A splash of distinctive lilac will grace the Cotswold countryside this weekend to honour another landmark for a Cowley motoring icon.

The Morris Minor became the first British car to sell a million units 50 years ago.

To mark the feat 350 Morris Millions with eye-catching lilac bodywork were produced and some of the remaining examples will take part in a 60-mile rally beginning in Steeple Aston on Sunday.

Among the owners in attendance will be Andrew Dyer, who grew up in Oxford.

He said: “My father used to work at Cowley, the factory, and the Minor really is woven into the fabric of Oxford.

“When I was at school most people’s parents either worked at the car plant or the university.”

Mr Dyer is the proud owner of a 110,000-mile Minor Million with chassis number 1,000,020.

He said: “Because of the quite vivid lilac colour they are probably the Morris Minor equivalent of Marmite, you either love it or you hate it.

“They are quite rare. They made 350 of them, enough to send one round each British Motor Corporation dealer for publicity, and probably about 60 or 70 remain worldwide, of which probably half of those are in the UK.”

He added: “The first Minor Million I saw was when I used to walk down Cornmarket Street on my way to school and there was always one coming in the other direction.

“I later found out it belonged to the wife of the chief constable and that car is now restored in immaculate condition in West Wales.”

Mr Dyer added: “I think the Minor is popular for two reasons. First, it’s a car where there’s been one in everybody’s family somewhere. The other thing is that for a classic-car enthusiast they are very straightforward mechanically.

“They’re part of British culture, the essence of the UK.”

A book, Morris Minor: One in a Million, has been published by Ray Newell to mark the 50th anniversary of the landmark model.