Morris Oxford Series V (1959 - 1961)

The simple way to describe the life and times of the Oxford Series V is to say 'see Austin Cambridge A55 Mk II', for the two cars were almost identical. Purely because there were Austin and Morris dealer chains to be serviced all round the world, BMC decided to produce two differently badged-engineered versions of the same car. The other important difference, of course, was that the Cambridge was assembled at Longbridge and the Oxford at Cowley.

The B-Series Farina range, when completed, comprised five models ­ Austin, Morris, MG, Riley and Wolseley ­ and in fact the Morris Oxford was the fourth of these types to be launched, in March 1959. Compared with the Austin Cambridge, the differences were confined to facia and steering wheel styles, the front grille and the badging, plus different seating arrangements and a different paint job when duo-tone paintwork was ordered. As far as the customer was concerned, the UK price of the Morris was £14 more than that of the equivalent Austin.

Compared with the superseded Series III and Series IV models, there was a floor gear-change as standard (though a steering ­column change was still optional), and there was no sign of the Manumatic transmission which had been available on previous models.

Only a four-door saloon style was available at first, but a Traveller estate car was announced in the autumn of 1960. Both these cars had a short, but commercially successful life before, in another re-styling and re-engineering orgy, BMC were to improve all their B-Series and C-Series family cars in the autumn of 1961.

Morris Oxford Series V specification

Produced: Cowley, 1959-61, 87,432 cars built. Distinguishing features from previous model: Entirely different car compared with earlier Nuffield-styled Oxford Series III, bearing family resemblance to other related Farina models.

General layout: Unit-construction, pressed-steel body-chassis structure, in 4-seater, 4-door saloon car style. Front-mounted engine driving rear wheels.

Engine and transmission: BMC B-Series engine, 4-cylinder, ohv, in-line 1,489cc, 73.02 x 88.9mm, 52bhp at 4,350rpm; 82lb ft at 2,100rpm; 4-speed gearbox, no synchromesh on 1st gear; centre-floor gear-change or steering-column change; live (beam) rear axle with hypoid-bevel final drive.

Chassis: Independent front suspension, coil springs and wishbones. Cam-and-lever steering. Rear suspension by half-elliptic leaf springs. Front and rear drum brakes. 5.90-14in tyres.

Dimensions: Wheelbase 8ft 3.25in; front track 4ft 0.87in; rear track 4ft 1.87in; length 14ft 10in; width 5ft 3.5in; height 4ft 11.75in. Unladen weight (approx) 2,473lb.

Typical performance: Maximum speed 78mph; 0-60mph 23.6sec; standing 1/4-mile 22.5sec: overall fuel consumption 28mpg.

Launch Price: £816

Derivatives: Estate car (Traveller) from late 1960. The Oxford Series VI of 1961 was a further developed version of the Oxford Series V. All other B-Series 'Farinas' were closely related.

Fate: Discontinued in 1961 in favour of the updated Series VI model.

Source: "The Cars of BMC" - Graham Robson (Motor Racing Publications, 1987)