18 Apr

2019 MOGSouth Fall Meet – Pinehurst, NC. Sep 13 – 15

You are cordially invited to the 2019 MOGSouth Fall Meet, the weekend of September 13 -15.

The Meet will be held in the quaint Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina. Check out the following link:  Village of Pinehurst Video

The host hotel will be the Homewood Suites. We have reserved a block of rooms for the Morgan owners who will be attending. The hotel information is: Homewood Suites by Hilton – Olmsted Village Hotel, 250 Central Park Avenue, Pinehurst, NC, 28374 – 910-255-0300

We have arranged with the hotel for a nightly rate of $119.00. Please call the hotel directly at 910-255-0300 for reservations and request the Morgan Car Club rate. Be sure to make your reservations before August 13th, 2019. After this date they will release the rooms for general sale.

We have organized a full weekend of events starting on Friday evening with a Concert on the Green featuring Band of Oz, a very popular band based in North Carolina.

We have a meeting room available for our Noggin on Friday evening. Information will be available when you check into the hotel on Friday.

Saturday we have a lovely drive to Seagrove, NC to the pottery center of North Carolina where there are over 100 potters with many different styles and designs. A visit to the North Carolina Pottery Center and demonstration will be available for our group. If anyone is interested in visiting any local potter we will make sure you are not left alone to find your way back. Check out the pottery site at: North Carolina Pottery Center 

The driving tour will continue through the area and include a light lunch spot. After lunch we will return to Pinehurst to take a tour of Sports Leicht Restorations, an award winning restoration specialist close to our hotel. For those who would rather relax on Saturday we also have arranged a leisurely walking tour of the Village of Pinehurst with our Village Historian. Relax and shop the specialty shops and restaurants in this charming village.

Saturday evening will be our group dinner at the Ironwood Restaurant. Shuttle service will be available from the Homewood Suites. Shuttles will leave the hotel front desk area at 6:00 PM and 6:30 PM to accommodate everyone. Local maps of the area will be provided for those choosing to drive themselves to the restaurant. A cash bar will be open while we gather for our 7:00 dinner. Dinner will be your choice of the following menu items.

Saturday Dinner Menu

House Salad – mescalin greens / carrot & beet curls / English cucumbers / roma tomato / with a maple vinaigrette

AND

Entree (Chose one per person)

  • Atlantic Salmon – maple & pecan crusted Atlantic salmon / root vegetable chorizo succotash / bourbon mash sweet potato, or
  • 7 oz Top Sirloin – whipped potatoes / fresh vegetable of the day, or
  • Goat Cheese Chicken – airline chicken breast / smashed potatoes / swiss chard confit shallot / natural jus, or
  • Pork Osso Bucco – gorgonzola polenta / crispy brusssel sprouts / gremolata salad / natural jus

AND

  • Dessert – double chocolate cheesecake swirl brownie

Cost per person, $51.20 (includes 8% sales tax and 20% gratuity)

Please send your check for dinner made out to Donald Moodie to arrive before August 13th and note in the memo line which main dish(es) you have choosen. Send your check to:

Donald Moodie, 17 Lochmere Drive, Pinehurst, NC 28374 –

Finally, we have planned a pretty full schedule but some of you may want to extend your visit to play golf on one of the famous Pinehurst courses. For particulars you should email Jack Zimmerman at jzimme10@gmail.com.

16 Apr

Morgan Motor Co Factory Tour (Nov 2018)

[This is a view of the factory as it is prior to any real changes. Things may be different in the future as modifications are driven, in processes and tooling, by the new investor. Also, there is an Aero 8 GT in build, well it appears all but finished, with a matching M3W. Striking color! (Turn up the volume or the tour guide is hard to hear.) Enjoy, Mark]

13 Apr

GatorMOG To the Villages – 10 April – Event Report

GatorMOG Ventures North to the Villages – 10 April 2019

The ‘Villages.’  Everyone has heard of the Villages, at least those more senior among us.  And, you don’t have to live in Florida to know about this place.  It is really hard to describe, a mecca to some, and a destination for many.  GatorMOG has a presence there and so a quick jaunt up to visit, mid-week, should be fun!

