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Proper British Motoring: 1958 Morgan 4/4 Series Two

If you pay attention to any of the chatter on websites that discuss automobiles, one of the biggest complaints is that cars all look the same now.  While a lot of that is due to draconian fuel mileage standards, some of it is due to the march of technology and its ever-present demand for efficiency.  Despite this lack of panache on car lots today, reader Tony P. has found for us a car that is at once both stylish and devoid of any technological breakthroughs.  This 1958 Morgan 4/4 for sale on Craigslist in Santa Fe, New Mexico is a wonderfully anachronistic example of how cars were made before World War II despite being produced in 1958.  In fact, Morgan made this same model with a few updates up until 2018!  This running and driving relic of a more gentlemanly time can be yours for a $28,000 asking price.  Is it worth paying that princely sum to shed the shackles of sameness and oppressive technology?  Thanks to Tony P. for the Morgan tip!

The Morgan Motor Company got its start all the way back in 1910 in the Malvern Link section of Malvern in Worcestershire, Great Britain.  In contrast to the other offerings of Britain’s burgeoning automobile industry, founder H.F.S. Morgan produced three wheeled automobiles.  These efficient vehicles were quite popular and were produced until 1952 and have since made a comeback under the current iteration of the company.  Morgan’s first four wheeled vehicle debuted in 1936 was dubbed the “4/4” for having four wheels and it being propelled along with a four-cylinder engine.

The car was built in the tradition of nearly every car on the road at that time in that the body was framed out in wood with metal panels applied over the framework.  While this type of construction was adequate for the time, it was also slowly phased out as companies gained the ability to stamp larger and more complex body panels in steel and, occasionally, aluminum.  It wasn’t long before wood stopped being a structural component and was more commonly seen as an accenting material.  That is, everywhere but Morgan.

The company prided itself on the distinct lack of technological progress.  Incredibly, the company manufactured the 4/4 from 1936 all the way until 2018 with just a few breaks in production.  While the drivetrain slowly evolved to a point where the Morgan was a legitimately fast sports car, much of the change in that department was due to the company being too small to economically produce many of their drivetrain components.  Off the shelf items would have to do in many areas.  However, the company still builds cars with wood as a structural component to this day.  How do they get away with this?  Customers have shown a decades long desire for such a vehicle, and the company spent much of its existence with a large list of backorders.

While they no longer produce the Morgan 4/4, this 1958 Series II is available right now.  The seller doesn’t tell us much about the car other than it is in great running condition and that it has been “thoroughly gone through.”  While that usually means that the car has been properly mechanically sorted, it is always nice when the exact repairs and replacements are revealed in the ad.  We are told that the interior is swathed in all new leather and the canvas top is new as well.  The owner confidently states that everything works and you can drive it home.  Presumably after paying, of course.

Under the hood we see the car is still equipped with an 1,172-cc Ford side valve four-cylinder engine.  This beast belts out 36 horsepower and is backed by a Ford produced three speed manual gearbox.  Customers could order a competition version with 40 horsepower and a slightly better gearbox.  0-60 times were glacial at 26.9 seconds, with a top speed of 75 MPH.  Later Morgans would thankfully come with much stronger engines and more gears in their gearboxes.  Perhaps if we have a Morgan enthusiast among us, they could chime in on how difficult it would be to do a much-needed powerplant transplant under this car’s hood.

In all, it is a very nice car that is certainly distinctive.  The only drawback to this car is the engine’s lackluster power.  Other than that, this is certainly a car that one could enjoy motoring in, with stringback gloves and jaunty hat being optional.


  1. Avatar photo Bear

    Funny how “back in the day” driving enthusiasts were more than happy to drive a relatively simple & lightweight vehicle that came equipped with only 36 horses & a 3-speed tranny under the hood (ok, …under the “bonnet” in this particular case).
    Nowadays we demand 600+ horses & a 6-speed (or more) gearbox, & most of today’s drivers would say, “Manual shift? Are you crazy? What is that?” :-O

    Personally, I would very much enjoy a relaxing but spirited drive on a curvy country road in a simple & “glacial” Morgan like this. The goal here should be for the driver to enjoy & appreciate the vintage driving experience in a period-correct automobile. & NOT have some adolescent need to install a huge horsepower powerplant so as to improve one’s stoplight to stoplight performance time.

    $28K seems like a fair price, IF the car is truly “turn key” & ready to go! :-)

    Like 14
  2. Avatar photo George E. Giese

    For a side-valve four banger, I think this is grossly over-priced! A proper OHV TR3 powered example in comparable condition is a much better value and actually usable.

    Like 2
  3. Avatar photo John Cork

    If you love Morgans, don’t mess with them. Need more HP, etc., then buy a Mustang!

    Like 11
  4. Avatar photo Elbert Hubbard

    Looks like a nice Morgan and one of the pictures includes a Long EZ aircraft – both very eclectic choices and perfect for enjoying Santa Fe and northern New Mexico.

    Like 3
  5. Avatar photo Jeff

    Am I the only one that hates that paint scheme? What were they thinking??

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Al camino

      No your not the only one,colors suck!

      Like 0
  6. Avatar photo Andrew S Mace Member

    “Perhaps if we have a Morgan enthusiast among us, they could chime in on how difficult it would be to do a much-needed powerplant transplant under this car’s hood.” Or, perhaps any number of Morgan enthusiasts will ‘chime in’ on either a: period ‘enhancements’ of that little flathead Ford engine or, better still, b: suggest you find yourself a decent Dodge Challenger Hellcat or the like! ;)

    Like 2
  7. Avatar photo Tom Lange

    Thje power in these Series II Morgans were (and can still be) boosted with Aquaplane heads, dual-carb manifolds, exhaust manifolds, aluminum flywheels, etc. The real problem lies with the Anglia’s 3-speed transmission, which has an unsdurmountably-huge hole between 1st and 2nd. I dare say MOST Series II cars have already had the Anglia engines replaced with later Ford 4-cyl. engines and trans, from Kent pre-crossflow, crossflow, Lotus Cortina, right up to Z-tec.
    My Series II (A279) still has the Anglia powerplant and is fun to drive in a leisurely fashion, but a Honda S2000 drivetrain would be pretty trick..

    Like 1
  8. Avatar photo Richard B Kirschenbaum

    You are soooo correct. All hail Morgan. And considering the draconian government edicts, and the milage and crash standards that today’s designers must work with they do an incredible job fighting sameness. Most are quite handsome beasts that.nobody need be ashamed of. Similar yes, not an ugly in the batch..

    Like 0
  9. Avatar photo Joe Haska

    Bear, I loved your comment! The only thing I would add is that it is not just for Morgan’s. For me it is almost everything I own or have owned, vintage Hot Rods, old Ford and Chevrolet trucks and Barn Finds with low miles and owned by old lady school teachers. It’s the journey not the destination.

    Like 3
  10. Avatar photo Regg

    The colors match the old fashioned nature of. This car and desert home. It is different in many ways.

    Like 0

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