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.
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.
Pretty soon 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.
Perhaps because of this, the Cowley's brief comeback came to a sudden end in 1959 when production was discontinued indefinitely.