Well, it was just a sleepy Wednesday morning in the Villages?  Or so it was supposed to be.  A few of the otherwise uncommitted GatorMOG traveled north to see the sites, but more importantly to send Allan and MaryAnn Rae off, as they head back to Canada later in the week.  Having the Morgans in the Villages was big doings for the locales.  Lots of verbal compliments and lots of cell phone photos.

The road designer must have been enamored with the British mode of traffic control, the roundabouts, with only a few traffic lights in the entire town!  The Morgans were right at home!! 

As Morgans meandered through the many roundabouts of the Villages, we attempted to see what we could.  Lots of golf courses, tennis courses, swimming pools, recreation centers, boutiques and restaurants.  This place has everything! 

We milled around, visited a few shops and found lunch in one of the many restaurants. We sat outside and looked at one of the lakes that surround the Villages and watched the bird. Perfect weather! Then a short drive to Allan and MaryAnn’s Villages home for dessert and Lemonade.

It was hectic driving, however.  We had to dodge the many residents in their golf cars or mini vans as we went.  It would appear that this isn’t just a place for lethargic retirees.  Folks in the Villages have things to do, places to go, people to see!  And, they’re in a big hurry! 

Photo Courtesy of Rick Frazee. Thank you!

All-in-all there were seven Morgans in our merry band.  Most made the trip from their homes elsewhere in Florida, leaving early (well, not that early!) but with the tops down (remember this is Florida).  Some came alone and others in convoy.  Three 2005 Roadsters (joining Allan and MaryAnn’s Roadster for a total of four), two Plus 8s (1980 and 1998) and an early 4/4, so seven cars and thirteen Morganeers.  Not bad for an impromptu Morgan gathering.  (Really, we just dreamed this up a few days ago!)  

13 Apr

Orlando All British Car Show – 6 April 2019 – Event Report

Photo Courtesy of Karen Bernath. Thanks!!

35th Central Florida British Car Show – Central Winds Park, Winter Springs (Orlando) – 6 April 2019

A new venue for the this show – Central Winds Park in Winter Springs.  Cheaper, more facilities, more space and, IMO, a local community that is more welcoming as opposed to one that is somewhat hostile.  We had a great day.  Some ‘opening night’ jitters but nothing that will be remembered for very long.  It was warm and this new venue is a bit more open than the last.  We did find some sporadic overcast to provide shade occasionally. 

However, a highlight of this new venue is the acceptability of adult beverages.  Quite a few of the cars had come well prepared.  I saw Champagne being poured from the boot of a Bentley and, of course, beer was being served around the Triumphs.  Even several of the vendors had offerings, and certainly no one complained. 

The Central Florida British Car Show (Orlando) has been held now for 35 years.  MOGSouth’s own Rick Frazee was the show’s director in the past.  Quite a history.  The cars this year were superb with some very nice and very rare examples of the British automotive past.  A 1927 Austin Nippy, a 1954 Bentley parked right next to a 2015 Bentley Turbo R, all manner of BL products, a good number of modern Jaguar F Types and of course 8 Morgans. We had an early 4/4, Plus 4s, to include a Flat Rad and a Cowled Radiator 4 Seater, Plus 8s, and Roadsters.  Several of the local Morgan owners, that typically attend this show, were otherwise committed, so the count would have been even higher had they come.  It appears Morgans are, albeit slowly, taking over Florida!!  

The show had the usual diversions and wasn’t all about the shiny cars.  Other aspects of the show included food vendors, the silent auction, door prizes and the infamous valve cover races.  My Coventry Climax valve cover was the only Morgan entry, but, once again, it didn’t win.  It didn’t even go down the ramp forward, it flipped immediately and then went down backwards, that is until it hit the pavement and a wheel fell off.  Typical Morgan!  Next time!  And, I think some redesign is in order.

We were joined by a Morgan owner who only recently relocated to Florida from the Northeast.  Smart move, have you seen the weather reports?? Les and Joan Neumann are only some 15 miles from my house, and a few miles from another Morgan owner.  Morgan owners seem to travel in packs??  Go figure?  The more the merrier!! 

