A Morgan Memory

This year being the 75th Anniversary of the Morgan, all manner of memories of the car that started life as a three-wheeler are being printed. For instance, Peter Garnier, writing of the Morgans he has owned and enjoyed, in another magazine, recalled the fearsome Moggy devised by the late Jack Granville Grenfell with two Scott two-stroke motorcycle engines installed therein, and he also referred to a Morgan in which someone had squeezed two three-in-line Scott engines.

That may well have been, but it does seem time to recall the Scott-engined Morgan 4/4 I drove, back in 1945, to allay any confusion. That was the year when, the war won, basic petrol rations returned, and life was very gradually getting back to something less grim than had been the case for the duration of the battle. Thus encouraged, that dedicated enthusiast A. F. Rivers-Fletcher decided that no time must be lost in having a proper motoring gathering, which he ably organised at Cockfosters, in North London. It wasn’t a competitive event, you understand, only a series of “demonstration runs” round a restricted 5/16-mile circular course. But as some of the demonstrators opened things up the sounds and scents were marvellous, after the denial of the long years of war. The event was opened by Earl Howe in his Type 57 Bugatti coupe, John Bolster brought “Bloody Mary” in his Silver Ghost Rolls-Royce farm-lorry, Tony Rolt ran the Horsfall ERA, and so on. . . .

This was something I had to see, but I was still stationed in Harrogate, performing the remnants of my war-time duties with MAP (by then the MoS), from where, and in other places, I edited MOTOR SPORT by remote means all through the period of hostilities. What has this got to do with a Scott-powered Morgan? Well, that was the car I borrowed for the journey from Yorkshire to the Metropolis, in preference to my 1934 A7. Being not far from Shipley it was easy to collect it from the co-operative Scott Chief Engineer Mr Cull. I had had a run round the Saltair houses in it previously and although I was reminded that it had spent the war as a works-hack, Mr Cull said I could have it for the trip if I was prepared to chance it.

Which was how I came to do over 500 miles in this unusual three-cylinder, two-stroke Morgan. The experience was virtually trouble-free, although I recall that the plugs objected to the London traffic they had probably never before experienced and “softer” C14s had to be substituted. The 3SM Scott engine, coupled to a normal 4/4 gearbox, developed over 40 bhp at 4,000 rpm, using an SU carburetter, its 78 x 78 mm cylinders giving it a capacity of 1,108 cc. My wife and I drove back to Harrogate on the evening after the rally, averaging 48½ mph up the narrow A1 (or old “Great North Road”), using “Pool” fuel (remember?) at the rate of 23.5 mpg, although easier running had given about 27 mpg. Cruising at an indicated 70 mph produced no problems, no water was added to the radiator, and 50 mph came up from rest in roughly 17 sec. As the car survived the war, I wonder what happened to it? — W.B.