25 Nov

For Sale! 1964 Morgan +4 Roadster $39,000 OBO (15 Nov, 2017)

For Sale – 1964 Morgan +4 Roadster

Current mileage 52,697 (15 Nov, 2017)

$39,000 OBO

  • Chassis #5582, Original Engine CT25240ME C
  • Connaught Green with Stone leather interior and weather equipment.
  • Sliding side screens, wood rim steering wheel, heater, wire wheels and luggage rack.
  • Dispatched from the Morgan Factory on February 12, 1964 to Fergus Imports, New York.

Upgrades, repairs, improvements since Purchase (Aug 10, 2002)

When I bought the car it looked a whole lot worse than it really was.  Everything wrong was an appearance issue.  The paint was peeling and primer was showing but the body was in excellent shape.  The upholstery was stained and cracked.  And I didn’t like the green car with yellow wheels.  One of the very first tasks was to paint the wheels silver.

Then the gas tank started leaking.  First I learned that there is a way to take the gas tank out of a Morgan without having to take the whole car apart.  Next I learned that the local radiator shop is not always good at fixing leaking gas tanks.  Then finally I learned that buying a new gas tank can be cheaper and easier that fixing the same tank several times.

The next few years we drove the car in warmer months and spent the winter working on upgrades and repairs.  That worked out pretty well but we got that all wrong in 2005.  We went to the New Orleans British Car Show in March. It was a whole lot colder and wetter than anyone expected. I knew the top wasn’t in the best of shape but I didn’t think it was as bad as it was. I think we used every towel we owned trying to stop the drafts and leaks in the passenger compartment. After we survived the trip I did a bit of searching and found a good local upholstery shop that custom-made a top exactly like the original. And it works at keeping out the weather.

It seems like there was always something that could use some attention over the winter. The biggest project was repainting the car. And it was not a high priority so I saved it for last.  It was simply a bad paint job and it was deteriorating.  The body was in good condition and not rusting or anything. It just looked awful.  The task was complicated by the fact that to properly paint a coach built body as on the Morgan is to remove the fenders and doors and paint everything separately.  That is twelve separate panels on the Morgan. And that doesn’t include the inner panels and brackets.  This is picking up the car at the painters and taking it home to put it all back together.

Touring in a Morgan

This is how my 1964 Morgan +4 looked when I first saw it in July 2002. This was an informal car show at the Kansas City Crown Center fountain area. I was there with the Kansas City MG Car Club and my 1949 MG TC. A lady pulled up in this car and promptly disappeared. I liked the car as it was exactly the same model car I owned 25 years earlier but in much better condition.

My first Morgan was barely roadworthy while this car had less that 20,000 miles and what looked to be a really solid car with a truly awful paint job. I took a couple of photos to show my wife. Little did I know but a few weeks later the car showed up for sale in the local paper. After few unusually frosty August nights, I bought the car. I rolled over 20,000 miles on the short ride home. The car had only been driven 5 thousand miles over the last fifteen years and there was a lot of ‘deferred maintenance.’ Most of it was minor issues. The car  was as solid as it seemed. The wood and metal all good.   The paint and upholstery—not so much.

The car was a complete factory leather interior kit which helped a lot. The first priority, though, was the leaking gas tank.  And thanks to the internet I learned that there is definitely a trick to removing and replacing a Morgan gas tank. The next thing I learned was that the local radiator shop can’t always fix leaking gas tanks. The final thing I learned it that a new gas tank is cheaper than repairing the old one several times. The radiator shop did a better job with the leaking radiator. Not 100% as still dripped a little. It was good enough to use while working on other projects.

My first out-of-town trip with the car was to the Brits in the Ozarks car show in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The car was not ready for a car show. But it looked like it would be a fun show to attend. And I was right. 2002 was the first year of the show and they have held the show every year since. My Morgan and I have returned several times and have actually won a few awards over the years. The photo is from the very first show where they didn’t even have a Morgan class. Two Morgans were in the Empire class. The other Morgan won.

The next year a group of Texas Morgans came with more than enough Morgans to form a class.  The next trip on the list was to a National Morgan Show.

When I had my first Morgan 25 years earlier, I joined all the clubs but never made it to any of their big events. I was a serviceman stationed in Texas and most of the events were on the coasts. Way too far to go in my broken down car.  We decided to go to Shepherdstown, WV for the 33rd Morgan Owners Gathering of the Morgan Car Club, DC in July 2003.  Shepherdstown proved to be an interesting Civil-War era town. Interesting enough that we went back in two years.

