insideKENT Magazine Issue 49 - April 2016 - Page 126

MOTORS MORGAN 4/4 2016 MARKS THE 80th ANNIVERSARY OF CONTINUOUS PRODUCTION OF THE 4/4 THE MORGAN 4/4 IS THE WORLD'S LONGEST RUNNING PRODUCTION VEHICLE AND A TRULY ICONIC CAR. BUT BEST OF ALL, IT'S BRITISH, AND LIKE MOST BRITISH-BUILT CARS, IT MANAGES TO PROVIDE FUN AND PERFORMANCE, WHILST BEING SURPRISINGLY SENSIBLE IN ALL THE RIGHT WAYS TOO. words and photos by Luke Yates The looks of the Morgan are simply jaw-dropping: a beautiful mass of sleekness, with gigantic round frog-eye headlights, a grin of a grille, bold sweeping wings gliding over the wheels, and a set of lights on the rear protruding on what could easily be Stinger missile tubes. The model we road tested was coated in a blaze of Liquid Gold metallic paint, which under the day's beautiful clear blue sky, looked nothing short of magnificent. True style, it has been said, is timeless, and that's certainly the case with the Morgan 4/4. With its design reputed to have been based on the 1930's Vanden Plas Squire – another truly beautiful car – the Morgan would feel at home at any point in the last 100 years, right up until the present day. It seems equally conceivable to imagine this timeless design on the road during wartime Britain in the 1940s, or zipping about driven by the hero in a Luc Besson film set in the future. And while it is easy to slip into thinking that the 4/4 is an 'old' car no longer in production, they are in fact still being manufactured today. In fact, 2016 celebrates 80 years of continuous production of the 4/4 and the Morgan Motor Company are producing a commemorative model in addition to the bespoke 4/4 tested here. Slide yourself into the snug cockpit of the Morgan and suddenly you feel all sorts of things that modern motors have made tragically obsolete. As you harness yourself to the ruggedly luxurious anthracite leather seats with perforated inserts (ours had a glorious yellow trim to match the paintwork) you feel as if you are bonded to the car – man and machine brought together for some extraordinary feat of driving. You are preparing not to drive, but either to race or fly! The huge bonnet sprawling off ahead of you towards the horizon seems to entice you, to coax you, to encourage you to get moving as soon as possible. Taking a moment to admire that oh-so-beautiful interior, you are treated to a positive feast of brilliant British engineering. Stylishly arranged, 126 Smiths instrument panels provide clear and concise feedback, whilst all the switches and knobs are suitably ergonomic and shiny, exuding delightful quality. There is even a decent radio/CD player, though to be honest, I preferred listening to the magnificent roar of the 4/4 itself, without any background noise. As you fire up the engine and press down on the satisfyingly chunky accelerator, the response is akin to the recoil from a powerful rifle. The Morgan may have a 1600cc Ford Sigma engine under that gigantic hood – a modest engine by modern standards – but this is a car that breaks modern rules. It is amazingly light, so much so that the engine delivers 110bhp in a car that weighs quite a lot less than a metric tonne. The result of this engine, combined with a smooth efficient Mazda five-speed gearbox is astonishing, delivering 0-62mph in just 8 seconds and a top