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The story of how the Farina styled Morris Oxford was made available with a column change gearlever.

by David Hunt


Edward (Ted) Herbert George Hunt (1911-2000) from Avonmouth, Bristol, had his own private hire company, which he had named Silverstream Car Hire Company. After some problems with various employees, he decided to continue on his own, until the his son David Edward Hunt joined him in the business as an employee.

Ted had many cars throughout his business years, three of which were Morris Oxfords. The first was registration number VHY 906 which was a 1955 series 2 saloon with a slightly offset steering wheel. Ted's next door neighbour had a series 3 saloon (the razor edged version) registered 92 MMM. A lady three doors along from Ted's family had won a Farina Austin Cambridge in a competition, but could not drive. So Ted's next door neighbour bought it from her, and Ted then bought the series 3 Oxford from him. During this period, which was 1957 - 1960, David was doing three years in the Royal Air force, but would help out Ted on weekend or longer terms of leave.

When David was demobbed, Ted was looking at a replacement for the earlier Morris Oxford, and the Morris Isis was considered, but the only difference was the six cylinder engine. The rest of the vehicle was the same, and Ted wanted a car with a large boot for the passenger's luggage. He also wanted a column change so that he could take five passengers if needs be.

He obtained brochures for the Farina Morris Oxford, and sought out a dealer, only to be told that column change models were not produced. As Ted had seen the small print on the back of the brochure stating "column change optional", this surprised him, and on relating this story to a colleague, he was told that "if it is in the brochure, they have to produce that model". He went back again to the garage, only to be told again that they were not produced. So he wrote a personal letter to Lord Nuffield, without really expecting a reply. It seems he had a letter back to say that Lord Nuffield was on holiday for two weeks, and later Ted received a lovely letter from Lord Nuffield himself, with an apology for the delay, and an assurance that they would take half a dozen cars off the assembly line, and convert them to column change, but would keep them to one side, in case anyone else requested one. Ted was them able to place his order, and this meant he had the first column change Morris Oxford Farina produced, as a result of his persistance.

He wrote to the company about six months later, and discovered they had not sold any of the other five converted cars. At some stage, they would have to put them up for sale, but it is not known where they ended up, or perhaps they were possibly converted back to floor change.

Ted only had the car for about three years, as he found servicing it to be a bit awkward. He did a lot of work for the Cunard Steamship Company, his business involved taking the Captains, Officers and Engineers to and from the various ships that called at Avonmouth. Cunard were also agents for Port Line, Brocklebank Line and Donaldson Line, besides their own ships. It was a Donaldson Line Captain (Captain Clinton) who bought the car from Ted, and he delivered the car to Captain Clinton's home address in Scotland. The car's subsequent fate is unknown.


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