Morgan is one of the most unique and iconic motoring brands of all time. This British family owned company was founded in 1910 by Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan and he ran the company until he passed way in 1959, aged 77. His son Peter Morgan took over the reins of the company until he passed away in 2003.
The first Morgans were three wheelers and it wasn’t until 1936 that Morgan introduced its first four wheel “car”, the 4/4, for four seats and four wheels. The three wheelers were phased out in 1952 by which time Morgan had introduced a bigger engined, high performance car designated Plus 4 to be produced alongside the 4/4. Subsequently Morgan introduced the Plus 4 Plus and whilst each of their models continued to evolve, during the late fifties and early to mid-sixties Morgan was seen to be “stale and producing more of the same” and many pundits thought the brand was indeed “dated and may fade away”. Peter Morgan had other ideas and in 1968 he introduced the Plus 8.
Morgan production rolled on throughout the seventies, eighties and nineties, producing the 4/4, Plus 4 and Plus 8 models. In more recent times Morgan has become more progressive and built a number of high end cars and indeed a supercar (the Morgan Aeromax) and even reintroduced the three wheeler in 2011 to critical acclaim.
There’s no doubt the sole of Morgan remains in the early years and Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer a 1929 Morgan Super Sports Aero. The Morgan archives confirm that chassis number 1905A was delivered on the 29th August 1929 to Beart & Co Ltd in the UK.
Little is known of the cars early history, however, it found its way to Malaya and it is understood that in 1941 just prior to the Japanese invasion that the cars then owner disassembled it, coated it in aircraft oil and buried it to keep it hidden. It was exhumed post war in 1945, reassembled and put back on the road. The car has an interesting history file which contains an original Malaysian registration card dating back to 1966. Its then owner was a Mr Cyril Bunting from Petaling and later Perak in Malaysia, who was a manager of the rubber estates. The car was then sold in the mid 1970’s to a Mr Woo Kok Tee who on-sold the car in 1978 to a Mr Ham Long Chang, a local doctor. Chang owned the car for some ten years and it was sold to a Derek de Soto Phillips who lived in Perth, Western Australia. He purchased the car sight unseen in 1988 after replying to an advertisement in a car magazine. De Soto Phillips had seen this particular car around in Singai Siput in the 1950s while he was serving with the British Army in Malaya.
When the car arrived at the docks in Fremantle it started and its new owner drove it home, but because of the harsh Malaysian climate and its inactivity it was in need of some ‘TLC’!. A 15 month restoration then followed, which was completed by David Reid from Reid’s Vintage Restorations. The car was fully restored which included the manufacture and fitment of a new aluminium body. There is a plaque on the dash dated 25-04-90 which is assumed to be the date the car was completed. The car was featured in the September 29th 1990 issue of Australasian Post magazine. Sadly ill health struck soon after the restoration was completed and de Soto Phillips sold the car to the late Robert Holmes a Court to be part of his world renowned Heytesbury Classic Car Collection. Sadly Robert Holmes a Court passed away shortly after acquiring the Morgan and his family subsequently sold off the collection. Interestingly this car was one of the few to remain in Australia. It was acquired by a Mr Bruce Butler, a farmer from Bruce Rock in Western Australia who was a collector of three wheel cars. Butler owned the car for some eighteen months before selling to its current Brisbane based owners in September 2001.
Over the last 15 years the little Morgan has been regularly used on car club runs and taken to classic car shows all across the country. In October 2001, soon after purchase, the car was shipped to and then driven at the National Morgan Muster. At the event the car was driven approximately 400km without a hitch. In April 2003 the car was driven in excess of 1,000km on a 2 week tour of Tasmania. In May 2009, as part of the Morgan Centenary celebrations, the car attended the 33rd Historic Winton at Winton Motor Raceway in Benalla, Victoria and in October 2009, it was the only 3 wheeler at the Australian Morgan Centenary Celebrations at Inverell, NSW.
Today this historic Morgan presents and drives beautifully. On the open road the car is nimble and responsive. The water cooled V-twin ‘JAP’ (JA Preswick) 980cc engine powers the car along. As an early car it does not have a gearbox as such, rather a ‘sliding dog’ rear end with two speeds forwards. There is no reverse. To think these cars were raced in period at speeds over 100 mph is simply frightening, though the car does feel quite stable on the road and dare I say ‘safe’ at about 60 mph! What is surprising is how well the car handles.
The factory records on file indicate the car has had an engine change at some stage in its life, but when it is not known.
Overall the car is in excellent condition. The aluminium body and guards are in very good condition, with the odd mark and blemish consistent with a car that has been used and driven. The spartan interior is tidy - the seats are in excellent condition as are most instruments and controls though the Smiths odometer and tachometer are not currently working and their condition is ‘average’. Mechanically the car is ‘spot on’. The current owners would not hesitate to jump behind the wheel today and drive the car some distance.
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