1931 Morgan Aero Super Sports / A Popular Collector Car

Featured in this article is a 1931 Morgan Three-Wheeler known as the Morgan Aero Super Sports.

1931 morgan three wheeler

1931 Morgan Three Wheeler

The Morgan Motor Company made a name for themselves on an icon, the Morgan Three-Wheeler. Harry Morgan, the company founder and a very skilled engineer, developed one of the most successful lightweight cars of the early days of automobiles.

What became known as the "Cyclecar" was the fitting of a powerful motorcycle engine and a simple transmission into a light-weight chassis and body. It's true that there were more than one manufacturer of Cyclecars however the Morgan Motor Company was the most successful. The Morgan Runabout was the first Morgan Cyclecar and it was a popular vehicle. Harry Morgan is often referred to as the man who first introduced motoring for the masses, similar in some ways to Henry Ford's reputation in America.

morgan three wheeler

Another front view of the 31 Morgan Super Sports

Morgan Cyclecars were built at the original Morgan factory in Malvern Link.  The Morgan Cyclecar stood out with it's reputation as being the best engineered and most reliable vehicle in it's class. The car was so successful and well built that it didn't take long for competitors to try to replicate it.

The Morgan Cyclecar transmission had two speeds but no reverse. To get the vehicle to go backwards required one or both of two things. The help of gravity and possibly a push by the driver. Engines were usually J.A.P. V-twins.

morgan aero 1931

The beetle back design of the 31 Morgan Aero Super Sports

J.A.P. Engines

Two engines stand out from the many produced by J.A.P. because of their contribution to motoring in general and motorcycling in particular. The first is the V-Twin which was manufactured in various sizes and power beginning in 1905. The V-twin was used in their own motorcycles from 1906.

The main advantages of the J.A.P. V-twin were their excellent power to weight ratio and reliability. This made them ideal for the Cyclecar.

Early Cyclecar Automobile Competition

Within only a few weeks of its launch at the Olympia motorcycle show in London in November 1910, the Morgan Motor Company entered the Runabout in the MCC London to Exeter Trial. This competition led to a Gold Medal. This was the first of many such victories in several areas of motor sport such as reliability trials, plus racing and record-breaking particularly at the Brooklands Autodrome.

The Runabout's superior power-to-weight ratio enabled  Morgan’s three-wheeled cyclecar to outperform many larger engined four wheeler.

In a very short period of time before the outbreak of World War One,  Morgan' s Runabout had won ten British and World Records for various classes of Cyclecars. In addition to this, Morgan won 24 Gold Medals in major reliability trials and had achieved many victories in racing competition.

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The Morgan Three Wheeler Limited Edition "Super Dry"

A 2007 Morgan Aero 8 Roadster

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The Powerful 1965 Sunbeam Tiger

An excellent book to explore the Morgan Three Wheelers in greater detain is...Morgan Road Test Book: Morgan 3-wheeler Gold Portfolio 1910-1952 by author R.M. Clarke.

morgan aero super sports three wheeler

Morgan Aero Super Sports

 The Morgan Super Sports

The Super Sports was in fact the successor to the Aero model.

In 1927 the Super Sports Aero (or Super Aero ) was introduced. It was derived from racing cars and  intended for competition. Contrary to the "sweeping tail" Aero models, the Super Sports Aero came with a beetle back rear end. It was fitted with a JAP engine. The dimensions had changed , as it was 2 1/2inch lower and 6 inch wider than an Aero.

In 1931 a new model was added to the range: the Sports Family. Like the Super Sports, this used the "M-type chassis" and it came  with a 1096cc JAP engine. It was a 4-seater model for the families who wanted to be carried in relatively cheap but in a sporting fashion.

31 morgan super sports

Interior and dashboard on the 31 Morgan Super Sports

Built from 1927-1939.

In 1927 Morgan the  Aero with a tuned engine and modified bodywork, it was called a "Super Sports Aero" or "Super Sports" or "Aero Super Sports" . Around 1932 a  three  speed model was introduced. In 1933-35 engines changed from J.A.P. to Matchless MX, MX2 and MX4 and body style from Beetleback to Barrelback.

Morgan came out with their first four wheel car in 1936. This was the Morgan 4-4 Series 1 with a four cylinder engine.

Morgan Super Sports Collector Cars

The most popular Morgan Three-Wheeler Super Sports are the early ones with the "beetle back" tail. The Morgan Three-Wheeler's are generally thought to be the best of the class.

Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnlone)

More info

2013 Morgan 3 Wheeler Limited Edition Superdry

The Morgan Motor Company

The Morgan Motor Company was established in Britain in 1910 by Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan. The company built it’s early reputation with their three wheeled vehicles.  Morgan began his career as a railway apprentice, but in 1906, and with the encouragement of his clergyman father, opened a garage in Malvern Link.

morgan superdry

2013 Morgan 3 Wheel Superdry

After three years Morgan designed a lightweight chassis for a three wheeled vehicle that would employ an air cooled vee-twin engine. A tiller was used for steering.

