In the lexicon of Morgan fanatics, the words “flat rad” has special meaning when applied to the Plus 4 sports cars of the early 1950s. The phrase refers to the flat, upright radiator shell that these classic models wore, which in 1954 was restyled into the familiar waterfall grille that has carried Morgan through in perpetuity.
For those who love the British sports car brand, the flat-rad cars represent a purity of design that was lost in later years.
Morgan has the reputation of being the most traditional (some might say hidebound) of British car companies, adhering to the prewar concept of sports cars both in style and construction, with the diminutive body-on-frame, flare-fendered roadsters with cutaway doors continuing to be produced long after competitors had upgraded and modernized.
The Morgan factory in Malvern, England, also is a throwback to another era, seeming more like a 1920s facility than a modern assembly plant. Actual wood is still used in the cars’ construction process.
But when the Pick of the Day, a 1951 Morgan Plus 4 roadster, was built, it was actually state of the art for small-displacement sports cars from the UK, although 1951 was the model year that MG upgraded its similarly designed cars of the T series from the TC to the TD, still archaic but with drivability enhancements.
This Morgan appears to be in well-maintained condition, and as well as being driven has competed in historic racing events, with extra parts and track-safety gear included.
“This beautiful Plus 4 Morgan has been very well-maintained by its owners and is suitable for touring, cars and coffee or vintage car racing,” according to the Laguna Beach, California, dealer advertising the roadster on ClassicCars.com.
“Currently owned by a prominent Newport Beach MD and member of the Morgan owner’s club, it has been successfully campaigned at Laguna Seca and Sears Point at events sanctioned by SVRA and VARA, according to the Log book entries. It is street legal and has a current California registration and title.
“The Plus 4 comes with an extra stock configuration engine, extra set of wire wheels with mounted radial tires, top and side curtains, Brooklands windshield, fuel cell, roll bar, and extra numerous other misc. parts.”
Among the array of photos with the ad is one showing the Morgan at speed on a race track, with its roll bar and trim Brooklands-style windscreen attached. Other photos show a nicely patinaed roadster with leather seats and a pair of spare tires mounted in back, rally style.
The Morgan originally was sold in Pasadena and has been a California car the entire time, the dealer says. The attractive flat-rad Morgan would be a hit at any gathering of the British-car clan, as well as a fun vintage racer.
The asking price is $44,000, and an aluminum open trailer is available at an additional cost, the seller says.
To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.