04 Dec

Aston Martin Vanquish IP Mystery Buyer Found? Hint: the suspect is also English – 4/12/18 (autonews.com)

[This rumor is swirling. There are lots of press reports stating that Morgan and Aston Martin have negotiated some sort of deal related to the Vanquish.  Perhaps we will hear something from the Geneva Show, where Morgan typically makes their announcements and new vehicle reveals.  Mark] 

We reported recently on the $26-million sale of Aston Martin’s intellectual property and design drawings for its departed Vanquish. Rumors abound about who the buyer was and while Automotive News had initially surmised that the Morgan Motor Company may have been involved, both Aston and Morgan were non-committal.

The reason Auto News is now practically convinced that it was indeed the 110-year-old British car manufacturer is that Morgan has just announced plans to build a new model with specs that practically mirror those of the outgoing Vanquish.  Namely, a rear-wheel-drive, front-engined coupe built on a bonded and riveted aluminum chassis.  [This is the Aero 8’s and Aero based, Plus 8’s current spec, and has been for years,  so this isn’t the ‘smoking gun’, they seem to think it is.]

Aston Martin’s CEO Andy Palmer explained to Automotive News that he agreed to sell the Vanquish tooling as well as 18 months of Aston Martin Consulting services to help with the new car’s development.

He only did so after receiving reassurances about the way the future car would be executed. He also mentioned that the customer didn’t want the Vanquish connection named. And so, it remains, no official announcements have been made but we would be surprised if this were not the case.

Morgan currently offers three models to US customers, the quirky three-wheeler and the Plus 4 and Roadster 3.7 (which you need to source your own engines for). [Not exactly true.  Morgan provides the engines and the dealers have them installed.]  All three have long wait lists.  But with this new high-performance flagship, due for release at some point in the mid-2020s, it could be the ideal vehicle to offer power-hungry American shoppers.

Aside from mentioning that the design would follow its traditional approach, details on the engine and other drivetrain components have not been revealed yet by Morgan. Whether it ends up using a version of the Aston’s 5.9-liter V12 or perhaps another BMW V8, we cannot wait for some more details in the coming months.

 

03 Dec

2018 MOGSouth Holiday Party, St Simons Island or ‘Drill Bits are Interesting’

The 2018 Holiday Party was held 1 December, at the St Simons Island, GA, King and Prince Resort.  The weather getting there and going home was great (well at least for us from Florida.)  Top down both ways.  The weather while we were there . . . well, not so good.  It was overcast and cool (60s) and we had some showers and even a tornado warning!  However, it didn’t really affect anything, so nobody really cared.

The majority of the attendees arrived on Friday. Some actually came in on Thursday and few more arrived on Saturday.  Friday was spent checking into the hotel and getting situated before heading over the ‘Hospitality Suite.’  GatorMOG showed up with five Morgans in convoy.  There were a few more Morgans that came individually.  Other than these cars, most arrived via tin tops.  There were a few that flew in.

Pat and Ken Kreuzer organized a dinner Friday night at one of the local restaurants, the Georgia Sea Grill, and it was superb!  It started as a small group but grew to almost the entire MOGSouth crowd.  The restaurant did an amazing job of accommodating so many.

The King and Prince gave us their Wesley Cottage for the Hospitality Suite.

The Wesley Cottage – Our Hospitality Suite (Photo Andrea Braunstein)

The Wesley Cottage was a complete out building, apart from the main hotel building.  It provided us a superb spot for the hospitality room away from the rest of the hotel guests, so we could (and did) get loud without disturbing others.  It was just about big enough for our gaggle and had a television, so we could all watch the conference football championship of choice (Alabama – Georgia, UCF – Memphis, Clemson – Pitt,  Ohio State – Northwestern, etc.)  It seemed as if everyone wanted a different game, so channel switching became the norm.  I lost the bubble early on, and never really knew who was winning or who was losing or in some cases, who was even playing.  Confusion seems to be the new normal for me these days.  As they say, getting old is hell.

Chuck and Karen Bernath were our hosts and they did all the shopping for the Hospitality Suite.  They had their big SUV and it came in very handy a good number of times.  They brought up their own coolers, cork screws, and other necessary things making the Hospitality Suite operate quite smoothly.  Chuck also collected money for the trolley and for the dinner.

