It is remarkable that Morgans are still made, but there is many a gent with a cloth cap and corduroys who is grateful that they are. Derived from the first four-wheeled Morgans of 1936, this is the car that buoyed Morgan on after the war while many of the old mainstays of the British auto industry wilted around it.
Tweedier than a Scottish moor on the first day of the grouse shooting season, it is as quintessentially English as a car can be. It was a hit in America and other foreign parts, and it has also remained the backbone of the idiosyncratic Malvern-based company, which refuses to move with the times. Outdated and outmoded, Morgans are still so admired they hardly depreciate at all. First introduced in 1951, the Plus Four, with a series of Standard Vanguard and Triumph TR engines, laid the foundations for the modern miracle of the very old-fashioned Morgan Motor Company.
The second-generation Plus Four was the first of what are generally considered the “modern-looking” Morgans—if that is the right expression for a basic design which, still in production today, dates back to 1936.
ON THE RACK
Morgans have limited luggage capacity, so many owners attached external racks.
The earlier two-seat drophead coupe retained rear-hinged “suicide” doors; sports models had front-hinged doors.
The Plus Four retained simple sliding-pillar front suspension.
Rear lights have never been a Morgan strong point. Amber indicators are a good 6 in (15 cm) inboard of the brake lights, and partially obscured by the luggage rack.
From 1958, Plus Fours had a slightly wider cockpit with a new dash. Speedometer, switches, warning lights, and minor gauges were grouped
in a central panel.
Unlike most convertible cars, the Plus Four has a top which can be partially folded back.
Major distinguishing features on the second-generation Morgan include the cowled radiator grille and, from 1959, a wider body to provide more elbow room for driver and passenger. The doors were the only sensible places for external side mirrors.
Headlights are big, bold affairs set in pods on the front fenders, but sidelights are about as visible as a pair of glowworms.
TRADITIONAL ASH FRAME
The current four-cylinder Morgan is built in exactly the same manner as most of its predecessors. The chassis is made from “Z”-section steel members, and on it sits a 94- or 114-piece wooden framework (two- and four-seat cars, respectively) clothed in a mixture of steel and aluminum panels. Today the company builds just two cars: the Plus Four and the Plus Eight.
The later Triumph TR3A 2138cc engine, as here, provided increased torque. The 2138cc engine was available in the TR3A from summer 1957. The earlier Triumph 1991cc engine was still available for those wishing to compete in sub-two-liter racing classes.
Like all Morgans, the Plus Four has a hinged two-piece hood.
S P E C I F I C A T I O N S
MODEL Morgan Plus Four (1951–69)
BODY STYLES Two- and four-seater sports convertible.
CONSTRUCTION Steel chassis, ash frame, steel and alloy outer panels.
ENGINES 2088cc overhead-valve inline four (Vanguard); 1991cc or 2138cc overhead-valve inline four (TR).
POWER OUTPUT 105 bhp at 4700 rpm (2138cc TR engine).
TRANSMISSION Four-speed manual.
SUSPENSION Front: sliding stub axles, coil springs, and telescopic dampers; Rear: live axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs, and lever-arm dampers.
BRAKES Drums front and rear; front discs standard from 1960.
MAXIMUM SPEED 100 mph (161 km/h)
0–60 MPH (0–96 KM/H) 12 sec
A.F.C. 20–22 mpg (7–7.8 km/l)