For the Morgan enthusiast the next H&H Classics
Sale at Buxton on July 24 will be a rare treat with three classic Morgans to choose from, each with a story to tell.
The first is this British racing green 1957 MORGAN PLUS 4 racecar seen above and in action below. Built in RHD but supplied new to America and raced there by its first and subsequent owners, it has competition history in the US at Laguna Seca and other tracks. It is estimated to sell for £18,000 to £22,000.
On returning to the UK it competed at the 1999 Goodwood Revival in West Sussex. It comes with Dunlop racing tyres on steel wheels, a stainless steel fuel tank, TR3 Axle with LSD and tie rods and all steel bodywork. The wooden ash frame is described as excellent. It has its original chassis, body and engine and comes with complete original leather interior, hood, side screens, tonneau, Moss gearbox and an excellent history file.
According to correspondence on file from the Morgan Motor Company, chassis 3831 was completed on 21st November 1957. Finished in Green with Black leather upholstery, its specification included: 'tuned engine, wire wheels, full tonneau and luggage rack'. Road registered as 'THX 941', the Plus 4 was despatched to California on 4th February 1958, where it began a long and successful competition career. Raced by first owner George Pridmore in Sports Car Club of America events (1958-60), his successor - Irv Cox - entered the two-seater for various auto cross and hill climb meetings. Uprated with disc front brakes during the early 1960s, the Morgan resumed circuit racing with the SCCA in 1963 thanks to new owner, Robert E. Crussell.
Mr Crussell campaigned the Plus 4 in regional and national events up and down the West Coast until 1970. Interestingly, that same year also saw chassis 3831 contest a support race during the October 16th-18th Castrol Monterey Grand Prix meeting (one of two International level events on its competition CV). Uprated by engineer Roy 'Grump' Pogue to the maximum extent allowed under SCCA Class E regulations, the two-seater acquired the oil cooler from a F86 Sabre fighter jet, the limited slip differential-equipped back axle from a Triumph TR3 (reputedly ex-Works), tie rods and wider steel wheels/wings. Laid up from 1971-1984, the Morgan resumed racing with John Burks, Lynn Powell (for owner Barbara Killeen) and Norm Martin before being repatriated by Ken Johnstone during 1995.
Entering its current ownership the following year, chassis 3831 was treated to an extensive 'chassis up' restoration. Despite decades of competition usage, California's clement climate meant that the Morgan was found to pleasingly retain its factory-fitted chassis, engine and body tub, plus much of its original woodwork. Boasting a welded-in roll cage, stainless steel fuel tank, full flow oil filter and electric cooling fan, the Morgan contested the second Goodwood Revival meeting in 1999, but has otherwise been enjoyed as a fast road car. Benefiting from a re-core of its original radiator and carburettor overhaul in 2015, last year saw it gain a new starter motor.
Damian Jones of H&H Classics comments: This is a well developed, smartly presented and unusually original old warhorse that surely has the potential to accumulate yet more silverware!
This red 1939 Morgan 4x4 was purchased by its previous keeper while a student and dry stored for forty-five years (1969-2014). It has subsequently been treated to an extensive, photographically documented, 'chassis up' restoration and has done just 120 miles since. A real 'labour of love' that still retains its original Coventry-Climax engine, it is VSCC eligible and MOT'd till March 2020.
Morgan made its name with its fearsome brand of three-wheelers and the 4-4 (later 4/4) was its first four-wheeled creation (4-4 signifying four wheels and four cylinders). Launched in 1936, it was initially powered by an 1122cc OISE four-cylinder Coventry Climax engine, but this was superseded in 1939 by a 1267cc Triumph unit driving through a Moss gearbox. It proved deservedly popular and, by 1939, 663 Two-Seater examples had been produced. Like its earlier brethren, the 4-4 was quick to prove its worth in competition, contesting such blue riband events as the Tourist Trophy (1937) and Le Mans 24 hours (1938, 1939). Indeed, Prudence Fawcett and her co-driver Geoffrey White won their class and finished 13th overall during the 1938 running of the latter event.
Built in late 1938 and first road registered by Liverpool Council on January 1st 1939 (or so its 'EKF 992' number plate would imply), chassis 4/4 554 belonged to Barry Hill of Bubwith, Yorkshire some twenty-one years later. Passing through the hands of Mrs Douglas Howard, Tony Kaye, Robert Ray, David Pearson, Colin Ruddock and Tony Brooks in relatively quick succession, the Morgan was acquired by Peter Elliot of York on August 22nd 1969. Aged just seventeen at the time, Mr Elliot reportedly funded the purchase with a £10 loan from his father! Despite keeping the car for the next forty-five years, he scarcely used it. Only sold to a family friend due to a change of circumstances, the Morgan had been well preserved by decades of dry storage, but still required restoration.
Completely stripped down, the 4-4 had its chassis sandblasted and repaired with a new front crosshead, rear trunnion and offside chassis leg, all of which were sourced from Morgan specialist G.E.E. Ltd. The original Coventry Climax engine was overhauled by Park Engineering Company of Malton and fitted with a new camshaft courtesy of Newman Cams. Kenzies Coaches Limited of Royston restored the bodywork, while marque dealer/aficionado Melvyn Rutter rejuvenated the differential. Much of the original ash frame was reused but the clutch, exhaust system, tongue and groove wooden floor, steering box and front shock absorbers were renewed. The drum brakes were relined and wheels refinished and shod with fresh tyres. The original Solex carburettor was exchanged for a more efficient SU one.
This navy blue 1963 Morgan 4/4 Series V has a unique modification that allows both sides of the bonnet to be elevated.
It offers a Ford 1598cc pre-crossflow engine with Lotus Twin-Cam crankshaft, Type 9 5-speed gearbox with hydraulic pull clutch, A2 Fast road camshaft, uprated valve springs, 28/36 Weber, Electronic ignition, alternator and electric fan.
It has been rebuilt on a new galvanised chassis with telescopic dampers and has Aeroquip hoses all round. The body has been restored using all original steel panels. It has a hood, side screens and hood cover.
The history of Morgan's 4/4 model traces right back to the company's departure from its traditional 3-wheeler output in 1936. The 4-4 (and post WW2 4/4) designation simply meant four-wheel four-cylinder. Drivability was upped throughout the production by the use of increasingly powerful motors, most often supplied by Ford. The series II was introduced in 1955, and featured the most significant change for the future of the range a change to the same chassis as the Plus 4 meant the car's traditional values remained. Separate chassis construction, Morgan's famous sliding pillar independent front suspension (get the grease gun out!) and ash-frame clad with conventional panel pinned bodywork and cutaway doors provided an outlet for the buyer who did not trust new-fangled steel coachwork and monocoque shells. After five separate series of the cars, the 4/4 was re-named the 4/4 1600 in 1968