One of only 26, the London Motor Show, ex-Harry Ingham, Knute Hallen
1964 Morgan +4+ Coupe
Chassis no. A5794
Engine no. 511605
Four-speed manual transmission
Actual 1964 London Motor Show Car
US delivery, long-term first owner
21st of 26 +4+ Coupes made
Restored to concours standard
Morgans have been called many things over the past century, not all of them flattering. There is little doubt, however, that 'Mogs', as they are endearingly known to those who cherish them, exude a certain charm that creates fierce loyalty. Indeed, owners and enthusiasts commonly swear that Morgans are the last true sports cars on the planet. They don't care that compared to automobiles of the modern day, Mogs are uncomfortable, drafty, and relatively crude in the manner of their suspension - just the way they were at the beginning, when Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan assembled his first two-passenger Trike at Malvern Link, Worcestershire, UK in 1910. It was a three-wheeler because as such it could be registered as a motorcycle and thus avoid the road taxes normally levied on four-wheelers. HFS stayed the course until 1936 when he grudgingly introduced a real four-wheel car, the 4-4. For all practical purposes, the Morgan of today, although it might be V8-powered or even running on electricity - remains philosophically firmly entrenched in the 1930s, although there is one notable exception. To wit, the model known as the Plus-Four-Plus, or in shorthand, +4+.
The Plus-Four-Plus was different because it wasn't an open roadster whose occupants had to make do with a rudimentary fabric top and side curtains, inflatable seat cushions rather than adjustable seats, and a challenging ride...all of which are part of the Morgan experience. It was instead a two-seat fiberglass coupe with wind-up windows and Grand Touring pretensions. It featured a rather tall roof and wide doors, because, Morgan lore tells us, the six-foot-four-inch Peter Morgan insisted that he be able to drive the car comfortably.
By the time the 1960s rolled around, the folks at Morgan had looked around at the competition, and saw that cars like Jaguar and MG had finally forsaken their pre-war chassis and coachwork design, and were offering attractive and aerodynamic sports cars that were even gasp! almost comfortable to drive. Was it time to give up the wind-in-the-teeth, kidney-bruising ride that was expected of almost all sports cars of the pre-war and immediate post-war era? Morgan had its doubts but was willing to test the market.
In 1964, the first of the new +4+ was introduced at the London International Auto Show to a chilling silence. Mog fans around the world were aghast. The new design was a slap in the face to tradition, and to the company's dismay, Morgan lovers wanted nothing to do with it. Ironically, the +4+ may have saved Morgan, which had seen sales decline. Enthusiasts fearful that the company had changed course immediately began to order conventional open +4s, giving Morgan a badly-needed infusion of cash. In any case, the factory produced just 26 finished examples of the +4+, and two additional bodies from EB Ware of Birmingham were retained for spare parts. Amazingly, nearly all of the 26 have survived, and they are highly sought-after.
This fine example is the actual London International Motor Show display car, built in 1964 and delivered afterward to Mr. Harry Ingham, a Los Angeles university professor, in 1965. Originally fitted with chrome wire wheels and a luggage carrier, Mr. Ingham had the wires replaced with disc wheels. Mr. Ingham kept the car until his passing in 1999, when it was acquired from his estate by well-known Norwegian Morgan collector Knute Hallen in Oslo,. When the current owner, a long-time Morgan racer, decided he wanted to buy a +4+, he tasked Dennis Glavis of Morgan West to locate one. Glavis knew of the Norwegian car and arranged the sale and subsequent nut-and-bolt restoration of the completely original car.
Upon its return to the US, the +4+ was entrusted to Morgan expert Pierre Brun, who took the car down to its bare frame. The bolt-on fiberglass body, wearing body number 178/026, was removed from the Z-section steel tubing frame, stripped and carefully refinished. At the owner's request, its original black paint and red leather interior were replaced by a striking two-tone British Racing Green and pale yellow, and the interior received a striking honey-colored ostrich-hide treatment. Brun, who was responsible for preparing Lew Spencer's famed SCCA National Championship-winning Morgan Super Sports roadsters, blueprinted the Triumph TR4 block and crankshaft, installed Carrillo rods and JE pistons, an Elgin cam, and ported and polished the head. He installed a pair of Weber 45DCOE carburetors, an extractor manifold, and a finned aluminum sump, bringing the engine to near-Super Sport specification. Brun estimates that the engine is good for 170-180 hp. He also rebuilt the Moss gearbox and rear axle, while freshening the sliding-pillar front suspension and Armstrong shock absorbers. A Panhard rod was installed on the rear axle, and wire wheels on the hubs. Inside, there's a Derrington steering wheel and a full complement of Smiths gauges, including a 140 mph speedometer, a tach redlined at 5000 rpm, and a combination gauge with ammeter, water temperature, oil pressure, and fuel level. The standard +4+, weighing but 1800 lbs, was a good 10 mph faster than a +4 roadster, thanks to its slippery body, and this +4+, with its stronger engine, is certainly even faster. Morgan +4+ coupes rarely come to market; this presents an opportunity to acquire one of the best.
- Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit and its correct engine number is CT30637ME.