Chuck Bernath (Photo Andrea Braunstein)

We had plenty of food and drink, and then others brought in more and more goodies, local fudge and holiday cookies and fresh zucchini bread, etc.  It was a good thing none of us were on a diet!   I guess it’s really futile (or stupid!) to try to diet around the holidays!  I won’t do it, again.  We did have to make a wine run on Saturday as folks were quite particular about the wine they wanted to drink.  On Saturday it was a beer and ice run.  Good thing we were close to a Liquor store and well stocked gas station!

Most of us spent Saturday morning on the trolley tour.  The trolley tour was in a covered trolley and the very light rain didn’t impact our ability to see the sights, take photographs or enjoy the tour guide’s banter.  The Trolley Tour company we engaged, Colonial Trolley Tours, dedicated the entire day to MOGSouth.  They provided several tours at differing times, picking us up and dropping us off right at the hotel’s front door.  Those that participated in the tours were quite complimentary of the entire operation.  The tour guide was knowledgeable, animated and quite entertaining.  I thoroughly enjoyed it all; however, we got so much information, it was like drinking from a fire hose, and much of what was mentioned, I have now forgotten.

Island Spirit (Photo Andrea Braunstein)

During and after the tour, there were periods of light rain, nothing too heavy.  Some folks wandered about downtown Saturday afternoon, taking in the local crafts fair or other sites mentioned on the trolley tour, but I don’t think anyone really got wet.  Folks found lunch on their own and made their way to the Hospitality Suite.  Spending lots of time at the Hospitality Suite is getting to be the norm.  This is where everyone is and everyone wants to see everyone else and chat.  I guess this is what the club is all about.

More ‘Hospitality Suite’ prior to the Holiday Banquet.  Then everyone left the Hospitality Suite to return to their rooms to don their Holiday finery in preparation for the banquet.  We had a cash bar outside the banquet room and used this area for our silent auction.  My apologies for the somewhat hectic nature of the silent auction.  We had some folks mention a desire to donate some items to the club.  Ok, we thought, we’ll have a silent auction for charity.  It was a last minute thing and we didn’t solicit other donations but were simply overwhelmed by a huge quantity of things that were donated.  Next time we will be better organized and better prepared and do this thing right (?) or at least we will be better organized.  Perhaps we should make this a standard part of the Holiday Party?  It is the only time we tend to travel to a MOGSouth event in a vehicle with sufficient space for added stuff.

The Holiday Banquet Room (Photo Andrea Braunstein)

The Mother Courage Award was presented during the Holiday banquet remarks. The 2018 awardee is Rich Fohl.  Rich, unfortunately, wasn’t present to accept the award, however, we will get it to him in the next few weeks.

It was suggested that we survey the club on their preference for allowing previous winners of the Mother Courage award to be eligible to received it more than once.  We tried a verbal vote during the dinner, but this was inconclusive.  A suggestion was made to get the entire membership involved, so we decided to table this for now and include it in a more formal survey later on.

Also, it was suggested that those voting on the Mother Courage Awardee, i.e. the previous three awardees, should be allowed to rank order their votes (e.g. First choice, second choice, etc.)  This would allow for a simpler selection of the awardee should the initial votes all select someone different, resulting in no obvious winner.

When the suggestion was made during the dinner, I said I didn’t think this had occurred before, but now thinking back on previous years, I seem remember that this situation did occur just once, and we simply asked for another choice from the voters which resolved that year’s voting.  Ranking the choices, however, would eliminate the delays associated with a second vote, and the rankings could be used to more quickly determine an awardee.  These suggestions will be included in a survey we send out later in the spring.

As has become tradition, Collette Clark provided a beautiful platter for the event hosts.  And, Lee Gaskins gave us a few minutes of his experience with the fabled Morgan Plus 4 Super Sports.  Then we all left the banquet room and headed back to the Hospitality Suite for more imbibement(?) and interaction with friends.  A wonderful weekend and start to the Holidays.  A Happy Holiday to you and yours from MOGSouth.

Let’s do it all again in 2019!!

Cheers,  Mark