"CROSSING THE BLOCK"
1923 MORRIS OXFORD 11.9hp VAN
Chassis no. 21921
Engine no. 378388
Engine no. 378388
- One of the best known and most readily recognised vintage
cars, the 'bullnose' Oxford had its roots in the Edwardian era. The
first examples, fitted with 8.9hp White & Poppe engines, were
manufactured in 1913, embodying Morris' successful formula of offering
technically unexciting but well built and well equipped cars at a
bargain price. The Oxford and its close relation, the
Continental-engined Cowley, evolved gradually, both models switching to
engines made by Hotchkiss' Coventry subsidiary in 1919. A close copy of
the Continental, the Hotchkiss engine was made in 1,548cc, 11.9hp form
initially, a larger (1,802cc) 13.9hp version becoming available in 1923.
A van version on the Cowley chassis was introduced at the 1923 Motor
Show featuring a flattened variation of the bullnose radiator, known as
the 'snub nose', which was unique to these light commercials.
Originally a two-seater tourer, this particular Oxford was first registered to a farmer in Builth Wells, Radnorshire in April 1923. After many years of use the body was cut down to create a pickup, and when the rear axle broke the Oxford was laid up for many years in the farmyard. In the 1960s, Lytton Jarman, author of 'The Bullnose Morris', heard of the car and succeeded in recovering its remains. He restored the Morris in van configuration, complete with a genuine 'snub nose' radiator, and used it as his everyday transport until he retired.
The present owner bought the car in the mid-1980s and had it repainted and sign written with the name of his former business. It was enjoyed for several years of general use including at least two London-Brighton Commercial Vehicle Runs and a memorable trip to Brooklands via the M25. Although moved around in the vendor's yard, the Morris has not been driven on the road for some time. We are advised that the clutch was replaced a couple of years ago and that re-commissioning should not be too onerous. The vendor is now retiring and so this venerable old Morris seeks a new owner. We are advised that the car's old-style logbook has been lost and that a V5C document has been applied for .