Morgan built this first car in 1909 with the help of engineering master, William Stephenson-Peach. This new small vehicle with two wheels in the front and one in the rear could be called a car or it could be called a motorcycle. In essence it was a hybrid. Because of it's extremely light framework the vehicle took on it's reputation for speed.

For well over 100 years the Morgan Motor Company has been building fascinating sports cars in the English spa town of Malvern. Morgan cars gained international fame for their unique blend of charisma, quality materials, craftsmanship and performance.

2013 morgan superdry

The 2013 Morgan Superdry cockpit

The Early Morgan Cycle Cars

The vehicle described above was called a “Cyclecar” which was a motorcycle engine and a two speed transmission put on a lightweight chassis. Morgan came out with this small vehicle many years before the craze hit it’s peak in the early 1920′s.

The first Morgan three wheelers allowed people with modest means to purchase a motorized vehicle. In a way it was a vehicle for the masses in Britain the same as what Henry Ford accomplished in the U.S. with the Model T. The Morgan Cyclecars were considered the best engineered and most successful of all Cyclecars of the era. By 1915, just six years after the first one was built, the Morgan Cyclecar won many auto competition awards including over twenty gold medals. An interesting side note is that after World War One Morgan was one of the first manufacturers to resume full production mainly due to the simplicity of the car's design.

The New Morgan 3 Wheelers

In April 2012, the new Morgan 3 Wheeler was show cased at the New York International Auto Show by Manhattan Motorsports. Morgan had not been present at this large American car show for ten years. The car shown there was the first US specification Morgan 3 Wheeler in the USA. The Morgan 3 Wheeler was ultimately voted one of the "Hottest Cars Of The Show". Nonetheless, some would ask the question...Is it a car, is it a motorcycle or is it a trike?

2013 morgan three wheeler

A rear view of the 2013 Morgan Three Wheeler

In May 2012, Manhattan Motorsports took delivery of Charles Morgan's Superdry Edition Morgan 3 Wheeler and prepared it for its first major American test. This 3 wheeler was driven across the U.S., all the way from New York to Los Angeles by Charles Morgan and his wife. This unique promotional drive covered 3000 miles. Keep in mind that this type of road trip across America meant that the Morgans faced heat, sunburn, cold, wet weather, constant vibration, wind, and a fairly cramped space.

An interesting side note is that Morgan produced 3 Wheelers exclusively since their inception until 1952. The company's first four wheel vehicle was the 1936 Morgan 4/4 Series I.

The Superdry Edition

What is the Morgan 3-wheeler Superdry Edition?

Clothing brand Superdry and heritage car manufacturer Morgan Motor Company have joined together to create 200 of these exclusive edition sports car which is a modern take on the traditional style.

twin vee engine

The S&S twin vee two cylinder engine

The Superdry and Morgan project is one of a kind . These two iconic British brands joining forces brings together Morgan’s excellent engineering along with Superdry’s skilled design. The end result was the Morgan three-wheeler – Superdry Edition! The Morgan fits perfectly with the “Race Retro” aspect of many Superdry designs.

Visit the Morgan Museum and Factory

A visitor center and museum feature exhibits about the company's history from Edwardian times until the present day, developments in automobile technology, and a display of automobiles. There are also guided tours of the factory. During your factory guided tour see skilled craftsmen at work as they hand make the Morgan automobiles. Morgan boasts that traditional car manufacturing combined with exciting cutting edge technology creates a tour like no other!

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The 1959 Autobianchi

The Morgan Aero Eight

The 1931 Morgan Aero Super Sports

A Real Classic / The 1967 Austin Mini Countryman

morgan superdry limited edition

Front view of the 2013 Morgan 3-Wheeler

2013 Morgan 3 Wheeler Specifications

The Morgan Company have reinintroduced the 3 wheeler model shown in this article. It is powered by a 2 litre S&S Vee twin engine. It's a two cylinder vehicle and the engine delivers 80 HP. The car's torque peaks at 3,250 RPM.

Ventilated disc brakes to the front, independent front wishbone suspension.

The tires are 19 inch and 3.5 inches wide. Exhaust pipes run along the sides of the car. If the engines been running and you're stepping in or out of the car one needs to make certain not to get burned on the hot exhaust pipe.

The Morgan 3 Wheeler is built with safety in mind with reinforced tubular chassis and twin roll bars for the driver and passenger.

