30 March 2013

Cowley (Oxford UK) Car Plant 100 Years Old

In March 1913, the Cowley plant in Oxford UK started making the Morris Cowley Bullnose. I remember having a Matchbox model of the car. Amazingly just 20 cars a week were made back at the plant's inception. In total 11,655,000 cars have been made there, including the Morris Minor (we had one when I was a boy) Mini, Marina, Princess, Maestro, Rover 75 and currently the MINI. These days 900 cars a day roll off the line.

I've driven the Mini and it was a hoot, so advanced too for its time. Some people like to knock the Marina but having owned one (Australian built admittedly), I liked it. Over 1.16 million were made so it have had some redeeming features. I've ridden in the Princess (225,000 made) and was amazed at its interior space and pleasant ride. The Maestro never made it to NZ but I liked the style of it. Apparently it took too long to get to production and was somewhat dated by the time it arrived (605,000 rolled off the line).

So the Cowley plant continues under the stewardship of BMW and working flat out. The third series of BMW MINI is about to commence too, so the success continues for the factory.

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