Morris Oxford bullnose

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Morris Oxford
1913 Morris Oxford 10HP 'Bullnose' Front.jpg
Oxford 2-seater 1913
Overview
ManufacturerMorris Motors
Production1913–1926
Body and chassis
ClassSmall car

The "bullnose" Morris Oxford is a series of motor car models produced by Morris of the United Kingdom, from 1913 to 1926. It was named by W R Morris after the city in which he grew up and which his cars were to industrialise.

Oxford bullnose 1913–16[edit]

Oxford bullnose
two-seater
MHV Morris Oxford 1913 (filtered).jpg
Oxford 2-seater 1913
W R Morris and passenger
Overview
ManufacturerW R M Motors Limited
Production1913–16
AssemblyOxford
DesignerW R Morris
Body and chassis
Body style
  • open 2-seater torpedo
  • open 2-seater torpedo de luxe
  • coupé cabriolet
  • limousine
  • Commercial variant
  • no windscreen or door was fitted to:
  • sporting car
  • delivery van
LayoutFR layout
RelatedCowley
Powertrain
EngineW&P 1,018 cc (62.1 cu in) I4
Transmission
  • 3-speeds and reverse manual W&P
  • gearbox control lever outside body
  • multiplate clutch in oil also by W&P
  • universal joint behind gearbox
  • propellor shaft in a torque tube
  • back axle — overhead Wrigley worm
Dimensions
Wheelbase
  • 84 in (2,134 mm) standard
  • track 40 in (1,016 mm) standard
  • ( increased to 42 in (1,067 mm) )[1]
  • 90 in (2,286 mm) de luxe
  • track 45 in (1,143 mm) de luxe[1]
Length
  • 126 in (3,200 mm) standard
  • 132 in (3,353 mm) de luxe[1]
Width
  • 47 in (1,194 mm) standard
  • 50 in (1,270 mm) de luxe[1]
Kerb weight
  • 558 kg (1,230 lb) standard
  • 635 kg (1,400 lb) de luxe[1]
Chronology
SuccessorHotchkiss engined car
Engine
White & Poppe[1]
60 X 90 X 4
Overview
ManufacturerWhite & Poppe Limited, Lockhurst Lane, Coventry
DesignerPaul August Poppe
Production
  • 1913: 393
  • 1914: 909
  • 1915: 173
  • total: 1,475
Layout
Configuration4 in-line
Displacement1,017.8 cc (62 cu in)
Cylinder bore60 mm (2.4 in)
Piston stroke90 mm (3.5 in)
Block materialiron, cast en bloc, fixed head
pistons: cast iron
crankshaft: carbon steel
main bearings: three white metal in bronze shells
Head materialfixed, iron, cast en bloc with block, detachable valve caps
Valvetrainside valve T-head
camshafts each side crankcase
adjustable tappets
Combustion
Fuel systemcarburettor W&P No. 25
magneto: Bosch type ZF4
later cars Mea
plugs: Bosch
Fuel typepetrol
Oil systemmain bearings: by galleries from oil flung off the flywheel
big-ends: splash
Cooling systemwater
circulated by thermo-siphon
no fan
Output
Power output16.4 bhp (12.2 kW; 16.6 PS) @2,400 rpm
(observed, not a maximum)
Tax horsepower 9
Torque output35.7 pound force-feet (48 N⋅m) @2,400 rpm
Chronology
SuccessorHotchkiss

William Morris's first car was called Oxford in recognition of its home city. It was announced in The Autocar magazine in October 1912 and production began in March 1913.[1] 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 & Poppe. Ignition was by a Bosch magneto.[2]

The chassis made by Rubery Owen was of pressed-steel construction and suspension was by leaf springs, semi-elliptic at the front and longer three-quarter elliptic at the rear slung above the axle. The welded single piece banjo rear axle with splined half shafts was driven by a Wrigley Worm. The front axle was of forged steel and, like the back axle assembly and the steering, was made by Wrigley. The brakes, on the rear wheels only, were the external contracting type, metal to metal, using four shoes in each drum. A White & Poppe three-forward and reverse gearbox was fitted. The Powell & Hanmer headlamps were acetylene and the side and tail lamps oil. The windscreen, by Auster Limited of Barford Street, Birmingham, like the lamps was classed as an accessory.[1]

The car got its popular name, Bullnose, 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, as it was not strong enough and too short.[3]

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).[1]

