Fellow Mog South members, just another reminder that Morgans are the spotlight group for 37th British Car Club of Charleston’s, British Car Days to be held on October 28th and 29th. John Scott and Irene Breland are looking forward to a fun filled weekend with lots of Morgans running around the Charleston area.
If not already registered for a room, click Morgan Car Club Booking Link or call 843-884-6000 to book your reservation at Hotel Indigo, a modern boutique hotel in Mt. Pleasant at the foot of the Ravenel Bridge. The room block, at the rate of $179 dollars per night plus tax, is under Morgan Car Club and isbeing held until September 28, 2022. This hotel, www.hotelindigo.com , features the charm of the Lowcountry and luxe amenities right over the bridge from historic Charleston. There are a limited number of rooms so don’t wait too long to make you reservation! Meet for after show cocktails at hotel bar followed by a poolside dinner on Saturday October 29th. Please let John at email@example.com know if you are attending the dinner by Sept. 15th . British Car Days info at: https://www.britishcarclubcharleston.com/BritishCarDay2022/BCD2022.html
This year there are several options for Friday beginning with a Lowcountry drive through the islands to the Charleston Tea company farm and visitor center. Tours are available for the processing plant and the farm or just visit the gift shop for a souvenir or a box of tea! This drive ties in with the authentic English tea and tour back at McLeod Plantation. See link below for more info on times and cost. https://www.britishcarclubcharleston.com/BritishCarDay2022/BCDregSuccess.html
The Friday show reception is from 5:PM to 9 PM at the Mcleod shelter. Cash bar and light fare with fellow show registrants included with British Car Days show registration fee. The car show will be held on Saturday starting at 9:00 AM.
My Return to Morganmania By Bob Britton I was 13 or 14 when I first laid my eyes on a Morgan. My older brother who had recently graduated from college bought a stunning Morgan DHC in Ferrari Yellow. It was such a different looking vehicle compared to the popular Mustangs and other American and British cars starting to hit the roads during the early to mid- 60’s. I was completely smitten by the car and fantasied about owning one when I was older. Fast forward to my freshman year at college when I returned home for spring break and saw an ad in the NY Times for a 1965 Morgan +4 for sale in a town close by. Well, with some money saved up from both summer and college jobs I had just enough cash to buy the car for the asking price of $1500, an almost fortune for a 19-year-old college kid at that time. I called a high school buddy to drive me to go see the car, with cash burning a hole in my pocket. Just as we pulled up outside the seller’s house and rang the doorbell another potential buyer showed up in a cab, which he had taken from the local train station after traveling from NYC. Of course, we both wanted this beautiful black with red interior Morgan. Luckily, the owner gave me right of first refusal as I had beaten the other guy by mere minutes to the house. Glad we did not stop for that cup of coffee on the way over or otherwise I would probably never have owned a Morgan. So, with $1500 less in my pocket I drove the car home, with “borrowed” plates
from my mom’s car, no insurance, and I did not know how to drive a stick shift either. That was an interesting ride back home, especially learning to drive a standard with the archaic Moss gearbox. So back to college in the Boston area I went for the spring semester with my Morgan. I sure had some envious classmates back at school when I showed up with this car. Most had no idea what it was as the campus was primarily full of VW’s, small to mid-size American cars, a few muscle cars, or other British sports cars. Some kidded me about it being a “wooden crate” when they learned it had a wood framed body. That sure did not bother me because I had the one of coolest cars on campus. For the next two years I drove the Morgan everywhere, many times back and forth from MA to my home in NY, commuting to summer jobs, a trip once to Watkins Glen to attend the Formula 1 GP race and any chance I got to drive it. Of course, I also learned a few things about car repair and maintenance as well. Once it left me stranded at Jones Beach, NY late one night while on a date when the steel pin that operates the aluminum throw out sleeve broke. A call to one of my buddies with instructions to get a piece of rope to come get us so he could tow the car home led to a rather long night. Now of course I would just call AAA.
