Left All Alone: 1964 Morgan Plus Four

right

The Morgan Plus Four is basically the same car as when it was introduced in 1950. This one is listed on eBay and located in Coleville, California where it’s been stored for over 20 years. Coleville is a long way from anywhere on a lightly traveled highway so it’s surprising to find a car this rare abandoned there. There were only about 4500 Plus Fours built. Over the years there have been a lot of interesting cars abandoned on the trip from LA to Reno, like the Corvair I recently wrote about also for sale in Coleville. It is a very dry area, but very cold in the winter. I have seen cars stored for 80 years that have survived in remarkable condition. There are no takers yet on the $8,500 opening bid for this Morgan. Thanks to Robert P for the tip.

inside

In this picture the interior and floors look solid. Why do you suppose they’ve removed the transmission cover?

inside above

In this view inside, it appears there’s a view of the shop floor through the driver’s side floor. It also appears they’ve tried to start the Morgan.

engine

Things under the bonnet look original and complete as wall as dirty and neglected. The air filters aren’t missing. The cowling fits so tight there isn’t room for one. The engine should look familiar to fans of the TR4.

front

Because the bodywork is all hand formed and each piece is unique, it’s a very good thing it appears solid.

left rear

One can’t tell a great deal from the pictures provided. This Morgan would need to be inspected carefully by someone very familiar with Morgans. The wooden body frame is a common issue. Hopefully it was solid before it was parked. When nice examples are selling for less than $40,000, how much could this one be worth? If this Morgan could be purchased for under $10,000 and put right for less than $20,000, perhaps it could be worthwhile. Otherwise, it’s very expensive garden art. What do you think it might take to at least make this roadworthy?

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Comments

  1. Roger Owen

    Wow! Ideal project. Lovely background to the main photo!

  2. Van

    Anybody know how this compares to an MG TD or TF or how about a TR3 or 4.

    • Ian

      More durable mechanically than a td, mechanically essentially the same as a tr3 or tr4. Worth more restored than either.

    • Britcarguy

      My friend has a ’59 Plus 4 with a TR3 engine. I have a ’60 TR3. When we go touring, he dusts me every time and both cars are mechanically sound. It’s the weight difference and perhaps gearing.

  3. Bruce

    I would think you would need to check the wooden frame. If that is in good shape it might be a worthwhile project.

    • Healeydays

      I was just about to mention wood. You need to be a good woodworker along with being a competent mechanic to restore one of these.

  4. Roger Owen

    You mean the door frame wood? The bits you can see don’t look too bad in the photos – looks like it’s been varnished at some point. The hidden wood is not too tricky if work needed – but looking at the storage it’s had most of it’s life I’d hedge a bet that it’s probably ok. Mechanics are easy-peasy on these.

    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      The wood is in the doors but also in the cowl and the rear clip, some of it more hidden by externally affixed sheet metal, car frame still metal, it’s not a Franklin😉.

  5. Dave Wright

    I am with Roger…..looks like a great project. I bought one that looked worse from a front yard in Peris California in about 1975. Had a tough time getting the owner to open his door, he must have thought I was a bill collector, but when he learned I wanted to buy it with cash……he got really friendly, I loaded it on a rental trailer, drove it to LA and sold it the same day with a 2,000 profit. A lot of money in those days, these are great cars, superior to the sum of there parts donors. I knew a doctor that raced one in the northwest road race courses. He would buy a new one every few years, drive it to the track, tape up,the headlights and race, he was fast. He died one weekend when he went off the track at Delta Park (as I remember) the car wound up upside down on a tree stump in the infield. He really dominated his class and could almost run with my Lotus 11.

  6. Dolphin Member

    Two bids up to $8700 with 4 days left, so it will sell.

    Not surprising, since it looks to be in pretty good condition as it sits, and might not need much more than cleaning up, going through the systems, and interior work to be a basic driver—if you don’t mind faded paint and one dent.

    A question mark is whether the engine is free. Too bad the seller didn’t say. But it does look like it was better protected by the storage and dry weather than most we see on BF. With the dry location where the car has been stored, the ash wood that supports the body panels and doors looks like it might be OK.

    These came from the Morgan factory without air cleaners, and you had to pay a couple of pounds extra to have them make one up for your car. It was an odd, thin / tapered shape because it had to fit between the SU carb intakes and the hood side panel. A friend of mine had that done when he ordered his 1963 Plus 4 brand new, in BRG, which was the perfect color for that car.

    That car had a very stiff suspension, and No Americans had to really want a Morgan to be OK with it. I think it would be worse now, with the poor roads in so many places, but you don’t own one of these because you crave comfort. This car looks like it could be an easy and maybe affordable way into Morgan ownership without mega-$ costs or even very much resto work, if you don’t require perfection.