The range of bodies was now expanded from the simple two-seater to include even a limousine and a sporting car which, like the vans, had no windscreen or doors but was provided with a speedometer as a standard fitting.[1]

Its front axle and steering had been re-designed to reduce "bump-steer"and its radiator capacity increased. Grooved tyres were now supplied at the rear. The banjo back axle was no longer welded but built up from three pieces and its springs were now slung below it.[1]

Trial of the Morris-Oxford Light Car[edit]

In April 1914 interested readers of The Times were asked to remember the suggested solution to anxiety amongst British manufacturers brought about by the influx of cheaper American vehicles. The suggestion was to have British firms co-operate producing a certain part or parts of the complete mechanism later assembled and sold by a joint undertaking. The Morris-Oxford Light Car, it was explained to readers, was produced on a similar principle. The engine clutch and gearbox were from the works of White & Poppe, the rear axle and the rest of the transmission from Wrigley's.[4]

Of his trial The Times's correspondent reported happy results. Everything was characterised by extreme "up-to-dateness" and the vehicle lacked scarcely any amenity of the largest and most expensive car.[4]

"In general the Morris-Oxford car showed itself to be a speedy and sweet running little car with good hill-climbing powers and an unusual quality of engine flexibility. It is free from any trickiness in handling and is characterised by a general robustness of construction which is very commendable"[4]

Because of this car's significance to Britain's new motor industry the points made by The Times's correspondent are summarised below:

  • engine: "runs reasonably sweetly at all speeds" despite its small size requiring extremely high r.p.m. to provide full power
  • flexibility: as little as 4 m.p.h. could be handled in top direct gear. When the throttle is opened the engine gives better acceleration than might be expected
  • speed: the greatest speed on level ground was little short of 50 m.p.h.
  • roadholding: it holds the road very comfortably when travelling fast
  • frame distortion due to rough roads: is not communicated to the single unit of the engine, multiple-disc clutch mechanism and gearbox
  • gearbox: gear changes were easy and quiet at all speeds but the gears themselves were noisy on all but top gear
  • clutch: free of chatter or jar it worked easily and sweetly
  • worm-driven rear axle: makes the transmission when in top gear "as noiseless as in the largest and most luxurious vehicles"
  • brakes: both hand and foot brakes applied directly to the rear wheels. The car pulled up swiftly, completely free of harshness
  • accelerator pedal: controls the engine speed. An ingenious device allows the setting of slow running by screwing the head of the pedal on its stem
  • comfort: well sprung it leaves little to be desired by driver or passenger when compared to others of its class despite the short wheelbase
  • steering: is easy
  • body: seats two people comfortably, the makers have "realised the importance of an eyeable and practical neatness"
  • windscreen: single folding. Windscreen brackets support the side lamps and anchor the hood straps
  • equipment: 2 acetylene head lights, 3 oil lamps (side and tail), horn, pump, jack, tools and a spare detachable wheel.
  • wheels: Sankey steel[4]

Cowley[edit]

The American engined Continental Cowley, with most other significant components US sourced, shown to the press in April 1915, was a 50 percent larger engined (1495 cc against 1018 cc), longer, wider and better equipped version of this Morris Oxford with the same "Bullnose" radiator.[1]

The Cowley's stronger and larger construction could carry a four-passenger body.[1]

Oxford bullnose 1919–26[edit]

Oxford bullnose
1919–26
1925 Morris Oxford 'bullnose' Tourer at Felbrigg Hall.jpg
1925 Four-seater tourer
on the new for 1925 long wheelbase chassis
Overview
ManufacturerW R Morris Limited
Production1919–26
Body and chassis
Body style
  • open 2-seater
  • open 4-seater tourer
  • coupé
  • cabriolet from 1923
  • saloon from 1924
  • landaulet from 1926
  • ¾ coupé from 1926
  • saloon landaulet from 1926
LayoutFR layout
Powertrain
Engine
  • side valve straight-4
  • 1,548 cc (94.5 cu in) 11.9 hp
  • - standard until September 1924
  • 1,802 cc (110.0 cu in) 13.9 hp 14/28 - optional from January 1923 to September 1924 then standard[5]
Transmission
  • 3-speeds and reverse manual
  • gearbox two plate cork-lined clutch
  • universal joint behind gearbox
  • propellor shaft in a torque tube
  • back axle: ¾ floating, spiral bevel[5]
Dimensions
Wheelbase
  • 102 in (2,591 mm) 1919-24
  • 108 in (2,743 mm) 1925-26
  • 106.5 in (2,705 mm) 1927[5]
  • track 48 in (1,219 mm)[5]
Length
  • 150 in (3,810 mm) 2-seater 153 in (3,886 mm) 4-seater[5]
Width58 in (1,473 mm)[5]
Kerb weight
  • open 4-seater tourer
  • 1,876 lb (851 kg) 1921
  • 1,960 lb (889 kg) 1922
  • 2,044 lb (927 kg) 1923
  • 2,128 lb (965 kg) 1924
  • 2,352 lb (1,067 kg) 1925
  • 2,268 lb (1,029 kg) 1926[5]
Chronology
SuccessorMorris Oxford flatnose

