1996 MORGAN PLUS 4
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
This Plus 4 fires up without hesitation via the non-standard starter button, and the Rover four-cylinder engine generates a nice meaty grumble. There are no misfires and it idles smoothly from cold. The brakes are servo-assisted and more than capable of stopping this featherweight in a hurry with no pulling to either side. The clutch is hefty and feels like it has plenty of life left in it, and the five-speed Ford-derived gearbox has a pleasingly short throw. The steering is unassisted but nicely weighted.
Brands Hatch Morgan resprayed the car in its original white in 2010 and the finish is still very good, with only a couple of stone chips to report. The brightwork has very few blemishes in it. The green wheels (which also date from the 2010 repaint) might be a sticking point for traditionalists, but look great in the metal and are shod with new Yokohama C-Drive tyres. There’s no rust where the bulkhead meets the wings – a common problem on Plus 4s. The exhaust is stainless steel and also shows no sign of rust. The Simmonds aftermarket hood is in good condition and is in the same green as the wheels. The two additional brake lights are in good working order too. Car club badges on the grille add a stylish finishing flourish.
HOW’S THE INTERIOR?
The interior is in need of some attention. The green leather seats are cracked, the wooden dashboard needs revarnishing and the door cards are a little tatty, though the elasticated door pockets are in good condition. The Moto-Lita wooden steering wheel and matching gear knob are even better, and the non-standard cream-faced dials work fine. They come from a later Morgan model and really look the part. It may take a while for drivers of modern cars to get used to the non-self-cancelling indicators and fly-off handbrake but the aftermarket immobiliser – installed in 1996 – behaves itself, and is a discreet addition to the traditional dashboard.
UNDER THE BONNET
Aftermarket pulleys make opening the bonnet much easier. Beneath is a 134bhp 1994cc Rover M16 four-cylinder overhead cam engine which has less than 60,000 miles under its belt and has been regularly serviced by a specialist Morgan dealer. The paperwork for all of this, among hundreds of other receipts, are filed in a thick A4 folder. Oil is healthy and there are no signs of any leaks or botched wiring.
Don’t be put off by the interior – the rest of the car is a peach. The history is fantastic, and it has been owned by one family from new. It has to be one of the cheapest ways into Morgan ownership, and could easily be brought up to show standard if you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty.