100 years

100 years

The MINI plant will lead the celebrations of a centenary of car-making in Oxford on March 28.

It will be 100 years to the day when the first 'Bullnose' Morris Oxford was built by William Morris, a few hundred metres from where the modern plant stands.

Twenty cars were built each week at the start, but the business grew rapidly and over the century 11.65m cars were produced.

Today, Plant Oxford employs 3,700 'associates' who manufacture up to 900 MINIs every day, and has contributed over 2.25m MINIs to the total tally.

Major investment is currently underway at the plant to create new facilities for the next generation MINI.

Over the decades that followed the emergence of the Bullnose Morris Oxford in 1913, came cars from a wide range of famous British brands - and one Japanese.

These included: MG, Wolseley, Riley, Austin, Austin Healey, Mini, Vanden Plas, Princess, Triumph, Rover, Sterling and Honda, besides founding marque Morris - and MINI.

The Pressed Steel Company, part of the Cowley operation, also built bodyshells for Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Jaguar, MG, Standard-Triumph, Ford and Hillman, as well as tooling dies for Alfa Romeo.

At various stages in its history it has also built Tiger Moth aircraft, ambulances, military trucks, jerry cans, components for Horsa gliders, parachutes and iron lungs.

The plant has produced an array of famous cars, including the Bullnose Morris, the Morris Minor, the Mini, India's Hindustan Ambassador and today's MINI.

It also produced Hondas for a short period in the '80s, as well as some slightly notorious models including the much-derided (though far from unsuccessful) Morris Marina, the startling '70s wedge that was the Princess and, in the Austin Maestro, one of the world's earliest 'talking' cars.


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