SUBJECT: Morgan 4/4 Series II [Ref: 08111G]
MATERIALS: Die cast and resin
APPROXIMATE DIMENSIONS: model 210 mm L X 80 mm W X 60mm H; plus original box
APPROXIMATE YEAR OF MANUFACTURE: 2000?
Weight: Not known
The above item has entered the archive and the editors feel that its quality and importance is worthy of review. This model’s design content is significant and they additionally provide benchmarking and assist the study of comparative aesthetics.
Some model reviews include technical detail of the original model. Here the editors concentrate on the models inherent qualities and their contribution to coachwork / aesthetic analysis . A brief specification of this model is included because it may help engineers / designers understand both the enduring appeal of the model but also its sustainability.All models reviewed are considered to have direct or indirect links with Lotus through competition and/or aesthetics.
In this instance subscribers might like to cross reference this piece with our major article comparing Morgan and Lotus as specialist sports car manufacturers.
AN AESTHETIC APPRECIATION OF MORGAN 4/4
Manwaing in “Automobiles” describes the Morgan as:-
“Traditional “sports car” appearance .Radiator grill of thin bars; exposed headlamps and separate front and rear wings. Cut away cockpit sides; spare wheel recessed into rear panel which follows line of rear wings ……..Perforated disc wheels standard or wire wheels with “knock-off” hub-caps”…..bonnet line noticeably lower and has no louvers on top , only eight lourves on each side. Shallow flat windscreen”
“traditionally styled bodywork with an upright radiator grill , narrow box like body with cutaway doors , separate flared front wings joined by running boards and fold flat windscreen………….slightly revised body styling was used as on the +4 and aerodynamic penetration is much better than it looked……….” And simply summed up as:-
“A good cheap, economical sports car”
The Morgan 4/4 is a model that is significant in the relationship of aesthetics and commercial success .It embraces deep emotions and comprehension of what the sports car should be and how it ought to look. Traditionalism is more than a conservatism or nostalgia there are important aspects of human comprehension and what appropriate forms for functions are.
Many critics have suggested the inspiration for the body shape. The editors believe its traditional canon has evolved in part from the determinants of working in timber and metal forming over the chassis base. The BMW 328 lines might be seen in the 4/4.It is perhaps important to look at other pre-war models particularly the MG T series and Riley’s. The early MG T models were successful not just for performance but the looked right. When updated they lost sales if they gained in performance.
The enduring nature, adaptability, economy and sustainability of the Morgan canon ought to be understood by automobile designers. The longevity of their design is present in the current model range including the 4-4, Plus4 and Plus Eight.
In order to help comprehend form and function of the 4/4 the following specification might be useful.
Engine: Ford 1172 cc side valve
Maximum speed: 75 mph
Track front and rear: 3’-11”
Tyre size: 5.00 x 16
Weight 13 cwt.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MODEL
First impressions of the Morgan 4/4 are excellent. It captivates primarily because of the traditional design canon that has been so enduring. The Morgan 4/4 combines a magnetic tactile quality with a real authenticity that real enthusiasts will love and students of aesthetics and coach building can readily explore. This piece radiates a soul and communicates the true essence of the original particularly because of the bright BRG enamel finish.
This model invites being held, examined from all angles and savoured. It rewards.
It is made from several materials and these all coexist and are made to consistent scale. As a consequence the model is thoroughly integrated all components seem correctly scaled and heterogeneous. The open cockpit and particularly the steering wheel grab immediate attention.
Evident quality – achieved through combination of metal and resin parts and empathy with subject. . The model captures the era. Quality of the casting is mainly excellent
- “Presence/ ambience” and tactile quality and weight.
- Sits correctly and captures original stance and proportion
- Comparative value of other cars in series
- Overall presentation.
- Model could be presented in various forms including with opening doors, bonnet etc.
