Simanaitis Says

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1952 “DELLOW” MORGAN

TWO OF MY favorite sports cars are embodied in this one example. Indeed, there were a pair of “Dellow” Morgans manufactured. Theirs is a tale of British resourcefulness confronted with postwar challenges.

This and following images from Gooding & Company Friday, January 20, 2012, 11:00 a.m., Scottsdale, Arizona  auction catalog.

The Dellow. Back on August 23, 2012, ten days after establishing SimanaitisSays, I celebrated “The Dellow Sports Car.” As I noted back then, the Dellow is so English it makes one’s teeth ache.

The Plus of Plus 4: a 2088-cc Standard Vanguard inline-four producing 68 hp. (A previous 4/4’s 1267-cc Standard Special made do with 39.8 hp.) Image from Hyman Ltd.

Traditional assembly of a Morgan was performed at its Malvern Link works, about 45 miles southwest of Birmingham. The car had bodywork of steel panels nailed to a superstructure of ash wood perched atop a steel frame.

The ash gave rise to the misunderstanding that “Morgan frames were made of wood.” On the other hand, the Morgan’s simple ladder frame of steel was willowy enough to prompt such a rumor.

Along Comes Graeme Anton. In early 1952, University of Cambridge-bound Graeme Anton wanted to order a Morgan Plus 4. Alas, Peter Morgan told Anton that the firm’s steel allotment had been assigned to cars already ordered.

Anton could have a rolling chassis, sans bodywork.

As noted in the Gooding & Company catalog for its 2012 Scottsdale auction, “For the coachwork, Mr. Anton approached Lionel Evans of Radpanels in Kidderminster, England…. the two men struck a deal that would allow the car to be completed in time for Mr. Anton’s departure for school.”

The Gooding catalog continues, “Construction techniques at Radpanels were markedly different from that of the Morgan factory, with the coachwork of this car built over a steel tube frame rather than the ash wood used in Morgan-bodied cars. Also, as Mr. Anton had been wounded while serving in the British Army, the doors were hinged at the rear to allow him easier access to the cockpit. The car was registered LAB 274 and delivered to its proud owner on September 30, 1952.”

LAB 274 History. Anton joined and competed in events of the Cambridge University Auto Club. He and LAB 274’s second owner, British Morgan Club member Quentin English, acquired a fine collection of entry plaques in various trials and sprints.

“By the mid-2000s,” Gooding notes, “the car had covered a mere 47,000 miles and was in the ownership of John Baroth who, with a friend, began to piece together the history of LAB 274. During the research, Mr. Baroth made contact with Mr. Anton documenting his memories of the car when new.”

The catalog continues, “Mr. Anton sent many period competition photos and other items to Mr. Baroth, including the original green paint and leather samples that he had kept for nearly 60 years.”

Image from Hyman Ltd.

For Gooding & Company’s 2012 Scottsdale auction, the car was listed at an estimated $70,000-$90,000 without reserve. The Dellow Morgan fetched $79,750.

I’d say well bought, carrying the spirit of my two favorite sports cars. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2020

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