Classic cars showcase Cowley’s history

Convoy: Cowley Classic Car Rally organiser Tanya Field with cars on show at Templars Square

Convoy: Cowley Classic Car Rally organiser Tanya Field with cars on show at Templars Square

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Witney and West Oxfordshire. Call me on 01865 425483

TO the people who made them, they are a source of pride.

Now factory workers at Cowley’s Mini Plant will be able to see vehicles from across its 101-year history.

More than 50 Cowley-built cars will be on display as part of the Cowley Classic Car Show on Sunday.

Organiser Tanya Field has displayed seven of the plant’s vintage Minis at Templars Square Shopping Centre this week and said it has generated a lot of interest.

She said: “They’ve been very much welcomed. We’ve had people who are former employees from the plant who have come over and said ‘I built that one’.

“There’s the people in the factories, those from the Unipart Group who recognised the parts they supplied and also people from Nuffield Press who worked on all the handbooks and brochures.

“We’ve been raising awareness of the show and generally about Cowley’s car-making heritage.

“But it’s also been a great chance for former employees who built these cars to see them, because they get very little opportunity.”

The mum-of-three’s husband Jason has worked at the plant for 26 years as a telecommunications manager.

Her great-grandfather, the seventh Earl of Macclesfield, was William Morris’ financial backer when he started making cars in 1912.

Her family own 10 classic Minis, and a 1994 Montego which is one of seven cars being displayed at Templars Square until tomorrow.

The oldest vehicle is a 1926 Bullnose. She said: “Cowley is such a different place to what it used to be.

“We’re now building world-class cars, but it’s great to talk about those times that weren’t quite as good. It’s years and years of people’s lives, with some people working there for 40 to 50 years.

“They love telling you their stories, describing how they make different bits.”

On Sunday the cars will travel in convoy from the shopping centre to the Oxsrad Sports and Leisure Centre in Marsh Lane, Marston. Up to 200 classic cars of all makes and about 1,000 people are expected to attend the show, organised by the Rotary Club of Oxford Isis.

There will also be a petting zoo, children’s rides, craft stands and ferret racing to raise money for the Rosy charity, which provides respite nursing for Oxfordshire’s sick youngsters.

Sunday’s show runs from 11am to 5pm.

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