The 1919 Oxford (advertised as early as September 1918) was assembled from locally made components and now took on the rather more substantial aspect of 1915's Cowley. Longer and stronger than the old Oxford, enough to carry five passengers, the new Oxford retained the pre-war Bullnose radiator style in its larger version.[5]

From August 1919, the Cowley became the downmarket "no frills" variant with only a 2-seater body and lighter smaller tyres. The Oxford had a self-starter (an extra for the Cowley) and a better electrical system and the Oxford took and kept the Cowley's leather upholstery.[6]

The new car's 11.9 fiscal horsepower 1548 cc engine was made under licence in Coventry for Morris by a British branch of Hotchkiss the French ordnance company which was turning away from guns to the motor industry. The Hotchkiss engine used the Cowley's Detroit USA Continental Motors Company design. Hotchkiss prices well undercut 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.[5]

When it was shown at the Scottish Motor Show in January 1920 it drew large crowds of enthusiasts all day. The chassis alone was shown and was genuinely admired for the way all transmission, everything revolving, was fully enclosed in what amounts to an oil bath, everything but the fan belt.[7] A few weeks later after a lengthy trial of the new car The Times' motoring reporter wrote that the car represents "a very decided advance in light car construction". The common sense of the designers is shown in many small details but "its greatest charm is in the engine's steam-like flexibility" and liveliness. In these respects it was the best engine the writer had ever encountered.[6]

MG version[edit]

The bodies were made by Carbodies Limited of Coventry. At first panelled entirely in aluminium in 1925 and 1926 aluminium was reserved for the lower part of the body and mudguards and scuttle were then steel.[5]

Engines
Hotchkiss / Morris 11.9
(CA and CB)
Morris 14/28 (CE)
Overview
ManufacturerHotchkiss & Cie. Gosford Street Coventry until May 1923, works thereafter under the ownership of Morris Engines Limited[5]
Production
  • (for Morris Oxford)
  • 11.9 hp: 1919 to 1926
  • 14/28 hp: 1923 to 1930
Layout
Configurationstraight-4 cast en bloc with upper crankcase[5]
Displacement
  • 1.548 L (94.5 cu in)[5]
  • 1.802 L (110.0 cu in) (14/28)[5]
Cylinder bore
  • 75 mm (3.0 in) (14/28)[5]
  • 69.5 mm (2.74 in)[5]
Piston stroke102 mm (4.0 in)[5]
Block materialcast-iron
3-bearing crankshaft
pistons: cast-iron
crankshaft: steel stamping, bronze backed white metal bearings, sump cast aluminium[5]
Head materialcast-iron detachable
copper asbestos sandwich gasket[5]
Valvetrainside valve L-head, helical timing gears, camshaft in two plain bearings operating valves by mushroom head tappets, single valve springs[5]
Combustion
Fuel system
  • carburettor
  • 1919-1921 Zenith
  • 1922 S.U.
  • 1923-1926 Smith (various)
  • exhaust
  • 3-port
  • 4-port from February 1922
  • magneto: helical bevel drive
  • 1919 Thomson-Bennett G4*
  • 1920 B T-H
  • 1921-23 Lucas E4
  • 1924-26 Lucas GA4[5]
Fuel typepetrol
Oil system
  • main bearings and camshaft
  • pressure lubricated by plunger pump from camshaft
  • big ends: splash[5]
Cooling systemwater thermosyphon,
fan assisted
radiator 1919 by Randle, thereafter by Osberton[5]
Output
Power outputnot published
  • tax rating 11.9hp[5]
  • tax rating 13.9hp (14/28)[5]
Chronology
PredecessorWhite & Poppe 60 X 90 X 4

Very high-speed engine[edit]

In July 1921 The Times reported on one of "the best makes of British light car of modern design" writing that the 11.9 hp Morris Oxford could attain a speed of around 45 miles an hour on the level. Indeed, the car ran up Arms Hill, a gradient of about 1 in 4, "without flinching".[8]

14/28[edit]

In 1923 the engine was enlarged to 13.9 fiscal horsepower, 1802 cc.[9] 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.[9] This model of the Oxford would be the basis of the first MG, the 14/28 Super Sports.

