1957 Morgan +4 Factory Prepared Racecar

Thanks to a chance meeting with Tim Kozlowski, owner of Koz’s Classics in Ottawa Lake, Michigan, Richard Flasck was shown pictures of a 1957 Morgan laying dormant in a garage in Parma, Ohio. It resided in the estate of Jan Van Duzer, who died April 27, 2010. His father, William, had purchased the car second-hand from Car France of Cleveland in 1961 for $1,223. At the time of William's purchase, the car was painted black with black leather interior. In the 1980’s William had performed some restoration work and painted the car British racing green, and Jan had more recently installed new tan hides to the interior. Flasck purchased the car from Jan’s estate, and Tim Kozlowski was hired to restore the car to its former glory.


Coincidentally, Flasck and his wife wife had planned a trip to London to visit their son, and left the day he took delivery of the car. Kozlowski insisted that Flasck visit the Morgan factory, so he extended his stay an extra day, and headed for the village of Malvern, the location of the 100 year old original Morgan assembly plant.


While in the factory book store Flasck met Morgan historian Martin Webb, and asked him if he would have time to search the archives for his newly acquired car, chassis #3604. Webb led Flasck up an old wooden staircase to an office, seemingly undisturbed for the past 50 years, where Webb opened the large record book for year 1957, and in the December entries was the handwritten record of Chassis No. 3604 – Engine No. TS 13950, and Gear Box No. 1333 – all matching Flasck’s Morgan. Then to Webb’s surprise the color notated was white with blue stripe (USA racing colors) and black leather interior, followed by “Tuned Engine. Car prepared for racing. Date Dispatched Feb. 25, 1957”. Webb immediately left for another office and returned with a 400 page hard bound book entitled “Morgan Sports Cars – Heritage Years 1954-1960” written by Jake Alderson & Chris Chapman. On page 200 it stated the following;


“For this year’s International Sebring 12 Hour Race, to be held on Saturday, March 23rd, Joe Ferguson appears to have anticipated supporting the same two drivers who had represented the Morgan marquee in 1956, for he ordered two cars to be prepared at the Morgan factory for Mike Rothschild and John Weitz.


Both cars had been fitted with strengthened front ends, presumably achieved by means of additional chassis braces from the chassis to the top of the cross heads. The car prepared for Mike Rothschild was chassis number 3610, a blue two-seater with a central white stripe. The engine was specially prepared for racing, with matched and polished ports. An aluminum bonnet and leather bonnet strap was fitted, and so too were ‘Le Mans’ lamps. It was dispatched on Wednesday January 16th.

The car for John Weitz was 3604, painted in the USA racing colours of white with a blue stripe (as in 1956). It had a tuned engine and racing tyres. Like 3610 it was fitted with black leather upholstery. On Monday January 28th it was driven to the docks for shipment to the USA, but suffered extensive damage in an accident on the way. It was returned to the Morgan factory for repairs, and was finally dispatched on Monday February 25th.” 


Joe Ferguson would occasionally order cars specially prepared for racing via his father's New York dealership, Fergus Motors, Morgan's U.S. distributor, with the intention of promoting the Morgan brand by way of racing in many of the major East Coast events. The 12 Hours of Sebring was the highlight of the season, and Ferguson would order a car specifically for John Weitz to campaign in the event as the U.S. entry for Morgan, and later lend it out to a string of East Coast drivers for the remainder of the racing calendar. Weitz was a noted fashion designer and gentleman sportscar racer, who became famous in the global fashion industry, then later in life as an author and historian. Chassis #3604 was ordered specifically as the U.S. entry for Sebring, with Weitz as the intended driver, however Weitz accepted a drive in an Arnolt Bristol offered by Rene Dreyfus, the former Grand Prix driver and French Champion, leaving Ferguson without a driver for the event in 1957. Chassis #3604 was subsequently raced at numerous East Coast events until its conversion to road specification prior to sale to Car France in 1961, and notably converted to the new SCCA mandated wire wheels by the Fall of '57 in time for the Thompson Races held on the first weekend of September. With Norma McNamara at the wheel, #3604 is pictured on page 208 of J.D. Aldersons's Morgan Sports Cars, The Heritage Years 1954-1960, spinning in front of the Austin Healey of Mike Rothschild. 


Thrilled with the unique history of his Morgan, Richard Flasck decided that he would task Koz's Classics with restoring chassis #3604 exactly as it left the factory, in Sebring race specification. Upon sharing this new found information with Tim Kozlowski, it was confirmed that the engine still maintained its high-compression from racing preparation, the suspension track rod addition, plus the accelerator was a factory modified “heel-toe” pedal for racing. Restoration was completed in 2012.


Prior to 3604's acquisition by Classic Throttle, Inc., Charles Morgan spent time driving the car during a July 2018 visit with Morgan West in Los Angeles. Photo documented by fashion photographer Andrew Macpherson, Charles Morgan shared his experience online, noting "I love this 1957 Morgan Plus Four prepared by the factory for Sebring and painted in American racing colours".

Charles Morgan at speed in #3604

Charles Morgan at speed in #3604