Estate Sale: 1962 Morgan Plus 4 Drophead

It was already apparent by 1962 that the Morgan Motor Company was not going to change for the sake of change! With styling that had remained largely unchanged since adding a fourth wheel to the car before World War II, most Morgans were produced with flapping, fabric-based side curtains, cut-down doors, and tops that, well, made only a half-hearted effort to keep the elements at bay. This 1962 Drophead Coupe is a little different and seems to be in nice shape with an asking price of $28,000 here on craigslist. The classic Brit is located in Clearwater, Florida, and has been previously appraised at $30k although the seller describes themselves as “motivated”.

But wait a minute, you say, don’t those look like full-height doors with framed windows and a real, folding convertible top? Thanks to reader Matt R., who was intrigued enough to submit this find, we get a chance to investigate. It turns out that those canny Brits realized that not everyone appreciated being one with the outside elements, so they produced this Drophead Coupe model to silence the naysayers. Never mind that the windows were still side curtains and that no Morgan was ever a dry place to be. They even had the audacity to charge $100 more ($2,695 vs. $2,595) for the added material! The Drophead Coupe was always outsold by the regular Plus 4 for its entire lifespan, which ran through 1967 in the USA and slightly longer in the rest of the world.

This particular car is said to run well despite having been stored for several years, but the seller notes that tires, a tuneup, and service (not a trivial item in a Morgan, there’s a lot of lubrication to be done, and how many cars do you remember checking for wood rot lately?) should be done before regular touring can commence. However, the limited pictures shown illustrate no serious flaws.

The seller is kind enough to show some paint blemishes, but I propose those be used as excuses to drive the car more frequently than one otherwise would. Besides, it wasn’t that long before this car was built that Morgans were painted with brushes!

The Triumph-sourced wet-liner four-cylinder engine is a torquey little unit and will give the Morgan plenty of low-end oomph. I love the factory rack for spare spark plugs! What do you think of this classic British car? Let us know in the comments! And it’s good to be back after a writing hiatus–I’ve missed you folks!

Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    whilst I like British cars, 2 things stand out I don’t care for. The “spare” plugs pretty much insures you’ll encounter a dead cylinder along the way( or 2) and I never liked the fact, these never came with air filters. Really? I’ve always admired British engineering, but that has to be the biggest blunder, what, no dust in England? The Morgan is one of those cars that still adhered to 1930’s designs. I always thought there were much nicer British roadsters. Oh, don’t forget to check for termites,,

    Like 4
    • bobhess bobhess Member

      Been exposed to a few Morgans and never saw one without two round, black
      filters. You could assume if they came without filters the owners would buy the many versions for sale through the aftermarket. Nice car. They never let you forget that the Brits were major car builders at one time. Any Morgan experts out there on the filters?

      Like 5
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Howard! How are you doing? Actually, the Triumph engines are pretty reliable, the spark plugs are left over from older days. There is normally a very thin air cleaner for each carburetor, I believe, and if not they are certainly made for the SUs if you want to add a set.

      Like 6
      • Howard A Member

        Hi Jamie, can’t complain, but sometimes I still do ( Joe Walsh) I read, when the Triumph motor was offered, there was no room for air filters, and resourceful owners cobbled all kinds of filters in. I’ve seen a nylon stocking once. I was just kidding on the plugs, I think Triumph motors were the best of the bunch.

        Like 2
    • DA

      The Rolling Hills of Merry Olde England are decidedly damp, so it is possible than an aire filtre might be considered an unnecessary accoutrement, my good man.

      Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Howard,

      I’ve spent a lot of time in the UK, and I’ve had/worked on numerous Morgan cars in my times. They do come with tiny air cleaners, but on this car they’ve been removed, probably so the carbs can be synced. Here is my take on why the air cleaners are so small and ineffectual; What I’ve come to understand in England is the almost complete lack of dust in the country. “How can that be” you ask?

      Except for a couple of bright sunny days in late August or early September, the weather is simply too wet to allow the country to dry out to the point where dust can develop! It’s often so wet that I’ve seen cast iron parts on cars in junkyards, that have rusted through! I’ve even seen cases where cars that have sat for long periods, covered in brambles & ivy, have been almost completely eaten by the plant life surrounding the car.

      There is a great YouTube provider known as “The bearded Explorer”, and he visited a closed junkyard in central England. They showed a complete Rover P5 saloon that was so rusted out, all the external body parts [including the doors] had simply rusted to the point where the body parts fell off the car and were quickly being consumed by rust as they lay on the ground!

