UPRATED TO SUPER SPORTS SPECIFICATION AS PART OF A SIX-FIGURE RESTORATION COMMISSIONED BY THE VOUGHT FAMILY OF VOUGHT CORSAIR FAME (HENCE THE COLOUR SCHEME)
What an amazing company Morgan are. Ever since they cocked a snook at Sir John Harvey-Jones' view of their manufacturing processes they have gone from strength to strength, and these days build a unique and highly desirable array of both modern and classic-style models. Fans of the latter can be found in all corners of the world and, just as there is a healthy demand for brand new versions, there remains a thriving market for secondhand examples, not least of the Plus 4.
First seen in 1950, it was a larger and more powerful derivative of the company's 4/4 and has remained in production on and off for 60 years now. Up until 1969 it was powered by the four cylinder engines found in the Triumph TR range, which were mated to a four-speed manual gearbox with well-spaced ratios. The two-seater steel body was mounted on a variant of Morgan's familiar Z section chassis, underslung at the rear. Suspension was independent by sliding pillars and coil springs at the front and a live axle on semi-elliptic springs at the rear. Braking was by drums all round and steering by a Burman cam and sector system. As tested by John Bolster, the 100bhp 1991cc Triumph-engined Plus Four would accelerate to 60mph in 9.6 seconds and on to a top speed of a whisker under 105mph.
One of Morgan's most memorable motorsport successes has been the class win in the 1962 Le Mans 24 Hour race achieved by Chris Lawrence and Richard Shepherd-Barron in a Plus 4, and it was their car, 'TOK 258', that inspired the limited run of 101 Plus 4 Super Sports. These were essentially lightweight (ie alloy panelled) Plus 4s with knock-on wire wheels, disc brakes and an oil cooler to go with their 120bhp 2138cc Lawrence-tuned engines.
This rare, early High-Line Plus 4 (only very few of the original Super Sports were High-Line with cream gauges) left the factory bound for the USA on November 2, 1960, and was delivered to Fergus Fine Cars Inc. with the chassis number 4669 and engine number TS79545. It was imported and registered using a Fergus import tag number 22831 as its 'identification number' (apparently this occasionally occurred to conceal the identity of the purchaser).
The Morgan became the property of the Chance M Vought family. Vought (February 26, 1890 - July 25, 1930) was an American aviation pioneer and engineer, and the founder of the Lewis and Vought Corporation with Birdseye Lewis (previously the chief engineer of the Wright Brothers). For his lifelong contribution to aviation, he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1989. Before his death in 1930, Vought realised his boyhood dream of founding a company that reflected his strict creative discipline and he won the respect of fellow aviators and the American people. By 1928 the company had grown from a dozen men using a damp, cold loft floor to the second largest producer of military airplanes in the country.
Some 9,074 miles ago, the matching numbers Morgan was treated to a total restoration to Super Sports specification, courtesy of a pair of award winning Stateside Morgan specialists - Morgan Motors of New England (mechanicals) and Body Unlimited (bodywork and paint). The new parts included a factory supplied chassis and body tub, including ash frame. The engine specification includes: twin 45DCOE Weber carburettors; jet coated headers; full stainless steel exhaust including four branch manifold; correct Super Sports cooling system with brass header tank; alloy finned sump; oil cooler and polished alloy rocker cover. All Super Sport engine internals have been fully overhauled and balanced.
This stunning looking car is finished in the livery of the famous Vought Corsair fighter plane - Navy Blue with Yellow accents (by coincidence, the Duxford museum houses the exact aircraft on which the colour scheme was modelled). The interior is trimmed in contrasting Blue hide and the car comes with both hood and tonneau in mohair. Other items of specification include: new Continental tyres on 60 spoke competition wire wheels; a full windscreen plus Brooklands aeroscreens; Amber Lucas driving lamps; Pertronix electronic ignition; stainless steel bonnet prop and scuttle mirror; Tri-bar headlamps; Heuer rally timers and restored early cream instruments.
Following the restoration, the Morgan was serviced by the New England dealer and there is a detailed bill for $9,574 for the 120 hours spent prior to the vendor purchasing the car; since when it has covered just 212 miles. This stunning classic comes complete with tax, MOT into June 2012, UK registration certificate, original US title document, correspondence from the dealer and Morgan Motor Company, and some history on Chance M Vought.