13 Aug

Morgan Three Wheeler Convention – May 2017

At last count there were over 200 vintage Morgan Three Wheelers and another 200 or so modern Morgan Three Wheelers (aka 5 Speeders) in North America.  Many of these cars have been in the hands of their owners for decades, but they have simply been left at home when the other Morgans go out to play.

So we have created a Three Wheeler only event! Morgan Three Wheeler Convention – May 2017. The first ever event of it’s kind in North America, to address these very issues. Let’s get the cars out if we can no matter their state or vintage.  Let’s all get together in one place and have a few cars to poke and prod, and discuss. Other cars we can drive and compare.  Let’s get together with other like minded folks to talk about pertinent stuff, like maintenance, safe operations, restoration, grease, and having fun . . . yes lots of fun!

Visit the following link for more details.


POC: Duncan Charlton Elgin TX, 512-965-7583, duncan.charlton54@gmail.com or Mark Braunstein, 5151 Plato Cove, Sanford FL, 407-322-5060, series1@cfl.rr.com

13 Aug

Understanding the Concours Game (https://classicmotorsports.com/)

Like a race, a concours is just another type of competition. It helps if you go in prepared and aware of the ground rules. We’ve been on both sides of the judging game many times at major and minor events and more. But there are two guys who know this world even better than we do: Bill Warner, founder of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, and Tim McNair, automotive detailer to the stars. Together we came up with some concours advice.

Concours Judging

Before we share it, though, here’s a caveat: Don’t take concours events too seriously. If you do, the competition will just eat you up.

Understand the Type of Event: A general concours is usually different from a marque club event, and your car may be better suited to one than the other. In a general concours, the cars are evaluated based on elegance, style, condition, backstory and so on. The judges will note a scratch or a flaw, but they may not know that the valve covers are the wrong shade of silver or that a particular model year should have an alternator instead of a generator. Judges at a marque club event are going to pay just as much attention to the specific details as the overall beauty of the car.

Also, know how your car will be classed. Sometimes this information is hard to get, especially if the event isn’t well organized, but it’s nice to know what to expect on the show field.

We’ve seen perfectly restored yet relatively common cars get beat out by lesser vehicles that simply had a better backstory. If a car was originally built as a design study or once owned by the King of Morocco, then it’s going to get bonus points no matter what the make and model.

We know what it’s like to compete in a stacked field. We recently entered a slightly modified vehicle in a class for race cars. When we got there, we found a row containing cars from the likes of Indy and Formula 1. While we presented a nice car, we knew we weren’t taking home any hardware even before the judges looked it over.

Understand the Judges: Judges are made up of teams of volunteers, and it’s not uncommon to have an expert paired up with a couple of celebrities.

Most judges have roots in the hobby and have developed penchants for certain cars, colors, restoration shops and sometimes even people. Things can get political, too, and a bossy lead judge can sway the rest of the panel.

Judges also have their own opinions when it comes to defining something as seemingly simple as elegance. The Pebble Beach Concours website contains a great quote from Ansel Adams, legendary photographer and former honorary judge: “From a strictly personal point of view, my definition of an elegant car would be ‘the kind of car I would like to be buried in.’”

Understand the Judging Process: There are different types of judging at different events. At Amelia Island, for example, the “French” style of judging is used, which basically looks at a car’s overall elegance.

At other events, however, judges look more closely at the details. Do the lights work? Are all the factory tools and paperwork present?

We recently judged at Hilton Head, and out of eight or nine cars in the class, roughly half had some kind of issue—either the jack and spares were missing or the lights didn’t work. At this event, those things mattered. Nice cars lost points.

The add-ons and backstory can matter, too. A pleasant owner who did much of the work at home can score extra points. A great story can also elevate a car’s stature—say, if the owner’s dad bought the car directly from Bonnie and Clyde just before they were gunned down.

Finally, it’s important to meet the judges at your car. If you aren’t interested enough to be there when they arrive, you will almost universally lose points. Having a handler there is better than nothing, but make sure that handler knows the whole story.

Understand the Prep: Our buddy Tim McNair details the cars of the stars. Name a topflight concours, and he has prepped cars for it. Odds are he’s taken home some major hardware from it, too.

One of his best tips is to keep your blacks black and every other contrast correct. Black rubber should be black as night, chrome should be shiny, and amber lenses should glow even when the lights are off. As he reminds us, perfect paint looks like hell next to marginal chrome or faded black rubber.

A few more of his quick tips: Use a good rubber treatment where needed; bamboo skewers are great for cleaning tight places; and use a clay bar before buffing and waxing your paint.

