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1961 MORGAN +4 ROADSTER - SHOWN AT THE PALOS VERDES CONCOURS D'ELEGANCE










the Auto Collections | LINQ Hotel & Casino | Las Vegas Nevada

1961 Morgan +4 Roadster

The Morgan Motor Company was founded in 1910, and is the oldest privately owned automobile company in the world. Morgan’s are still made to this day by hand. Vintage Morgan’s are especially exclusive and coveted due to their lower production numbers, classic lines, degree of simplicity, character, performance and eligibility for vintage driving events.

In 1962 race car driver Chris Lawrence modified a +4 with a high performance engine fitted with twin Weber DCOE 42 mm carburetors, as well as other performance enhancements. These cars were designated as Super Sports models. In 1962 he piloted this Super Sports Morgan to victory in its 2-litre GT class at Le Mans.

This particular +4 roadster was created by a Morgan enthusiast and Morgan +4 Club member in what may be described as a Super Sports tribute. Her 2.2 litre engine was rebuilt and balanced, perhaps 3,000 miles ago by Morgan expert and vintage race car driver John Willburn. The engine block was cleaned, tanked and magnafluxed. The crankshaft was nitrite hardened and peened, as were the connecting rods. A higher performance Erson camshaft was fitted. A lightened flywheel and 87 mm Mahle pistons were installed. An upgraded rear crankshaft seal was installed, along with a new water pump. The head was resurfaced and polished with new valves installed. As in the original Super Sports, twin Weber DCOE 42 mm carburetors are fitted. The Weber’s are connected to the accelerator via aircraft linkage, with a heat shield sitting below them to keep them cool, all sitting alongside a Derrington intake manifold. Just like an original Super Sports, there is an air scoop fabricated into the right side of the bonnet to feed the Weber's a steady stream of fresh cool air. A spin-on oil filter and high-torque aluminum starter are also installed. Brakes up front are original discs, with the rears being aluminum drums, an upgrade from the original cast iron. The engine runs strong with lots of horsepower, running through a stainless steel exhaust.

The transmission is the highly coveted Moss 4-speed, known for its precise and crisp action, and this one works perfectly. These transmissions were used by Jaguar in their C, D and E-type sports cars. A new clutch plate and throw-out bearing were also installed not long ago. Of truly special note is the Laycock de Normanville electric overdrive unit that is installed, the same type that Jaguar utilized. With the car humming along at highway speeds, engaging the overdrive via the red button on the gearshift lever reduces RPMs by 800-900, making high speed cruising an effortless joy. Overdrive can be used in 2nd, 3rd or 4th gear, effectively creating 7 speeds.

The suspension has been upgraded by swapping out the factory lever action rear shock absorbers with higher performance tube shocks. The front cross-member was reinforced with chrome molly tubing inserted into the cross tubes. New king pins and bushings have been fitted. The original wooden floorboards were swapped out in favor of lighter weight aircraft aluminum. The original fuel tank was replaced with an aluminum fuel cell, with an electric fuel pump feeding the Weber’s. A custom fabricated scoop in the front end channels cool air through the radiator, with an electric fan assisting matters. Proper metric sized radial tires have plenty of tread life remaining and are fitted on correct 60-spoke chrome wire wheels. Needless to say, she rides like she's on rails and stops with total confidence.

Her original Brookland’s steering wheel was recently recovered in leather, and was her original bench seat upholstery, with the work done by Barbara Willburn, who has been working on concours winning Morgan’s for many decades. The wooden dash has recently been removed and refinished and looks elegant, especially with the original cream faced gauges (this is the last year of the desirable cream faced gauges). An entirely new wiring harness with the correct cotton covering was installed. An alternator has been fitted to replace the generator, offering greater and more reliable current for the electrics. A new ignition and correct cream colored light switch was installed. New headlights were also just fitted. Much of the work noted above was performed by Derek Willburn, another expert on Morgan’s.

The fold-down windscreen is made of aircraft Lexan for extra durability. A Brookland's racing screen is fitted for the driver, with another screen provided for the passenger. A full tonneau cover also fabricated by Mrs. Willburn is provided. The original top bows are also included with the car. In keeping with the spirit of enhancing performance, in an effort to save weight her chrome rear and front bumpers are not currently fitted, but they remain in great condition and are included with the car. The body was resprayed in its two-tone red and black about the same time the engine was rebuilt and the paintwork still looks sharp. There is also a battery cut off switch installed behind the front seats. Turn the switch "on", pump the throttle a couple of times to move fuel into the dual Weber’s, turn the ignition key to the "on" position, and depress the "Start" button on the dash. Her robust engine will fire instantly to life. She warms up soon enough and is ready for a thrilling driving experience, making any journey a wonderful adventure.

This is a special car with features and enhancements, some of which are beyond the original Super Sports models. It is owned by a Morgan +4 Club of Southern California member and former President who has had 60+ years of experience racing, rebuilding, restoring, maintaining, driving and showing various Morgan’s throughout the years. Before his ownership it was in the hands of another Morgan +4 Club of Southern California member. As a testament to her roadworthiness, she has made several trips from Orange County, CA to Cambria, CA for the annual Mogwest gathering in the summer, where she has won 2nd place awards. She has been shown at the Palos Verdes Concours de Elegance and other events in southern California. She has been driven and attended to by knowledgeable and marque specialists and is sure to please her new owner.