The prototype Morgan three-wheeler was built in 1908-09 in the school workshops at Malvern College. H. F. S. Morgan, with the help of Mr. Stephenson-Peach, the engineering master, produced a design that in layout remained in production until 1950, while the independent front suspension is, in essence, still in use on current models. Production started in 1910, the car having a tubular chassis frame and sliding-pillar front suspension. Power was provided by an 1,100cc air-cooled vee-twin JAP engine, which lived out in the open at the front of the car. Transmission was via dog clutches and chain drive.
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The successful formula was maintained after World War One with vee-twin power units, mainly by JAP or Blackburne which were either air or water-cooled. A refinement of the theme came in 1933 with the option of a four cylinder Ford 8 engine.
The 4/4, the first four wheeled Morgan, appeared in 1936 with an 1,122cc overhead inlet/side exhaust Coventry Climax four. The 1.3 litre ohv Standard engine had been introduced just prior to the war and this remained until 1950, when the 2,088cc wet-liner Standard Vanguard engine was fitted, though the Plus Four of 1955 used the livelier TR engine. A year later the Series 2 4/4 appeared, using the well-proven sv 1,172cc Ford engine which had powered the three wheelers until their demise.
This was followed by Dagenham's ohv 105E engine; the later Series V 4/4 used the 1,498cc Ford power unit. By contrast, the Plus Four, after a succession of TR engines, ceased production in 1969. It was that year which saw the appearance of the Plus Eight, fitted with the 3.5 litre V8 developed by Rover, this being the other current model.