Buyers Guide to:
Morgan Plus 4
1950s to date
Morgan Sports Car Club
Richard Thorne Classic Cars
It might look old fashioned but a Morgan is a very special car indeed, and one that has a huge enthusiast following across the world. The factory in Malvern, England has been building these unique cars for more than 100 years with buyers attracted by the combination of vintage looks, modern performance, and traditional hand-built craftsmanship. The Plus 4 name dates back to the 1950s and has been on sale ever since, all models constructed with a separate steel chassis with an ash wood frame and steel/aluminium panelling. Various engines have been fitted over the years, from the Triumph units of early cars through to Fiat, Rover, and Ford power units. Famous at one time for a seven-year waiting listing, buyers may not have to wait so long now but the Morgan brand is as popular as ever.
- We haven't found any particular areas of concern, but we recommend you give the car a thorough looking-over in all the usual places.
- The panels for dents. They were steel or aluminium depending on year, and the latter are more susceptible to dents. Look for bubbling paint that indicates corrosion beneath
- That the chassis isn’t corroded. Key areas for attention are the box sections, around the rear axle, and the rear spring hangers. Despite being galvanised from the 1980s problems still occur and fitting a new chassis takes well over one hundred hours of labour, and the part itself is around £1000. If in doubt get a specialist inspection
- For any signs that the ash frame has succumbed to rot. It was pressure-treated with Cuprinol from 1986 which helped, but the hand-built nature of these cars means repairs will be very costly
- For any vertical movement in the doors which could indicate rot in the hinge posts
- That engines have been serviced regularly. Morgans are generally owned by enthusiasts who look after their cars, but a fat sheaf of maintenance bills will provide peace of mind
- The gearbox for jumping out of gear or noise from worn bearings, and for whines or oil leaks from the back axle. Both are hard wearing in normal use, but age may have taken its toll
- For wear in the front suspension. It’s of an unusual ‘sliding pillar’ design and regular lubrication of the kingpins is needed to avoid premature wear. Upgrades are available from Morgan if you want to update the arrangement to the later design
- The rear suspension for leaking dampers and sagging leaf springs
- The brakes for wear although there are no inherent problems. Low mileage and lack of use could have caused the rear brakes to seize, so check everything feels healthy on the test drive
- For any slack in the steering caused by worn joints. Some owners have fitted aftermarket power-steering conversions which improve the driveability, and are worth considering
- Wire wheels for wear in the hubs, splines, or spokes. They are a popular fitment, but will need specialist attention if an overhaul is on the cards
- The cabin for signs of water ingress, and make sure that trim isn’t scruffy or damaged. Morgan used top quality materials, so you’ll need to budget for the services of a professional re- trimmer if refurbishment is needed
- That the hood and frame is undamaged. If it’s folded away when you view the car, make sure you see it in operation as fitting a new hood will result in a four- gure bill
- For any sign of electrical problems. There’s not a great deal of equipment to go wrong, but age or moisture ingress could have led to issues
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