Find out about Oxford's century old Morris car plant and the vehicles it has put on Britain's roads throughout its history. Two world wars, four monarchs and countless Prime Ministers - Britain has changed dramatically throughout the Morris car plant's century long history.

The iconic site is one of the most significant in British motoring and is renowned throughout the country and around the world for the vehicles it has produced. Still affectionately known by its Morris moniker, the plant is now owned by BMW and continues to produce the hugely popular modern MINI range of vehicles.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about the Morris car plant's rich past and what the future holds for the Cowley site.

History

William Morris opened the factory in 1913 on the site of the former Military College. The entrepreneur previously worked as a mechanic on Longwall Street, where he repaired cars and carried out windscreen replacement.

On the new site the car designer was able to adopt mass production techniques from the US to build his 'bullnose' Morris, an early staple of British motoring. Throughout his stewardship Morris, a renowned philanthropist, funded the expansion in the area surrounding the plant to improve the lives and opportunities of his workers.

After being used for making munitions and then aircraft salvage in respective world wars, the plant continued to prosper and was employing 20,000 people by the 1970s. During these years Morris' company went through a series of amalgamations, eventually having joined with Jaguar, Leyland and Rover before being purchased by British Aerospace in 1988 and then BMW six years later.

Famous cars

Whoever its owner, the Morris car plant continued to produce iconic British cars throughout its history. The Cowley plant's history is intertwined with that of the MINI, which was first produced in Oxford in 1959.
Dripping in cutting-edge style whilst remaining affordable to the masses, the compact car helped redefine motoring in Britain.

From Clubman to the Countryman World Rally Car, the MINI has remained hugely popular throughout its five decades-and-counting history. The economic Morris Minor is another of the Cowley plant's famous alumni. Showcasing elegant British lines, more than 1.3 million of the classic-looking cars were made during the quarter of a century it remained in production.

The Morris factory was also where many Rover vehicles were assembled, including both the successful 75 and 600 series.

Bright future…

The Morris car plant might be a hundred years young but it's still an integral part of BMW's global manufacturing network. Over 190,000 cars were produced at the site in 2011, creeping back towards the pre-downturn highs of the mid-noughties. And with the next generation of MINI Paceman launched earlier this year, the workers in Cowley will be building the iconic car for many years to come.

Have you ever owned Morris produced car?

5 comments:

Jean Lou Laborte said...

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Dawn Preston said...

The first car which I encountered with was a nice black colored Morris Minor, back in the 1980s. I had fallen in love with this small but beautiful creation and my love affair with cars started with it. I am still a huge fan of bulbous designs and really don’t like the shapes of cars which come today. I have been fishing for a nice old Morris in http://www.automotix.net/bargain_cars.html but my luck is still not with me as of now. Hearty thanks for this article!

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