- Nice transfer / Morgan marque script badge to bonnet /boot panel
- Cockpit of open kind invites and draws owner
- Multitude of external body components associated with pre-war design present
- Wheels and tyres have simplicity and contribute to correct “feel”
As noted from remarks the editors found this an exciting, accurate and attractive model to own. There seems to be no obvious glaring faults. The editor’s only minor criticisms are that the number plates are far too modern and sadly detract [although this might easily be corrected by the modelling enthusiast] and that the exhaust pipe colour does not capture the original material although the run seems correct. The floor plan is “suggestive” or representational but might easily be made more accurate, however this does not distract from the overall quality and appearance. They can be forgiven and many enthusiastic model makers are capable of rectifying these small failings.
Special Features, Opening Components and Presentation Options
The Morgan is listed as possessing:-
- Authentic interior
- Detailed engine
- Opening bonnet
- Opening doors
- Some models in range also have removable hood
As noted the bonnet hinges open from a centre line like the original. Additionally both doors swing open. The engine is nicely detailed and worthy of display. In the editors estimation no additional visual drama or revealing constructional details are provided by display with opening features. However the opening components do offer a learning opportunity and understanding how form and function are resolved.
The Kyosho presentation case/box contains a painted picture background that acts like a diorama. It’s a traditional sense consistent with image / perception of the car.
SUPPORTING AND RELATED INFORMATION
Kyosho appear to have been in existence since the early 1960’s .There are a Japanese corporation based in Tokyo and are committed to making attractive , high quality scale models. Since 1992 they have offered a range of highly detailed quality die casts.
They produce a wide range in varying scales and some radio control pieces. The editor’s note that in the Kyosho range there are several Morgan in 1/18th scale. Including Plus 4 and Super Sports in road or competition specification. Models are available in a arrange of colours including red and silver. Some are available with hoods and wire wheels.
Additionally they retail a complementary marques of the period including the Triumph TR3A presented in racing trim.
The A&R piece is painted in BRG and forms part of “Early Issue” a sister car was available in racing cream/white.
Additionally there are versions of the Lotus Europa and Caterham Seven in 1/18th.
Kyosho are in competition with other die cast manufactures like Minichamps and Hotwheels.
This elevation confirms the distinctive pre-war canon that forms a flowing motion that is required to follow the relatively tall wheels and tyres through the running boards that link front to rear over a relatively long car determined by the bonnet. However the flowing curvature is balanced and counterpoised with strong straight lines, primarily the floor, bonnet, tonneau cover, the boot panel and windscreen frame.
Into which are blended complex curvatures and projections of the headlamps, door cutaways.
Noticeable in side elevation is the bonnet the opening portion form a triangular shape – apex forward and the louvers let into the sides. Also a strong distinguishing feature are the rear mounted part exposed spare wheel and bumpers/overiders front and rear.
Is highly symmetric- dominated by curved radiator grill and its vertical bars, headlamps set into wings, side / turn indicators and front bumper. Noticeable in this view are the relatively tall and narrow tyres. The windscreen although the full width type is slanted rearward and with its sides tapering slightly inwards does not look top heavy , cumbersome or over extend the body.
This is complementary with the whole design and conforms to a pre-war canon. Not fully exposed with the large slab petrol tank as some but invoking this look as result of rear “boot” panel and part sunk /recessed exposed rear wheel. Noticeable is the distribution of all the separate stop, turn and reflectors and how they are mounted far from the modern grouped and enclosed clusters.
The 4/4 has an attractive termination and rear end detail. Diametric to the front but all the more self-orientation as result. In rear view the windscreen and part of the steering wheel are just glimpsed above the tonneau cover. The rear number plate is set at a low level and has its own Lucas illumination lamp.
Plan and Underside
The plan view of a car is not often seen in photographs .Therefore it’s easy to overlook its contribution within the 3D construct and sculptural whole.
In plan the Morgan 4/4 forms an essential rectangle but with a scalloped front end as a result of the sculptured wings, headlamps, and radiator. [See dimensions as guide to proportion]. The 4/4 seems to retain parallel sides along its entire length but of course the bonnet tapers in a triangular shape apex forward and rounded as it merges into the radiator grill surround.
