Classic Cars Wiki
Classic Cars Wiki

Morris Cowley

Morris Cowley was a name given to various cars produced by Morris Motors Limited from 1915 to 1958.

Morris Cowley (1915)[]

The Morris Cowley (1915) is the original Cowley of the Morris Cowley series of cars. It was Manufacturered by Morris Motor Company or MMC.


I featured a 1495 cc, side-valve, four cylinder engine by Continental, and the three speed gearbox by Detroit.


The suspension had semi-elliptic leaf springs at the front of the car, and three quarter elliptic for the rear.


Approxamently 1,400 1915 Morris Cowleys were made.

The succesor to the car is the Morris Cowley 1919 which engine was made by the British branch of the French Hotchkiss Motor Company.

Morris Cowley (1919)[]

The updated Cowley for 1919 had an engine made by the British branch of the French Hotchkiss company, which was essentially a copy of the early Continental unit which was no longer being made. It was the basic model of the Morris two car range of the time with the Oxford, which used the same 1.5L 26bhp engine until 1923, having leather upholstery and upgraded lighting as the de-luxe version.

Morris acquired the British interests of Hotchkiss in 1923 and renamed them Morris engines branch.

Morris Cowley (1926)

The Bullnose radiator was replaced by a flat version in 1926 in a new version of the car with all steel bodies becoming available. The engines remained the same, but the Cowley unlike the Oxford, retained braking on the rear wheels only as standard, although a front brake system was available at extra cost (featured car has this fitted). The chassis was new and the suspension was updated with semi elliptic leaf springs all round plus Smiths friction type scissor shock absorbers. The brakes are rod and spring operated with cams inside the drums to actuate. Interesting to note that the rear brake drums include two sets of shoes, one of which is connected directly to the handbrake.

The chassis was further modified in 1931 to bring it in line with the Morris Major. Wire wheels became an option instead of the solid spoked artillery ones previously fitted.

Morris Cowley (1932)[]

The 1932 Cowley had a new chassis and Lockheed hydraulic brakes. the engine was the same Continental based unit but a larger 1802 cc version was available as a no cost option until 1933 on the home market. There were no more four seat tourers.

A new engine, still of the same 1548 cc was introduced in 1933 along with a shorter chassis and only a saloon body available. From 1935 the car was called the Morris Twelve-Four.

Morris Cowley-Six

The 1934 Cowley replaced the Morris Major keeping the same 1938 cc six cylinder, side valve engine but with a new lower chassis.

The car became the Fifteen-Six in 1935.

Morris Cowley MCV (1950-1956)

In 1950 the Morris Cowley name was given to a range of commercial vehicles based on the Morris Oxford MO. The Cowley MCV was offered in van, pick-up and chassis-cab versions. The 10cwt MCV van was a replacement for the Morris Y-series van and had a capacity of 120 cu ft (3,400 L) or 138 cu ft (3,900 L) without the passenger seat.

1954 Morris Cowley[]

The 1954 Morris Cowley was a four-cylinder midsize car produced from 1954 to 1959. It was essentially a budget version of the Morris Oxford with less chrome, no heater, fixed front quarter lights and a simplified dashboard.

Morris Cowley Series I

The Series I Cowley was launched in 1954. The engine, the 1.2 L (1200 cc) B-Series unit came from the Austin A40. The body shell was based on the four door Morris Oxford Series II, sharing its torsion beam front suspension and live rear axle but with smaller 8 in (203 mm) brake drums on early models. Steering was of the conventional rack and pinion type. The car had a top speed of just over 70 miles per hour (110 km/h).

The British Motor magazine tested a Cowley saloon in 1955 recording a top speed of 71.9 mph (115.7 km/h) and acceleration from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 31.5 seconds and a fuel consumption of 28.0 miles per imperial gallon (10.1 L/100 km; 23.3 mpg-US). The test car cost £702 including taxes.

Morris Cowley Series II[]

The Series II was fitted with a larger 1.5 L (1489 cc) engine with styling based on the Morris Oxford Series III.