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Homepage. This page: Original photos of the Morris Oxford MO, and a Nuffield Organization prototype.

1. Morris Oxford from Morris Motors Ltd (Cowley).

Firstly, another picture from Alan's family album, this time of an MO Oxford: "... The Morris Oxford belonged to my uncle and was snapped at his house in Coverack village in Cornwall, in the mid sixties [his father in law is standing next to it] - I spent most of one weekend cleaning, polishing and spraying it - I was only 13 at the time."
Morris Oxford MO

More information on the sidevalve Morris MO.

Advertised as the 'Quality First' Morris, the sturdy MO Oxford was a step up in size from the company's Morris Minor, a car that the MO could easily be confused with. Advertising in the early 50s made great claims for the car, but with a caveat that actually getting hold of a brand new car was easier said than done, thanks to the 'export or die' approach that was the situation in the early 50s. This read on a contemporary advertisement for the Oxford, in 1951:

Another MO Oxford
JD kindly sent over this photograph, it shows his father's MO Oxford, a 1954 example of the breed.
"Take a searching look at the next modern Morris you see. In its styling, interior appointments, superfine finish and in its performance too, it has entered a new and higher class in economical motoring. Until that happy day comes when you take delivery of a new Morris keep your present model in first-class condition by having it serviced regularly by your Morris dealer. There are over 2,000 authorised dealers throughout Britain who are specialists in Morris methods and carry stocks of factory-inspected spares."
The MO nowadays is quite a rare sight, but a determined band of enthusiasts, many of whom are in the 6/80 and MO club, do their best to keep as many cars in running condition, and ideally on the road, as possible. Even rarer are the 10cwt Cowley MCVs, which were based on the MO saloons. A photo of an MCV-based ice cream van can be found on this page in the gallery. The MO continued in production until 1954, when the Series II Oxfords came on stream.

2. Another MO Oxford.

Again the Morris in this next photo could, at first glance, easily be mistaken for an example of the splitscreen Minor, yet a closer look confirms that it indeed an MO Oxford. What the occasion was I don't know, the car doesn't look especially clean so I can only assume that it was the lady in shot that was the reason for taking this photo - perhaps a first date??? Her warm coat, and the bare trees in the background, suggest a winter's day. The muddy rear tyres also hint at some recent off-road driving.
(Please click the thumbnails to view the full-size Morris images.)
Another Morris MO Oxford

3. An Oxford in London.

Captured on film during a traffic survey in September 1954 is a light-coloured MO Oxford, surrounded by a feast of four-wheeled fifties' favourites, most of British manufacture. A Beardmore taxi is parked behind the Morris Oxford. The Morris displays a series of scrapes on its offside rear wing, despite the fitment of an aftermarket rear-view mirror on the car's front wing. Ahead of the Morris is a radio-equipped Austin Devon, its owner having forgotten to "park" the windscreen wipers at the bottom of the screen, prior to switching off the 1200cc OHV engine. Behind the venerable Austin is a tradesman's delivery bicycle, stationed in close proximity to a delectable MkVII Jaguar saloon, a 101mph machine built (in MkVII then MkVIIM form) from 1950 to 1956.
Morris parked in a London street
While the Austin and Morris were ten-a-penny (relatively) on Britain's roads in the 1950s, the commercial vehicle parked further up the street was much less common. The vehicle in question is a Dodge B2, a series introduced in 1948, replacing the 1939-1947 version of the "Job Rated" line. Numerous other cars can be seen negotiating this London street in the distance, while parked to the right of shot, are examples of Ford 103E Popular, a Humber Hawk MkIII, and a Rover 75 P4.

4. Development car/prototype.

The following group of photographs turned up in a batch I bought several years back. They are all internal factory photographs, probably taken in the late 1940s at about the time that the MO was introduced (1948). All are stamped with a Nuffield Organization stamp on their reverse, just a few years before it was merged into the new British Motor Corporation (BMC), along with Austin. Whereas press photographs tended to be printed on thick glossy photographic paper, all but one of these images are on very cheap paper, presumably for internal use only.
The first is a head-on view of a very early MO, with its bonnet raised. All five photos I think relate to different heater installations that were being trialled. Signs that this is one of the first MOs include the curved bonnet leading edge that this example has. The bonnet curves down above the grille when it closes. The corners were quite sharp and many people gave themselves a nasty knock on the head, while working under their car's bonnet. The lower edge of the bonnet was revised slightly on later cars, as can be seen for example on the car shown at the top of this page.
Cars fitted with a heater at the factory, have the unit mounted on the bulkhead where base-specification cars would normally have had their battery. The battery is re-positioned to the offside of the engine bay, set quite low. This development car has a large heater unit, and a motor alongside it, fitted to the bulkhead. A large battery, sat high up in the engine bay due to its bulk, has been fitted to this car. Production cars would have their motor fitted beneath the dashboard, inside the cabin, rather than under the bonnet. Note the large AC air cleaner, mounted remotely from the carburettor. The chassis plate to the right of shot, has been moved up slightly to accommodate the large heater motor. The reference number for this photo is 34748.
MO engine and underbonnet view
Now to the inside of the car. A makeshift hot/cold control has been fitted beneath the dashboard, in addition to a slightly more polished-looking version beneath the glove tray. Mounted on a bracket beneath the tray is a circular Smiths MA heater unit, with two opening shutters. Judging by the damp patch on the passenger footwell carpet, there's been a recent leak. The photo reference is 34746.
Smiths heater unit fitted to the Morris
Next, photograph 34751, and another test car. Here a different control assembly is fitted, with the words "Demister - Cold/Hot - Air Conditioner" printed upon it. Did Morris experiment with air conditioning on their cars, or does "air conditioner" just refer to a revised form of heating and/or ventilation that they were working on? And what is the significance of the number 3J35, applied to the steering column mounting, and the black handle just to the left of it?
Dashboard on this modified MO
Back under the bonnet again for the final two photographs, beginning with 34747. It shows the improvised fresh air inlet and trunking arrangement, probably as installed on the car that appeared in the head-on photograph above (ref. 34746). A wire mesh cover is just visible at the forward end. Also note the inner wing, cut away in part and revealing the roadwheel and tyre.
Ducting to the car's heater
Printed on glossy paper is the final shot in this set, reference 37933 (so a lot higher than the previous photos). A smaller inlet has been designed and fitted. Could the owner of an early MO reading this, advise whether any of the parts shown here went on to be used on production cars?
A second design of heater inlet
Back to Car Photographs Page 3.

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