From Jeremy Edwards;

There has been much discussion on the number of interim cowled cars produced by MMC (1953-1954). Many authors adhere to the number 19 and others believe many more were produced. Does anyone on the Expert Panel have any thoughts on this?


Jake Alderson

When Chris Chapman and I agreed to research early 4 wheeler history for our book “Morgan Sports Cars, The Early Years”, we were conscious that there were many Morgan myths that were being accepted as fact, simply because previous writings were just being copied by subsequent writers, without redoing the original research.  There are many examples of this, such as “the Morgan factory was built in 1919, the doors of the 1939 Le Mans car, the Ford engined prototype 4 wheeler was never registered for the road” etc. We therefore tried to do our research thoroughly, checking previous “facts” for ourselves, in case they were fictitous. One of the items we looked at was the origin of the Interim Cowl cars, and the number built.

I already had a photocopy of the little hand written notebook compiled by Stores Manager Cecil Jay when he worked at the factory (late 1920s to 1970s) which attempted to try and help the stores staff work out which spare parts particular cars needed by reference to model changes. For the interim cars it reads;

"Plus 4 1954. Old chassis numbers fitted with first new type fronts, ie flat stoneguard, straight shape headlamp housing, no’s P2662, P2737 & P2741. All cars on and after P3000 fitted new type fronts, see Curtis’ book for stoneguard type”.

These three mentioned were originally built as “flatrads”, and the conversion was to update them for sale. The Curtis book is the record book kept by the finishing and testing team, detailing when cars were tested. It often detailed alterations to previous or usual specification.

On my next visit to the factory I studied this book with the late great enthusiast Geoff Margetts, the then factory Company Secretary. I made many notes and Geoff also made some photocopies of relevant pages for me. The first item of interest was that P3000 itself had originally been fitted with the first TR2 engine supplied to Morgans, engine TS1ME  It was also apparent that P3004 (first interim car built after the November Show in 1953) was fitted with “Raised lamps, rounded stoneguard”. This fits with Peter Morgan’s recollection that the original “flat lamps, flat stoneguard” designed by his father HFS did not meet with his approval so Peter had the “raised lamps and rounded stoneguard” fitted to an early car and the decision was made to go with this type for the future.

It may seem easy therefore to just count the number of “flat lamps flat stoneguard” cars listed, but this is difficult, for the interpretation of the records is not easy, maybe even impossible. Since only changes tended to be listed there are many cars where the type of lamp and stoneguard is not mentioned. There are others such as P3031, where “flat lamps” were definitely fitted with “rounded stoneguards”! By car number P3068, the book lists “all new pattern wings with raised lamps” and I think this was the case then onwards, except for P3069 and PP3083, which had “flat lamps”. From car P3024 possibly to P3068 (excepting P3048 which had a flat stoneguard,) it appears flat lamps and rounded stoneguards were fitted.

Confused? You should be!

So, where did the 19 quoted come from? This is from John Teague’s book Morgan Plus 4 Super Profile and is a quote from Pat Kennett which reads "According to the man who makes the grilles at the factory only 20 of the flat cowl examples were made. We found an unused one in the loft at the works in 1978 so a maximum of 19 cars can have been built”. Since Pat had both an interim cowl car and a flat rad I asked him for his comments, and if he would measure the extra space under the bonnet (hood) of the cowl car. From the data he gave me it was clear the cowl design allowed for more under bonnet room in these cars, thereby allowing the extra width of the carburettors of the TR engine to be accommodated. This explains why P3000 had a TR engine, to get these dimensions right.

Whilst I think there are only 2 types of wings (called flat lamp and rounded lamp by Charlie Curtis) Ken Hill suggests there were 2 types of “Low lamp”. I do not think the photos he claims show this do in fact do so.  Aren’t there enough problems already!

A further myth is that the Vehicle Lighting regulations in the UK changed for 1954, necessitating the redesign of the wings. Not so, the relevant regulations were approved in 1950 and came into effect in 1952. they state that the centre of the lamp must not be less than 2 feet 2 inches from the ground on vehicles manufactured after 1st January 1952.

Not long before Pat sadly passed away, he suggested that he was only trying to be helpful when he recalled the “19” story, and I believe he accepted that the other evidence mentioned suggests otherwise.
Your experts have suggested 19 is correct, in fact I feel the true number will remain a mystery!

Bill Fink


I have a stoneguard for one of these but I can't give you any idea of numbers produced.


JohnSheally II

Dear Jeremy,

I would go with Ken Hill's numbers on the interim cowled Morgan models.  In his books, he cites records,  personal conversations and backs his data up with open access to Morgan Motor Company Ltd. logs and files. He he has spent many days and hours at the works going over the OFFICIAL numbers in their private company ledgers which are quite well done in old bank private hand written form.
Hope this helps.

John H. Sheally II/19 Oct 99.

John Worrall

The Factory Records state 19.
It is considered that several cars after this were changed over at the Factory prior to despatch due to the UK Government Headlamp height ruling. This Law was of course in place before the "Interim Cowl" models were produced , so it was a mistake in the first place. A similar situation existed with the Morris Minor..the first versions had Headlamps down by the Grill (too low) and later they were moved up to the
top of Wing Morgans were not alone !!

John Worral