Bullnose Morris Oxford

This Bullnose Morris Oxford was built in 1923. 45% of all cars on the roads in the UK in the 1920’s were Bullnose Morris, mainly because of their reliability. All the engines, gearboxes and axles were manufactured in Detroit USA and then assembled in Cowley Oxfordshire. It gained its endearing name from the shape of its radiator.

William Morris founded Morris Motors in his home town of Oxford in 1912. He wanted to build a British rival to the Model T Ford. Agatha Christie said in her autobiography one of the two things that excited her most in life was her grey Bullnose Morris Cowley which was the sister car to this Morris Oxford

With a 1500 litre side valve engine and a 3 speed gearbox it produced about 15bhp. It had a top speed of 45mph but to drive at those speeds would have been madness with only having brakes on the two rear wheels.

The hand stitched leather seats, the crank handle at the front to start it and an antique air pump horn, take us back to a time when driving was a luxury. The running boards along the sides give it a real Chitty Chitty Bang Bang look.

The Y A number plate means that it was first registered in 1923 in Somerset. Originally it was a two-seater run-about with a small third seat or boot at the back. The canvas hood would have folded back for glamorous travelling on sunny days, but it can now no longer be dropped due to the alterations. In the 1930’s or 40’s, when the car would have been considered old, a Devon farmer bought it and converted it into a pickup truck. The rear section was removed, and a cage added to transport animals to and from the farm.

There are several plaques and badges on the car suggesting that the owner in the 1950’s joined the Morris Bullnose Club and attended several rallies. This club is still in existence today with over 600 members.

The museum purchased this Bullnose for £5000 which was 25 times the price it would have been when new. If funds ever become available, the museum would really love to be able to restore the vehicle to its former glory.