Morgan 4/4

Discussion in 'Others' started by Johnny Grabble, May 2, 2018.

  1. Johnny Grabble
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    Recently enjoyed hiring a Morgan 4/4 and spent some time motoring around the highways and byways of south and east Cheshire. I can highly recommend the experience. As the pictures demonstrate, I was very lucky with the weather. Didn’t take the full sides off as whilst it was dry and sunny, it was still a little chilly.

    IMG_20180430_194955607 - Copy.jpg IMG_20180430_194939398 - Copy.jpg IMG_20180430_194919046 - Copy.jpg

    This particular car was built in the early 1980’s with a 1.6 litre Ford engine and 4-speed manual gearbox built into the fabled ash frame, lovingly owned and maintained by a local family.

    The driving experience is about as far removed as it can be from my daily driver of course and brought back memories of my youth when a friend and I jointly purchased and did up a 1970’s-vintage MGB and then used it as a weekend toy for a couple of years.

    Getting in, especially with the roof on, for a 6+ footer at least, takes some technique as the immovable steering wheel sits quite low over an even lower seat. Once in, with the seat back all the way, the driving position is surprisingly comfortable. Getting out if anything was more challenging (I have the bruises to prove it!). A simply marvellous view through the small screen with its 3 tiny wipers out over the long bonnet with all those louvres and a clear view of the front wheel arches and headlights, so it was exceptionally easy to position on the road. A very narrow car too.

    IMG_20180430_182326509_HDR - Copy.jpg IMG_20180430_195006094 - Copy.jpg

    Starting the carburetted engine from cold resulted in the auto-choke revving it quite high – something I’d forgotten about after over 2 decades in more modern machines. Once warmed up, the waft of old car / petrol / fumes is a permanent feature while running. No power assistance of any kind of course. A fly-off handbrake was a novelty to begin with but IMHO is far more effective on hill starts than the traditional kind once you get used to it. Pedals are closely set, especially throttle and brake, but the owner made me aware of this in advance and my elderly pair of Converse All-Stars were perfect for the job.

    A forgiving clutch and a slick gearshift helped get me on my way (even if the location of the stick was under the dash) but the steering was as heavy as I’ve ever experienced. A combination of no power assistance but also a very small number of turns lock-to-lock – except for parking manoeuvres, I could easily keep my hands at the quarter to three / ten to two position on the wheel.

    The ride quality was such that you could feel every bump. Drive over a £1 coin and you could probably tell if it was heads or tails. The images in the rear view mirrors were always blurred such was the amount of road surface vibration being transmitted through the car.

    Delightful mechanical sounds from the 1.6 litre four, including that marvellous induction sound you get from a carburetted engine, which got progressively more vocal the more you pushed the throttle. Early experience of the brakes had me being super-cautious but once I’d re-learned to use a lot more pressure, the brakes were nicely predictable and progressive. I cannot really comment on the limits of grip or performance as this felt to me that it wasn’t that kind of car. On one stretch we saw about 60 mph (the speedo needle was nicely ambiguous as it waved back and forth) and that was more than enough for me. It seemed happiest on the open road up to about 50. Certainly the speed limits on most roads make a lot more sense when you’re driving one of these.

    The other noticeable difference was how often other motorists were prepared to let me out at junctions, give me the right of way, etc. Even folk in white vans and Audis were courteous. Range Rover drivers however viewed this car as a thing to be driven at and presumably squashed if at all possible...

    IMG_20180501_143001841 - Copy.jpg IMG_20180430_194955607 - Copy.jpg IMG_20180430_182304363 - Copy.jpg

    My son accompanied me as we cruised around and loved it – to the extent that he now wants a classic as a daily driver. We covered over 100 miles in our time with the car – it is quite tiring compared of course but also very satisfying as you re-learn the required techniques and get to drive it smoothly.

    I could see myself getting something similar as a weekend toy if funds permit at retirement time…

    Back into the F10 today and the first thing I noticed was the steering. Didn't feel like it was connected to anything at all. Then when I used the brakes I nearly stood it on its nose. Aaaah, but the comfort...
     
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  2. pinewood
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    Nothing quite like open top motoring
     
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  3. The CO
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    How would you know?

    :mrgreen:
     
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  4. Verbarthe
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    I ve always liked these cars ,they have so much charm , but appreciate it really is a step back in time driving one , however did we manage without all the "toys " our Bmw s have !
     
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  5. mach one
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    the interior of that Morgan looks like a gentlemans club

    I had a tour of the Morgan factory a few years ago and it was very interesting, I went to a DVLA registration auction that was held at the factory and the tour was free as part of the day so saving around £25.00 each on the normal tour price

    the factory was like stepping back in time to a different world, i thought it was bizarre that they had brand new engines lying on the floor waiting to fitted in a car

    IMAG0394.jpg

    IMAG0397.jpg
     
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  6. Kev2005
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    Kev2005 Site Supporter Good Egg

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    Is that a Ford engine??

    Kev
     
  7. mach one
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    yes it is they use ford for the four cylinder engines and BMW for the V8,s

    IMAG0390.jpg

    see they have covered the BMW logo with a Morgan plate, dont know if they do the same on the ford motors
     
  8. Kev2005
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    Kev2005 Site Supporter Good Egg

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    ah thanks @mach one , i never knew some Morgans had Ford engines.

    Kev
     
  9. mach one
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    mach one Site Supporter

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    the car that @Johnny Grabble hired probably had has a ford Kent cross flow motor with a four speed ford gearbox, they used Coventry climax engines in the early days but switched to ford in the 1950,s
     
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  10. Mieke
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    If you buy a Morgan just make sure that you get the option for treatment to prevent dry rot and wood worm. :D
     
  11. mach one
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    mach one Site Supporter

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    its called a tin of sadolin

    IMAG0415.jpg
     
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  12. slim_boy_fat
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    slim_boy_fat WARLORD Site Supporter

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    And a long brush. :D
     
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  13. Verbarthe
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    Nothing wrong with a tin of Sadolin , it s good stuff.:)
     
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  14. mach one
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    mach one Site Supporter

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    @Verbarthe is that what you use on your car?
     
  15. Madmoggy
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    That looks lovely, and so much fun. I'd love to do something like that, a week driving one around the lake district or something similar.
     
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  16. slim_boy_fat
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    I'd be surprised, but I bet it's what the man cave gets treated with.......:D
     
  17. DiscusbT
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    Many decades ago a friend bought a 4/4 from the late 30's, not a lot of difference to see, though this had a 1200cc (I think) Coventry Climax engine. I was quite slim in those days, and well under 6 ft, and quite used to open sports cars, various MG of the time, but I could not insert myself behind the wheel of the Morgan. BTW liked the picture of the house!!
     
  18. Mieke
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    Otherwise known as Nether Alderley flour mill. :D
     
  19. DiscusbT
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    If anyone wants to do this in the Lake District try http://www.lakesanddales.co.uk/. They have a 4/4 and a +4 as well as many others. Never had the cars but stayed in their B&B when up there flying.
     
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