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1919 Morris Cowley 2-Seater
Registration No. LU 6991
Chassis No. 4354
Engine No. 11407
Hammer price:£ 5000
William Morris set up business in Oxford and was soon producing his popular White and Poppe engined cars in reasonable numbers, but he soon realised that to increase sales he needed a car that would compete on price terms with imported American models. Accordingly he visited the US and arranged for the supply of Continental engines at £18 each (the previous W&P engines had cost about £50 each), and on a later visit he was able to source axles, gearboxes and steering gear for his new Cowley at equally advantageous prices.
The first new ‘Continental’ engined Cowley appeared in 1915 at a very reasonable 158 guineas, but war had been declared some 8 months earlier, and new import duties caused prices to spiral, whilst 1,500 of the first 3,000 engines were lost at sea due to enemy action. Eventually private car production was prohibited in 1916, but Morris were quick to restart assembly lines after the Armistice, using American parts still in store, whilst designing a new post war Cowley.
The ‘Continental Red Seal’ engined Cowley was an innovative design, and was very well received by the motoring public; prices for second-hand examples were always high, but the number made was not large, and very few now remain. Ten cars appear in the 2006 Register of Early Morris Cars (with thanks and acknowledgement to Margaret Goding, Registrar, for this excellent publication).
LU 6991 was first registered on 26 March 1919, and is thus assembled from earlier parts. It has been in long term ownership, during which time a complete restoration was commenced, but never completed, and this car is now offered on behalf of the owners widow. Much work has been done, and the car is mechanically complete, although it may require re-commissioning, and the two seater body is nearing completion. A buff log book and a V5c, together with a large archive accompany this historic car.
Early Bullnose Cowleys have a ‘light and spidery’ appearance that is very different from the later cars, but survivors are very few in number, and seldom come to the market. LU 6991 has had most of the hard work done, and could be restored relatively simply, and is a good opportunity to aquire a scarce early car, well known in Bullnose circles, nearing completion of its protracted rebuild.