A top car to drive before you die!
Yes there is STILL a demand for old-fashioned craftmanship!
We all want the latest styling, the most powerful engine and the most up-to-date gadgets in our sports cars, don't we? Well, let's look at the Morgan +4, which proves that there is more to the car's appeal than meets the eye.
For a start, the basic appearance has hardly changed for 100 years or so. The mechanics are still very similar to those of models of the 1950s! It is uncomfortable, draughty, noisy, and antiquated but it still has a cult following of enthusiasts who love their machines with a passion.
What is the performance like?
The standard +4 is powered by a relatively tiny 2 L Ford Duratec engine, which pushes out a very creditable 154 brake horsepower. Allied to the low weight of the car this gives it a very lively (although hardly earth shattering) performance, with a 0 to 60 result of 7.5seconds and a top speed of 118 mph.
Fancy something more exotic? As far back as 1962 a Moggie took a class win in the Le Mans 24-hour race. Things happen slowly with Morgan, sometimes, but back in 2011 a hotter Super Sports version was introduced with a 200 brake horsepower engine, propelling the car up to a claimed 135 mph. Owners of these cars will know that they are driving a copy of a racing car since they will have such essential additions as their race numbers on the doors and bonnet, twin stopwatches mounted on the dashboard and a fast action racing fillercap! How do the rest of us survive without them?
Is it successful?
Well, they are still making it! You can buy one from about £44,000 upwards, you may have to wait a while for delivery though. While you're waiting, you can hire one if you wish; a week's hire costs about £1100 and you can even go on a factory tour and visit their museum.
Who makes it?
The Morgan Motor Company, based in Malvern in Worcestershire, breaks every rule in the book, but still seems to get away with it! They were founded in 1909, and have survived far longer than an endless list of much larger companies, despite the fact that they have shunned mass production techniques and insisted on building their cars by hand as much as possible. Have they, like so many other manufacturers, switched to using modern materials such as carbon fibre, or reinforced plastic body panels? No, but they use large quantities of ash, leather and (their only nod towards modernity) aluminium.
Can it survive?
In March 2019 Investindustrial, an investment company which owns, amongst many other businesses, Aston Martin, bought a majority stake in the Morgan Motor Company, and it remains to be seen whether or not the ethos which has underpinned the company for more than a century is allowed to continue.