I spent the next few years driving the car in the Spring and Summer and worked in the Winter on repairing and replacing those parts that always seem to wear out after 40 years or so.  I already mentioned the gas tank.

In 2003 I got a new stainless steel exhaust system.  2005 was the year we got a new top. It started out simple enough. We decided to go to the New Orleans British Car Show in March. Several people from Kansas City had been there in previous years and said it was a great show. They were right. It was a great show. Only the weather was wet and chilly.  And the worn-out Morgan top was not up to it.  We used practically every towel we had trying to plug drafts in a futile attempt to stay warm and dry.  After we got back we found a local upholstery shop that specialized in hot rods that made a top to the original design that fits perfectly and we have not had any problems since.

Some time in the early 2000s, I also replaced the generator, water pump and put in a high torque starter. One of the first things I did was to paint the wheels silver.  Neither my wife nor I liked the green car with yellow wheels look.

In 2009 I finally got serious and repainted the car.  I don’t have any ’before’ photos showing the badly peeling paint especially on on the rear deck. I didn’t paint the car myself but I took the interior out and took off the fenders so the job could be done right. The sheet metal and wood was all in good shape. No bodywork was needed anywhere. The chassis did have some kick-up at the rear so it was straightened and reinforced under the rear axle. I was really happy when I saw the condition of the sills when I took out the  interior. The wood is great. I didn’t have to do any patching on the wood anywhere.  Here I’m collecting the car from the paint shop taking it home to put it all back together.

This is what the car looked like as I was taking it apart for painting. The inner valences and all the brackets were powder coated. It is eventually going to need an engine rebuild if for no other reason than to fix all the oil leaks. The last big project was a cylinder head rebuild.  I knew the valves and seats were bad and I expected to have to rebuild the engine but everything else was good. The only other pending maintenance project is to rebuild the front suspension. I have the new parts on hand. I keep thinking that I’m going to need to replace the kingpins and bushings but they seem to do fine if I keep the chassis lubricated. A Morgan always needs some TLC. It is not Toyota Corolla.

We really have enjoyed touring in the Morgan. We have gone to many interesting places: Destinations have included Aiken, SC: Elk Hart Lake, Wisconsin; Shepherdstown, WV; Staunton, VA; Huntsville, Al; Niagara Falls, ON. And we have more places we would like to go.  We have also found a new activity to go along with the touring. It is the MOSS Motoring Challenge. It is a nationwide photo scavenger hunt sponsored by MOSS Motors. It has been a lot of fun for the past few years. Some of the simplest photos can be the hardest ones to
find. As an example, the first year we were looking for a Dead End Street sign and couldn’t find one. The proper term today seems to be “No Outlet.” We finally found one in an older part of town. We just started for the fun of it. I wasn’t even sure MOSS would let us participate. The Challenge is open for vehicles supported by MOSS Motors. They seemed
satisfied that Morgan was well-supported by MOSS as they use a lot of the same parts as many cars listed in the MOSS Catalogs. Now we are waiting to see how well we did in 2017 and what is in store for 2018.

Charles R Hill, chillmog@sbcglobal.net

18 Nov

2017 MOGSouth Holiday Party (Last ? Update)

The Holiday Party is nearly here! (Saturday 2 December in Athens GA)

If you haven’t already sent your check to Stacey, you need to do so now.  She needs to finalize the head count.   It is $35 a person with a gluten free/vegetarian option for our Italian buffet.

Send checks payable to “MOGSouth Car Club” to Stacey Schepens  (Stacey Schepens, 2224 Street Deville NE, Atlanta, GA 30345).

The 2017 Mother Courage Award will also be presented during the Holiday Party.   Nominations are now closed and the voting committee is determining the 2017 winner.

If you need to anything, please ask.


10 Nov

2017 MOGSouth Holiday Party (November Update)

As has been previously communicated the designated  hotel for the 2017 MOGSouth Holiday Party, the Graduate, in Athens, GA is full and  there are no more rooms.

Never fear!  There are still lots of hotels in the Athens area.   Some suggestions below.

