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2006 Morgan 4/4 70th Anniversary Edition Overview

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Khatir Soltani
A New Car Can't Get More Retro Than This

Morgan Motor Company, Britain's modern day classic car company, is celebrating a 70-year production milestone, which doesn't seem
The new Morgan 4/4, at right, celebrates 70 years of continuous production of a single model, starting with the Morgan 4/4 at left. (Photo: Morgan Motor Company)
like all that much compared to Mercedes-Benz, Buick or the now defunct Oldsmobile nameplate, all over 100 years old. But what separates Morgan from these mass market brands is that the 70-year anniversary doesn't commemorate the marque's founding year, which actually took place almost 30 years prior.

To be clear, Henry Morgan left his job at the railroad to open a garage and run a bus company in 1906, while his first Morgan branded cars, three-wheelers no less, were shown at the Olympia Motor Show in 1910. The Morgan Motor Company was formed as a private Limited Company in 1912, making it officially 94 years old this year. Incidentally, the firm is already taking registrants for its 2009 centenary at the following website: www.morgan-centenary.co.uk.

So what's the 70 year birthday all about? It's to celebrate 70 years of continuous production of a single model, the Morgan 4/4, something no other automaker can claim. You need to go back to 1936, yes, the same year that German troops first occupied the Rhineland, Italy completed its conquest of Abyssinia (Ethiopia), Hitler and Mussolini agreed to the Rome-Berlin Axis, the Spanish Civil War broke out when a garrison in Spanish Morocco revolted, the abdication crisis occurred in Great Britain, when
With a frame still made of ash hardwood and body panels still hand- and hammer-formed out of aluminum sheets, the 4/4 is a literal blast to the past. (Photo: Morgan Motor Company)
Edward VIII resolved to marry Mrs. Wallis Simpson, and the Olympic Games were held in Berlin, when African-American athlete, Jesse Owens, won 4 gold medals.

Most Canadians can't remember that far back, but a storied history documents Morgan 4/4 production from 1936 forward, and other than those dark years of World War II when British automakers didn't produce any civilian cars at all, it has remained the backbone of the company.

My first memories of Morgan were thanks to a high school shop teacher, Mr. Ivan Haffenden, who kept an early three-wheel version in the school mechanics shop, along with a lovely 4/4 that looked very much like this special edition. It was Mr. Haffenden's enthusiasm for all things automotive, along with my Dad's influence of course, that initiated my love of cars and, I suppose, was the impetus behind me getting into this business. So blame him...

With a frame still made of ash hardwood and body panels still hand- and hammer-formed out of aluminum sheets, the 4/4 is a literal blast to the past, especially now that it's powered by Ford's 125-horsepower 1.8-litre Duratec inline four-cylinder engine. While hardly supercar specs, factor in the 4/4's ultra-lightweight construction and, like Lotus' old Super 7, the Morgan sprints away from standstill at an alarming rate.
Khatir Soltani
Khatir Soltani
Automotive expert
As a car enthusiast, he tests and compares vehicles from different categories through the eyes of the consumer, ensuring relevant and objective reviews.
  • Over 6 years experience as a car reviewer
  • Over 50 test drives in the last year
  • Involved in discussions with virtually every auto manufacturer in Canada