Flying along country lanes, sheepskin coat tucked around me and my left leg pumping the clutch, even Mr Toad would have been envious as the cold air whipped across the bonnet and I shouted ‘Poop, poop’ into the disappearing wind.
The design of the Morgan 4/4 has changed little since the Series II of 1955. The same ash frame and steel chassis, upholstered leather seats, walnut dashboard and steering wheel, the same exhilarating ride, but now with the best of modern engineering beneath the long bonnet. Weighing in at 1,800lb and with 110bhp at the driver’s disposal, this 1.6-litre engine is style and simplicity itself.
There is no car brand more in touch with its roots than Morgan, which still produces British-built cars in a family-owned factory, and in 2011, 1,000 cars were driven away. Founded in 1909, the Morgan marque is still made in Worcestershire. The history of the car is perhaps best summed up in the words of its founder, H. F. S. Morgan: ‘Looking back through the years, seeing both the errors and the triumphs in their correct perspective, I feel I have enjoyed it all.’
He passed this sentiment on to his grandson, Charles, who continues to design and develop cars for the company’s clients. Every Morgan 4/4 is handcrafted to order, whether it’s the ‘Sport’ or ‘Bespoke’ series, and each arrives with a photograph book documenting the building of the car. The bespoke model allows you to choose the interior from more than 100 leather and piping choices, leather bonnet straps, chrome wire wheels and walnut dash and from more than 40,000 exterior paint colours. This is British design at its finest-never losing sight of its heritage, but moving forward with the best that the modern world can offer.
So, release the handbrake, drop the clutch, and you’re living the dream of a long-vanished roadscape populated by men in checked tweed sports coats and women in silk headscarves. Enjoy the ride of your life.
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