Two Morgan Centenaries

2013 - Two Morgan Centenaries

The year 1913 saw two important milestones for Morgan. The first was Gordon McMinnies winning the French Grand Prix - an achievement not repeated until 1962 when the MSCC late Vice President, Pat Kennett won the Panamanian Grand Prix - though it must be admitted this latter event was not a Grand Prix as we now know it - more a test of endurance to see who could last longest racing around a rather dodgy airfield perimeter track!

The next milestone is not so well known - but in that year HFS Morgan started building the first four wheeled Morgan, although this did not take to the road until 1914. This was used by the Morgan family for some months, but there is only one existing photograph . But the project did not progress as Europe became embroiled in the Great War.

No-one is certain why the project was not developed when Europe (and by this time most of the World) returned to normal, but it is possible that as the Morgan factory was flat out satisfying the demand for three wheelers they did not have the time to branch out. (The entire 1921 production had been sold before the end of 1920)

Of course, some sixteen years later the competition from the ‘new breed’ of small family cars (Austin Seven, Morris Minor etc) had to be resisted - hence the reintroduction of a Morgan with four wheels.

But what happened to the original? At this point a Morgan employee enters the picture. In the early 1930s Derek Evans was working at the Factory, and had noticed that part of the chassis of the 'Quad' had been relegated to the scrap metal pile. It seems that there was a rule at the factory that no one could acquire anything from this pile, but one day all the scrap metal was carted away by a scrap merchant. So on his way home from work Derek called at the scrap yard and was able to purchase the remains. These just consisted of the special Bevel Box, a cross-member that went through the box with the quarter elliptic spring mounts, part of the torque tube, and the lower bottom chassis tubes as far as the sloping tube lugs.