At the first post-war British car show, Earls Court 1948, Morris presented a brand new range of family cars. The Morris Minor MM, Oxford MO, and Six MS replaced the pre-war designs that allowed resuming production in 1945. They all shared elements of the brilliant Mosquito design by Issigonis, Jobs and Daniels.
The Nuffield Group had high expectations of the mid-range Oxford MO, especially in the envisaged export markets. They never suspected that the Minor would outlive the Oxford by 17 years...
Early cars can be identified by their "deadly" pointed bonnet. Nowadays, the signs reading "Do not service without safety helmet" would have been all over the engine bay. At the rear you should find a boot lid with number plate pressing, incorporating a "D"-light. Many cars however lost this characteristic feature and are equipped with the later type lid. The original part has become very sought after.
During production the MO underwent a series of changes. The bonnet lost its deadly points, a less elegant but more flexible mounting for the rear numberplate was introduced, several types of rear lights appeared, separate sidelights found a place beneath the headlights, the rear window blind gave way to a new rear view mirror and the Rotadip rust proofing procedure led to a hole in the battery bay.
All these modifications followed their own timetable sometimes leading to a confusing situation. A very extensive listing of changes can be found in Steve McNicol's "Morris Oxford MO", a 1991 Railmac publication. The most noticeable change affected the radiator grille. Up to October 1952 it was a one-piece heavyweight in chromed mazac, then changed to two stainless steel parts. The basic layout was carried over to the Morris Oxford Series II.
Around the same time some subtle changes occurred in the interior as well. The black crinkled finish of the central dashboard section was dropped in favour of smooth metal painted gold, like the rest of the facia. The instruments now show black dials.
Issigonis planned flat-four engines (four cylinder boxer layout) for both the Morris Minor and Oxford. But company politics short-circuited these plans; the Minor got basically the Morris 8 engine, while the Morris Engine Branch developed a new 1500 cc side valve block for the Oxford. A power source that neither pretends to be earthshaking, nor associates with "the smell of burning rubber".
It's amazing, however, how these sturdy blocks survived over fifty years of service, propelling MO's in today's traffic often maintaining cruising speeds of 60 mph. Compare that to a contemporary flat four (in the Jowett Javelin), famous for - according to one author - its self-drowning capabilities in wet weather. For technical details you can consult the specifications page.