Concours Tips From the Top: Amelia Island Concours Founder Bill Warner

Creator and grand pooh-bah of arguably one of the best and most famous concours event in the country is our good friend Bill Warner. He offered these additional tips for entering your first concours event:

  • We build the show around themes and anniversaries. A car that fits the themes stands a better chance of being accepted than a car that does not.
  • Having other national awards— AACA, CCCA, PCA,NCRS, etc.— helps us separate the great cars from the average.
  • Fresh restorations that have not been seen at other shows get the highest priority with us, and the rarer, the better. If the car has been to every other significant show in the country before coming to Amelia, it stands very little chance of being accepted. We owe it to the patrons of the show to present a fresh, innovative show with rare and unusual cars.
  • The car should not be misrepresented—for example, don’t advertise that it has been restored as a roadster when it was originally a sedan. We try to investigate each car to make sure it is correct.
  • Have documentation with the car to show the judges in the event that it is necessary to confirm certain details. Although we try hard, judges can’t know everything, so have your documentation with you.
  • The devil is in the details. Make sure the car is properly prepared, with all lights and horn operational. Charge the battery and put gas in the car. You just cannot imagine how many cars at Amelia have to be either fueled or jump-started.
  • Know your car! There are many owners who have “handlers” to handle their car. The owner hasn’t a clue on how to start or drive it. For shame!
  • If the judges ask, tell them what you know about your car. Help them understand what you went through to prepare the car for the show.

• Don’t count on getting a trophy. Just come and have a good time. There are more important things in life to worry about. If you win an award, all the better.

13 Aug

MORGAN 4/4 80TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION (http://www.msn.com/)

Good Show! Morgan Plans to Sell Its Venerable Roadsters in America Again

Call us lazy and unpatriotic, but we don’t tend to read more than the first couple of dozen pages of any bit of legislation enacted by the federal government. Others do, however, and an obscure provision in the so-called FAST Act that passed into law last year—that’s “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation”—is set to have a major effect for a small British sports-car maker.
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To save you from reading the whole thing, the act included a clause exempting low-volume manufacturers from most federal standards for replica motor vehicles that are “intended to resemble the body of another motor vehicle that was manufactured not less than 25 years before the manufacture of the replica vehicle.”

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And as Morgan has been making several of its cars for many more decades than that—indeed it has just launched an 80th-anniversary limited edition of the venerable 4/4—it means that the company is now getting set to relaunch some of its older models in the U.S. alongside the 3 Wheeler that already is sold in several states.

“The bill allows us to bypass much of the safety stuff,” Steve Morris, Morgan’s managing director, told us at the Geneva auto show. “There are still going to be different requirements in some states, but we’re digging down to see what exactly we’ll have to do. But I think that by the third quarter of this year we’ll be back with some of the heritage models. It’s great, a real boost for us.”

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Morgan has sold its cars in the U.S. at various times throughout its 106-year history, but none since the Aero 8’s exemption from rear impact standards and the need to have smart airbags expired in 2008. Yet the limited scope of the exemption means that it won’t be the company’s more modern, aluminum-frame models like the Aero 8’s successors that return—rather the far-older steel-frame “Classic” models: the Roadster, 4/4, and Plus 4. Meaning there will be no airbags, ABS, or traction control to get in the way of what remains the sort of driving experience your great-grandfather likely would recognize.

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Not that things are quite as simple for Morgan as loading up a boat with Moggies and steering it towards the setting sun as “Rule Britannia” plays. The bill also requires that any replica vehicles meet modern emissions standards, so no side-valve engines. Fortunately, Morgan’s current Classic line-up is powered by Ford-sourced V-6 and four-cylinder engines that should be capable of making the grade. Cars also will have to abide by different states’ replica registration laws and procedures.

“We’ve got to sort out the compliance, but as we’re using the Mustang 3.7 and the 2.0-liter direct-injection engine, that should be doable—we just need to work out a cost effective solution,” said Morris. “We’ve also got to sort out dealers and distribution.”

If all goes to plan, the Morgans should be back in the U.S. by the end of the year. You’ll want to don your finest tweed to celebrate.

12 Aug

Stuffing Your Boot or What To Take With You (www.justbritish.com)

Greetings again, Jolly gang! It has been suggested to me by persons unnamed that my recent article “What Stops Us” was geared too much towards the possibilities of failure and that this circumstance is so rare (at least with the more handy side of our group!)


I should focus now on what to carry in one’s cherished chariot, rumbler, love machine– whatever you call it– to enjoy a more complete motoring experience! Do I have suggestions for this, you query?  You bet your balaclava I do, so take notes– grab your Waterman fountain pen or your quill and well, let’s get started!

