11 Sep

My Return to Morganmania by Bob Britton

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.

24 Apr

British Car Club of Charleston event on October 29th in Charleston SC

MogSouth members, John Scott and Irene Breland have an upcoming British Car Club of Charleston
event on October 29th in Charleston, SC that features Morgans as the Spotlight marque. The 37th annual
British Car Day show is held in a beautiful park setting at Palmetto Islands County Park in Mt. Pleasant,
SC. Several MogSouth and BCCC members are already planning on displaying their cars. Sponsors
include Christopher John LTD, the Florida Morgan dealer, who may have a surprise or two on display!
This large gathering of British iron is a perfect place to showcase our beloved Morgans.

BCCC will host a Friday reception at McLeod Plantation on James Island, SC. The reception area is
available for use all day and tickets for the house tour can be purchase through the BCCC website when
you register for the show. An authentic British Tea is also in the works. All details will be posted at
www.britishcarclubcharleston.com .


Room blocks under the name Morgan Car Club have been made at Hotel Indigo in Mt. Pleasant, SC. The
rate is $179 per night for Friday and Saturday. Call 843-884-6000 for reservations or contact John Scott
for more information at scott5254@comcast.net .


Hotel Indigo’s bar, which also opens out to the poolside area, is an ideal spot for after show cocktails. A
poolside dinner is planned for early evening. Downtown Charleston is a short hop from the hotel over
the Ravenel Bridge. Sunday options for touring Charleston are too numerous to list.


We encourage interested members to book one of the blocked rooms early since fall is a busy tourist
time in the Charleston area. Registration for the show will be open soon at
www.britishcarclubcharleston.com or contact John at scott5254@comcast.net or Irene at
irenebreland@comcast.net .

17 Mar

Itinerary for the MOGSouth Fall Meet ~ Sept. 29 – Oct. 2, 2022

With special thanks to the Merlin Auto Group

of Atlanta for their part in sponsoring our Fall Meet this year, your planning committee is pleased to
present the following itinerary. You will notice that there is a change in how the various meals have
been planned….basically more catered affairs so you’re not off on your own. This is due to the shortage
of restaurant staff, post Covid-19 and the desire to have more time together in private venues where we
can socialize and enjoy each other’s company more comfortably.

Thurs – 9/29: For the “Early Birds” taking advantage of the optional, additional day we suggest that you check out Cartersville’s website www.visitcartersvillega.org for information about the many nearby tourist attractions including it’s award winning Smithsonian Institute affiliated Booth Museum and Tellius Museum. Let us know your ETA so we can meet you at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel where we will have local maps and brochures along with suggestions for your visit. Light refreshments will be available at the home of Gary & Judy Heck (11 miles from the hotel) beginning at 3:30. At 5:00 we will caravan to the Home Town Steak & Que in Euharlee ( 12 miles) for dinner on your own. There will be an opportunity for Morgan photos in front of the nearby historic Euharlee Covered Bridge after dinner and a stop at the close by ice cream shop and bakery for those who can’t resist.

Friday – 9/30: This is a day for exploring tourist attractions in our area that interest you. We will be available with suggestions, maps and brochures, plus the Cartersville Tourist Bureau is right next door to the Marriott.

The Booth Museum (Contemporary Western art, Civil War art, Cowboy & Native American artifacts, etc.) plus the 120,000 sq ft

Tellius Science Museum (Planetarium shows, gems, minerals, fossils & Science-in-motion gallery) are both fascinating.

Barnesley Gardens (15 miles from the hotel) is a luxury resort on 3,300 acres that features the ruins of an 1840s Manor House, centuries old gardens, horseback riding, champion golf course plus the Woodlands Grill and an outdoor Beer Garden for your enjoyment

Sat – 10/1: We have a lot to do today so the plan is we will line up at the Marriott at 8:30 to start the scenic 1 hour drive to Ellijay at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Our first destination is the R&A Orchards for apple picking (or you may purchase them in their market along with fried apple pies, etc). Afterwards there will be time to explore the unique shops in the downtown area (5.4 miles from the orchard) before we meet at 12:30 at the River Park Shelter (1.7 miles from downtown) for a boxed lunch (of your choice) from the Back Porch Bistro. We will depart for Cartersville at approx. 1:15 so you will have enough time to freshen up before heading to the new, highly acclaimed Savoy Car Museum at 3:00 (2 miles from the hotel). At 6:00 we will all gather for a much needed Noggin’ at Gary’s shop (97 Wansley Drive) just 5 mins from the Marriott. At 7:00 we will have a bountiful 3 entree catered dinner at the shop surrounded by Gary & Judy’s collection of 19 classic cars. For your convenience and ease of
parking, Rosie will provide a shuttle for anyone desiring a ride between the hotel and the shop. Golden Oldies music will be provided by Jim McCartney for your listening pleasure and for Sock Hop dancing for those who are still “young at heart”…..PLUS you will be entertained by a wonderful video presentation full of great memories from past MOGSouth meets and events that Brian Miller is putting together and a Morgan media presentation that Steve Eckhoff of Merlin Motors will be showing. You don’t want to miss Saturday night!

‘ 50s Style Dress is encouraged…just for the fun of it!

Sun – 10/2: Check-out time is anytime before 11:00

Important Links:

Box Lunch Order Form
Registration for MOGSouth Fall Meet
Final Itinerary

The link to book using our group rate is: https://www.marriott.com/event-reservations/reservation-link.mi?id=1644268467465&key=GRP&app=resvlink

Co-Hosts for the Meet Are:
Judy Heck 404-24-0948
Gary Heck 770-595-8846
Rosie Miller 256-683-9294
Brian Miller 256-683-9417

Host Hotel: The Courtyard Marriott
5460 Georgia Highway 20
Cartersville, GA 30121
678-721-1660

Gary’s Shop Address:
97 Wansley Drive
Cartersville, GA 30120

Gary & Judy’s Home Address:
224 Old Dallas Road SW
Cartersville, GA 30120