  7. Steve W

    Originally bought in California. Being sold in California. Stored for 20 years in Nevada. Has Colorado plates. What am I missing?

  8. Brakeservo

    Which is correct for this car, Strombergs or SU’s??

  9. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    SU’s were the original carb, Strombergs showed up as SU had no emission compliant carbs.

    The cover is off the teanny as there are TWO driveshafts. None from the engine to drive the transmission, the other from the transmission output to the differential.

    Why they placed the engine that far forward is a mystery to me.

    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      Those are the earliest Strombergs I’ve ever seen. Originally thought they were aftermarket only because Triumph came with SU’s and would have thought that when the engine buy was done, carbs were part of the deal.

      SU’s weak point was coupling them to an automatic, as their vacuum demands interfered by starving the vacuum modulator for the auto. Strombergs had the added benefit of using less vacuum due to a different design that used far less vacuum volume.

  10. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    pure sexy in a drop top sports car….as a kid on my paper route there was a guy restoring one in the garage….where I learned about them and how rare one comes around….

  11. Billy de Hulst

    Morgan schmorgan. Super primitive with front suspension which has been unchanged in 100 years, or more. The suspension is as stiff as an old starched wing collar.

    The chances of this one being an easy restoration are pretty slim. If you like it—inspect it; or you could be in big trouble. The photos may be hiding the fact that it is a “four seater”… the least valuable model.

    They were absolutely no competition for my Austin Healey 3000 in International Conference racing back in the day.

    Peter Egan loves them. ‘Nuff said Except we know that he is a masochist about cars..

    • Dave Wright

      I know you big Healy guys have always felt slighted in general by what you consider lesser cars……..but your 3000 is not in the same class as a diminutive Morgan. When Morgan builds cars closer in class to your AH (the 3500) your cars are completely dusted. I like the 3000’s style but am a German and Italian sports car guy. A common German period sedan will out run most any British car built. My 6.3 or Mistral is faster, better built and out handles any AH ever conceived. The only AH I have ever seen that would really run had Chevy V8’s.

      • brakeservo

        I am not a “Healey Guy” but nearly 40 years ago I had a 3000 Mark I that might have given your 6.3 or Maserati a run for the money – while it still had the 6-cylinder engine, it was topped with an aluminum cross-flow head and three side-draft Webers. I was amazed at the power and speed but never ever felt brave enough to try exceeding 130 mph in fourth gear and overdrive even though it felt like there was still more speed left if I’d been brave enough.

      • Billy de Hulst

        I guess that is why I won 2 Internationl Conference championships in my Healey 3000 and never had any problem with even the Supersport model Morgan. Int. conference classified cars by power to weight ratio in the production classes..
        I agree that V8 converted Healeys can be much better handling cars than those with the original ultra heavy long stroke, lump engine. But they are not unmodfied production racers.
        Have you ever driven a Morgan? I have, and they are hard riding, They skitter sideways on rough pavement to the point that the edge of the road gets dangerously close. Very scary. My Healey was not equipped with very sophisticated suspension, but could outcorner any Morgan all day long.
        I suggest that you buy this old red one. You will find out what junk they really are. Especially a neglected one like this. And, it is an almost valueless 4 seater.

    • Dave Wright

      Racing classes are defined to give lesser cars a chance. Both my Masreati and Mercedes 6.3 are 150 MPH road cars……..your big Healy in stock form would both fly and fly apart at those speeds. They are just a sporty car with a chevrolet like 6 cyl and an over complicated carburator system. If you want to talk apples to apples, I would give you a one liter handy cap and imbarras you with a good 2 liter 911 but you know that……even your modified 3000 would struggle against a good stock 911S. On practice days……where cars are run against each other without benifited of class……my old lotus 11 with 1100 CC’s would have to wait for the big Brits to get out of the way so e could run, and don’t even think about my ex Penski 23b or even my Royal Formula Ford with 1600CC’s. They are fun cars but hardly world class.

      • Dave Wright

        Brake servo…..I am frequently impressed with your depth of knowledge, but a Mercedes 6.3 does 0-60 in 6 seconds and my Masreati was a bit faster. Unless the AH is set up as a modified drag car……..I dough to there would be much of a contest.

  12. Dolphin Member

    I thought we were all masochistic in our own way. Otherwise we would all be driving a Prius instead of hanging out on BF and trying to find and fix some old piece of iron.

  13. Roger Owen

    Well said, that man!

  14. Roger Owen

    Bit harsh!

    If they were ‘Junk’ the Morgan company would have failed many years ago. They happen to be one of the longest lasting specialist car manufacturer.

  15. Peter carlsson

    I am very happy with my morgan +4 and I am also happy with all my friends drivning different old cars . What makes some pepole hate other cars than their own is in their ugly minds. Don’t worry be friendly.

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