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Homepage. This page: Firstly, a bullnose tourer seen at auction in 1980, plus other original bullnose images.

1. Bullnose Morris Cowley at auction.

Firstly, three Morris pictures kindly sent over by Ray, showing a Cowley tourer at the Ardingly Steam & Transport Spectacular, way back in 1980. It was for sale in the auction that was taking place at the show, but what happened to it after that? apparently the registration number was EC 5264.
First up, a photo of the car on arrival, being towed by an early Toyota Celica.
Bullnose Morris
The second photo shows the tourer just after being unloaded from its trailer, complete with straw from the barn in which it was discovered!
Morris Cowley tourer
And finally, a photograph showing smartly dressed enthusiasts poring over the vintage Morris, entered as Lot 39 in the Ardingly auction.
Morris Cowley

More info on this 11.9hp Cowley four seater open tourer

Old Morris as found in a barn
The Bullnose Morris 'as found' and shown in the catalogue
This 1924 Morris was powered by a 4 cylinder sidevalve engine, rated at 11.9hp (RAC rating). It drove through a 4 speed gearbox, back to the rear axle, which was of spiral bevel design. The Cowley shown above was discovered in May 1980, tucked away in a barn up in Cumbria. According to the 1980 sale blurb, one of the car's owners took it on a lengthy continental trip, even negotiating the Alps in the process. The car had received a few subtle modifications during its early years, for instance it had been fitted with front wheel brakes from a contemporary Oxford, and well-based rims (1924 was a changeover year when a switch from beaded edge tyres was made by the factory).
If anyone can provide news on what became of this lovely old car, I'd be interested to hear more. I had a look on the RAC website, and the car's registration EC 5264 is still current for a red '24 Morris, so chances are the car is around somewhere.
A few years back, I wrote a children's story about a Bullnose - you can find it here. A period photograph of the later "flatnose" Morris Cowley can now be found here. In 1924 there was a competition held in Oxford, in which four Morris cars (two Oxfords, two Cowleys) were the star prizes - details on The Oxford Motor Ballot can be found here.

2. A Cowley tourer at Cheddar Gorge.

Now for a proper vintage photograph of a different 1920s bullnose Morris Cowley tourer. The car is shown parked, with various other vintage motor-cars in the background. This car's registration is DD 7887, a Gloucester area number.
Another bullnose Morris tourer

3. A four-seat tourer of 1922/1923.

The Cowley was a huge seller for Morris in the 1920s, and examples regularly appear in snapshots taken at that time. The following two photos feature a 1922/1923 Cowley four-seat tourer, registration CD 6639. Cowleys of this era were equipped with what was known as the three-lamp arrangement, whereby two small lamps were fitted at the front, one each atop the front wings, with a single red lamp fitted to the rear. The simple windscreen, comprising just a single piece of glass rather than the split horizontal arrangement found on later bullnoses, and lack of front wheel brakes, again point to this being a 1922/3 car.
The first photo sees a gent behind the wheel of the vintage Morris, its hood folded down and parked at the side of a quiet lane. The car's modest top speed enabled its occupants to sport the headgear of their choice, with little chance of it disappearing into a hedgerow. Saying that, the gentleman in the party sits above the top level of the car's windscreen, so he'd have had to keep one hand free in case his trilby decided to make a bid for freedom, once their trip was underway and the Morris had gathered momentum.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
People sat in a 1922 or 1923 Cowley four-seater tourer
The gent is now in charge of the camera in this next shot, while one of the ladies in the party has taken up position behind the wheel. Note the lack of exterior door handles, it was customary at that time to pop a hand inside the car, and open it from inside. There was deemed to be little need for the fitment alarms, immobilisers, GPS tracking devices, nor steering wheel locks to motors in the vintage years. Warning of the Morris' presence on the road to other road users was left to a simple bulb horn.
1922 Cowley

4. Wedding day duties for this old Morris.

Mark kindly sent over this photograph, another original boot-sale discovery no less. The car took some identifying, in the end it was confirmed as a bullnose Morris, a slightly later version than the previous one on this page. The car resembles a wedding cake, although at first glance looks like it's been dragged out of an industrial refrigerator, or had an accident with a paint delivery lorry. Climbing in and out of the car must be something of a challenge, although driving it at least is still possible - the windscreen remains uncovered, as does the Motometer (temperature gauge) fitted to the top of the car's radiator, just behind the top-mounted AA badge.
Given that this photo was taken at a wedding, the lady behind the wheel doesn't look overly-cheerful, perhaps someone has just pointed out that she needs to pump up her offside front tyre. Truly a fascinating photograph from the 1920s/1930s era.
A bullnose Morris in use at a wedding

