Although it was released carrying one of the leading marques of the Morris brand, the Nineteen Fifties version of the Morris Cowley was probably the most obscure.

During the mid-Fifties, with the shock waves of the BMC amalgamation still not settled, Morris pushed through a policy of marketing every possible permutation of every new model.

This policy translated to BMC releasing what was basically an entry-level version of the Oxford SII, under another identity.

The design crew at BMC simply “sharpened their pencils” as much as good taste would allow whilst using the smaller 1200cc 40bhp version of BMC's new B-Series engine.

While the body shape remained precisely the same, the bulk of the Oxford's exterior trim was no longer available.

With times still austere in the UK of the mid-Fifties, BMC based their marketing philosophy on the Morris Cowley basically on the supposition that the only real reason to buy one of these instead of an Oxford was its selling price, around 5% less.

In the end, history proved the planners at BMC to be wrong, the 1200 cc engined Cowley was a slow seller throughout the three years that it was in production.

When, in 1956, BMC launched their upgraded to the Oxford Series II, which they unimaginatively named the Series III, in line with the same chain of succession the Morris Cowley 1200 became the Cowley 1500.

Although still carrying on the theme of being a basic alternative to its larger stable mate sister, the Cowley acquired the Oxford's 1489cc engine which, in both models, was updated slightly by an increase in compression ratio.

BMC instituted this upgrade so that owners of these models could take full advantage of the introduction into the UK of premium grade petrol, which was liable to increase the vehicle's performance as well as its economic potential.

In next to no time the management team at BMC began to observe that the Morris Cowley 1500 was competing possibly too well with the Oxford, and the similarities had become much less.

Early evidence of the problems that "badge engineering" would bring to BMC in the Sixties became increasingly evident , meaning the the Cowley's brief comeback came to a sudden end in 1959 when production was discontinued indefinitely.

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