The seller of today’s Nice Price or No Dice Morgan claims it to have some rally racing heritage and to have been sold to its present owner way back in 1970. Let’s see what it might take to sell it today.
The metaphorically rich adjective “half-assed” is almost never wielded as a compliment. Instead, it is used to indicate dissatisfaction with a job poorly done, or not to completion. Yesterday’s custom 2007 Chevy HHR didn’t seem poorly done, but the fact that its roof was cut off with no provision for a convertible replacement does tend to lead it into that “half-assed” category. Few people will pay good money for such work and the $4,500 asked for the car, while not a king’s ransom, was good money. That led you all to bestow upon the HHR an 85 percent No Dice drubbing.
Now, I should point out at the outset that the 1958 Morgan 4/4 Series II we are considering today also doesn’t come with a top. Indeed, it does have the bows and all the intentions, but not the fabric itself.
The Morgan Motor Company was founded by H.F.S. Morgan in Malvern, England either in 1912 or around the time of the great thaw following the last major ice age. Records from the era are sketchy. The company started out building V-twin-powered three-wheel runabouts but expanded its lineup to include four-wheelers in 1935. That first four-wheeled model was dubbed the 4/4 for its use of those four wheels and a four-cylinder engine.
In the pre-war cars, that four-pot was a small, 1122cc inline unit procured from Coventry Climax, a company that at the time was selling engines to a number of cottage manufacturers. With this mill, the 4/4 puttered along until 1939 when it received a slightly larger 1267 cc four from the Standard Motor Company.
After a brief hiatus for the war, production began again in 1946 with the Standard motor. That continued until 1955 when the 4/4 adopted both the new chassis and styling of the +4 model and an 1172cc side-valve four and three-speed transmission, both bought from Ford of England. That poky mill managed a meager 36 horsepower which gives the 4/4 a top speed of around 75 miles per hour and a zero to sixty time of something like a fortnight.
That might be ok though when you consider that much of the 4/4's frame is made of wood. There is a steel chassis, just like any contemporary car of the ‘40s, but atop that is a body-supporting framework made of good old sturdy ash.
A good bit of wood isn’t even the most interesting aspect of the 4/4. What’s really amazing about it is that Morgan kept the model in production all the way up to 2018. That makes it, according to Morgan, the world’s longest-running production vehicle.
This one looks just like any of the cars from ‘55 onward, featuring the rounded nose and integrated headlamps introduced on the +4 model. According to the ad, the car has been in the same family since 1970 and has participated in a number of “African road rallies.” That was some time ago as it now is sitting in a garage with a flat battery—apparently its lot for the last 5 years. Fortunately, these are incredibly simple cars to maintain and so a refresh of fluids and tires, and perhaps a reseal on the brakes might be all it needs.
There are only 4,154 miles shown on the odometer and the car comes with a clean title. Based on the pictures, it’s not the cleanest Mog you could find. The seller says they only had time to give the car a cursory dusting before taking the pictures for the ad, and that shows. To be fair, it’s not bad at all, and the patina is actually kind of endearing outside of the janky plastic on the steering wheel.
The ad claims the car to have been restored 5 years back by a “respected shop” but that work doesn’t seem to have held up all that well. As it sits, this seems to be a complete and solid (although check the frame for wood rot) project. Early Morgans such as this don’t really have a sizable following, which is odd for such a low-production marque. That’s kept values flat for decades now, making the cars good candidates for budget restorations and weekend drivers. This one asks $19,900 for that honor.
What’s your take on this project 4/4 and that $19,900 price tag? Does that seem like a deal? Or, for that price does the seller need to at least throw a battery in the car?
H/T to 8000RPM for the hookup!
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