There are strange encounters, serendipitous coincidences and then there’s this. How chalk and cheese can you get? It could have been worse, of course. A Model T paired with an Isetta, or a Maserati Khamsin next to a 2CV would have also looked pretty random, I guess. But those are theoretical. This V8-powered Porsche and two-tone Morgan roadster were actually in front of me.
The funny thing was that I knew the 928 would be there. I had seen it and photographed it, then I found myself going down the same route a few days later – only this time, things were greener on the other side.
The 928 immediately slipped into the background. Morgans are rare beasts – and flamboyant ones, at that, especially compared to the coldly rational and gray Porsche. So I just went to town on the lean green machine, because well, just look at it!
Morgans are chock full of sweet details, it was such a treat to photograph this one.
I have absolutely no idea how old this one is – it’s definitely post 1977 (as per the aluminium front bumper), but other than that, it’s not easy to tell these apart. Really old ones with the flat radiator aside, 4/4s are just like other Morgans, periodically updated but never fundamentally changed.
That means that under the hood, we might have a Ford Cortina 1.6 (1968-82), a Fiat 1.6 twin cam (1981-93) or a Ford Zetec 1800 (1993-2006). The 4/4 (4 wheels, 4 cylinders) was Morgan’s mainstay since 1936, though it was out of production between 1950 and 1955.
Still, the 4/4 kept its end up by keeping the basics – separate steel chassis, ash-framed body, pre-war styling – but integrating a modicum of modernity here and there: disc brakes from 1961, 5-speed gearbox in 1984 and airbags in 1997. Baby steps. Morgan only started galvanizing their chassis in 1995, so older cars usually need a lot of work. For more on these terrific cars and on Morgan in general, I recommend Roger Carr’s authoritative post (links at the end).
The contrast between the Morgan and the Porsche could not be more pronounced. They are contemporaries and would both be classed as sports cars, but other than that, they’re the definition of chalk and cheese.
Pity abut that tonneau cover, we won’t have the pleasure of the 4/4’s hand-stitched upholstery. The consolation prize will have to be the Porsche’s interior shot. Dark, clinical and plasticky – the antithesis of the Morgan way of doing things. Plus it’s an automatic. But no airbags on this one, so it’s probably a pre-1991 car.
So which one would you pick? Are you a stickler for Germanic precision engineering, big V8s and sophistication, or would you prefer to sample the unique delights of an open-topped artisanal English antique?
There are benefits to both sides, of course. Given the cool and sunny weather we’ve been having here these days, the Morgan is a no-brainer. Just the way it is here, windshield folded down, like it’s the date written on the license plate.
But in the summer, what with the heat, humidity and massive insects (murder hornets!) we get here, I’d probably prefer to be cocooned in the Porsche’s cockpit, having first made sure that the A/C is in perfect working order. First world problems, eh?
How hard would it be to actually own one of these? Though I wouldn’t call them common, Porsche 928s are seen in Tokyo on occasion – always S4s, as far as I’ve seen so far. So getting a hold of one would not be particularly difficult.
Morgans, on the other hand, are damn rare, and I never realized how much until I caught this one. They made the 4/4 for eight decades, but they haven’t made 10,000 of these yet.
I know which one I’d pick. Hey Morgan, 1939 called, and it wants its groove back.
Curbside Classic: Porsche 928 – Blasphemy With a Big Butt, by Don Andreina
CC Capsule: Porsche 928 – A Victim of Entropy, by Dave Skinner