In plan view all the functions are self-evident and clearly visually articulated .The sports car canon beyond question with a functional division on the 4:3:2 of priorities and space I.e. engine, cockpit, storage/ fuel. The cockpit seems small. The windscreen, steering wheel and seats all appear very close to each other. Articulation is further reinforced by the separation of functions e.g. Headlamp bowls, “bonnet”, windscreen, exposed open cockpit, tonneau cover and exposed spare wheel at rear.
Seen from below the chassis floor plan is possibly over simplified and neither inspiring nor educational Vis chassis etc. Clearly evident is the engine sump, bell housing and gearbox and exhaust route. The “wooden” sheet material is only roughly suggested by graining in the moulding .However the rear axle and leaf springs are evident.
Wheels and tyres
These have nice fine detail. They are clean and sharp and well capture the construction and simplicity of the pressed originals. They are complemented by the chrome affect plane semi domed hubcaps. The tyre tread seems reasonably accurate for period and the tyres are squashy giving additional realism. The model seems to have the right ride height.
The model is given the standard exhaust layout .Note tuning options in period would have been more free flow. The exhaust can be traced from the manifold to the tail pipe and follows an easy run with ample fixing points under the car. The editors felt the grey resin affect was not quite correct and this seemed one of the few detractions to this otherwise excellent model.
External body and Trim
It’s a rewarding exercise to hold this model and rotate it through many angles in order to appreciate the 3D integration and assimilation of form and function.
Typical of a pre-war design there are lots of external fittings on the bodywork these are nicely handled originally chromed and include the chrome affect:-
- Headlamp surrounds, radiator hubcaps
- Bonnet release handles and door handles
- Running boards
- Windscreen and frame
- Bumpers and overiders
- Stop , indicator , side lights
- External fuel filler cap
- Windscreen mounted rear view mirror and wipers
This particular model has opening doors, engine bay and “bonnet”
The casting and painting of the body are flawless and the chrome affect trim against the painted body create much of the pre-war charm, Englishness and understatement.
The editors have commented on the consistency of the product and there appears to be very strict discipline throughout. Small details like the manufacturer’s badges are just about right i.e. the Morgan script on the rear “boot” panel.
Cockpit and Screen
Haynes observes of the Morgan 4/4 Series II:-
“The interior of the cockpit is quite well laid out though foot and elbow room is rather restricted by the wedge shaped body. The seating position is fixed and consists of individual seat cushions. And a shaped one piece fairly comfortable upright backrest running across the car. No rev counter is fitted which is a pity ……….All the instruments are carried in a central panel on the facia and are located in two circular dials at either end of the panel. The dial on the driver’s side consists of the speedometer, while the dial on the left is segmented into four and comprises oil pressure, fuel tank contents, and water temperature gauges and an ammeter. In between these two dials lie the switches and other controls”
Kyosho invoke this period detail. It’s nicely done. An attempt has been made to replicate grain across the facia .The main instruments mentioned by Haines are replicated and are only 5mm approximately in diameter. The viewer will be immediately impressed by “Brooklands” sprung steering wheel. Extreme delicacy of the rim ,spokes and boss are achieved .The close proximity of the steering wheel to driver is evident as the seat cushions extend under the wheel giving the close to chest driving position. The seats are spongy / sprung and this is nice touch again replicating comments about the original. Obviously many would not be aware of this unless the car is handled which it invites.
The gear change lever is quite complex and its operation can be traced through the cockpit into the engine bay to the Ford three speed gearbox.
Editors have seen models spoilt by over large windscreen frames possibly introduced as commercial compromises but this piece is perfect in the overall feeling of weight and size. When one considers just how slim the original frame and rubbers are then translate this to 118th the true care and skill can be appreciated. What could so easily and visibly detract from the whole experience has been executed with real refinement…… and it shows. The very fine rubber water seal at the base of the screen is delineated. Not only is the shape of the screen correct but the rake too and the plastic replicating the glass has what looks like the right degree of transparency. Along the frame edge it’s possible to detect the pop fasteners that would hold the hood in place. The wiper blades are just about correct .This Kyosho Morgan 4/4 goes a long way to creating the compactness and driving impression as it’s easy to look from the cockpit along the tapering bonnet and image the site lines along the road ahead.
