Garage Find: 1969 Morgan 4/4 1600

There are few British automotive marques with more history than the Morgan Motor Company, and for many their offerings represent the pinnacle of tradition and craftsmanship. This 1969 Morgan 4/4 is located in Los Angeles, California, and is listed here on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $12,900.

The Morgan Motor Company was founded in 1910 and initially produced three-wheeled runabouts. Popular due to their price, economy of operation, and the fact that they were taxed as motorcycles rather than cars, early racing success didn’t hurt, either, and soon demand for the cars outstripped production capacity. Yet as less expensive four-wheelers came on the market, Morgan found the three-wheelers less able to compete with the greater comforts in increased stability offered by the new cars’ geometry, and the company added a four-wheeled model to its roster in 1936: the first 4/4.

This first series car bore only a superficial resemblance to its successor, which was introduced in 1955. This new 4/4 was, in essence, a +4 with a smaller engine. Initially fitted with a 1,172 cc Ford powerplant making a blistering 36 hp, the Series II Morgan 4/4 was capable of a top speed of 75 mph and went from zero to sixty in 26 seconds. New series would come and go over the years, as older engines passed out of production and new engines became available. With the conclusion of Series V in 1968, Morgan decided on a new naming convention: the next 4/4 would be known as the 1600, referring to the 1,599 cc Ford Kent engine, making either 70 or 95.5 brake horsepower, depending on version.

That would be the engine that is not currently installed in this car, though it is included in the sale. There’s no word on what caused the engine to be pulled, but these Ford Crossflow engines went into nearly everything– including the 1971-1973 Pinto. What we can see of the interior looks salvageable: while the dash seems to be in very good shape, that steering wheel probably has to go. The seller states that the rest of the interior, including the seats, are present. There are no pictures of the underside, but seller indicates that the frame is solid. The body panels seem straight and the leather strap that holds the hood in place does not seem to have rotted away. This bodes well for the wood frame that supports the body structure.

Because, of course, Morgans are made of wood. They always have been, and probably always will be. They are hand-built, if not quite bespoke vehicles. Even today, the same techniques (and in some cases, machinery) are used as were applied in the first decade of the company, and a wait of several months or even several years between order and delivery is common. This 1969 4/4 is, in many ways, a similar car to the first Series II car that produced in 1955, just as it is extremely similar to the latest 4/4 to come out of the Malvern Link factory this year. Tradition, continuity, timeless style and, with only around 800 vehicles produced each year, rarity– these are the hallmarks of the Morgan brand, and powerful arguments for ownership.


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  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Could be a fun project. One thing to remember about the steering wheel was that a huge number of sports car owners, me included, changed out the steering wheels to have one smaller and more comfortable to drive with. Some of the cars had wheels so big it was difficult to get into the cars and the narrow plastic rims required driving gloves just to be able to hold on to them. Never changed the wheel on our ’53 MGTD but it was a pretty lousy driving car with the original. That’s a period looking wheel on the Morgan and will make it a fine driver.

    Like 4
  2. Laurence

    Appears to be a good project car that could be completed in a reasonable period of time. If the engine is in good shape, then it could go back in. If in need of too much, Triumph TR four cylinders would fit quite easily. I would keep the existing colour scheme, put in a more traditional steering wheel, and give it Lucas PL-700 tri-bar headlamps.

    Like 1
  3. Gary Rhodes

    302 stroker/5spd would be a lively combo in it.

    Like 2
    • Henderson

      What’s a “stroker”

      • Ted R. Pierson

        A motor with a longer crank stroke (intake/compression) to increase the displacement of a motor.

  4. Terrry

    My brother in law had one of these, with a 1.6 Ford converted to propane so it could pass U.S emissions. After getting tired of finding propane fueling stations, he had the motor pulled and replaced it with a Honda S2000 drive train. It wasn’t a difficult swap and turned the car into a beast. He eventually sold it, where it ended up in British Columbia.

    Like 2
  5. Jim Dandy

    Dem Morgans were pretty hoarses.

    Like 2
    • Gary

      NOT named after the horse but Henry Morgan, the founder of the company, though I agree, when you speak of true horse power, those are wonderful.

      Like 2
  6. Chinga-Trailer

    Today this will seem rather gutless with the little Ford engine. The TR powered cars had a lot more grunt.

  7. Dick

    Company founded in 1909.

  8. Ralphie

    It looks like a Volvo B20E would fit nicely and give a nice increase in power, without going overboard. But I would not stay with D-Jetronic if I went this route.

    • Dick

      We have owned our Morgan 4/4 with the Ford cross flow 1600 GT since ‘74. 95 hp in a 1600 pound vehicle is more than adequate. That engine has myriad ways that performance can be increased. Put a Volvo 1800 in it and you will lose some of the light handling characteristics of the 4/4.

      Like 1
  9. Christopher Gentry

    I know nothing about Morgan’s other than I like em. But this seems a better deal for the money than the pair of TR3 in the other listing

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