On the market for the first time in nearly 25 years.....
I purchased this car, down South, over twenty years ago. Quite special with a lightweight body, aluminum cycle fenders, 16” center lock wire wheels, wider competition drum brakes, and an excellent 2088cc Standard Vanguard engine mated to its original Moss gearbox.
Drove it for the first Winter (and yes, has very good ORIGINAL cloth top and side curtains along with its original heater) and then proceeded to bring it up to a higher standard during the following year. With 41,000 original miles (now a bit over 43k), it seemed to have suffered very little wear……the best steering and gearbox I had every encountered in an early Morgan, differential silent, and the wiring in good condition and working perfectly.
We repainted the car in a dark blue acrylic with three coats of clear, hand wet sanded and buffed to a show finish. And redid the seats and interior panels in an expensive tan German leather. Made a tan staycloth fabric tonneau. All of the chrome, original King of the Road headlights, the radiator surround, even the windshield frame were all excellent.
While the original wood dash was very nice, had a new burl dash constructed which looked far better (this done last years). All of the original gauges and all in proper working order. Same with switch, horn, wiper motor, gauge lights, etc. all work properly.
Chassis was/is excellent as is the Belgian Ash wood body frame…never rotten or rusted anywhere. And this model of Morgan was the first to have a semi automatic lubrication system, start the engine, get up to proper oil pressure, depress the foot button for a few second and voila! Lubricated and ready to go. As a special note, this 50-53 Flat Rads were the last to use the sliding trunnion rear suspension, cheapened from 1954 and on, with a simple shackle. And, from my experience, the ride is far better (MGs used the same until after the war when they cheapened the rear suspension on the ‘new’ MG TC). Not stiff at all.
Accessories? In my mind, the best way to have a genuinely spectacular 70 year old car is three ways….start with an excellent example, do a preemptive attack on any potential issues one can imagine, and finally bring the car into the 21st century.
To that end, we converted the car to negative ground, fitted a modern digital stereo under the dash, electronic ignition, solid state fuel pump as a back up to the factory mechanical fuel pump, on board trickle charger, racing battery switch, a plus terminal in the engine to make jump starting a snap, 3” wide racing seat belts, tow eyelets in the back of the chassis, 12v outlet with USP outputs under the dash, drilled and safety wired oil drain plug, racing reduction gear starter motor, etc….. And it all works together, while have only put on maybe 2-3,000 miles over the past twenty plus years, it has never had the slightest issue, never failed to start and run flawlessly, and has needed nothing other than occasional oil change and lubing the suspension and chassis.
Added twin racing screens on the cowl and, to be candid, very rarely have the windshield in the upright position. As one sits rather low, the wind seems to be directed over my head.
While 5’8,” I fit in it perfectly BUT my son, 6’3” and 280 pounds has driven it many times so I would guess that most people can fit and be comfortable. A few years ago, took a first place ribbon at the (Ct) Fairfield Country concours although, in all fairness, the judges said to us as we were leaving ‘beautiful car, maybe wash it before you bring it to the show next year?’
Has always been a center attraction at any show we attended in Ct, Pa, Mass, and others. But its real purpose (washed or not washed) has been as am exciting classic sports car….with its current 110hp TR4A engine (visually identical to the original engine), rebuilt twin SUs, tubular headers, state 1 camshaft, and ported head, it revs quickly and easily and easily cruises at 80+ mph and could probably hit 100 mph, steering (remember, lighter front end with the cycle fenders is far better than most others), brakes are strong (and improved with a new dual master cylinder for safety).
We spent a lot of time working with the engineers of Dayton wire wheel and had identical 16” wire wheels made (the original wire wheels were quite soggy and ancient), six of course (with twin spares) and fitted with new inner tubes and new Michelin 600-16 radials (neat tires which are numbered as cross plies but are really radials). New Koni shocks, aluminum catch bottles (wanted the car to be in conformity with VSCCA vintage race tech requirements), and most everything else I was able to imagine.
There it is. The best Morgan I have owned in fifty years of Morgan ownership. Flat Rads are a rather special breed…..with the ‘flat rad’ aesthetics of a pre war Morgan with the more powerful and sophisticated mechanicals of a post war car. Numbers not right in front of me but around 350 (or so) Flat Rad two seaters build late 1950 to 1953 one of which won its class at Sebring in 1953.
Most of the great classics, pre RR Bentleys and anything with the Bugatti initials, pre war BMWs or Rileys, or even OHC MGs are a lot of money. And rather expensive to service, maintain, and repair. But this Morgan is one sturdy classic….the TR4 engine (in a Morgan) won its class at the 1962 24 Hours of LeMans, the Moss gearbox can handle the torque of a 350hp Jaguar race engine, and the back axle was used until the 1990s in V8 powered Morgan Plus 8s. And while done up MG TCs (my last was supercharged with a 5 speed) are sweet little classic sports cars, they cannot compare to the sheer power, handling, steering, or braking of this Morgan.
And most everything everyone might ever need to keep the Morgan is still available from the factory in England. In fact, my other Flat Rad (a four seater) was restored with the assistance of the factory with a new chassis and an entire new body, wood and sheet metal, provided. Imagine that….I guess possible that the grand kids of the original factory employees helped resuscitate the car 70 years after its origin!
Morgans are great cars and, I think, this car is the best of the best.Click for legal info