Beginning with the smaller cars and focusing on what every car needs in her cubby or boot, the motoring enthusiast will no doubt find it comforting to don a proper cap. I have noted recently some fine choices: a Balmoral or flat cap certainly gives an air of authenticity to the driver of a Morgan, for instance, and Holden’s in the UK sells some quite fetching Ladies motoring hats (lovely image that). A beret, although not typically associated with the Brits, does give the impression there might have been a recent trip across the Channel or drive down the Champs Elysées! Those of us inclined towards the Lotus Seven or Morgan Three wheeler might be better presented in a leather flying helmet (and they go so well with the classic bomber jacket). All that fluffy wool around the edges truly giving the image of “Derring-do”!

Scarves are a must for both the Ladies and Gentlemen but tie them short so as not to go the way of Isadora Duncan!

No proper Gentleman or Lady should grasp the wheel without the appropriate gloves. String backs are by far the most correct although there are many good leather gloves for motoring (thin ones for better feel if it’s not too cold…).

Perhaps the sun reflections from your gleaming bonnet are too much to bear? No doubt you have considered shading your peepers. So important to better see the oncoming blighter in a Buick who is more intent on texting than turning. Also handy for taking note unnoticed in the event of attractive roadside scenery. The racer types will, of course, go for the Halcyon goggles with tinted lenses (again very good with the bomber jacket and leather helmet).


Lap blankets are a most welcome advantage, for it seems that strangely our right little rides have woefully inadequate heaters or “Fug stirrers” as properly called. More often than not, they produce somewhat less warmth than a mouse breathing on your knee and any cooling of one’s lady’s body might also cool her ardour… Upon arrival at that destination afar, your famished companion can now recline comfortably while you twirl your corkscrew like a seasoned sommelier.


Note, the Welsh make absolutely the finest motoring/picnic blankets. The basket itself (you didn’t think I would omit the very holy grail of all motoring accessories, did you?!) should contain all manner of accoutrement necessary for a lunch among the well-bred; a melon baller is going too far, but at least two types of spoons are de rigueur! Napkins should match at least a little bit of the classical patterns found on one’s kilt (you do have a kilt, don’t you…?) Wedgewood is perfect and Waterford crystal also separates one from the groveling masses at any decent polo match!

Umbrellas that suit your lady should be left to her choosing as there is no possibility of your understanding how to match them to her attire much less her mood! Opera glasses or perhaps a brass telescope for admiring the scenery (careful at the beach lest your lady take the aforementioned umbrella to your cap a time or two)!

And now on to the larger conveyances of correctness, Bentleys, Rolls and Range Rovers have a boot with the capacity for a proper table and chairs as well as other necessities one might find it difficult to convey in an MG Midget such as the ice bucket, coolers, shooting sticks, clays and ammunition, Polo clubs and inflatables for the beach.

Musical instruments can be much the advantage when serenading your lovely although not while driving unless of course you are adept with a Kazoo.

Well, there you have it! Now pump in the petrol and grab that bottle of Chateau de Huile and off you go.


12 Aug

Hemmings Tech 101: Fuel-line hose – what you should and should not use

Most vehicle repair shops are encountering a lot of fuel-line-related issues since the introduction of ethanol into America’s pump gas.  Because of ethanol’s effects on rubber, plastic and metals, they are finding themselves spending a lot more time fixing fuel delivery systems than they did in the days of leaded gas and carburetors.


Neoprene fuel line.

Shops that perform these fuel system repairs are faced with the fact that there are now many possible types of fuel line that are necessary to make a proper, safe and durable repair. The few rolls of neoprene fuel line or steel tubing that used to hang on the wall are now only part of the varied products needed to perform these repairs. New sizes, new materials, new attachment fittings and new manufacturer’s O.E. recommendations have caused many shops to expand their inventories of fuel line products to meet market demands.

So, we offer this guide to the backyard mechanic as a reference for selecting the right products to purchase and keep in your own garage for the specific repairs you may find necessary. While plain neoprene fuel line will still work for many applications, these other products are designed to meet specific needs.

Standard neoprene fuel hose can be used for fuel, PCV and EEC systems on all vehicles where working pressures are under 50 psi or vacuum ratings are under 24-in. Hg for 7/16-inch and smaller inside-diameter sizes (10-in. Hg for ½-inch diameter hose). Fuel line is a petroleum-resistant nitrile tube with a covering that resists weathering, ozone and heat and can be used for ethanol-laced fuels and diesel fuel. It should, however, not be used on coolant systems, oil systems or fuel-injection systems that produce pressures higher than 50 psi. SAE ratings displayed on the hose should be 30R6 or 30R7.

Neoprene fuel line is available in 1/8-inch through 5/8-inch sizes on bulk rolls, with additional 3-foot sections of large 1-1/2-inch through 2-1/4-inch sizes available for gas filler neck applications. Neoprene with an outer steel braiding is also offered for custom applications; however, it is difficult to clamp with a standard worm gear clamp. Special AN-type fittings are often necessary with steel-braided fuel line.