My first Morgan, 1965 +4 circa 1969
In the spring of my junior year a college buddy offered me $2500 cash for the
Morgan. He was dropping out of school and heading to the west coast and needed
a “cool” car to get him there. I thought to myself… “I paid $1500, drove it for 2 years and could now make a $1000 profit”. Being a business major, it was a no brainer…. SOLD. And off he and the car went to California, both never to be heard from again. But I had Morgan withdrawal soon after selling the car. A few weeks later I saw an ad in the Boston Globe for a 1967 Morgan 4/4 in Kingfisher Blue, with an asking price much less than I sold my +4 for. Yep, I was a Morgan owner again in short order. That car got me through to the end of my senior year at which time I sold it and bought a Porsche 911 to begin my work career. About a year after graduating from college while working in the NYC area I saw an ad for a Morgan for sale in the same town I was living in. Having already owned two Morgan’s I could not resist going to see the car. As you can expect I bought it even though it was not running and needed quite a bit of work. Later I discovered this was a rare Morgan 4/4 Series V Competition model. Soon after acquiring this Morgan, I accepted a job in Boston. Off to Boston I went, got myself settled into an apartment on chic Newbury St, and then started to look for a place where I could store and work on the Morgan. I found a single car garage in a nearby town for $15/month rent including electricity. So, again I reached out to a buddy who just happened to have a car with a trailer hitch, we borrowed a trailer and proceeded to tow it to Boston.
Over the next several years I would spend weekends and some nights sorting through the Morgan, replacing rotten pieces of wood, having a new interior made and then eventually the body work and fresh paint. As luck would have it my brother offered to rebuild the engine for me since it was basically the same Ford engine as in his Lotus Super 7 race car. So off to CT I went one weekend with that little 1500cc engine in the trunk of my car so my brother could rebuild the engine. He just so happened to have a shelf full of extra performance engine parts which he no longer needed that found their way into my engine, including a mild race cam, forged domed pistons, a dual set of Webber DCOE 40 carbs, a set of tuned headers and a few other performance goodies. Those Webber’s required a unique bump in the bonnet which you can see in the photos of the car. My brother estimated that the engine he built was putting out somewhere between 110-115HP, a bit more than the stock 84HP of the Series V Competition motor. Also, at my brother’s recommendation I sourced a Cortina gearbox from a junkyard which had closer ratio gears and a remote shifter which got rid of the push/pull shifter in the 4/4’s. This was one amazingly fast Morgan with that engine. And, as it was not my daily driver, I had the luxury of keeping it in my rental garage to use primarily on weekends, trips to the Cape, going to car shows or even venturing to a few Morgan meets. In 1978 I drove the 4/4 to MOG 8 in Luray, VA with a girlfriend. At some point during the meet, I heard an
unwelcome noise coming from the engine, which turned out to be a broken valve spring. As luck would have it a Morgan enthusiast attending MOG 8 was a mechanic at the local Ford garage and he thought a Ford Pinto valve spring would work so off to his dealership we drove so he could replace the broken spring. I drove that car for an additional 7 years with the Pinto valve spring in it. And, to my delight my car won 1st place in the 4/4 class. Two years later I returned to MOG 10 with a new girlfriend, who eventually became my wife, and that year my car took 2 nd place in the 4/4 class.
Bob and future wife at car show, MOG 10
My 4/4 on Skyline Drive, VA 1980
In the fall of 1980, my future wife and I took a trip to the UK to visit some of her English relatives. We took a few extra days to tour Wales and when I noticed that we were going to be traveling near Malvern Links I said to her…. “We have to stop at the Morgan factory”. So, a quick detour took us to the hills of Malvern to tour MMC. Visiting MMC is like no other factory tour one can imagine. After being cheerfully greeted by the receptionist we were just instructed to wander around the factory and ask any questions we might have of any of the men or women working in the shop. We freely walked around everywhere. We even got to see Mrs. Peter Morgan’s personal +8 Automatic, supposedly the only one ever made by MMC. After our tour I ask if we could say to hi to Peter Morgan and without hesitation, we were escorted into his office for a brief chat. He was a very charming fellow and was keenly interested to learn that my girlfriend’s mother was English and had moved to the US just after WWII to marry her father, after they meet while he was stationed in the UK during the war.