09 Apr

2019 MOGSouth Holiday Party – 6 & 7 December 2019

Given the very positive response to the 2018 Holiday Party in St Simons Island (lots and lots of emails!) as well as the overwhelming membership desire to return to St Simons (We had a survey and 77% of the responses said to return to St Simons) – We got the message!! 

The 2019 Holiday Party will again be held at the King and Prince in St Simons Island, GA, Friday and Saturday 6/7 December.

Our hosts this year are Debbie and John StanleyThank you!   

The Hospitality Suite will again be at the Wesley Cottage.  Times that the hospitality suite will be operational will be published once we have a better handle on the overall sequence of events.

Holiday Banquet (Saturday Evening 7 Dec) – The banquet will be similar to last year’s buffet.  The price remains the same as last year, $41 per person.

Hotel Rooms – We have just been given the go ahead from the hotel.  They are ready to take your reservations.  You have to call the King and Prince hotel directly and make your own reservations.  The hotel is holding a block of rooms for us, at a discounted rate.  They have identified a group of rooms at a rate less than last year’s best rate.  That being said, they also have some premium rooms and villas in our group, with better views (ocean, etc.,) or accommodations, however these rooms come with higher rates. 

The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort reservation phone number is (800) 342-0212.  Be sure to tell the hotel you are with MOGSOUTH.  Discuss the various room options with the customer service representative and then decide what works for best for you!  Upon your arrival, be sure to ask for your MOGSouth Goody Bag upon checking in at the front desk.  

Trolley Tours – Only one trolley tour will be arranged this year, on Saturday morning (Arrive at Hotel Lobby at 0945 AM, Tour Departs at 1000 AM 7 Dec) and given this, there will be a limited number of seats available.  Please send Debbie Stanley an email (pockets5@live.com) if you want to be added to the Trolley Tour list.  Get your emails to Debbie quickly or risk not getting a seat.  The tour price is 20$ per person. 

Special Morgan Parking – We believe we have negotiated special parking for the Morgans adjacent to some new construction underway at the hotel.  It should be quite nice when completed and quite convenient for us all.  Now we aren’t holding our breath, as anything can happen with construction projects, so we need to be prepared for change.  St Simon’s weather is generally nice (last year’s rain wasn’t so special, but . . . ) during early December (50° – 65° F), so think about bringing your Morgan. 

New Stuff – This year we will change it up a bit (just to keep you on your toes!) 

Silent Auction – The ad hoc Silent Auction we had last year was a disaster but now we made it an official MOGSouth Holiday Party Event!   We will have a ‘real’ Silent Auction so identify what you want to donate to the Club and bring it to St Simons in December.  All proceeds go to MOGSouth.  Items should preferably be auto related (no toaster ovens or baseball gloves!) however we cannot really deal with greasy auto parts.  Auto parts can be donated however just take a few pictures of the parts and print them out.  We will simply use the pictures for the Auction, and not the actual parts.  Winners of the bidding for the Auction will be announced in/or around the banquet room immediately following the banquet.

Ugly Sweater Contest – Also, this year we will have a formally judged Ugly Holiday Sweater Contest.  These sweaters are to be worn to the banquet!  We want to be sure everyone knows who is playing so we will have special name tags or other identifying items to distribute so do let Debbie Stanley (pockets5@live.com) know if you are playing.  The winners of the contest will be announced in/or around the banquet room immediately following the banquet.  And, there will be ‘wonderful’ prizes awarded so do participate!! 

Other Activities – All the other normal stuff will continue, e.g. Mother Courage Awards, etc.

01 Apr

Epic Engines: Buick Aluminum V-8 – (Hagerty.com)

The Little Aluminum V-8 That Saved Britain’s Bacon

LIKE THE KID WHO FLUNKED FIFTH grade and then grew up to become a decent stockbroker, the troubled youth of GM’s 215-cubic-inch (3.5 liter) aluminum V-8 didn’t hinder its fruitful life.  Born in 1961, this resilient engine introduced turbocharging to production cars but failed to earn a sufficient U.S. audience, whereupon it was sent to England to live out its life in everything from Range Rovers to TVRs.  Along the way, this mill, commonly known as the “Buick aluminum V-8” for reasons that will soon be explained, inspired countless designs and enabled a cottage sports-car industry.  It was the only American engine design ever to win a Formula 1 title.  One could argue that GM’s aluminum V-8 was every bit as ingenious as the Chevy small-block.

