Spin my wheels: Morris Cowley

Gordon Dewey behind the wheel of his 1925 Morris Cowley in Tumut.
Gordon Dewey behind the wheel of his 1925 Morris Cowley in Tumut.

TUMUT’S Gordon Dewey isn’t likely to get his Morris Cowley confused with any other car in a car park.

That’s largely because it was built in 1925.

He first bought the car in 1983 and it has given him plenty of work and play time since then.

“It’s been a pleasure to have for the last 34 years,” he said.

“We went on holidays in it when the boys were young and I’ve entered it in rallies in Wagga, Griffith, Benalla, Inverell, Dubbo and Orange, and the Australian Bicentennial Rally in 1988,” he recalled.

The Morris is powered by a four-cylinder, 11.9 horsepower engine.

“It’s economical, and it cruises at 60 to 70 km/h,” Gordon said.

“It’s a simple motor; there’s no fuel or water pump. It’s like a Victa lawnmower; you pull up the choke and turn on the crank.”

It has a three-speed “crash” gearbox with a cork double-clutch. The thermometer is on the bonnet and there’s an oil pressure gauge, speedometer and clock, plus a horn you squeeze with your hand mounted on the side of the windscreen. There are no indicators.

“You have to hold out your hand,” Gordon said.

What looks like a really big boot folds open to reveal a back “dicky” seat. As car regulations weren’t as stringent in 1925 as they are now, Gordon has had to carry out some modifications.

“I fitted new brake lights,” he said.

“A couple of years ago a semi in Wagga nearly ran up the back of me,” he recalled.

Gordon is a long-time owner of vintage cars, and had always wanted a “bull-nosed Morris.”

In being a fan of this model, he has had good company.

“Agatha Christie owned one,” he said. “She said owning this car and having breakfast with the Queen were the two most pleasurable things in life.”