1966 Morgan Plus 4Drophead Coupe
- Year of manufacture1966
- Mileage77 892 mi / 125 356 km
- Car typeCoupé
- Chassis number6280
- Engine numberCT66761ME
- Reference numberFJ1688
- Interior colourBlack
- Interior typeLeather
- Number of doors2
- Number of seats2
- Exterior colourBlack
- Fuel typePetrol
Morgan’s classic sports cars represent the quintessential British motoring experience. Distinctively produced and specially crafted, Morgans have, for many decades, rightfully endeared themselves to a loyal following. Originally conceived as charming and easily maintained sporting cars, Morgans evolved to deliver impressive performance coupled with a modest price tag, making the range of Morgan cars suitable for widely varied clientele. Originally updating the much needed 4/4 series in 1950, the Plus 4 was substantially updated including a newly strengthened chassis, 4” longer wheelbase, front disc brakes, and, introduced in 1962, a powerful 105 hp Triumph TR4A powerplant. All this ensured that the Plus 4 was to be a very sporting offering throughout nearly two decades of production.
Although the vast majority of the cars Morgan built were roadsters, they were available as either two or four seat roadsters, as well as a drophead. The Drophead featured full doors to replace the cutaway roadster doors, rigid side curtains, a more luxuriously trimmed interior, and a thicker insulated top, all of which offered more weather protection and refinement, albeit at a higher price. Despite being in production for 18 years, a mere 450 Dropheads were built, making them among the more rarely seen models, particularly as restored examples.
This Morgan Plus 4 Drophead was manufactured in 1966, relatively late in the production run. Benefiting from the TR4A powerplant and front disc brakes, this car spent almost its entire life in California, retained by the same Southern California owner from 1970 to 2008, during which time it was registered on black plates ULP 662. During the last ten years or so of his ownership, the long-term California owner commissioned considerable mechanical work, including rebuilding the engine with new pistons, liners, bearings, new camshaft, new valves, a rebuilt head, and rebuilt carburetors. The radiator was recored, an overflow bottle for coolant recovery added, and a new clutch and pressure plate fitted. The flywheel was resurfaced, a new steering box fitted, and the brakes rebuilt including the calipers, wheel cylinders, and rotors, During this time, dual master cylinders were also fitted. The suspension was also rebuilt as required, including kingpins, bushings, shocks, and springs. New Dayton wheels with stainless steel rims were fitted and the chrome renewed as well.
In 2008, the next owner, a resident of Seattle, purchased the car and set about completing the cosmetic aspects of the restoration. New paint was applied and a new black interior installed. The wood for the dash and door caps were refinished, and the speedometer was rebuilt. Completing the restoration, a new windscreen was installed, as well as a new starter. As with any restoration, a great deal of time was spent chasing fuel line leaks, electrical issues, inoperative choke, and other seemingly small items that become important to a comprehensively sorted restoration. The engine was resealed in 2009, and new rod and main bearings fitted, along with a new fuel pump and alternator. The car was then sold to a Southern California owner and long-term customer of Fantasy Junction who enjoyed the car until consigning it with Fantasy Junction in 2015. At that time, the former owner had the car generally serviced, added electronic ignition, the valves were adjustmed, and a new water pump installed. The current owner, also a resident of California, purchased the car directly from Fantasy Junction and has enjoyed the car moderately, putting just over 1000 miles on it during his ownership. Service invoices from Vintage Auto Service, Oakland, Ca. show new Pirelli Cinturato 165HR15 tires and inner tubes installed in 2015 as well as a 2017 tune up, carb adjustments, linkage adjustments, new spark plugs, ignition and rotor, oil change and chassis lube. In 2018 the car was serviced again by Vintage Auto Service including a carb adjustment, new spark plugs, timing and fuel mixture adjustment.
Today the car makes a strong visual impression, with nice quality paint that retains good gloss and coverage with some areas beginning to mellow. There are very few signs of aging in the paint, however, the paint work and body prep appears to have been done to very good standards. The chrome is generally very good throughout, including the bumpers and wheels. There is light pitting on the side spears and on the fuel cap, notable upon closer examination. The glass and lights are in excellent condition. The black canvas roof is older but appears to have seen only minimal use and latches tightly in position against the windshield header, showing good stitching and a clear rear plastic window. Side curtain frames are easily removable and nicely chromed. The overall cosmetic impression of the car is very satisfying particularly in the gloss black finish, which combines elegance and sporting charm accented over the black wall tires and wire wheels. As a thoughtful accessory, a third brake light has been cleverly added to the spare tire strap mount so as to not disturb the otherwise stock body lines.
The interior presentation is consistent with the exterior with very nicely fitted black leather applied to the seating cushions. Though now showing some softening, the visual effect is relaxed and still conforming to the body when seated. The wood dashboard and door cap trim are both in excellent condition. The dashboard, instruments, and switches have a very handsome finish overall with excellent lenses and dial faces, accented by a wood-rimmed Nardi steering wheel. The floor is finished with rubber mats that show only mild use.
Opening the traditional center hinged hood, a delightful blend of finishes and details are revealed on each unique engine side. The engine has been properly detailed and cared for including attention to plated cosmetics. Various mechanical components are very clean throughout though the firewall and some of the lower frame areas are not as efficiently detailed. The underside of the car is clean and nicely maintained though not to show standards. Portions of the wood floor can be seen and appear in excellent condition. All components appear to be in sound condition with evidence supporting recent replacement of suspension and brake components as noted during the restoration.
Entering the car, one immediately appreciates the 4” longer wheelbase, offering even larger occupants greater ease settling behind the wheel. A charming vintage starting procedure allows the car to easily kick over, gradually warming into a smooth idle. With the top down, visibility and confidence are wonderful as the car pulls away. The gears are easily engaged and the clutch works smoothly through all gears. Brakes are consistent with expectations of the period, certainly aided by the lightness of the car and the front discs. Even at slow speeds, the steering is positive and specific, urging smile after smile in each corner. The car tracks well on the road, with good manners exhibiting generally predictable behaviors one might expect from a sporting and delightful steed of this era. With the top down and suitable driving gear, this Morgan is a wonderful candidate for vintage events, or for adventurous couples eschewing the turgid highway for the more charming side roads dappling across the country. The car comes with detailed and chronologically ordered service records back to 1985, and original instruction manual, as well as a reprinted instruction manual.
This is an excellent opportunity to acquire a handsomely finished and rare Drophead Morgan Plus 4. As a late production example outfitted with the Triumph TR4 engine and front disc brakes, this Plus 4 further benefits from extensive restoration work and long-term California ownership. Whether battling the sunny roadways of the Pacific Coast Highway or adventuring the foggy hamlets of hidden New England, the vintage Morgan driving experience is sure to delight anyone wishing to spiritedly motor back to a simpler time.