An article, first published by:

Motor Cycling
March 22, 1939
pages 750 - 752

Motor Cycling, March 22, 1939, page 750Motor Cycling, March 22, 1939, page 751Motor Cycling, March 22, 1939, page 752

The 990 c.c. o.h.v. Water-cooled Super-sports

CWP 173
A Three-wheeler
Combining Arm-
chair Comfort for
Two With a
Fine All-round

FOR those desiring a passenger machine which is blessed with big-twin performance and at the same time carries both driver and passenger in one cockpit, the 1939 Super Sports Morgan is just the thing. Last week we road tested such a machine, which not only leaves a happy memory in our man's mind regarding its smooth surge of power up to 60 or 65 m.p.h., and an ability to climb really severe main-road gradients as though they did not exist, but also in the matter of looks.

A Smart Appearance

The particular model in question was finished black with silver wheels, which seemed to set off its sleek lines to the best advantage. The water-cooled V-twin engine, mounted in front of the radiator, imparted just that rakish appearance which pleases the eye of the sportsman, and wherever the machine went it aroused nothing but favourable comment.
One point of interest which we anticipated with some degree of pleasure was the Girling brake system. This is now a standard fitting to the Super Sports job in place of the old type of cam-operated shoes. Another improvement is the layout of the controls; the pedal now operates on the front wheels and the ratchet hand brake on the rear wheel only, no coupling being used between the two. The front brakes were absolutely superb; a slight pressure gave a degree of retardation ample for all ordinary circumstances, but in case of an emergency the foot hard down would lock both the wheels on a dry road. From this it must not be inferred that the brakes were fierce on a slippery surface; on the contrary, they were progressive to a degree which almost inspired over-confidence. The rear brake could have done with a longer lever if it is intended for use as anything but a parking brake, for which purpose it was adequate.
(1) True to its name of Super-sports, the Morgan can be driven with confidence over difficult going, including watersplashes.

(2) Streamlined and with the spare wheel let into the rear panel, the model has attractive lines.

(3) Really accessible! — The neat water-cooled power unit.
1939 Super-sports Morgan
Comfort was on a par with almost any open four-wheeler. The seats are composed of two large air cushions which can be blown up by the human lungs to suit any individual tastes. The rear squab gave support to the whole of one's back and was set at the right angle to bring the steering wheel comfortably into the driver's lap. Being well padded it was almost like sitting in a comfortable chair which had just the right degree of tilt to keep one in an upright position.
Long distances could be covered without any trace of fatigue and the absence of any back-draught, so common in a machine with a wind screen; made the "Super" a warm conveyance in the cold March winds. This warmth was no doubt arrived at by the sensible layout of the dash, the windscreen and the sides of the body, which are so placed that the driver and passenger sit well down in the cockpit and close up to the sloping Vee windscreen. A further useful protection is given to the passenger by an extended scuttle, which keeps a lot of rain off when the hood is not erected.

Super-sports Morgan

Cock-pit of CWP 173

(5) Car-like, the controls of the
Morgan are well placed in the
comfortable cock-pit

(4) Denying the old, old fallacy
that three-wheelers are unstable
on corners, the Supersports
handles steadily and safely.

The tester found very little use for the latter component, except when the machine was stationary. Provided one was travelling along a normal road at over 35-40 m.p.h. rain showed a distinct tendency to pass over the occupants' heads. No doors are fitted, but it was not difficult to climb in and out; in fact, this procedure seemed much easier than wriggling through some so-called doors. This is not our tester's comment, but comes from one of the fair sex, who is constantly in trouble with laddered stockings! An additional advantage is the rigidity gained by having the sides of the body extending in one uninterrupted piece from front to rear.
So much for the seating comfort and weather protection, which are good things in themselves but cannot live without any assistance from the suspension. There is no need to introduce the famous Morgan front end, which has proved itself on the race track, in reliability trials and on the road; the design has not varied, nor has the wonderful "glued-to-the-road" feeling which is associated with these tricars. A pair of hydraulic dampers put a really effective check on bouncing when one is traversing wavy roads. The rear wheel has two quarter-elliptic springs and these are comfortable at all moderate speeds and on anything but the very worst roads. However, for high speeds a damper would effect an improvement on the handling, and prevent a floating sensation which was evident on a wavy surface.
One of the joys of the steering is that it feels almost as direct as that of a sidecar outfit, yet being correctly laid out it is light to handle, and therefore just about ideal for fast motoring. There seemed no tendency at all for the front wheels to kick on a rough or pot-holed road, whilst on a smooth corner it was a pleasure to indulge in a bit of fast work, only the squealing tyres giving any impression of a rapid change in direction. Incidentally, the best tyre pressures were found to be 18-19 lb. per sq. in. in both the front wheels, and 27-29 lb. per sq. in. in the rear one.

