Classic Car Overview
Just in... A car we sold 30 years ago, happy customer, now back to us.
My first Morgan was a 1959 +4 and for years, went through a succession of similar 50s and 60s Triumph powered +4s. The big, heavy, torquey TR3/4 engine, 1,850 pound curb weight, and the ancient Moss gearbox. Precise but heavy and with slow synchromesh. But very classic and a fun car to drive. In the 'classic sense.'
One day, I 'discovered' the Plus 4's baby brother....the light weight, low, sleek 4/4. Although, at first, the 4/4 of 1955 defines the term 'anemic' with its 36hp Ford 100E engine and 3 speed transmission. 0-60 in 26 seconds. BUT by the mid and late 60s, the 4/4 blossomed.....this car, being over 400 pounds lighter and with a modified 110hp Ford 1600cc crossflow engine, easy shifting 4 speed all synchro transmission is literally half Morgan and half Lotus Super 7. Quick, softer ride (due to softer springs), better steering, quicker shifting, a fabulous car.
Only around 1250 4/4s were built from 1955 to 1968.....639 Series Vs, clearly a lot less Series V 'Competitions,'
Our car has an excellent body and chassis, wood framing looks fine throughout, the rare competition seats (much more comfortable than the usual Morgan bench seats AND they are adjustable!!!!), wire wheels (painted or chrome, depending on price), wonderful classic patina (original Morgan cellulose paint, original leather and chrome), even very good original top, side curtains, and tonneau. Best of all, this car is one of the VERY RARE ALUMINUM BODIED CARS.....can't rust, very lightweight, in many ways, the best of the best. Dunno production figures but with (as I have read) 639 Series V 4/4s built, I suspect very few had both the 'competition' accessories and aluminum body. Either way, this is one very very rare car.
Engine: 155-165 psi compression in every cylinder, 35-40 psi oil pressure when warm, zero smoke cold or hot, all of the original gauges work, all original switches (other than a starter button which has been added), enlarged competition oil sump, high lift camshaft, tubular racing headers, Weber carb. Car is quick....feels like an early Lotus Elan...not surprising as they have similar power to weight ratios.
Has an original heater which works, inertia reel seat belts, luggage rack, wind wings, leather bonnet strap (of course), things we can see: brakes redone, new shocks, new brake flex lines, master cylinder, new voltage regulator, new fuse box, new generator, thermostatically controlled electric radiator cooling fan, spin on oil filter, even ORIGINAL Lucas headlights. Just had the cooling system flushed, new 160 degree thermostat, new oil, complete lubrication, and the paint lightly wet sanded and buffed. Other than the few additions, this car defines the term 'survivor' and is incredibly original.
Doors open and close precisely and don't sag even a quarter inch, shut like a 'real' car, chrome is not pitted, exhaust sounds good ('authoritative' as some 1960s magazine would, no doubt, write), steering is very good and car has excellent directional stability, in every way, car is an absolute joy.
But more than anything is the utter feeling of lightness. Morgan's manual shows a dry weight of 1390 pounds for this model and, with its aluminum body, perhaps 1350? That is VERY light for a car, less than a Bug Eye, not all that much more than a period Lotus Super 7. Making this, in some ways, the best of the best of classic performance Morgans.
Have driven it around 400 trouble free miles, so far. Went for a nice 120 mile trip through Connecticut, shore line, our favorite lobster roll stand, in 90 degree heat, never missed a beat. Ran cool, and as a combination of highway, back roads, stop and go....got 32.5 miles per gallon. EVEN economical.
Further improvements? We can get a 5 speed transmission kit which is easily installed. Adds an additional $4,000 to the cost but would offer more relaxed cruising, a higher top speed, and closer ratios.
And, for the purposes of clarity....the original paint DOES look great (especially in the evening) but the exterior is covered with small scratches, touched up spots, yet I couldn't see repainting the car. As it is, no damage, no bondo, no old repairs, just a wonderful old Morgan with awesome performance.
AND........this car is currently undergoing a substantial amount of work and will soon re-emerge as a far improved car (and, when done, at a different price)
Engine: head being ported, new bearings fitted, fresh Ford T9 five speed close ratio transmission going in, new twin 40 DCOE Webers being installed on special Swan manifold, dual master cylinder being installed....when done, this will be a Ford powered version of the famous Morgan SuperSport and with virtually identical esthetics (will be getting an alloy side bonnet scoop). However, maybe 300 pounds slighter, as much or even more power, and with the wonderful c/r Ford 5 speed.