Good visibility is evident There are no side screens on this model and a hood would compromise looks and visibility. The tonneau has a fabric “feel” and natural creases are provided in the moulding creating considerable realism.
Engine and boot detail
The bonnet is hinged centrally permitting the engine bay to be seen clearly from near/off sides. It’s possible just to see the foot pedals in the foot wells and detect their operation through the bulwark into the engine bay. The gear linkage as noted is evident as are the dynamo, coil, fuel pump, carburettor [single] plus the standard exhaust manifold. Although not over detailed the ford side valve engine can be detected. Additional other small details are nice touches like the engine mounts, radiator and its offset filler.
There is no boot as such on the 4/4.The spare wheel lays part recessed in the rear “boot” panel .The large 1/18th scale and robust base construction allows customisation and further detailing [ wiring , plumbing ,venting , hydraulic lines could be introduced .]
The editors consider the Kyosho is an extremely evocative piece. Its evident quality as measured through weight, attention to detail and immediate visual impact chime.
As a model it has tactile qualities that neither photographs nor drawings can replicate.
It immediately captivates particularly as result of the deep lustrous polished BRG body it radiates and importantly communicates the essence and authenticity of the original, invites ownership, benefits from detailed examination and is inspirational.
The Morgan 4/4 is undeniably an attractive piece; evocative and well executed. Attention to detail is excellent and this creates realism.
As a piece its possibly a little too expensive .This however may be due to the limited demand .It nice to have this subject and the era represented so this must be factored in .There would be loss and gap if it was not present.
The editors believe the Morgan 4/4 has a particular educational value for various designers. They ought to give it careful analysis. In this instance it also provides lessons relating to human psychology, recognition and interpretation of form and function as expressed through a sports car.
This Morgan 4/4 worthy of detailed examination. Although reasonably well detailed throughout there is potential of adding extra value through detailing and customisation / personalisation of their own car or of a specific model they wish to represent. The 1/18thscale lends itself to this. However it’s acknowledged at the price there may be disincentive towards this and some collectors may prefer to retain originality; others might like to purchase second hand and possibly convert to the appearance of the famous Le Mans car [Reg.No TOK 258]
Purpose and Function of Scale Models.
They permit the following with relative ease.
- Affordable and collectable in relative volume
- Easily and attractively stored or displayed
- Provide near infinite groupings by theme or function etc. including benchmarking and peer comparison
- Relative scale permits realism and reliable body shape contour
- The evolution of the marque to be studied and traced
- Value to artist and draftsmen / designers – opportunity for tactile analysis of form and function.
- Value to students of coachwork design
- General value to the automobile enthusiast
- They provide inspiration to child and adult increasing their appreciation of design.
- They offer meaningful learning opportunities integrating design construction, attention to detail, patience and timetabling.
- They are examples of a branch of design and model engineering worthy of study in their own right.
The Proposed CCM&EC
The proposed museum believes that commercial considerations are both necessary and complementary with its educational objectives.
For these reasons our Business Plan includes provision for promoting products and services which share Chapman’s ideals of mechanical efficiency and sustainability. In addition we propose merchandising that explain and interprets the social and cultural context of Chapman’s designs in period. It’s suggested there will be catalogue for on line purchasing.
In particular it’s intended to have a range of scale models and books/publications supporting model making / detailing for various age groups ranging in complexity and price. These will be consistent/ complementary with exhibitions and permanent displays. Furthermore they might serve to encourage students and visitors to examine exhibits for minute detail that they can incorporate in the construction/ customisation of their models. There are many models and manufactures to choose from and the proposed museum can retail collector’s items alongside contemporary subjects
Guide To Used Sports Cars.Haynes.Haynes.