Wheel Removal

All three wheels are interchangeable and detachable by undoing four nuts. The two front wheels are easy to change, and the back is very accessible when the rear panel in the tail is removed. After removing the knockout spindle, the chain can be lifted over the sprocket; the wheel and hub can then be removed still bolted to one another. Having undone the four nuts, the spare wheel is fitted and the whole replaced in the forks by a reversed sequence of events.
Turning now to performance, the model's maximum speed of 73 m.p.h. was good, but the great charm of the "Super" lay in its effortless cruising speed of 55 m.p.h., and a delightful feeling of real power on hills. Ordinarily, the above speed could be maintained on a very small throttle opening on the level, and when a steep main-road hill was encountered just a little bit more throttle kept the needle on the same mark. A top-gear test was done at Stoneleigh hill, near Coventry: Average gradient 1 in 10; length 300 yds., speed at bottom, 30 m.p.h.; speed over top (1 in 8½), 44 m.p.h. and still accelerating hard.

Engine: 50 degree V Twin. Bore, 85.5mm.; stroke, 85.5mm.; capacity 990 c.c. Push rod, o.h.v. Compression ratio 6-1. Detachable cylinder heads. Lo-ex pistons. Forked connecting rods. Roller-bearing big ends. Fully floating gudgeon pins. Coil ignition.

Transmission: Shaft drive, with centre bearing, to gearbox. Single-plate clutch incorporating shock absorber. Worm and countershaft to final drive ¾-in. pitch chain. Gear ratios, 4.58, 7.5, 12.4. Reverse, 16.5.
Frame: Tubes throughout. Front wheels independent. Coil springs. Rear, quarter-elliptic.

Wheels: Interchangeable with four-stud fixing. One spare. Dunlop Magna wheels with 18-in. by 4.00 tyres.

Tanks: Capacity, four gallons fuel, one gallon oil.

Equipment: Lucas 6-volt lights with dipper. Starter. Horn, and 80 m.p.h. trip speedometer. Windscreen wiper
and hood. Luggage grid. Tool kit. Jack. Tyre pump.

Dimensions: Length 10 ft. 4 ins., width 4 ft, 11 ins., wheelbase 7 ft. 3 ins., track 4 ft. 2 ins. Weight 8 cwt. 58 lb., including spare wheel, tools, oil, spares and water.

Makers: The Morgan Motor Co., Ltd., Malvern Link.

Price: £136 10s.

Tax: £4 per annum.

As already mentioned, the maximum speed recorded over the measured quarter-mile was 73 m.p.h., the mean of two runs in each direction being 70.87 m.p.h. In second gear 52 m.p.h. was the highest speed. The big twin was a bit rough at these r.p.m. (5,200), and although a higher figure could have been reached it would not be a speed to recommend. Normally speaking, the most comfortable figures at which to change up were 15 m.p.h. from bottom to second and 30-35 m.p.h. from second to top. At the bottom end of the scale the lowest non-snatch speeds were 15 and 7-8 m.p.h. in top and second respectively.
Acceleration was good, so that in spite of widely-spaced gear ratios, and therefore of necessity a slow change, the standing quarter-mile was covered at nearly 43 m.p.h. and the model was travelling at 62 m.p.h. over the finishing line. Another factor not conducive to rapid gear change was the lever throttle control. Economy was a strong point; even when averaging 43-45 m.p.h. over a long journey the consumption figure came out at just about the same number of m.p.g. The all-in figure over 450 miles was 41.5 m.p.g. and the independent figures can be seen by glancing at the performance chart. Oil was consumed at approximately 2,200 m.p.g., and this was used in the true meaning of the word, as the exterior of the engine remained spotless except for a smear of oil coming out of the rocker bearings.

Easy Starting

Mechanically the engine was quiet, except between 56-60 m.p.h. in top gear, when the valve gear went through a period during which it rattled rather a lot. In top gear the transmission was quiet but both the indirect ratios were on the noisy side, even allowing for the gearbox being against the driver's left thigh. The exhausts were also too healthy, and called for considerable care with the throttle to avoid attention in villages or towns.
Lighting was by means of a pair of combined side and head lamps, which gave a really good light. The side lamp to head lamp switch was combined with the ignition switch on the dash, whilst the dipper is clipped on the steering column.
Starting from cold had to be carried out by means of the starting handle. With the ignition fully retarded, the air shut and the throttle slightly open, a sharp pull up was generally successful. However, care had to be exercised in case the motor back-fired or rapped knuckles were the inevitable consequence. When hot, a combination of the valve lifter and the self-starter enabled one to get comfortably seated before starting the engine.
Summing up, the 1939 Super Sports Morgan is a powerful little machine. Long journeys can be accomplished in such comfort and at such average speeds as would be considered excellent for expensive cars; but, instead of car expenses, 43 m.p.g. of fuel and an annual tax of £4 per annum bring the running costs into the motorcycling category. The price, fully equipped, is £136 10s.

Motor Cycling, March 22, 1939, page 752Motor Cycling, March 22, 1939, page 752

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