13 April 2020
More than an old car #140: Morris Oxford Twenty
Much as I would like to know about every old car that still remains in Singapore, there will always be a few wildcards that catch me off guard, such as this 1934 Morris Oxford Twenty!
The Oxford was a series of motor car models produced by Morris Motors, and its name was derived from the hometown of the company's founder W. H. Morris. Incidentally, the focus on car-making subsequently turned Oxford into an industrial city. The Oxford Six dated all the way back to 1921 with the F-type Bullnose, and it was in 1934 that the name was changed from Six to Sixteen to reflect the new car's tax horsepower category. Later on, the Twenty joined the range, where it was powered by a 2561 cc straight-6 engine.
The outward appearance of the Twenty was improved from its predecessor (the Six), with the provision of an automatic clutch and hydraulic shock absorbers. Some features include a thermostatic control for the cooling system, self-cancelling direction indicators and an individual blade for each windscreen wiper. It was available in 2 styles: the saloon in the picture and a Special coupe version. Not much details can be found regarding these cars except that its wheelbase was 2896 mm long.
Production ended in 1935 where it was succeeded just 9 months later by the Big Six series 2 range of cars, with only 6,308 made. The 'Oxford' name also disappeared until 1948 where it was resurrected again. This unit could well be the only one here, sporting what I believe is its original registration. Interestingly, they were sold here in Singapore (then still a colony) in 1935 by Malayan Motors Ltd, where it was touted as a car with 'dignity, comfort and luxury'. This unit has received a colour change from yellow to green between the 2 years that I saw it, but I do not know much about this unit's exact history. Yet, it seems to be in running condition since it has changed locations multiple times.
I am more impressed that this oldie is still out and about, but you would be forgiven if you have never heard of it before: it does not seem to come for events and is in workshops most of the time. However, it is worth saluting the owner's efforts to keep it running, where it can be a visceral reminder of our motoring heritage despite our short history. Maybe you'll get to see it soon!