"More Morgan —A Pictorial History of the Morgan Sports Car"

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“More Morgan —A Pictorial History of the Morgan Sports Car” by Gregory Houston Bowden. 223 pp. 9 3/4 in. 6 1/2 in. (Wilton House Gentry Ltd., Wilton House, Hobart Place, London, SW1. £5.95.)

Motor Racing Publications has commenced the practice of publishing pictorial history books about makes of cars to which it has previously given thc full treatment. Now Wilton House Gentry has followed suit, following a complete Morgan history with this book of pictures of Morgans, from the odd skeleton JAP-engined affair raced at Brooklands in 1913 by E. B. Ware, to modern competition Morgan fourwheelers. For those of us who cannot have too much of Morgans this book is acceptable, for those who can afford it. It certainly provides a very varied Morgan-cocktail. Some of the pictures have been published previously, others are new to me. Some are clear, others muddy. But the selection is broad, although insufficient to really appease the appetite of those who truly love Morgans. And they are lovable, like their owners. Where-else but at a Morgan race-meeting would you see engines lifted bodily from a chassis for attention, or hear one person ‘saying quite seriously to another, and no offence taken, “I do believe you are retarded” ?

Returning to my criticism that there is insufficient in this book to justify its price, the section on “Some Early Racers” contains but four photographs and a cartoon, and two of the photos are of the same car, Ware’s aforesaid pre-war 3-wheeler. The same proportions are used for the chapter titled “From The Family Album”, but this is more excusable as these are rare pictures, especially the photograph of H. F. S. Morgan taken in 1887. Some of the shots seem to have been lifted from the excellent Morgan 3-Wheeler Club Journal, especially a selection of engines, from KMC Blackburne to Matchless MX2. But colour is as welcome as it seems unexpected in this book, and a picture in this form of a 1928 Standard-model seen in Ireland in 1975 might have been taken in the former year, had colour-film been in general use then.

Generally, this book is good “browsing material”, with Morgan body details, Darmont Mogs., pages from ancient Morgan catalogues and advertisements, pictures of the Malvern Link factory in the 1920s, unusual bodies on 3-wheeler Morgans including a coupe, pictures captured from odd angles (the “tailpiece”-view of a 1925 Aero Morgan is of F. L. M. Harris of The Light Car & Cyclecar testing the car, but is not captioned as such), all manner of competition scenes with some “Moggies” on two wheels, period pies., cartoons, etc., in fine confusion. I think the “clever” chapter headings would have been better omitted in many instances and the pictures grouped under more general, or chronological, headings.

The 3-wheelers, quite rightly, occupy more than half the book. Then we get the 414s, Plus Fours and Plus Eights, starting with the prototype 4/4 photographed at Brooklands in 1935. Many of the pictures in this section are muzzy, but there is again some colour, and a few intruding tricars. Rarity has its place— Plus Four Plus, a 4/4 with special body by the late J. G. Granville Grenfell (the 3-wheeler with two Scott engines which he built is also depicted), an estate-bodied Series-1 4/4, and a 4/4 coupe, etc. Those who never tire of looking at pictures of Morgans will welcome this book. I like the daring Morgan ad. which forms the picture on the front of the dustjacket, of a girl in a brief sunsuit with her 4/4, and the fine colour-print of the author and Peter Morgan outside the Morgan factory, which is on the back of the dust-jacket. If the contents of the book had been reproduced to the same standard, it would justify its price.

W.B.

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