Umtali Oxford -
A South African Oddity!
When new COOC member Andy Byford bought his 1963 Morris Oxford Series VI he got more than he bargained for. Instead of a 'common or garden' Cowley-built Series VI, he discovered that he had actually bought quite a rarity as this particular car was assembled at Umtali, Rhodesia from parts supplied by BMC, UK. The car has been in the Club before - in fact all these photographs date from when former owner, G.T.Harris, (pictured with the car top left) had his Agreed Value Insurance valuation some years ago.
Whilst looking very similar from the outside, the car does have a number of very different features from a standard model. The photograph below left clearly shows the Fresh Air vent which replaced the usual heater box on UK models. In Rhodesia there was very little need for a heater! Consequently, there is no "Hot, Warm, Cold" control on the dashboard - only an "On/Off" one! The car came with an Austin-style bench seat (centre above) which is made from vinyl and has an original factory cover for the dash-top (above right) and rear parcel shelf to prevent the blistering South African sun ruining them. The car also had a single silencer (A55 mk2) exhaust syetem too. The plate on the bonnet slam-panel (below right) says, "Assembled in Rhodesia - body number 267".
This is a very rare car indeed and, since this article first appeared in Rosette Recorder 96, the car is now owned by another COOC member who is restoring it.