      [Just kidding, there really are a few more dry days in the summer!]

      Like 1
  2. RayT Member

    Not a Morgan expert by any means, but I seem to recall that Morgans had a built-in chassis lubrication system that, at the push of a small pedal, sent a small quantity of engine oil to various points of the chassis as needed. Or was this not fitted to the DHCs?

    Re bobhess’s air filter question: Every Mog I’ve ever seen had them, mainly the round “Coopers” type as fitted to many SU-equipped British cars. I wonder if they are removed for photos just like the gigantic pieces that block the view of so many Detroit engines?

    Like 6
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Good point on the chassis lubrication; I’m pretty sure it was fitted to all the sliding pillar front suspension cars.

      Like 3
    • skloon

      I thought all British cars automatically lubricated the chassis and rustproofed it by leaking copious amounts of oil

      Like 9
  3. MattR Member

    Nice write-up Jamie. I had missed the spark plug rack. Too cool. I am usually an MG guy but this is a good looking car. Thanks for the hat tip. ;)

    Like 2
  4. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Those canny Brits.

    “The sparkers are always fouling. What should we do??”
    “By Jove, I’ve got it. Let’s just get a small rack to mount under the bonnet that hold spares!”
    “Nigel, you’re brilliant!”

    Just like my old Triumph bikes had “self oiling” chains…it’s gonna leak so let’s route the leak to the chain! Lol

    Like 3
  5. MoMini

    My ’62 4/4 came without an airfilter, room under the bonnet was scarce. Added a very thin filter. The kingpin oiling system was simple, push the oiler button every 50 miles or so. Watch the oil pressure Guage dip. My top kingpin bushings were in nice shape, bottom bushings did not benefit from the oil, need to be greased, need replacement in about 30,000 miles. Morgans are a blast to drive…….if only I didn’t own 2 already I would be so tempted.

    Like 2
  6. sterling

    i love this car and all of this brand. my dream car. when young they were cheap now there not cheap. most likly i will never have one but i have never seen this one before. even better looking than the others.

    Like 1
  7. Wally Thomason

    I was fortunate enough to own a 1958 Bustleback from 1967, drove it from Berkeley, CA to Jasper BC thence to Cambridge, MA, where it wintered and was torpedoed by a Buick driver (the cop didn’t understand the wood splinters); after reconstruction, post-grad work on the Navajo Reservation in AZ, then back to San Francisco – sold it because I became wimpy, was getting too old for the stiff ride. Wonderful car! Yes, the sliding pillar lube ‘system’, wipe up the engine oil from the pavement and don’t forget to check the oil level after. Blow up the seat cushions to ‘comfort’ level. Never any of what some think of as ‘British’ problems, jokes about the ash (body) frame aside. Get your hands dirty. The only real weather problem was bugs hitting the windscreen, blowing under the fabric top overlap and into our laps.
    ‘Point it somewhere beyond the next corner and boot it, hard.’
    A friend bought it, took it completely apart and restored it over several years, dark green with black wings, uses it as his daily driver, no complaints.

    Like 3
  8. Tom Smith

    Morgan never made engines for their cars and trikes. The TR engined +4 is robust and in the sixties, were not supplied with air filters. My 1960 has 140,000 miles. As each is handmade and slightly different, the bonnet is too close to the SU’s for them to fit one car but they do on the other. The spare plug holder is for show. A well tuned TR engine will not need them. This car’s bonnet has the SS air scoop to allow filters to fit…or for a pair of Weber’s.

    Like 5
  9. James Nichol

    There was an optional factory +4 air filter, a wedge shape that at the rear was an oil bath filter. Owners of most cars that had it tossed it as the front carb ran too rich.
    The oiling system sent engine oil to the top of the kingpins only. MMC eliminated the oiler in the final years of the traditional suspension. Still in all, as a +4 owner of 50+ years, they are great fun and provide more smiles per mile than most anything else!

    Like 1
  10. Charlie

    When I see photos of the engine of a TR-3, there are always two round air filters on the right side of the engine (passenger side, US). The flanges that we see on this are clearly meant to have something bolted on, although if clearance is a problem, it would probably not be the same sort of air filters that would be on a Triumph TR-3.

    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Charlie, they are the same air filters as on the TR3, I’ve owned several examples of both cars.

      Like 2

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