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H.F.S Morgan quit his job with the Great Western Railway in 1904 and set up his own car servicing shop. Shortly after he produced his first ever car in 1904, a three-wheeled runabout (which is a simple style of car with one row of seating and no windshield) that had a Peugeot two cylinder motor which produced 7 horse power. This car was showcased at the 1911 Motor Cycle Show and an agency took the car to Harrods department store in London, it was the only car ever to be sold in the department store and was sold for £65 at the time.
A 1912 Morgan Runabout
Morgan would continue to build three-wheeled cars until 1935 when he began production of the 4/4, this name was to signify that it had four wheels and four cylinders. Apart from during World War II, this car was in production from 1935 until 2018 and although it has been tweaked from an engineering stand point, it’s looks haven’t changed all that much.
During the first 3 years of production the car had a 1,122 cc engine producing 34 bhp until it was increased to a massive 38 bhp in 1939 with a 1,267 cc engine added to the production of the car. Then in 1955 the 4/4 II was introduced and although the styling was similar it was built on an all new chassis, with upgraded suspension, along with a less powerful 36 bhp 1,172 cc engine from the Ford Motor Company.
The 1939 4/4 looks a lot like the 2018 Morgan 4/4
The new car had a top speed of 75 mph and a 0-60 of 26.9 seconds but when you look this good, why do you need to be fast?
The series III was introduced in October 1960 and had a long life with 58 being produced between its introduction and it’s replacement with the Series IV in November 1961. It was an improvement over the Series II as it introduced hydraulic shocks into the suspension and used a 39 bhp 997 cc engine from the Ford Anglia car of its era.
The Series IV had a similarly short run, it was produced from 1961 to March 1963 and 114 were produced during its time. It was the first of the Morgan 4/4 cars to have disc brakes and it’s a good job too, what with all the power this thing was packing. It had a 1,340 cc Ford Classic engine which produced a mind bending 62 bhp and could hit a top speed of 80 mph, going from 0-60 in a back breaking 18 seconds. Another thing had increased from Morgan’s first car too, the price, the new 4/4 would cost a whopping £730.
1974 Morgan 4/4
The Series V would run for five years from 1963 to 1968 and was fitted with a 1,498 cc Ford Cortina engine producing 65 bhp. However the next generation in 1968, the 4/4 1600 was the turning point for Morgan, mass production had begun. It ran from 1968 to 1993, with 5448 made, which is a lot for the hand built Morgan. It produced 70 bhp and kept the British people moving over the years, don’t believe what they’ve told you about the Transit, this was the real backbone of Britain. In fairness, why update the styling, it is beautiful
In 1993, it was time to upgrade the car once again and they did, adding a new Ford Zetec engine. This time the engine topped the 100 bhp mark with a massive 114 bhp, they achieved this by upgrading it to a 1.8 liter Zetec and this would be the case until 2009 when they the version that would run until 2018.
The latest variant uses a 1.6 liter Ford Sigma engine producing 110 bhp and achieving a top speed of 115 mph. It has a Ford gearbox, although a Mazda gearbox was used from 2012 for a few years. Sadly, this engine was discontinued in Europe and North America in 2018 as it could not meet the new emissions standards. They have since not introduced a new model, instead focusing on their more powerful 245 bhp Plus Four line which has been running since 1950.
Although I love the plus 4, I hope they bring a new model of the 4/4 soon, we need a more economical Morgan to run back and forth to the shops.