1954 Morgan Plus 4 Drophead Coupe

The drophead top doesn’t compress very well, and in the “down” position often gives the appearance of a car packing a mattress

HF. S. Morgan couldn’t have guessed back in 1910 that the DNA of his first trike would form the basis of generations of Morgan sports cars. Or that the appeal would extend from pre-WWI owners to more worldly men and women nearly a century later.

More sophisticated enthusiasts might call H. F. S. the first automotive masochist but to most, the whole Morgan concept is a joyous mystery. As Cecil Clutton once wrote about the three-wheeler, “Morgan addicts claim it’s the safest thing on wheels: lesser mortals just think the addicts are very brave.”

Porsche owners are very similar in their dedication (although their kidneys can’t take the ride qualities of a Morgan) and so are MG, Triumph, and other single marque devotees.

STEPPING UP FROM three WHEELS

In 1936, after 25 years of contrarianism, Morgan moved into the four-wheel market, dominated up until then by MG and Singer. Three-wheeled competitor BSA made the move a few years earlier, but its feeble Scout was unsuccessful. Morgan’s competition record, traditional sports car styling, and competitive price led to on-going success-although some might argue the price advantage has been left behind.

Morgan made four-cylinder Ford-powered three-wheelers for five years after WWII, but the stark, V-twin Super Sports was gone the way of the Supermarine Spitfire. Morgan’s focus shifted to four wheelers exclusively when the 1,267-cc Standard-powered, four-cylinder, 4/4 was replaced by the Plus 4.

The Morgan Plus 4 appeared at the 1950 Earls Court Show and the first Plus 4 models were sold in 1951. They were fitted with a four-cylinder, 68-hp, 2,088-cc Vanguard engine, which provided 70% more power than the 4/4’s sidevalve four-cylinder. The Vanguard engine was eventually phased out in 1958 in favor of the Triumph TR3 unit.

Optional on all other Plus 4s from 1953-1955 was the more robust engine from the Triumph TR2. It provided an additional 22 hp, before it was eventually replaced by the 100-hp TR3 unit.

Norm Mort

Norm Mort - SCM Contributor

Norm is a lifelong car enthusiast with a particular affinity for small, odd things. His first microcar was a 1957 Berkeley S328, and he currently owns a 1935 Morgan F2, 1958 FriskySport, and 1967 Reliant Regal. For over two decades, his columns and features on collector cars have appeared in magazines, newspapers and websites across North America and Britain. Mort has written many books about collector vehicles, including Micro Trucks and American Woodies 1928–1953. He lives in Wellington, Ontario, and has owned and operated an independent collector-vehicle appraisal company since 1992.

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