• Desirable British Racing Green colour
• Interior in great condition
• Photograph album of its build progress at Morgan's factory
Few car-makers today can boast such a history and pedigree as Morgan. H F S Morgan built his first car, an unconventional air-cooled three-wheeler, in 1909, and the following year he founded the company which would go on to become famous for building hand-made, traditional sports-cars in Worcestershire’s Malvern Hills up to the present day.
Impressively, production of Morgan’s V-twin three-wheelers lasted until 1939, but it had become apparent that more comfortable and civilised sports cars with four wheels and four cylinders, such as were being built by MG et al, had more sales appeal, so Morgan introduced the 4/4 in 1936. The decision was well-judged.
The 4/4 was popular in the home market before the war and, when American GIs cottoned on to the pleasures of the British sports-car, it became sought-after in the States as well. As rivals such as MG and Triumph modernised their styling and production methods after the mid-1950s, Morgan took a risk and stood fast by its traditional methods of coachbuilding ash-framed bodies. This, too, was well-judged.
The 4/4 remained popular long after the demise of the British sports-car in the late 1970s and continued in production until 2019, when emissions regulations forced its discontinuation, although its legacy lives on in the closely-related Plus Four and Plus Six.
The 4/4 Series I, so-called because if its four wheels and four cylinders, was only built until 1950. There followed a break in production before the Series II, sporting unmistakable new styling which Morgans retain to this day, appeared in 1955. For the remaining 64 years of its life, it would remain superficially unchanged, benefitting only from mechanical improvements and subtle detail alterations.
This 1987 example is a 1600 model, representing one of the most popular and longest-lived incarnations of the 4/4, built from 1968 to 1993. Despite its popularity, the fact that each Morgan was carefully and skilfully made by craftsmen meant production was never high, and only 5448 examples of the 1600 were built. Ford and Fiat engines were used, and this is one of 1652 fitted with Ford’s 1597cc CVH four-cylinder.
First registered on 1st July, 1987, this Morgan was originally supplied by Libra Motive of Hampstead, London, which was then quite recently established and would become one of the country’s most important Morgan main dealers until its closure in 2004. More recently, it passed through the similarly prominent Brands Hatch Morgans before it was acquired by the vendor.
A detailed service record from 1993 to 2002 demonstrates that it was regularly enjoyed and well cared-for by Morgan specialists throughout that period. This record gives some details of its earlier life, showing that it resided near Cranfield in Bedfordshire, from 1993 to 1997, Dersingham in Norfolk in 1998 and 1999, and Wisbech in Cambridgeshire in 2001 and 2002. A new service book was started in 2019.
Although the odometer reading shows 45,949 miles at present, the service record shows that it had covered 93,090 miles by 2002, so the true mileage is more likely to be 145,949.
The car comes with a V5 and the aforementioned service records, covering 1993 to 2002 and 2019 to 2020, the more recent one having been issued by Adwick M.O.T. & Car Care Centre of Doncaster.
Three invoices from the mid-1990s for parts and services supplied by Morgan agent Allon White & Sons are on file.
The MoT history shows that it passed its MoTs in 2020 and 2021, with no advisories this year after the slight play in a ball-joint that was identified in 2020 was rectified, so it now benefits from a valid MoT until 17th February, 2022. Also included are two original Morgan 4/4 Owners Handbooks and a flyer for Brands Hatch Morgans.
The most impressive part of the file, though, is the photograph album which details the car’s build progress at the Morgan factory. This exemplifies the bespoke service offered by Morgan and is a feature few other cars are able to boast.
The final photograph, showing the finished car on display among other newly-finished Morgans, carries the signature of Peter Morgan, son of the founder and then-Chairman.
Upholstered in cream leather, the Morgan’s interior retains a wonderfully traditional feel even while the plastic steering wheel and fittings and the padded dash give away its 1980s origins, and, of course, seatbelts offer a safety advantage over the earlier cars.
The whole package is superbly preserved and, while previous owners have got a lot of enjoyment from driving the car, they have clearly treated it with respect and gone to great pains to look after it.
The leather covering the seats and transmission tunnel is not showing any signs of wear and could almost pass for new; only some light creasing on the seats demonstrates that, in fact, they have been sat on before.
Similarly, we cannot find anything to fault in the fascia, the instrument cluster or the steering wheel, and the floor mats have been kept scrupulously clean. Only the handbrake gaiter seems to have suffered at all, with a small hole having manifested itself at the base.
It’s a same story in the rear, where the passenger space appears totally clean and in superb condition. It is quite conceivable that the two small rear seats have never been used.
The provision of a tonneau cover ensures that you can go out with the top down and leave the car unattended with the interior fully protected.
Finished in a deep, handsome British Racing Green, the one colour guaranteed to look great on absolutely any British sports-car, the Morgan’s excellent condition is as much in evidence on the outside as well. As the interior appears to be completely original, we’ve every reason to believe the paint is as well.
It certainly hasn’t changed colour since it left the factory, but for it to have survived as well as this would suggest that it has been garaged all its life and very rarely brought out in the rain.
All the brightwork and glass is in very good order, and the hood, if original, is quite incredible. A regal shade of green to complement the paint, it almost looks as though it has never been used.
Often, the wheels are one of the first areas of an old car where corrosion starts to appear but, as the photographs show, the wheels on this car are immaculate, and the spare wheel benefits from the protection of a tasteful fabric cover matching the hood.
While we haven’t seen this car run, our instinct tells us that it’s as sweet as a nut on the road. The engine bay is clinically clean – there are no oily trickles or leaky hoses that we can discern.
We can’t even make out the slightest paint imperfections. The fact that it has been reliably serviced and passed its MoT with no advisories suggests to us that it’s all ready to jump in and enjoy.
Bidders should note that the car is included for sale with its original hub spanner and mallet.
Morgans are always something of a time-travel experience. Stepping through the low-cut doors and sinking into the soft leather seats, the Morgan driver is part of a different world, one of country tweeds and equestrian pursuits, garden parties and cravats.
After the market for British sports-cars started to decline from the mid-1960s, Morgan offered what would become a unique cultural and aesthetic experience.
That fact alone makes it highly appealing, but by the 1980s they had improved considerably, with faster and more efficient engines, disc brakes and safety upgrades. Still they were coachbuilt by English craftsmen, and new owners received a photograph of their car signed by the company Chairman.
In other words, you got the best of both worlds. Of all the Morgans out there, we don’t think there can be many better than this, so snap it up and make the most of summer motoring.
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