When a bent filler neck hose is necessary, wire-inserted fuel hose is also offered. It bears the SAE 30R5 rating and can withstand temperatures of -40 to 212 degrees. Working pressure is not relevant, but wire-inserted hose can withstand 50-85 psi, depending on diameter.

High-pressure fuel hose for clamp-type fuel-injection systems is also available. This fuel hose is SAE 30R9-rated and uses a fluoro elastomer inner liner that will withstand up to 180 psi and 300 degrees. It is approved for all fuel blends including straight methanol, and the outer coating is also ozone- and abrasion-resistant. High-pressure fuel-injection hose can also be used in low-pressure applications, but the difference in pricing may convince you to save it for where it is needed.


Nylon fuel line.

Many late-model production cars are now using hard, black nylon tubing with special connectors to attach fuel-feed lines to the gas tank sending unit/fuel pump modules. This gas-resistant nylon tubing can be purchased by the foot or in short sections with the proper ends already attached to one end. Nylon tubing uses barbed fittings that are inserted into the tubing, and the connection is then heated to shrink the tubing around the fitting.

Marine fuel hose is a different product than standard fuel hose and has to be Coast Guard approved. Marine hose must have the SAE J1527 Style R1 rating emblazoned on the hose to pass as seaworthy. Marine hose is rated for 40 psi and will work in a pinch for carbureted passenger cars and light trucks.


Tygon fuel hose.

Small engines on your lawnmower, ATV or motorcycle use a gas-resistant vinyl tubing called Tygon. It is usually clear or transparent yellow in color and is preferred over the clear vinyl tubing you can purchase for your beer keg tap or for use as a wiring loom. Tygon is available in short sections or on a large roll and can be quite expensive, but it will outlast the standard vinyl by many years and does not turn brown and brittle after extended use, as vinyl tubing often does.

Standard rubber vacuum or heater hose should never be used in fuel applications. The hose will deteriorate from the inside out and can plug fuel filters and carburetors with rubber debris, long before it springs an external leak.

12 Aug

The British government is granting Morgan $8.5 million to develop electrified powetrains

England-based Morgan Motors is out to prove it’s not as old-fashioned as it might seem by developing a handful of electric and hybrid models.

Backed by the British government, Morgan is injecting £6 million (a figure that represents about $8.5 million) into its Malvern, England, factory in order to develop clean drive trains with input from two UK-based firms, Delta Motorsport and Potenza Technology. The money will primarily be used to expand the company’s research and development department, to hire new workers, and to boost its annual production capacity.

Morgan’s managing director, Steve Morris, explains the firm is adopting electrification to significantly reduce its fleet-wide CO2 emissions and to improve its cars’ gas mileage. Ultimately, going green will also help Morgan sell more cars annually, and it might enable the firm to outgrow its niche status by earning a bigger slice of lucrative markets such as China and the United States.


The first regular-production electric model in Morgan’s illustrious, 106-year history will be the production version of the 3-Wheeler-based EV3 concept (pictured) that was shown last summer at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Set to go on sale before the end of the year, the experimental concept uses a small electric motor that zaps the lone rear wheel with 101 horsepower. It briskly reaches 60 mph from a stop in a little over six seconds, and it goes on to a top speed of about 155 mph.

The British car maker explains that the electric motor is much lighter than the gasoline-burning V-twin engine that usually powers the 3-Wheeler, which helps offset the weight added by the bulky battery pack. All told, the 1,212-pound electric 3-Wheeler has a total driving range of about 150 miles, and topping up the pack takes approximately four hours.

The EV3’s drive train was developed in-house, well before the British government awarded its £6 million grant. Morgan’s next-generation electrified power trains aren’t expected to hit the market until 2019 at the earliest, meaning the EV3 will be the only eco-friendly member of the car maker’s lineup for the foreseeable future.

12 Aug

Book Review: Morgan International Adventure II

adventure II

With Britain recovering from World War II, Morgan introduced the new Morgan +4 sports car. Sales were very limited not helped by the scarcity of steel supplies. The Morgan factory needed to sell in the global market and there was no better place to give visibility to the brand than the Le Mans 24 Hour race. Their attempt in 1952 didn’t go well!

Morgan’s next entry to the greatest sports car race in the world had to wait another nine years, when the baton was picked up by privateers Messrs Lawrence and Shepherd-Barron. That didn’t go well either! Then the following year, Morgan replicated the success of the pre war years – but this time they went one better and famously won their class.

This book tells the story of Morgan’s adventures at Le Mans in 1952, at Monza and Le Mans in 1961 and at Le Mans in 1962. It includes extensive biographies of the lesser known Morgan competitors – but what they achieved outside of motor racing was scarcely believable. Numerous rare black and white and colour photographs have been used drawn from private collections, many of which have never appeared in print before.
Morgan International Adventure II is my new book, the sequel to Morgan International Adventure. It is available now, priced at £36.00 plus P&P