Frame Shop at MMC where it all begins
Panel Beating at MMC I owned the 4/4 for about 10 years before I decided, as a new Dad, that I should sell it since there was no room for three in the car. So, I placed an ad in the Boston Globe and a young Doctor from Puerto Rico doing his residency in one of the Boston area hospitals bought the car and had it shipped back to Puerto Rico. I often wonder if the Morgan is still running around the island and being enjoyed by him. Of course, after owning 3 Morgan’s over a period of sixteen or so years I was having British car withdrawal so I convinced my wife that if I could find a sports car that had four seats, as we now had a second daughter, we should buy it. My initial quest was to find a Morgan 4-seater. Unfortunately, four seat Morgan’s were not that plentiful, especially in NH, where we were now living. However, I knew that Austin Healey’s had little jump seats in the back, so I ended up buying an Austin Healey 3000 in 1991 and immediately installed two sets of seat belts in the jump seats for my daughters. They were 4 and 7 at the time. The Healey became
our new “family” sports car for many years. I have attended every British Invasion in Stowe, VT since 1992 and my older daughter, now 37, who now lives in VT, often comes to spend the day with me at the show. But even after all the years owning the Healey, a truly magnificent British roadster in its own rights, I still had the desire to own a Morgan again. I thought initially I wanted a DHC, just like the first one I saw so many years ago, so I began to look for one of these rare Morgan’s. I started to watch BaT auctions, checked out ads in Hemmings, spoke to Morgan owners at British Invasion and other car shows to find a DHC for sale. I eventually test drove a beautifully restored 1967 +4 DHC but the price was more than my budget. While visiting my brother who is now retired in FL, we test drove the rarest of all DHC’s, a 4-seater “Snobmog”. But being an early 50’s model it just did not have the performance I was hoping for. My brother, who now owns a Morgan 4/4 himself, mentioned that he knew of a fellow Morgan club member in GA who had several Morgan’s including a DHC so I reached out to him to see if he might be interested in selling it. As it turned out he was, and he also mentioned he had an early +8 that he wanted to sell as well as a rare Super Sport. Of course, the SS was way out of my price range but the early Moss gearbox +8, the holy grail of +8’s, perked my interest. That was it. I was going to buy that car instead of his DHC. So, after a many months of back-
and-forth phone calls and viewing numerous photos as I could not fly down to see the car in person due to the pandemic, I purchased the car sight unseen and had it shipped to me in the fall of 2020. This +8 is a low mileage 1971 model, 1 of 49 legally imported that year before Morgan Motor Company withdraw from the US market due to being unable to meet DOT regulations. And as you already know Morgan’s had a hiatus from the US market for a few years until Bill Fink figured out how to get them legally back into the country again using propane instead of gasoline to meet emission regulations. What appealed to me most about this Morgan is it was one of the 484 +8’s produced that was based on the low and narrow body +4 Morgan’s with the Moss gearbox.
My 1971 Plus 8 upon arrival in NH While an excellent original example of this rare and desirable Morgan model I decided to give it a “re-freshening” over the winter including a new leather interior and two-tone paint job of Royal Ivory with Connaught green fenders.
6:00pm – 8:00pm: Reception at the St. Petersburg home of Mike Palfreyman and Lois Slavin
Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Breakfast on your own
SPYC Classic Car Show
8:00am – 10:30am: Arrival and staging
3:00pm – 3:30pm Awards
Special discounts have been arranged the nights of Feb. 3, 4, and 5 for GatorMOG and MOGSouth members. Please visit the following websites to learn more about the hotels, then call the phone # indicated.
You MUST CALL and identify yourself as a Morgan Car Club – GatorMOG or MOGSouth Member. The reservationist will provide you with a quote that includes the Group discount.
More details on how to enter your Morgan in the show, fees etc., will be coming soon but as this is high season in St Pete you will want to make your hotel reservations so call soon – or better yet, call now!