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Morris Cowleys & Oxfords (flatnose) Page 2.

Happily, a large number of old photographs featuring the "flatnose" Morris Cowley and Morris Oxford survive, reflecting just how popular these mid-size cars were, in the vintage and post-vintage motoring eras. This is the second page of flatnose photographs included on Old Classic Car, the first batch of original Cowley & Oxford photos are on this page.

1. A 1928/1929 Morris Cowley saloon out in the snow.

To open this page, four great photos sent over by Henry, a regular visitor to the site who has provided a variety of interesting shots to include in this section. None of the photographs have any notes with them, leading us to speculate on what's going on, who the people were, and where the scenes were captured onto film.
The first introduces the Morris, a square-rigged four-door saloon, registration RG 865. The RG series hails from the Aberdeen area, suggesting that these pictures were probably taken north of the border, in Scotland. RG registrations ran from November 1928 to December 1938, putting this car at about 1929 in date (so just into the vintage, ie pre-1931, era). Clearly these are wintry scenes, with deep snow laying across the lane and adjoining fields. A chap is shown stood with his faithful four-legged friend, who is gainfully employed in dragging a box/sledge along the frozen byway - presumably containing shovels and other snow-clearing equipment. Was this chap a local farm owner, out with his horse braving the elements to help clear the roads around his property? Or one of a group of men, employed by the local council to re-open roads blocked by the snow?
Henry adds the following thoughts:
"I have a theory and it is that each farm at that time was more or less a community, with several cottages for the farm workers, some with large families. They would get their provisions from the vans of the local butcher, baker, grocer etc so the farmer would dispatch one of his horsemen with his horse-drawn sledge to collect the food needed. My late father would have done that many times in his capacity as horseman."
Quite when these photos of a Morris, being assisted along a road by the snow clearing team, were taken, is open to speculation. Henry mentions the heavy snowfalls of 1943 and 1947 as possible dates for these photos. The location, he believes, could well be the New Deer area of Aberdeenshire. Wherever the photos were taken, they're a fascinating insight into the challenges of driving, and maintaining road access during winter months, during the 1930s/1940s.
(Please click the thumbnail to view the full-size image.)
Morris Cowley in the snow
Photo two shows another gent - possibly the car's driver - posed with his steed in the lane, surrounded by several feet of snow and - currently - going nowhere. The lack of any snow on the car's upper surfaces, confirms that the car had driven to the scene and hadn't been caught out in the bad weather when it hit. Note the cover (or "muff"), fitted to the Morris' radiator, to help the engine get up to full working temperature from a cold start. A page looking at a few designs of radiator cover such as this, can be found here. Brrrrr.
Car stuck in the snow
Three chaps star in photo number three, again with the Morris (now with a blanket over its radiator) and the horse. The Cowley now shows a light dusting of snow over its wings, as do the flat caps of the men. The workers certainly had their work cut out, digging their way through the white stuff.
Flatnose Morris in the winter snow
The final shot in this quartet sees the flatnose Morris, again under a light coating of snow, attempting to make progress down the lane. While the tyres aren't overly burdened by deep tread, their skinny profile will have helped the old Cowley make progress in these challenging conditions. A great series of images, thanks again Henry.
Driving in snow

2. Two-seat tourer.

Michael Brock emailed over this next old photo, asking whether the car in it might be identifiable. His grandfather is shown at the wheel of the car, a two-seater 1926-1931 Morris Cowley, with the "flatnose" radiator (as opposed to the previous version's "bullnose"). The exact date of the photo isn't known, but Michael believes that the late 1920s would be about right, and that tallies nicely with the age of the Morris. At the time, his grandfather lived in Watlington, Oxfordshire, which may well be the location of this scene.
Morris Cowley tourer

3. Picnic time with an Oxford.

Two photographs of a lofty flatnose saloon now, registration RU 7670 and fitted with a plate that utilised individually-fitted letters of a curved profile, that look perfect on any pre-war car. The RU series is from Bournemouth, and went out of use in July 1929. In the first photo, there are two cheery ladies sat inside the car, perhaps thinking about the picnic that they were ready to devour. The circa 1928 Morris itself is looking shiny and clean, with an AA members' badge mounted atop the radiator, just ahead of the Motometer water temperature gauge. To the left is an Austin 7 Chummy, with a very similar registration number - RU 3681. Unsurprisingly, neither registration lives today within the hallowed halls of DVLA at Swansea.
1928 Morris Oxford saloon
Photo 2 sees the same Oxford parked in a different position. Given how many people are in the photo (plus the photographer), there's a fair chance that at least two of the party arrived in the Chummy, plus I'm seeing similarities in the ladies' headgear. The Oxford's cowl vent is raised in both scenes also.
Time for a picnic
Return to Page 20 in the motoring photographs archive, or visit the main index here.

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