6 L (1622 cc/98 in3) version of the B-Series engine, longer wheelbase and a new revised look. The tail fins had been trimmed and there were still detail changes between the marques. The Morris retained the series V dash, while the Austin had an all-new fake woodgrain design.

The Morris Oxford Traveller (estate) series V was replaced by a series VI, although little changed apart from the front grille.

A diesel-engined Oxford series VI, introduced shortly after the 1961 update, was popular as a taxi. Variants of the same diesel engine enjoyed a long life in marine applications.

The Oxford VI remained in production until 1971 with 208,823 produced. The Oxford range was to have been replaced by the 1967 Morris 1800 (a badge-engineered 1964 ADO17 Austin 1800), but in the event both were built in parallel until 1971 because in terms both of pricing and of interior space the 1800 fell into the market segment of a slightly larger car. The ADO17 1800 continued until 1975, when it was succeeded by the ADO71 Morris 1800. The car which took the Oxford's place at the smaller end of the market segment was the Morris Marina, which also succeeded the yet smaller Minor.



  1. ^ a b c d e f Heath, B. (Jan 2001). The Automobile (magazine). ISSN 0955-1328. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g The Bullnose and Flatnose Morris, Lytton P Jarman and Robin I Barraclough, David & Charles, Newton Abbot 1976 ISBN 0 7153 6665 3
  3. ^ Georgano, N. (2000). Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile. HMSO. ISBN 1-57958-293-1. 
  4. ^ Jonathan Wood, The Bullnose Morris, Shire, UK, 2001 ISBM 0 7478 0481 5
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Culshaw; Horrobin (1974). Complete Catalogue of British Cars. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-16689-2. 
  6. ^ a b c d Baldwin, N. (1994). A-Z of cars of 1920s. UK: Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-53-2. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Sedgwick, M.; Gillies (1989). A-Z of cars of the 1930s. UK: Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-38-9. 
  8. ^ Robson, G. (2006). A-Z of British Cars 1945–1980. Herridge Books. ISBN 0-9541063-9-3. 
  9. ^ Davis (1986), p. 337.
  10. ^ a b "The Morris Oxford Traveller's car Road Test". The Motor. December 17, 1952. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Morris Oxford Saloon (road test)". Autocar. September 9, 1949. 
  12. ^ a b Virtues Of A Shooting Brake Body. The Times, Tuesday, Jun 07, 1955; pg. 2; Issue 53240
  13. ^ a b Morris Oxford. The Times, Wednesday, May 19, 1954; pg. 4; Issue 52935
  14. ^ a b c d Sedgwick, M.; Gillies, M. (1986). A-Z of Cars 1945–1970. Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-39-7. 
  15. ^ BMC-Leyland Australia Heritage Group, Building Cars in Australia, 2012, page 207
  16. ^ a b c d "The Morris Oxford (Series II)". The Motor. 29 September 1954. 
  17. ^ "When the worm turns...or the pinion rotates..". Practical Motorist. 7 (nbr 84): 2378–1279. August 1961. 
  18. ^ Morris Oxford Series III 1956-59 in Australia, Restored Cars #125, page 54
  19. ^ a b c d "Second Hand car guide supplement". Practical Motorist. 6 Nbr 68: between pages 768 & 769. April 1960. 
  20. ^ Morris. The Times, Thursday, Oct 18, 1956; pg. 3; Issue 53665
  21. ^ "The Morris Oxford (Series III)". The Motor. March 13, 1957. 
  22. ^ "HM Shuts down Amby plant". Indian Autos Blog. May 24, 2014. 
  23. ^ New B.M.C. Models. The Times, Friday, Aug 23, 1957; pg. 11; Issue 53927
  24. ^ 'Double Bed' New Estate Cars. The Times, Wednesday, Sep 28, 1960; pg. 4; Issue 54888
  25. ^ BMC-Leyland Australia Heritage Group, Building Cars in Australia, 2012, page 214
  26. ^ New Morris Oxford. The Times, Wednesday, Mar 25, 1959; pg. 8; Issue 54418
  27. ^ a b c "The Morris Oxford V Road Test". The Motor: 75–83. 4 May 1960. 
  28. ^ The British Motor Corporation. The Times, Wednesday, Oct 18, 1961; pg. 7; Issue 55215


  • Davis, Pedr (1986). The Macquarie Dictionary of Motoring.