5. High days and holidays in a bullnose Cowley.

The increasing affordability of the motor-car in the late 1920s, opened up great opportunities for travel to those who had deep enough pockets to run a horse-less carriage. The following five photos all feature a Cowley tourer, belonging to a large family. The first has the Morris parked at the roadside. Three ladies, one of modest years and the other two slightly less so, are sat within the car's spacious interior. Note the Auster screen fitted to shield the rear seat passengers from the worst of the buffeting that otherwise they'd have had to endure, as the Morris proceeded along. In addition to the standard horn, fitted to the driver's side of the cabin, this example has a second hooter, fitted to the top of a box on the running board - perfect for startling pesky cyclists, and pushers of wayward perambulators.
Three ladies sat in their car
The second photo reveals the offside of this particular Morris. The wise owner has attached a two-gallon Shell Motor Spirit fuel tin to the running board.
Offside view
Once again three ladies are shown sat inside the Cowley, one of whom is behind the steering wheel - not a particularly common sight in the late 1920s. The location would appear to be at the seaside, alongside a promenade. No gents feature in any of these photographs, either there was none on the trip, or else there was but the fellow chose to hide behind the camera.
Nearside view
Destination seaside, and the Morris has arrived at its coastal destination - if those are indeed beach huts or holiday chalets in the background.
Beach huts at the seaside
Finally in this set of vintage images, the Morris is at rest while its passengers - which now include a couple of youngsters - tuck into a snack. The Auster screen is still raised, and on this occasion so too is the car's folding roof. Another car can just be seen to the right of shot, speeding by. All jolly civilised. Anyone wishing to wear the correct attire while out in their vintage motor-car, could learn a lot from studying this type of photo.
Picnic at the side of a road

6. 1924 Cowley.

Sometimes photos turn up that are technically left wanting, but are still of interest and capture the era regardless of their faults. This next shot of XR 4728, a 1924-registered Cowley tourer, is just such an example. Well-thumbed and over-exposed, this photo is of a tourer parked at the side of a rural lane, with a lady behind the steering wheel and two passengers - plus dog - occupying the rear compartment. A two-gallon petrol can is fitted to the offside running board and, although not terribly clear, there is also an AA badge positioned just ahead of the Motometer (temperature gauge) on top of the radiator.
1924 Morris tourer

7. Side view of a Morris tourer.

Next, a clear side-on view of a bull-nose Cowley, probably photographed in the 1930s. A young lady sits behind the wheel, basking in the sun afforded by the car's hood being folded. The rear side screens remain in place though, whether this was to make driving - and avoiding cyclists and local peasants - easier isn't clear, but there's no denying that side screens did little for sidewards visibility. Note the vintage-era "Shell Motor Spirit" two-gallon petrol can, attached to the offside running board. The location is a cobbled yard, possibly on a farm. I think the rear tyre would benefit from a spot of air, pass the lady a Kismet Master foot-pump somebody.
Side view of a bullnose Morris Cowley tourer

8. A winter's drive.

'Twas a chilly time of year when this plucky group of individuals decided to go for a spin in their cars. What the second car back is I'm not sure, but in pole position is a Morris Bullnose, with the five lamp setup (four at the front, one at the rear) that was specified on several of the cars featured here when they were ordered new. Hats and thick warm coats were the order of the day, but obviously no-one thought that having the roof raised and side-screens in place was a good idea on either car. Hardy souls indeed.
Having driven a similar car during the colder months, I can confirm that a) the screen does a reasonable job of diverting the blast of cold air over one's head, and b) anyone sat in the back has a much colder, draughtier, and altogether more "challenging" time of things - unless an Auster screen has been installed, ahead of the rear seat passengers (a car featured further down this page has just such an addition). Such screens afford a measure of protection to those in the rear compartment, shielding them from the worst of Mother Nature's attentions. By the late 1920s, more and more people were opting to buy closed saloons rather than tourers. Whereas today open-top cars tend to be worth more than their fixed-roof cousins, in the olden days tourers were the more affordable route into motor-car ownership in most cases.
What the car behind the Morris is I'm not sure. It has internal door handles only, full-width disc wheel covers, pronounced curves to its screen pillars, and plated headlamp surrounds.
Out for a drive in the winter

9. An early car with the three-lamp arrangement.

Bobby sent this photo, hoping that his grandfather's first car that features in it, might be identified. This "Bullnose" Cowley, unlike the previous example, only has the three-lamp setup (two at the front, one at the rear), although unlike the previous car, it does have an Auster screen fitted. Evidently his grandfather, Mr James Franklin of Rickmansworth, Herts, was very mindful of his rear seat passengers' comfort.
The running board is well laden with equipment, in addition to the spare wheel there is a tool box and a two-gallon petrol tin. Bobby adds that James Franklin was a partner in, and then a director of, Franklin and Sons, manufacturers of soft drinks. He worked in the company from 1896 to 1956, with a break when he fought in the Great War. Thanks for sending it over!
Four-seat Cowley tourer
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