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SNAPSHOT 60: Morgan 1936

Whilst readily identifiable as a Morgan three-wheeler, the engine offers something of a surprise as it is not one of the usually seen JAP or Matchless V-twin motors that were generally fitted. The power unit is actually a complete ‘one off’, consisting of a pair of Scott motorcycle two-cylinder water-cooled engines connected together and operating as a single item.

Writing about this Morgan-Scott in Motor Cycling magazine in October 1936, the reporter C P Read referred to it as “Britain’s only four-cylinder two-stroke three-wheeler”. It was built at the request of H J Aldington, Managing Director of Frazer Nash cars, by J Granville Grenfell, a skilled engineer with premises at Brooklands track and who was regarded as one of the ‘tuning wizards’ that operated there.

The Morgan was a standard Super Sports model of 1934, whilst the engines were ‘Super-Squirrel’ units, one of which was modified to rotate in the contrary direction, these having a combined capacity of 1192 cc. They produced around 50 bhp at 5,000 rpm. These power units were coupled by a pair of Renold silent chains, one of which also drove the output shaft, and there was a third chain to drive the magneto. Carburation was taken care of by two synchronised Amal instruments. Apart from the engine side of things, transmission to the rear wheel used the normal Morgan items of a single-plate clutch, 3-speed gearbox and final drive by chain.

When Mr Read came to road test the Morgan, although he did not use full throttle in deference to the newness of the ensemble, he was though impressed with the car’s acceleration and potential top speed, which even in second gear was around 70 mph. He recorded that: “… the charm of the Morgan was that the power flowed so smoothly and was so abundant. In top gear the machine just swam along – no mechanical noise, very little exhaust noise, and flexibility to the nth degree. It was three-wheeling par excellence, a ride in a dream machine”.

In view of these comments one might have expected others to have been built, but this was not the case. According to Grenfell: “Aldington frightened himself considerably [with it] and replaced the Scott engines with a Ford Eight unit”. The Morgan then went into hibernation for some 70 years, but an extensive restoration to its original form was finally completed last year. There are many who would take pleasure in seeing this unique machine in action once again.

One response to “SNAPSHOT 60: Morgan 1936”

  1. Andrew Zielinski says:

    It is lovely to see it finished. I know previous owner J Brown well, and have photos of early stages of restoration. I did some work on the bodywork while it was in the care of M Surridge’s bodyshop in Accrington.
    I never saw it running.
    I have a photo of this Morgan buried in the barn in “Flying Cucumber” form when fitted with f type Ford side valve motor. J.B. used to race it.
    J.B. believed the original colour scheme was a different combination – if I remember correctly Red? and Cream?
    I painted a watercolour of the Scott Mog in two tone green for J.B. (this was how he was going to have it painted when it was being restored) based on a photo from the Morgan Goldportfolio book.
    A story regarding the paint, the lower shade of pale green is actually Fiesta Yellow ( a B.L. colour ) and M.S. had spent an age trying to find the light green shade in the workshop before remembering it was labelled “yellow”.

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