General Motors began studying aluminum V-8s in 1950 to power its LeSabre and XP-300 dream cars.  Although cast aluminum had been used early in the 20th century for crankcases, constructing entire blocks and cylinder heads out of this material was a major breakthrough in the U.S.

In Europe, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Lancia, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, and Volkswagen perfected aluminum construction after World War II.  The success of VW Beetle imports convinced U.S. automakers they would need downsized cars powered by smaller and lighter engines to compete.  In 1960, the Chevrolet Corvair began the move to aluminum engines, followed by Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Plymouth, and Rambler in ’61.

Aluminum’s appeal is a density, or weight per volume, that is 60 percent lower than that of cast iron or “gray iron,” until then the traditional engine-block material.  Per pound, aluminum yields two to three times the bending stiffness and strength of cast iron and three times the tensile strength.

Aluminum’s downside is cost.  Iron ore is simply mined, melted, and mixed with a few ingredients before casting, but refining aluminum is a complex, energy-intensive process.  First, bauxite ore, a claylike material, is mined.  After melting and settling, alumina (aluminum oxide) in the molten ore is purified with an electric current, a process called electrolysis.  Because of aluminum smelters’ high electricity consumption, they are typically located near hydroelectric dams, where the electricity is plentiful and cheaper.  As a result, aluminum typically costs five times more per pound than gray iron.  In the mid-1950s, GM engineer Joseph Turlay, who designed Buick’s first production V-8 for the 1953 model year, topped an experimental cast-aluminum block with hemi heads, a supercharger, and dual carburetors to produce 335 horsepower from 3.5 liters.  That V-8’s 550-pound weight was a major breakthrough compared with the typical 700-pound iron-age engine.

GM engineers soon began work on a production aluminum V-8 to power the Buick Special, Oldsmobile F-85, and Pontiac Tempest slated for 1961.  Buick won the development and manufacturing assignments, with Turlay overseeing and Cliff Studaker assisting the engineering effort.

1961 Buick Special with 215 CI V-8

GM’s game plan was to use a stretched Corvair unibody to underpin its new compacts.  More refined ride and handling would, hopefully, justify higher prices for the upmarket models.  In addition, the aluminum V-8 would foster weight savings throughout the chassis, thereby improving performance.

Toward that end, the 3.5-liter V-8 was a showcase of light design.  The block, heads, intake manifold, timing chain cover, water pump, and water outlet were all made of GM’s 4097M aluminum alloy containing II-to-13-percent silicon.  This added material lowered the aluminum’s melting temperature, helped it flow more readily into molds, and reduced shrinkage during solidification.  A touch of copper was added to improve corrosion resistance.  The pistons, rocker arms, and carburetor were also aluminum.  The final 324-pound dry weight was 200 pounds lighter than Chevy’s small-block and roughly half the weight of Buick’s 6.6-liter V-8.

Turlay’s engineering team applied creative solutions to myriad design issues.  Because aluminum bores weren’t durable enough to withstand piston scuffing, cast-in-place iron sleeves with grooved outer surfaces engaging the surrounding aluminum were used.  This provided a tough bore surface without sealing concerns.  Shrink-fit iron valve seats and guides were incorporated into the aluminum heads, also for durability.  A deep-skirt block with five cast-iron main-bearing caps provided a stiff bottom end.  The cast-aluminum pistons were linked to the cast-Armasteel crank through forged-steel connecting rods. (Armasteel was GM’s name for a special cast iron manufactured by its foundries.)

Combining an 8.8:1 compression ratio with dished piston crowns and shallow combustion chambers achieved detonation-free operation on regular gas.  The spark plugs were located within half an inch of the bore center to minimize flame travel.  The 3.50 inch bore and short 2.80-inch stroke minimized piston speed and engine height.

