MORGAN PLUS 4 REVIEW

The four-cylinder Morgans offer a traditionalist twist on open-air thrills – and they represent a great sports car investment if you buy sensibly. DAVID SIMISTER shows you what to look for

Morgan turned to a variety of manufacturers to give the original Plus 4 the oomph to match its charming looks, but here we’ll be focusing on the TR3-engined version, which was introduced in 1953 and used right up until the advent of the TR4 nine years later.

This particular Plus 4 was also the first to abandon a flat radiator grille in favour of a cowl which flowed into the bonnet – a styling feature which continues to be a Morgan hallmark to this day.


VITAL STATISTICS

Morgan Plus 4 (1953-1962)

Engine                                    1991cc/4-cyl/OHV

Power (bhp@rpm)                  105bhp@4650rpm

Torque (lb ft@rpm)                 127lb ft@3350rpm

Top speed                                100mph

0-60mph                                   9.7sec

Consumption                             27mpg

Gearbox                                    4-speed manual


WHAT TO LOOK FOR

BODYWORK & CHASSIS
 

The best places to check for corrosion are the sills, side members and sill boards, particularly important as this particular vintage of Plus 4 predates the debut of Morgan using rustproofing.

Check the chromework too for signs of pitting, because while specialists can restore it to its former glory, it can highlight how well the rest of the car has been looked after. 

One of the biggest problems with Morgan’s use of ash frames in its construction is that most of it’s hidden away. A good way to gauge the condition is to check the wooden rockers below each of the doors, and that both of them close properly; one that doesn’t can indicate signs of rot around the door hinge posts.

ENGINE

Thanks to sharing its engine with another 1950s sports car – Triumph’s TR3 – there’s plenty of support and spares available to help tackle any mechanical maladies. However, it is prone to leaking oil around the rear crank seal, so check for oil leaks around the rear of the engine.

More imperative is the Moss gearbox, for which parts are harder to come by. Make sure you’re happy that it’ll happily engage all the gears, and walk away or haggle if it shows any signs of wanting to jump out of gear.

RUNNING GEAR

Check the kingpins for signs of excessive play, and that they have been greased regularly. Inspect the leaf suspension at the rear to make sure it is free from cracks or any signs of sagging. Brakes can be prone to seizing on with little used examples. Take a decent test drive to ensure you can live with the Morgan's 'lively' suspension characteristics too. 


INTERIOR

Give the seats, carpets and trim a thorough check. Haggle accordingly if these are in tatty condition. Checking the hood forcondition, especially if you intend more than summer use. Pay attention to instruments and switchgear as some older components are harder to find and you’ll be into getting parts re-conditioned.


OUR VERDICT

There are plenty of Plus 4s to choose from and if you’re not familiar with older cars you might be better off with the much later Fiat and Rover engined versions made after the model’s 1985 rebirth, which look similar but offer an easier ownership experience.

The older Plus 4, however, is a rugged, depreciation-proof sports car that’s built to last.

Recently Added

47446 1Sponsored Ad
1991
£Auction
TS
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 N/A
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1099704
First seen in prototype form in 1987, the Ferrari 348 entered production in 1989, replacing the i...
3
0208 226 3033
View details
47445 1Sponsored Ad
2008
£Auction
MUSTANG
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 N/A
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1099703
The Ford Shelby Mustang GT500KR was revealed at the 2007 New York International Motor Show, and r...
7
0208 226 3033
View details
47444 1Sponsored Ad
1984
£Auction
GTS QV
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 N/A
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1099702
October 1975 saw the debut at the Paris Motor Show of the most successful shape ever to wear the ...
5
0208 226 3033
View details
47443 1Sponsored Ad
2005
£Auction
MCLAREN
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 N/A
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1099701
The heart of any car is its engine, and that of the SLR McLaren is truly outstanding. Produced at...
5
0208 226 3033
View details
47442 1Sponsored Ad
1954
£Auction
ROADSTER
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 N/A
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1099700
The Jaguar XK120 caused an absolute sensation when it was launched at the 1948 Motor Show. In the...
5
0208 226 3033
View details
47441 1Sponsored Ad
1967
£Auction
TARGA
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 N/A
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1099698
912 Soft Window Targa production commenced in 1967 and were initially equipped with transparent p...
11
0208 226 3033
View details
47440 1Sponsored Ad
1990
£Auction
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 N/A
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1099697
Introduced at the Birmingham Motor Show in 1988, the Virage was joined by the high-performance Va...
6
0208 226 3033
View details
47439 1Sponsored Ad
1983
£Auction
BBI
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 N/A
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1099696
Having reasserted itself at the top of the supercar hierarchy with the first Boxer the 365GTB/4 B...
5
0208 226 3033
View details
47438 1Sponsored Ad
1955
£Auction
FIXED HEAD
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 N/A
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1099695
For 1955, Jaguar present a range of models incorporating not only added refinements, but mechanic...
5
0208 226 3033
View details
47437 1Sponsored Ad
2005
£Auction
DTM
  • 0
  • Transmission 69197354786223e29b85070a0695cc247a4c2b215c743673c2d02e864b4cd687 N/A
  • Steering ca68a9643bbb915d30839040f432af59e679db8cf98e23a4378cbef2ed805059 RHD
  • Refcode: TA1099694
There are AMG Benzes, really quite special AMG Benzes, and pretty damn amazing, spectacular and r...
5
0208 226 3033
View details
See All Classic Cars for Sale