We enjoy the Oxford Series VI and put it fully to the test
1 DailY DriViNG
Well maintained cars are extremely reliable and while performance isn’t astounding, nor will you be a mobile chicane. It cruises happily at 65-70mph but isn’t really set up for long motorway thrashes at this sorts of speed. It’s spacious and comfortable, and those rear fins are a real parking boon, though your biceps will soon be hollering if you spend more than ten minutes squeezing it into a narrow gap. Town traffic shouldn’t be any problem for an Oxford – there is certainly enough performance for you to bounce happily away from roundabouts and junctions. You won’t feel embarrassed on fast A-roads, either.
2 iN tHE sErViCE BaY
No Oxford takes kindly to neglect, and you’ll need to be trigger-happy with a grease gun in a way that isn’t the case with rivals like the Vauxhall Victor FB. Modern lubricants have improved things but the kingpin bottom bushes ideally need a squirt every couple of thousand miles at least. Steering linkages, swivel pins and propshaft universal joints all need similar treatment every 3000 miles or so. Expect a regularly exercised car to manage 6000 miles between oil changes, but rather less if it’s a summer use-only classic. Most service parts are still readily available and costs aren’t prohibitively high.
3 oN tHE sHoW CirCUit
Some misguided souls still regard Farinas as being a bit… dull. Worse, others have been perfectly happy to put them to death on a banger-racing track. Today we can’t see any classic car show organisers turning a tidy Oxford away in the real world. The cars will instantly take many people back to the days of their glorious youth and you can safely predict that many a visitor will want to sit in your Oxford in order to vicariously relive those long ago expeditions to Frinton-on- Sea with Auntie Nellie revealing intimate details of her various ailments. Not something you’d get with a Ferrari F40.
4 tHE loNG WEEKEND
No problems here. The Oxford has a vast boot and room enough inside for five people. It’s also incredibly relaxing and comfortable on longer journeys – providing that you’re not trying to press on too much – and produces all manner of wonderful Farina gear whines hour after hour along the way. Surely there are but few better classics in which to enjoy a nice, unhurried A-road tour, visiting historic houses and nice tea shops, secure in the knowledge that even if the Oxford’s battery was past its best, you’d still have a starting handle to ensure that you weren’t stranded.
5 tHE B-roaD Blast
This isn’t a car for back-road blasting; far better just to enjoy a happy amble. Antiroll bars and a wider track were major improvements to this car over its Series V predecessor, as was the extra power from the 1622cc BMC B-series engine, though some owners have been known to fit an 1.8-litre version of the engine from the MGB if speed is their god. Handling is predictable rather than great but radial tyres improve matters considerably. Woolly dampers are not good on these cars, particularly on poor road surfaces. Whatever type of driving you enjoy, the Oxford won’t catch you out in normal driving.