We’ve put together this Morgan 4/4 timeline to help deconfuse the beloved model that was sadly discontinued in 2019.
The 4-4 was the original four-wheeled Morgan. That’s what one of the 4s was for, and the other was for the number of cylinders in its engine. The basic structure was a steel chassis with ash frame, on top of a clever cross-frame front coil suspension and leaf rear. Production models began with a Coventry Climax engine with 34bhp, although the very first prototype actually had a Ford 8 engine. Fords engines would later become a defining feature of the later 4/4, after the name changed from 4-4 to 4/4. While the higher performance Plus 4 and even later Plus 8 models charged ahead, the 4/4 remained the entry point for Morgan ownership right up until it was discontinued last year. Other than a big styling change in 1955, it might seem like little has changed over the years, but actually there has is a big list. We’ve compiled some of the highlights into a timeline below.
December 1935 – HFS Morgan premiers first ever 4-4 model in London-Exeter trial
1936 – First cars delivered to customers. Available as roadster, drop-head coupe, open-topped four seater, or rolling chassis for specialist coachwork.
1938 – Moss gearbox replaces Meadows of Wolverhampton unit, but retains unusual shift pattern.
1939 – 1098cc engine becomes an option to get into sub-1100cc racing classification. Standard Special 1267cc, 38.8bhp engine also becomes an option. Le Mans and TT replicas become available from the factory, featuring pared back fairing and optional performance upgrades.
1945 – Now named 4/4. All coupes now fitted with Standard Special engine.
1949 – Brake drums increase from eight inches to nine inches in diameter.
1950 – 4/4 Discontinued in favour of Plus 4.
1955 – 4/4 returns as Series II. Powered by a 1172cc Ford engine with a three-speed gearbox, it inherits new Peter Morgan styling only with lower set bonnet than Plus 4. Rear suspension changes from trunnion tube to shackle fixed.
1956 – Fold flat windscreen no longer available across the Morgan range.
1957 – Competition model increases power from 36bhp to 40bhp.
1960 – Series III: features wider body but wings narrower by same amount, latest 15” wheels, and the 39bhp 105E Ford Anglia engine with a four-speed gearbox.
1961 – Series IV: latest 109E engine now offers 62bhp. There are also new 11” disc brakes at the front and larger 9” drums at the rear, and a little Morgan decal is added to the rear top three-quarter.
1963 – Series V: now the 116E engine, available in standard 65bhp or competition 83.5bhp specifications. Rev counter becomes standard.
1966 – Low ‘super sports’ body style is adopted across all two-seater models.
1968 – Lotus Cortina gearbox is fitted to the last Series V models and features gearshift further back, out from underneath dashboard.
– 4/4 1600 introduced, with Ford’s new Crossflow unit in 74bhp or competition 95bhp specifications. Four-seater body available again. Few detail changes including most famously Land Rover door handles.
1971 – Fluted rear lights introduced. Interior is now colour-coded, features soft-padded dashboard, and bench seat is discontinued in preference to individual buckets. Cable-operated clutch and dual-circuit brakes also introduced.
1977 – Aluminium bumpers replace chrome. Three windscreen wipers replace two. Front and rear quarter panels now become aluminium as standard (having been optional from 1976).
1981 – 4/4 1600 T/C features Fiat Twin Cam engine with 97bhp and 5-speed gearbox, although Ford Crossflow remains in production until CVH replaces it in 1982.
1984 – Five-speed gearbox becomes standard for all Morgans.
1985 – Wider wings from Plus 4 now adopted by 4/4.
1986 – Better corrosion protection: body panels now painted individually, chassis powder coated, galvanised as an option, while bulkheads, valences, brackets and other small fittings are given an epoxy powder coating.
1987 – Nuts, bolts, and other fixtures are now zinc plated and passivated.
1993 – 4/4 1800 now fitted with Ford’s latest Zetec engine, offering 114bhp. Ford five-speed gearbox also features.
1995 – Galvanised chassis now standard.
1997 – Airbags and anti-submarining seats, extended doors and heated windscreen added to standard equipment.
1998 – Front bulkhead and valences made from stronger stainless steel. Front wings now aluminium.
2006 – 1798cc Ford Duratec engine replaced Zetec, ups power to 125bhp. Brings exhaust back to the right hand side for first time since 1800 T/C.
2009 – Ford Sigma 1595cc unit fitted, down to 110bhp.
2012 – Mazda six-speed gearbox fitted to four-cylinder models.
2016 – 80th Anniversary model is just one of many special editions and shows off some of the lavish interior options and accessories becoming increasingly available on Morgan models.
2019 – 4/4 discontinued.
Don’t forget to check out our Morgan 4/4 buyer’s guide.