The Isis was a revised version of the 1927 Morris Six (JA series) and used the same 2468 cc engine and 3-speed gearbox. It had an all-new chassis, and the steel body had an American look, not surprising, as the body pressing dies from Budd were shared with some Dodge models. William Morris had recognised the potential of pressed steel car bodies and introduced them to Europe in Pressed Steel Company, a joint venture with Budd, sited beside William Morris's plant.
It was the first Morris to have hydraulic brakes and chromium plating replaced the previous nickel finish on brightwork.
The car could exceed 65 mph (105 km/h) and return 28 miles per imperial gallon (10 L/100 km; 23 mpg-US).
After 3939 of the original Isis model had been made it received a facelift in 1932. Following the court-forced separation of William Morris from his joint venture with Edward G Budd the steel panel body was replaced by a traditional wood frame construction. Mechanically the car was similar but the gearbox received a fourth speed. The chassis received additional cross bracing in 1934 and an automatic clutch and freewheel were fitted to some models. 3467 of the new Isis were made (including Twenty-Five models).
Isis Special Coupé, c. 1930
A de-luxe version, the Morris Twenty-Five was launched 12 October 1932 for the 1932 London Motor Show with larger 3485 cc engine. It was replaced in July 1935 by a new Twenty-Five, the flagship of the series II Morris range, and given an overhead valve engine (as the series III) in August 1938 with the rest of the Morris range.
The Series I Isis was launched in 1955 as a replacement for the Morris Six MS. It featured a six-cylinder engine, the 2.6 L (2639 cc/161 in³), 86 bhp C-Series unit from the Austin Westminster. Unlike the Westminster, the Isis had a single SU carburettor. The four-speed gearbox had a column change and was available with an optional Borg-Warner overdrive unit.
The car was based on the 4-cylinder Oxford Series II, sharing its almost-unibody shell and torsion bar front suspension. The wheelbase and front end were lengthened to accept the larger straight-6 engine, and a "woody" 2-door estate version was a novelty. With the strong engine, the Isis could reach 90 mph (145 km/h).
Unlike its sister car the Austin Westminster, which enjoyed moderate success against the volume-selling Ford and Vauxhall sixes of the time, sales were poor, with just 8,500 sold.
The Morris Isis Series II was based on the Morris Oxford Series III body but with longer wheelbase and front wings & bonnet to accommodate the 6-cylinder engine.
In line with changes to the corresponding Oxford line, BMC redesigned the Isis for 1956 with updated styling including a more elaborate mesh grille, chrome side strips and small fins. The engine power increased to 90 bhp. An automatic transmission option was also added. The manual version had a four-speed box operated by a short gearstick located on the right-hand side of the front bench seat. The handbrake lever was located just behind the gearstick. Sales remained weak, and the line ended in 1958.
A de luxe saloon with overdrive tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1956 had a top speed of 90 mph (140 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 17.6 seconds. A fuel consumption of 26.2 miles per imperial gallon (10.8 L/100 km; 21.8 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1025 including taxes. The overdrive unit had added £63 to the price.
Morris Isis Series II with long bonnet
Morris Isis Series II head-on view
^ abSedgwick, M. (1989). A-Z of Cars of the 1930s. Devon, UK: Bay View Books. ISBN1-870979-38-9.
^ abcCulshaw; Horrobin (1974). Complete Catalogue of British Cars. London: Macmillan. ISBN0-333-16689-2.
^Baldwin, N. (1994). A-Z of Cars of the 1920s. Devon, UK: Bay View Books. ISBN1-870979-53-2.
^ abSedgwick, M.; Gillies.M (1986). A-Z of Cars 1945–1970. Devon, UK: Bay View Books. ISBN1-870979-39-7.
^BMC-Leyland Australia Heritage Group, Building Cars in Australia, 2012, page 38
^ abcd"The Morris Isis de luxe Saloon". The Motor. July 11, 1956.