Here are hotels that are downtown:

Indigo, Hilton Garden Inn, Courtyard by Marriott. The Hampton Inn and Country Inn and Suites are farther out but a $5 Uber ride or super short drive.   A little further out are the Comfort Inn and Candlewood.  You can also try Georgia Gameday which is downtown condos.

And while you’re at it please don’t forget to send in your Holiday dinner money.  It is $35 a person with a gluten free/vegetarian option for our Italian buffet.   Send checks payable to “MOGSouth Car Club” to Stacey Schepens  (Stacey Schepens, 2224 Street Deville NE, Atlanta, GA 30345).   We need to know who’s coming to ensure we have the right headcount for the dinner.   We certainly don’t want anyone to go hungry!!

There will be an open bar and bartender, dedicated just to us,  in a lovely courtyard off the dining room.

The MOGSouth Holiday Party is one of the club’s highlights each year and you don’t want to miss it!!

As is the norm, the club will also present the 2017 Mother Courage Award during the Holiday Party.   If you haven’t already done so, get your 2017 Mother Courage Award nominees to Mark Braunstein, via email (series1@cfl.rr.com).  The last three recipients of the award will select this years recipient from the list of nominees submitted.

If there are questions, please ask.


08 Nov

University Funding Drives Business’ Expansion (www.insidermedia.com)

[This story shows cooperation among businesses and academia which in itself is always a good thing.  However, the article points to a interesting development for Morgans, e.g. the potential of a factory implemented automatic gearbox.  Factory implemented and supported ‘auto-boxes’ are available on the BMW powered Plus 8s and the Aero 8s, but are available only in the after market for the ‘traditional’ cars.  (Not that I have ever seen one?) 

This may mean we will soon see the MMC announce an optional ‘auto-box’ for the traditional cars.  This would be viable way to make the cars quicker and more fuel efficient.   Let’s see what get announced in March in Geneva!   Mark]

The University of Derby has awarded a Leicestershire automotive business almost £100,000 to expand and make new international relationships.

Vitesse Global provides specialist engine, gearbox and ancillary components to a niche market in the automotive sector.

The business, based in Hinckley, is aiming to use the £97,650 to exploit a gap in the market where British sports car manufacturers do not offer automatic gear boxes to buyers.

Morgan Motor Company had said it was keen to work with Vitesse Global to produce an automatic gearbox, but it needed support.

The funding from the university, which comprised of a grant of £65,000 and the remainder as a loan, has covered the costs of the mechanical design and software development, leading to the development of the final product.

Vitesse Global’s new product has now been sold in Dubai, France, the UK and New Zealand.

The company’s managing director Tim Henderson said: “We saw there was a market, and we knew there was a demand, but we did not have sufficient investment capacity on our own.

“We saw Invest to Grow as the stepping stone, providing us with the time and input required to deliver the product.”

Invest to Grow has also enabled the business to employ three new staff members, with the hope to employ more, and increased its capacity for innovation and research and development.

Mark Wheddon, head of strategic programmes at the university, said: “We are pleased to support Vitesse Global with the expansion of their business that has led to new international relationships being created.

“The business has a lot to offer and we can expect great things from them in the upcoming months.”


02 Nov

Trouble in Paradise – Palm Beach Morgan Dealer in Hot Water

Photo Courtesy www.bizjournals.com

[Reports in the press indicate that there are problems with the South Florida Morgan dealer  Chariots of Palm Beach. The truth of the matter has not yet been determined, and I certainly don’t want to jump to conclusions.  This is something that will eventually be sorted out by the courts.  As always be careful and ‘Caveat Emptor’.   Mark. ]

Luxury car dealership in Palm Beach files Chapter 11 with over $10M in debt (https://www.bizjournals.com)

Luxury car dealer Chariots of Palm Beach filed Chapter 11 reorganization and asked the court to appoint a chief restructuring officer.

The West Palm Beach-based company filed a petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on July 27 listing assets of $1 million to $10 million and liabilities of $10 million to $50 million. An affiliated company, H&S Inc., also filed Chapter 11 and will have its case managed together with Chariots of Palm Beach.

The dealership at 2400 N. Florida Mango Road sells pre-owned BWM, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Rolls-Royce and other luxury vehicles. Its showroom has room for 80 cars, according to its website. The company also rents luxury cars.

The debtor has yet to provide a detailed list of its assets. Attorney Steven S. Newburgh, who represents the debtor in Chapter 11, declined comment.

