(Above) Notwithstanding the absence of doors it was easy to get in and out of the Morgan.
(Right) The power unit; note the new-type contact breaker.
The three-wheeler tested was collected from the Works at Malvern Link, straight off the production line, and, therefore, the engine was treated with the respect due to it during the running-in period.
From the first it was a quiet power unit and displayed a delightful smoothness which, among other good qualities, remained throughout a very strenuous test. The tappets called for preliminary adjustment in the first 120 miles and once again after a further 200 miles had been covered, but after that they had settled down and did not need any more attention while the Morgan was in our hands. The adjustment is easy to get at, being at the bottom of the push rods, which are enclosed in telescopic tubes. It remained free from oil leakage except that there was a slight escape of lubricant from the ends of the rocker bearings and this resulted in a little oil being blown back from the engine on to the sides of the body.
The body itself was smartly finished in bright blue, the wings being the same colour and the wheels black with chromium-plated hub discs.
Controllability has always been a feature for which the Morgan has been renowned, and when sitting in the driver's seat of this one there was an impression given of complete control and perfect safety. The steering wheel, on which are mounted the throttle, air and ignition controls, is comfortably raked and indented to give a good grip for the fingers. Immediately on the driver's left is the gear-change lever and close beside it is the ratchet hand brake. This operates on the front wheels, the rear brake being brought into action by a pedal.
"Float-on-Air" cushions and a comfortable back rest prevent the driver and passenger suffering fatigue on long journeys, and another good feature in the way of comfort is that the body is free from draughts.
Coil ignition is used on this Morgan and starting was always very easy, whether the starting handle was used or the electric starter. When the latter method is employed it is necessary to operate the exhaust valve lifter fitted under the dash on the passenger side, and if the tappet clearances had been allowed to exceed the makers' recommendation it would not always lift the valves sufficiently to allow the electric motor to revolve the engine, and the result would be a temporary jam. In the ordinary way, however, no difficulty arose, and starting on the electric starter was the usual method employed, although it was found that the pinions made rather a noise when they were engaged.
(In circle above) The Cockpit, showing the layout of the controls.
The starter button is fitted to the floorboard.
General handling was excellent and the Morgan proved a very useful vehicle for town work, being extremely quick in picking up speed and easily manoeuvred in dense traffic. It was rarely necessary to use bottom gear and, in fact, if the speed was anything above 14 m.p.h. or 15 m.p.h. top gear was the only one required.
There is something extremely satisfying in driving a sporting little vehicle such as this with such a relatively high power-weight ratio, and it was rarely that the Morgan was passed on the get-away from a standing start up to its maximum speed. It could travel at between 55 m.p.h. and 60 m.p.h. for as long as road conditions would permit without distressing the engine or any evidence being shown of the power unit losing any of its "urge." There was still the comforting knowledge that a further 12 m.p.h. to 15 m.p.h. were available if required, although from 60 m.p.h. onwards a certain amount of vibration could be felt in the steering wheel and bodywork. At all other speeds the power output was delivered smoothly and effortlessly.
At all speeds the Morgan could be steered to a hair and it could be thrown round bends at high speeds with perfect security. The steering was not light in operation, but it was pleasantly definite and had that "racing car" feel given by high gearing and proper design.
The hand throttle could be operated by the driver's right thumb without taking the hand from the wheel and the same applies to the ignition with the left-hand thumb. It can therefore be seen that the driver had complete control of the model at all times.
A word must be said about the brakes, which were not quite up to the splendid performance of the engine. It needed considerable effort to pull the
vehicle up with the handbrake alone when travelling fast and even when the foot brake was in operation at the same time the resulting braking figure was not so good as
that recorded in a similar model tried under the same conditions.
(Right) The Morgan is a safe and reliable vehicle to drive under extremely adverse road conditions.
When under way there was very little noise from the engine or the transmission. Naturally the clicking of the valves could be heard, but there was absolutely no trace of piston slap or other mechanical sounds. A slight rattle was traced to the windscreen wiper blade vibrating against the screen itself, but this was the only complaint which could be made on the score of noise when the hood was down. In bad weather, however, when the hood was up the engine and transmission naturally sounded louder, but the sounds were not unpleasant and one quickly became accustomed to them. The protection afforded by the hood was very good and the screen is high enough to allow good visibility with it in action. It was an easily operated hood and required but a few seconds to erect. When not in use it was enclosed in a hood-bag which strapped down over the back of the seat.
Incidentally, it must be mentioned that the Morgan was used extensively during the recent heavy snowstorms and in spite of roads which, in parts, were surfaced with thick snow, this little three-wheeler did not show any signs of skidding.
The windscreen wiper was powerful enough to prevent it being stopped by the collected snow.
Driving at night, the headlamps gave a good beam, well diffused, and lighting up the road for a considerable distance ahead. When dipped there was still ample illumination to maintain speed with safety and the dipper control is conveniently fitted near the top of the steering column.
As an economical and comfortable method of transport for two people the Morgan would be hard to beat. It would do 41 miles to the gallon of fuel and the oil consumption was negligible.
A surprising amount of luggage can be carried in a compartment which is behind the rear squab and which houses the battery and tool-kit, with plenty of room to spare for small suitcases and so forth. In this position the battery can be got at for topping up and it is not necessary to disconnect it to carry out this maintenance job.
In the tool-kit supplied with this Morgan there, were not sufficient spanners to carry out the tappet adjustment without using the rather unwieldy, adjustable spanner in the kit, but we understand that the proper spanner was omitted through an oversight.
In conclusion, it must be said that while this Morgan was in the hands of our tester it proved itself a most useful all-round vehicle for long distances and town work and gave very little bother beyond the ordinary routine adjustments. At its price of 110 guineas there is no doubt that it would be difficult to find a more sporting and economical method of transport.
Maximum Speeds in:
Top Gear: 72 m.p.h. = 4.250 r.p.m.
Second Gear: 49 m.p.h. = 4.740 r.p.m.
First gear: 30 m.p.h. = 4.800 r.p.m.
Acceleration to above Maximum Figures:
From Standing Start.
Top Gear (Ratio 4.58 to 1): 47.4/5 secs.
Second Gear (Ratio 7.5 to 1): 14.1/5 secs.
First Gear (Ratio 12.4 to 1): 5.4/5 secs.
Speeds over measured Quarter Mile:
Flying Start: 66.18 m.p.h.
Standing Start: 35.71 m.p.h.
Braking Figures (Stopping Distance in Feet):
Road Surface Dry Concret
From 30 m.p.h. (Both Brakes): 42 ft 6 ins.
From 30 m.p.h. (Front Brake): 62 ft
From 30 m.p.h. (Rear Brake): 66 ft
Fuel Consumption: ..... 41 m.p.g.
Oil Consumption: ...... negligible (Dry Sump)