Because aluminum expands significantly more than iron when heated, the engineers worried that steel bolts screwed directly into aluminum threads might loosen in service. Testing proved the bolts would maintain the desired torque if they were well lubricated during assembly.

Aluminum-block manufacturing was the one area where Buick ventured into the unknown.  The technique adopted was called semi-permanent mold casting, because it mixed conventional sand cores with permanent steel dies.  Sand cores defined the internal coolant passages and the crankcase portion of the block.  The reusable steel molds used for the outer flanks, deck surfaces, and valley area saved manufacturing minutes and provided a smoother finish than was possible with sand cores.

Following dyno development and a million miles of durability testing, Buick’s engine was tuned to deliver 155 (gross) horsepower at 4800 rpm and 220 pound-feet of torque at 2400 rpm, with a relatively flat torque curve.  Upping the compression ratio to 10.25:1 and adding a four-barrel carburetor hiked output to 230 pound-feet and 185 horsepower, or 0.86 horsepower per cubic inch.  Chevy’s 283-cubic-inch V-8 delivered 230 horsepower (0.81 horsepower per cubic inch) with a four-barrel carburetor.

Oldsmobile entered the 1961 model year with a version of this V-8 called the Rockette to evoke a family tie to the Rocket 88.  To make efficient use of manufacturing facilities, Buick cast all the blocks and crankshafts, and Olds manufactured its own heads, pistons, valvetrain, and intake manifolds.  One significant difference in the blocks was Buick’s use of five head bolts per cylinder whereas Olds preferred six (stay tuned for the reason why).  Pontiac equipped most of its Tempests with what it called an Indy Four—basically, a V-8 chopped in half—with the Buick 3.5-liter V-8 available as an extra-cost upgrade.

The racing community was impressed by America’s new small V-8, too.  Mickey Thompson concluded that this ultra-light engine was the ideal means of rattling the Offenhauser crowd at Indy.  In 1962, Dan Gurney qualified eighth in Thompson’s Harvey Aluminum Special powered by a 4.2-liter Buick V-8, but he dropped out half-way through the race with a broken gearbox.

Unfortunately, the buying public didn’t swarm to the General’s new premium compact cars.  Only Pontiac topped 100,000 sales in 1961; combined Special/F-85/Tempest sales exceeded the Corvair’s volume by only 10 percent.  The issue was price.  The cheapest Olds F-85 cost $118 more than a Chevy Bel Air.  Instead of merely hoping sales would rise, Buick and Oldsmobile swiftly rejiggered their game plans.  In 1962, Buick moved down-market, and Oldsmobile grabbed the next rung up the price ladder.

Buick’s 1962 companion to the aluminum V-8 was a V-6 made by whacking one cylinder per bank.  To spare the higher cost of aluminum, the block and the heads were converted to cast iron.  Keeping the V-8’s 90-degree V-angle was hardly ideal from a vibration standpoint, but it did allow machining the new V-6 with existing tools.  What began as a crude expedient eventually ended up as GM’s rock-star 3800 V-6, a story for another day.

Oldsmobile promoted its Rockette aluminum V-8 to Jetfire Turbo Rocket status by adding a Garrett AiResearch turbocharger fed by a single-barrel side-draft Rochester carburetor.  Beating Chevy’s Corvair Monza Turbo to market by a few weeks gave Olds bragging rights for the world’s first turbocharged production model.  Peak power surged to 215 horsepower at 4800 rpm—clearing the one horse-per-cubic-inch hurdle.  The torque curve peaked at a potent 300 pound-feet at 3200 rpm.  Without major changes to the host engine or any loss of smoothness or drivability, midrange torque rose by 40 percent.

Turbo pinwheels spinning at 90,000 rpm were supported by aluminum sleeve bearings lubed by engine oil. Exhaust gas accelerated the alloy-steel turbine wheel from 40,000 rpm during cruising to 80,000 rpm in less than a second after the throttle was floored. An exhaust waste gate built into the turbocharger limited boost pressure to 5 psi.

