1950 Morgan 4/4 Series 1 DHC
Believed one of only three made with Standard four-seater DHC coachwork; four owners, the third for 50 years; engine runs; nice transferable number plate; straightforward project
Morgan’s first four-wheeler, the two-seater 4/4 appeared in 1936 and was initially fitted with a relatively long-stroke Coventry Climax 1,122cc inlet-over-exhaust engine developing 34bhp and mated to a Meadows four-speed gearbox.
In 1937 a four-seater was introduced, followed by a more lavishly appointed Drophead Coupe in 1938 which also gained a more powerful 40bhp Standard Special 1,267cc overhead-valve engine mated to a four-speed reverse-gate Moss gearbox. The 4/4 soon gained an excellent reputation for its spirited performance and excellent handling including notable success on the track.
By the time war broke out 762 had been sold, all but 99 with two-seater coachwork. Post-war production was restarted in 1946 and continued until 1950 by which time another 495 Series 1s had been sold, only 140 of them being four-seaters.
Body building and trimming were the biggest bottlenecks in the manufacturing process so to keep sales up, Morgan also offered the 4/4 in rolling chassis form to be bodied by external coachbuilders.
This particular car, LFJ 46, has the Standard Special ohv engine and is featured in ‘Morgan: The Last Survivor’ by Chris Harvey, where it is said to be one of three rolling chassis which were bought by City Garages of Exeter in 1947 and fitted with Standard drophead coupe four-seater coachwork. [The date may not be quite correct as a 1985 letter on file states that the chassis actually left the Morgan works for Exeter in November 1949.]
The original buff logbook shows that City Garages registered LFJ 46 for the road in July 1950 before selling it to a Percy Thurburn of Helford in January 1951. It then had one further local owner before being acquired by a John Ashton of Saltash in 1969 (for £17-17s-6d) who was to keep it right up until 2019.
Various invoices attest to upkeep during Ashton’s ownership including a full engine rebuild with new pistons and bearings in 1979; new leather seat covers in 1981; new wiring, electric fuel pump and hood in 1985; new king pins and petrol tank in 1986; new exhaust and four new Dunlop tyres in 1999. Six old MOTs show the mileage rising from 23,469 in 1987 to 23,669 in 2001 so the car has clearly seen very little use in recent years, the odometer currently showing 23,671 miles.
Our vendor acquired the car at a West Country auction in 2019 and reports that the car does run and drive using a slave petrol tank but that the clutch thrust bearing is noisy. Since arriving on site at Brightwells we have had the engine running ourselves and it certainly sounds healthy enough but the problem with the clutch has precluded us from driving it.
Retaining its original (transferable) Exeter-issue number plate, LFJ 46, this rare and interesting Morgan now needs an enthusiastic new owner who can get it back on the road where it belongs.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email [email protected]
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