Reviewed by The Times in March 1924 the enlarged engine was reported to be "commendably flexible" and quiet. It seemed to enjoy being made to turn over at high speed and that happened easily, certainly it had plenty of "courage". The oil filler's lid holds a dipper rod and forms a breather but there is still no filter at this point. The main strainer can only be withdrawn after removing a plug in the bottom of the sump. The clutch was good. There is no safety stop for reverse but the gear box was pronounced the chief delight on the car, it is "simple, quiet and expeditious". The accelerator is too sensitive. As before the brake handle was too far away. The car was "easy to travel in". Difficult to avoid on an 8' 6" wheelbase but passengers' coats sweep dusty or muddy wings on entry and exit. The dynamotor (starter-dynamo) sings (gently) at speed. For the price the equipment is very full.[10]

Floor L to R, the 'distant' handbrake, the 'interfering' change-speed lever and the under-wheel spark control.
Before the steering column is a smokers' companion and the dash displays a fuel gauge piped from the tank in the scuttle behind it

At the next October's Olympia Motor Show the cars were shown with front wheel brakes, to a design by Rubury, as an optional extra at £10. The brake pedal now applied all four-wheel brakes, a separate hand lever controlled brakes at the rear. The list of accessories provided as standard equipment now extended to a 12 months full insurance policy. The reporter advised the driver's entrance appeared somewhat cramped. The claimed brake horsepower was 30.[11]

At the Motor Show 1925 the 14/28 power output was reported to be 34 bhp and four-wheel brakes were standard, the same car had Barker dipping headlamps and thermostatic control of its engine's cooling water.[12]

The Times tried the 14/28 again and reported to its readers in mid January 1926 that while there may now be better designs of light car the 14/28 represented great value for money and still came with insurance for its first twelve months. A petrol gauge on the dash and an "automatic screen wiper", two horns and a proper rear windscreen. There was still no filter in the oil filler. The same complaints were made as in previous reports yet the car's general behaviour on the road was considered "praiseworthy".[13]

Red Flash 1925
Brooklands racing special
Morris Oxford
MG 14/28 Super Sports 1925
Morris Oxford
MG 14/28 Super Sports 1925

Production numbers[edit]

Year
1913
1914
1915
1916
1917
1918
1919
1920
1921
1922
1923
1924
1925
1926
Total
Production[1]
393
907
320
697
126
198
360
1,932
3,077
6,937
20,024
32,939
54,151
32,183
154,244

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n The Bullnose and Flatnose Morris, Lytton P Jarman and Robin I Barraclough, David & Charles, Newton Abbot 1976 ISBN 0 7153 6665 3
  2. ^ Heath, B. (Jan 2001). The Automobile (magazine). ISSN 0955-1328.
  3. ^ Georgano, N. (2000). Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile. HMSO. ISBN 1-57958-293-1.
  4. ^ a b c d The Light Car. The Times, Saturday, Apr 25, 1914; pg. 12; Issue 40507
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y L P Jarman and R I Barraclough, The Bullnose and Flatnose Morris, David & Charles, Newton Abbott, UK 1976
  6. ^ a b "Light" Cars. The Times, Saturday, Feb 21, 1920; pg. 5; Issue 42340
  7. ^ Scottish Motor Show. The Times, Monday, Jan 26, 1920; pg. 7; Issue 42317
  8. ^ Cars Of To-Day. The Times, Friday, Jul 01, 1921; pg. 8; Issue 42761
  9. ^ a b Baldwin, N. (1994). A-Z of cars of 1920s. UK: Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-53-2.
  10. ^ Cars Of To-Day. The Times, Tuesday, Mar 25, 1924; pg. 8; Issue 43609
  11. ^ The Motor Show. The Times, Monday, Oct 20, 1924; pg. 23; Issue 43787
  12. ^ The Times, Tuesday, Sep 01, 1925; pg. 9; Issue 44055
  13. ^ Cars Of To-Day. The Times, Tuesday, Jan 12, 1926; pg. 7; Issue 44167

Bibliography[edit]

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

External links[edit]