Edited and compiled by Peter Garnier. 80 pp. 11 1/2 in. x 8 1/2 in. (IPC Transport Press Ltd., Dorset House, Stamford Street, London, SE1 9LU. £1.50.)
The amount published of late about Morgan, Aston Martin and Frazer Nash cars has been quite prolific. No harm in that, for these makes are among those of which one cannot have too much of history, nostalgia and recollection. This latest publication, a softcover book containing some advertising, in the IPC series, covers the sporting Morgans from the earliest three-wheelers to the Rover 3500-powered Plus Eight. It is full of pleasing illustrations from all these periods, some in full colour, and in spite of its title, the Family Morgan tricar has crept in. I think Editor Garnier must have enjoyed compiling this one, because he has owned three Morgan three-wheelers in his time, the first, which was a 1932 Super Sports-JAP bought in 1936 for £37 10s, being depicted on Barton Steep during the 1939 Land’s End Trial on the inside front cover, while a later picture shows another of Garnier’s Morgans, a 1935 Super Sports-Matchless bought new for £130 and taxed for a year for £4.
Because the book consists of reprints front the Motor Cycle and Autocar some of us recognise immediately some of the text and pictures. But it is so nice to have them selected for us and bound together, all for a modest 150p. Reading the text, one comes to appreciate that some of the Motor Cycle writers were quite outspoken for their day. For instance, the road-test report on a 1930 Family Morgan (almost exactly the same as my 1927 model) contains these words: “The question of brakes is a ticklish one. If they are weak the owner complains bitterly, and if they are too powerful he may get into trouble through over-eager application. The expert can be given powerful brakes, because he knows how to use them but the novice must be catered for. Those of the Family Morgan were adequate, and no more …” A nice case of being able to “read between the lines”; and the man told his readers that unless greased the clutch was on the harsh side.
To re-read “Ubique” writing in 1929 about his Aero Morgan or “Torrens” in 1939 about driving a 990 c.c. “rorty, naughty, delightful” Super-Sports Morgan for 600 miles, makes one realise what we miss, in the 1970s. The Girling brakes of the latter were “very good indeed” and it went from 20 to 50 m.p.h. in top gear in just over 13s. The Aero took the 1 in 7 Edge Hill in top at speeds too fast for the comers, for which it had to be slowed, and the brakes would just stop it on such a gradient. All three of these Moggys had frontwheel brakes, by the way.
The book covers the four-wheelers just as thoroughly, there is a chapter on care of the 1927 Aero Morgan, and road-test reprints of the four-wheelers, from 1936 and 1938 4/4s to the post-war models. There is a picture of Peter Garnier in a 1965 Super Sports on the occasion, I think, when he was “arrested” for inadvertently venturing onto the motor-banned Malvern Beacons and the many cut-away drawings, etc. make this book very good value indeed, although, of course, there is much more Morgan archival material in the IPC files. But with Grenville’s 50p “Vintage Years of the Morgan Three-Wheeler” and this new publication it is possible to have very complete coverage of this unique and much-loved make for a mere two-quid.—W.B.
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