Drophead Coupé: 1966 Morgan Plus 4

In 1966, when this Morgan Plus 4 was built with its buggy-eyed headlights, muscle cars in the U.S. were dominating the cool car scene. Morgans were built to deliver a performance driving experience with easy maintenance at an affordable price. The Morgan would literally tie U.S. muscle cars in knots as soon as any race went into a curve, heaven forbid a chicane.  Its aluminum body, real 72-wire wheels, and super-low profile made automotive writers proclaim the Morgan as the “First and Last of the Real Sports Cars” (Gregory Bowden, 1972).  Matt R was nice enough to provide the tip on this well-preserved lady born in Malvern, Worcestershire, England, one of a mere 556 Drophead Coupes made.  This car can be found here on craigslist, currently calls Medina, Ohio home, and its asking price is $22,500.

Morgans are hand-built and special-ordered to this day with a long wait list. For more than 100 years, they are a combination of aluminum skin over a kiln-dried ash wood framework surrounding the cab and set onto a hefty metal sub frame.  The original invoice price for these cars in 1966 was about $1,875 with additional cost for the wire wheels and the steering wheel, seat belts and safety features required by U.S. Federal and state laws which would raise the final invoice to about $2,500 USD.  Seller reports that this car’s wood components are in good, solid condition.  Note that drophead coupes have full height doors rather than the cutaway doors on other Morgans and have a 4” longer wheelbase allowing taller Yanks to fit less uncomfortably in the seats.

There are multiple listings for this car online, one proclaiming that there are 48,000 miles on this frame. Seller says there is a clean title and that the engine is the original. This lovely wood-rimmed steering wheel would have cost the owner £8 in the day.  There is plenty of correspondence and numerous articles written on Peter Morgan’s assembly of the family’s cars.  Parts inventories were typically stored in barrels and two cars made the same month may have different parts and castings, some came from the top or the bottom of the barrel or some purchased from a local parts store if the barrels ran out.  The steering wheels were either Derrington, Walsall or Les Leston (a brand made by Walsall).  Typical traditional racing steering wheels have the three spokes evenly placed while the Les Leston wheels have spokes at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions with no metal core of the wheel showing through the wood layers (as here). Nothing more handsome than a well-cared-for wood steering wheel.

Power is delivered by a Triumph TR4 2.2 liter OHV engine with a cast-iron block and cast iron head producing 105 hp. The Engine room is indeed clean and Seller claims she starts and runs well.  The trans is a four-speed manual.  This Morgan came equipped with front disc and rear drum brakes. She’s capable of 105 mph (good luck, champ) and will pull off a 12-second 0-60 mph time. All told it’s hard to fathom why this car ain’t selling (other than “It’s the price, dummy!”).  This is not a typical Morgan: It’s in good, rust-free shape, it’s not a mass-produced car, its production numbers are in the hundreds, not tens of thousands, it’s fast-ish and it’s gotta be a babe magnet. But as an investment car, Morgan’s stock seems to be “Pass–come back to you later, eh, maybe.”  But in terms of sheer personal enjoyment in the automotive owning-is-fun category, a car that can be bought well, maintained within a modest budget, and enjoyed by driving the bearings out of it, that seems to be this car’s modus operandi.  Count me in.

Like This? Get Our Daily Email

Comments

  1. GuernseyPagoda Member

    Listed a few months ago on BF. I know the dealer/owner, as he is in my hometown. He does a decent job of representing his cars, which are mostly foreign vehicles. I cannot speak to the price of Morgan’s, but he has about 5 listed on his site. Best of luck.

    Like 1
  2. AlvySinger

    The only aluminum bodied Morgan is a Plus 4 Super Sport model, of which only 104 were manufactured from 1961-68.

    Like 4
    • Bill McCoskey

      AlvySinger,

      While you are probably correct, do remember we are talking about Morgan cars. If you wanted a drophead coupe with an all alloy body, and were willing to pay the considerable added expense, the company would be happy to make one for you.

      Back when this car was created, the Morgan company was very much a “Bespoke” maker of automobiles.

  3. ChingaTrailer

    Had a similar steering wheel in my 1965 Griffith 200.

  4. Martin Horrocks

    Not expensive if in good shape.

    Ref the steering wheel, Les Leston was a racing driver with a line in accessories (like Paddy Hopkirk). Walsall is a town north of Birmingham, so the wheel is either Derrington or Leston, maybe made in but not by Walsall. I have a Leston wheel in a mini which has drilled holes, so think this is more likely to be Derrington, a tuner established before WW2 who also supplied engine parts to Morgan.

    Like 1
  5. Phillip Tenney Member

    To me it is a good looking car but a rather anemic performance but I suppose typical of the day.

  6. Roger Buck

    My 1960 DB-Panhard has the same steering wheel.

  7. Bob

    Used to have one of these. It got more attention than any other car I’ve ever owned. Everybody seemed to have a Morgan story. But there were a lot of people that didn’t know what it was. Parked it downtown one Sunday and took a video of people just looking at it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DC3XKLJSmM

    Like 1

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Don't post your car for sale in the comments. Click here to get it featured on the homepage instead.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.