Love at first sight: Kate Dawson and her 1956 Morris Oxford Series II restoration

Kate Dawson in front of blue Morris Oxford

Jacinta Costanzo

Posted November 28, 2022

How does a twenty year old become the “chick in the Morrie”? Kate Dawson shares the journey of restoring her classic 1956 Morris Oxford Series II during Melbourne’s lockdown period.

Giving new life to old cars can be a labour of love, yet Kate Dawson’s restoration of her 1956 Morris Oxford proves “you can really do anything you put your mind to.”

In 2020, amid Melbourne's pandemic lockdowns, Dawson dedicated her time and energy to restoring the classic Morris – the “Mercedes and BMW of 1956” in her eyes.

Despite the “Morrie” arriving on the back of a tow truck with no interior, a cracked front window and no back window, it was “genuine love at first sight” for Dawson.

Kate Dawson and her restored 1956 Morris Oxford Series II


“It was due five minutes before I had my shift at McDonald’s,” Dawson explains. “I waited until the very last minute and actually was late for work because I just wanted to see the car pull up in the driveway.”

Although the car was in worse than expected condition, Dawson relished the restoration journey with the help of her dad and partner. In fact, car restorations are a family affair for Dawson, having previously helped her dad restore a 1964 EH Holden.

For Dawson, the experience shared with her dad makes the Morris more than just a car restoration project. “I’ve done a lot of this myself, but I wouldn’t be able to do it without the major support of my mum and dad, and my brother and partner.”

Alternating between the driveway and shed, the Morris Oxford Series II underwent a painstaking restoration including respraying, installation of new parts and refurbishment of original parts. Notably, one of the vehicle’s most unique features, its side trafficators, were still functional as indicators.

After almost two years of work, the vehicle was fully restored, roadworthy and catching the attention of other drivers, in part thanks to its striking blue paintjob.

"The absolute serotonin boost from driving it – it's just so special,” Dawson says. “It’s an indescribable feeling to have such a privilege to drive a really cool car.

“Everyone is going to know me as the chick in the Morrie.”

Encouraged by her experience, Dawson has even started her own car community – Ladies Crusin’ Classics – and hopes to inspire others to take up classic car restorations.

The vehicle's interior underwent refurbishment. Image: Matt Harvey
The restoration took almost two years to complete. Image: Matt Harvey
Kate has since started Ladies Crusin' Classics. Image: Matt Harvey

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