You might think the Volkswagen Beetle is the longest running production car in the world. Or perhaps the Land Rover?
The Morgan 4/4 was launched at the 1936 London Motor Show – long before the Second World War, or the abdication of King Edward VIII.
That means it holds the record and this special 80th anniversary model celebrates the fact.
Everything, from the brass wheel nuts to the leather bonnet straps, will remind your grandad of the great days of motor cars.
This 1.6 model is not a machine to thrash around corners, or impress a lady with straight line performance. No, it’s a sedate old thing that should remind drivers of pure motoring – without traction control or even a window winder.
The driving position may be rather too upright, some of the trim isn’t up to standard for a £39k car but what a glorious feeling steering a 4/4 into a corner – and coming out the other side alive!
If you wanted quintessential British country motoring it would no doubt include an image of a Morgan scooting across the Cotswolds.
You will require an additional piece of kit to make the journey more pleasurable thought – a tea towel.
Why? Well, with the roof in place, the mohair hood has a nasty habit of flapping at speeds in excess of 50mph. It’s like having a giant butterfly trapped in the cabin.
The towel can be stuffed between the hood and the frame to prevent it happening.
It will eventually drive you mad but at least the sweet drone from the exhaust system covers up most of the noise…
Having noted the lack of sun visors in the 4/4 I can now happily report that it has three windscreen visors to compensate. Brilliant.
And what is especially remarkable about the Morgan is the 1.6-litre Ford engine. It sips fuel soooo slowly. I must be averaging 45mph+. I can’t give you an exact figure because the Morgan doesn’t have an onboard computer of course.
The 4/4 has two sweet spots. On the motorway, rattle along at 75mph – otherwise it loves tackling a country lane between 35-50mph. The five-speed gearbox is a joy.
This is really the Morgan for gentle pottering around the Cotswolds. Not like the madcap Plus 8 that is an absolute bruiser to steer.
It’s great fun – I just wish this speical edition didn’t have quite so many naff ’80th anniversary’ decals splattered about the place…
After whinging about the lack of sun visors in the Morgan, I now discover my Land Rover doesn’t have them either. It’s a soft-top too, circa 1972 and just as bonkers to drive as the 4/4.
So what does the 80th annversary Morgan actually have to boast about? Well, apart from the fun factor it has a mohair roof, door locks and rather swanky, brass wheel nuts.
There’s some extended leather trim, cream-faced Smith dials (you have to know British cars to understand what they are) and a matt finish walnut dashboard.
You see, what makes this car special is that is has very little of anything. No driver aids, no infotainment system, no accoustic exhaust.
It’s quite lovely for a Friday drive in the October sunshine…
It’s 6.30pm and I’m heading west from Heathrow Airport in a Morgan 4/4. I’ve just driven 2,000 miles to the Arctic Circle in a rather splendid Fiat 124 Spider and returned home to something with an equally iconic badge.
Except I’m cursing by the time I reach Reading on the M4 motorway because the setting sun is hitting me straight in the eyes. I reach for the sun visor that isn’t there – this is a Morgan and visors are for wimps.
Perhaps I should have checked the radio for a traffic alert but the 4/4 doesn’t have one of those either. Or air con to keep me cool in the heat of the moment – or, well, the list goes on.
You don’t get behind the wheel of a Morgan for such niceties. This is all about motoring stripped back to the bare minimum – apart from the price tag that is. I love Morgans and the fact I’m smiling in the face of a setting sun really says it all…