County records show that Chariots of Palm Beach owns a 0.7-acre lot with a 14,910-square-foot auto sales building. It was last valued at $1.33 million by the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser.

The largest unsecured creditors listed in the bankruptcy petition were Alan and Susan Gilison in Sands Point, New York with a $756,000 claim and Robert Berens, also from Sands Point, with a $284,833 claim.

The company has yet to disclose its secured creditors. However, a county record search shows Chariots of Palm Beach signed mortgages of $500,000 in October 2016 with North Florida Mango Credit and $1.5 million in April 2016 with Palm Beach Gardens-based Anchor Commercial Bank. Neither of those lenders have pending litigation against Chariots of Palm Beach in Palm Beach County Circuit Court.

[and another . . .]

Did exotic car dealer scam ex-congressman Mark Foley? (www.miamiherald.com)?

Former U.S. Congressman Mark Foley says he’s been ripped off by one of South Florida’s highest-profile exotic car dealers in what he claims is a pyramid scheme as la Bernie Madoff.

The Republican ex-congressman, who represented a Palm Beach to Fort Pierce district for five terms before he resigned his seat after sexting with underage male congressional pages, is among dozens of expensive-car owners who may have been taken for a ride by the owner of a bankrupt car dealership that specializes in used Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, Aston Martins, Ferraris and other exotic wheels.

The West Palm Beach-based Chariots of Palm Beach, according to federal court papers, could leave investors, banks and buyers as much as $50 million in the hole.

“We’re not dealing with billions like Bernie Madoff,” Foley said, referring to the former Wall Street investor now serving 150 years in a federal penitentiary after bilking investors out of $13 billion. “But I am the victim of a classic pyramid scheme.”

Until it closed recently, Chariots of Palm Beach was a fancy consignment store where multi-millionaires dropped off cars they no longer wanted. The dealership then tried to sell those cars for a commission.

Over the past few months, according to the bankruptcy documents, Chariots of Palm Beach founder Hugh Bate is believed to have used the titles to cars he didn’t own to secure millions in loans he can’t pay back.

“It’s a real mess,” says Foley. “A federal court might have to determine the ownership of hundreds of cars.”

Foley explains that on Aug. 10 he was coincidentally at the Chariots of Palm Beach showroom when a shopper decided to buy the silver-colored Porsche Macan Foley wanted to get rid of.

Foley had bought it last year for $68,000 cash, and took it to the dealership in May. The 63-year-old ex-pol says the man paid the dealership $57,886 for his car before peeling off as he waved bye-bye.

Two months later, Foley is still waiting for the dealership to pay him, and he is worried he might never be shown the money.

“I feel like I’d been carjacked,” Foley now says, “except that nobody stuck a gun in a face and yelled at me to get out of my car.”

Foley says the buyer of his car, a Broward County developer whose name he forgot, did nothing wrong.

“He probably thinks he now owns a nice Porsche. It’s the dealership that did God knows what with my title,” Foley said, adding he didn’t personally sign over the title to the new owner.

Which begs the question: Why would a savvy fancy car lover like Foley go to a consignment store instead of an official Porsche dealer?

“Chariots had an extraordinary reputation,” Foley said, pointing out that the dealership was the area’s go-to place for rare exotic wheels. “They were able to get a better sales price for used cars than the official dealerships.”

And now, the ownership status of dozens of consigned Aston Martins, Bentley Azures and Ferrari Spiders, some of them worth in excess of $400,000, are in limbo.

The list of original owners included in the bankruptcy reads like a who’s who of East Coast business and society, including: New York real estate company owner Stephen Haymes; Palm Beach philanthropist Ross Meltzer, who brought a convertible Bentley to Chariots of Palm Beach months ago; Wolf Von Falkenberg, who’s famous in Palm Beach for his marriage to Standard Oil heiress Anne Terry Pierce McBride while she was on her deathbed; and Washington, D.C., developer Albert Van Metre Jr.

Former Assistant Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Rick Facchine, whose BMW M4 is gathering dust in the shuttered up showroom, is also among the alleged victims. His car wasn’t sold, but he can’t get it back because the title may have been used by Bate to get a lender to loan him money.

Facchine declined comment.  Foley says he and others have filed criminal complaints with West Palm Beach Police and the FBI.     No criminal charges have been filed.