The brainchild of William Morris and the British company Morris Motors Ltd, the Cowley was conceived to be a popular, affordable, reliable and practical small car. The company produced approximately 150,000 units, all built in their small factory in Cowley, near Oxford England.
With its 11.9hp engine, the Cowley was the most affordable car in the Morris range. Its low price was down to sharing its chassis with the more powerful 13.9hp Morris Oxford, but the similarities ended there.
The Cowley could weigh up to 794 kg depending on the type of bodywork chosen by the customer.
Determined to build a small car, the firm also reduced the Cowley’s wheelbase, which measured about 2590mm between axles and 1220mm between tracks.
In an aggressive pricing strategy from 1920 to 1925, the price of the Cowley dropped from the original £465 to £162.50. At those prices, William Morris managed to stir up sales of the small “Bullnose”, eventually cornering half of the English market, who were eager for a cheap and reliable car.
Mechanically, the Morris Cowley is quite simple, as only a popular car can be. The inline four-cylinder engine, with a 1548cc cast iron head and block, develops 26cv at 2800 revolutions per minute. Its two valves per cylinder operate laterally whilst the air charge is supplied by Smith carburetor.
The chassis is made from a steel ladder construction with crossed tubular reinforcements and the front suspension has semi-elliptical springs, while the rear is fitted with 3/4 semi-elliptical springs. Dampers were only introduced from 1925.
Up until 1926, the standard Cowley was not equipped with brakes on the front axle. The company instead opted for a foot-operated drum brake on the rear axle. Front brakes could be fitted as an optional extra.
This very car was originally sold by Freitas Almeida, Lda., to António de Medeiros e Almeida, a personal friend of Lord Nuffield, and on September 18, 1956, it was acquired by João de Lacerda for 2,500 Escudos.
The initial restoration work focused on the original grey and black paintwork together with the car’s nickel-plated accessories. After that, the car participated in several national rallies during the 1960s.
The car later underwent careful mechanical restoration and was enrolled in The Bullnose Morris Club of England. Since then the Morris Cowley has covered only 3110 km.