FIVE TRI­ALs

We en­joy the Ox­ford Se­ries VI and put it fully to the test

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - DRIVING -

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.

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