The modern version of the Morgan 3 Wheeler has been offered for sale at asking prices of $40,000 plus.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)

 

A Real Classic / The Morgan 4/4

Interestingly enough, the first Morgan four wheel automobile was the 1936 Morgan 4/4 Series 1. Prior to that the company spent 26 years building three wheel vehicles with the third wheel in the rear. The first Morgan 4/4 was also built as a four seater beginning in 1939 and after the war until 1950. Only about 240 of these two seaters were produced.

morgan 4/4 series V

The classic Morgan 4/4 Roadster

The Morgan Motor Company

The Morgan Motor Company was established in Britain in 1910 by Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan. The company built it's early reputation with their three wheeled vehicles.  Morgan began his career as a railway apprentice, but in 1906, and with the encouragement of his clergyman father, opened a garage in Malvern Link. Three years later he designed a lightweight chassis for a three wheeler to use an air cooled vee-twin engine and employ a tiller for steering.

The vehicle was called a "Cyclecar" which was a motorcycle engine and a two speed transmission put on a lightweight chassis. Morgan came out with this small vehicle years before the craze hit it's peak in the early 1920's.

The first Morgan three wheelers allowed people with modest means to purchase a motorized vehicle. In a way it was a vehicle for the masses in Britain the same as what Henry Ford accomplished in the U.S. with the Model T. The Morgan Cyclecars were considered the best engineered and most successful of all Cyclecars of the era. By 1915 the Morgan Cyclecar won many competition awards including over twenty gold medals.

morgan 4/4

Morgan 4/4

The Morgan Motor Company came out again in 1955 with a reborn 4/4 model that was built on the Plus 4 chassis. This was four years after the Morgan 4/4 Series 1 ceased production when the Morgan Plus 4 was introduced.

The first 1955 Morgan 4/4 was built with a four cylinder Ford side valve engine delivering 36 horsepower. The car's 0 to 60 time was about 26.9 seconds with a top speed of about 75 MPH. The Morgan 4/4 Series II was a charming relatively inexpensive sports car with not a lot of power. The gearbox was a three speed. A reported total of 387 Morgan 4/4 Series II models were built.

There were a lot of differences of course between the 1936 Morgan 4/4 and the modernized Morgan 4/4 that was produced beginning in 1955. These include a drivetrain from Ford Britain rather than from Triumph. The Morgan 4/4 remained a two seat roadster but had a cowled radiator and a sloped rear similar to the mid 50's Plus 4 model.

morgan car interior

Morgan 4/4 Series V interior and dashboard

Morgan 4/4 Series III

The Morgan 4/4 Series III models were not around for long and are rare since only 59 vehicles were produced. The Morgan 4/4 Series III came out in October 1960 and were built until November 1961.The car had the same chassis as the Series II and the track was increased two inches. The Morgan Series III models also had hydraulic shock absorbers. The Series III also had a four cylinder Ford engine delivering 54 horsepower. The gearbox on the Series III was a four speed. The Series III had a top speed of about 81 MPH.

Morgan 4/4 Series IV

Changes to the Morgan 4/4 Series IV were disc brakes and a more powerful Ford inline four cylinder engine. The length of this model was 144.0 inches, a width of 56.0 inches, and a wheelbase of 96.0 inches. Curb weight was 1,520 lbs. Gearbox was four speed. The Series IV had a reported top speed of 84 MPH. The Morgan Series IV came out in October 1961 and ended production in March 1963. A total of 114 vehicles were built.

Morgan 4/4 Series V

The Morgan Series V was introduced in February 1963 and continued in production until March 1968. When production ended a total of 639 vehicles were built. The car had a four speed transmission and an inline four cylinder engine that delivered 65 horsepower. Dimensions were the same as the Series IV models. As with all the various series of the Morgan 4/4, the big difference essentially was the engine. The Morgan 4/4 Series IV was built with an engine with 92 cubic inch displacement.

morgan roadster

The Morgan 4/4 Roadster

List of Morgan 4/4 Engines Series II Through V

1955-59  71 cubic inch L-head Inline-4

1959-61  91 cubic inch V-4

1962-63  82 cubic inch Inline-4

1963-68  92 cubic inch Inline-4

1968-82  97 cubic inch Inline-4

1982-87  97 cubic inch Inline-4

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morgan dashboard photo

Another view of the interior and dash

Morgan Motor Company Today

The Morgan Motor Company today produces automobiles in Malvern Link, United Kingdom. The company assembles all vehicles by hand and the waiting list for ordered cars can be in years.

The Morgan Motor Company built three wheelers from it's inception in 1910 all the way until 1952. The company through a subsidiary began once again building three wheelers in 2012.

The Morgan Motor Company today builds a variety of two and four seat roadsters as well as a coupe and three wheelers.

Morgan 4/4 Prices

An average selling price as of this writing for a Morgan 4/4 Series V is in the area of $25,000. Condition, originality and the degree of restoration will be the main factor and you'll find some models being offered in the $30,000 and $40,000 range. You may also find Morgan 4/4 Series I models offered at about $30,000 depending on condition and originality.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)