Instead of lowering the naturally aspirated V-8’s 10.25:1 compression ratio, which would penalize efficiency, Oldsmobile devised a system that metered Turbo Rocket fluid during boost conditions in a 1:10 ratio with the gasoline consumed.  This 50/50 elixir of distilled water and methyl alcohol (antifreeze) with a splash of corrosion inhibitor cooled the gas and air mixture sufficiently to forestall detonation.  To their surprise, Olds engineers found that the alcohol content added six horsepower to peak output.

The tank that stored this juice was pressurized by a tap off the turbo’s compressor to force delivery to the carburetor’s float chamber.  Safeguards were provided to inhibit boost when the essential fluid was depleted.  Testing predicted the 5 quart supply would last nearly 1000 miles.

BEATING CHEVY’S CORVAlR MONZA TURBO TO MARKET BY A FEW WEEKS (AND BMW AND PORSCHE BY A DECADE) GAVE OLDS BRAGGING RIGHTS FOR THE WORLD’S FIRST TURBOCHARGED PRODUCTION MODEL.

Osmobile’s 1962 JetRocket V-8 topped by a Garrett AiResearch turbocharger fed a single-barrel Rochester downdraft carburetor. Five psi of boost raised output to 215 horsepower at 4800 rpm and 300 pound-feet of 3200.

Those extra head bolts?  Oldsmobile designed them into its version of the 215 to help avoid warpage and blown head gaskets on the turbo variant.  The pistons, the bearings, and the valves were also upgraded.

Proud of their achievement, Oldsmobile engineers Gil Burrell, Frank Ball, and James Lewis concluded their Turbo Rocket tech paper by saying, “This engine is a development that will be appreciated by all engineers, performance enthusiasts, and other people interested in advanced mechanical powerplants.”  Car and Driver technical guru Roger Huntington dubbed the engine “the most radical design from an American factory in many years.”  He rated the ’62 Olds Cutlass F-85 Jetfire “an elegant and comfortable high-performance car of medium size”.

Unfortunately, GM’s hot small engine was caught out by radical changes sweeping through the industry.  For the 1964 model year—the dawn of the muscle-car era-—GM’s premium compacts grew into intermediate A-bodies powered exclusively by iron engines.  Buick and Olds kept the V-6 and added larger V-8 options.  Pontiac used a Chevy inline-six for base power and offered V-8s ranging from 326 to a wild 421 cubic inches.

The aluminum 215 V-8 lasted only three model years, in part because it was a costly indulgence.  The casting process suffered from porosity issues—seepage through the cylinder-block walls—and the high scrap rates gave top management the willies.  If the porosity wasn’t discovered upfront, coolant contamination of the oil triggered an expensive warranty claim.  Customers who used the wrong antifreeze suffered radiators clogged with aluminum deposits.  Mechanics hurriedly changing spark plugs occasionally stripped threads in the aluminum heads.

Oldsmobile F-85 Jetfire owners often ignored the dash light urging them to replenish their Turbo Rocket fluid.  The most pressing issue was fewer than 10,000 turbo cars sold, resulting in its cancellation after only two model years.  Some dealers even stooped to removing the booster for disgruntled customers.  The Corvair Monza Spyder also failed to top 10,000 sales in 1962, suggesting that turbochargers were too mysterious for most small-car buyers.

On the opposite side of the earth, Oldsmobile’s light, compact V-8 was held in higher regard.  Australian racing driver Jack Brabham commissioned auto-parts supplier Repco to base a Formula 1 V-8 on the Olds block endowed with SOHC heads and a flat plane crankshaft to produce more than 300 horsepower from 3.0 liters.  That shrewd move earned Brabham the 1966 drivers’ and constructors’ titles.  This was the first and last time an engine with American production-car roots prevailed in Formula 1.

Britain’s Rover also took advantage of GM’s aluminum V-8. By the early 1960s, the 3.0-liter F-head inline-six that powered its flagship sedan was overdue for replacement.  On a visit to the States, Rover’s managing director, William Martin-Hurst, stumbled across a Buick V-8 that Mercury Marine intended to install in a boat.  The engine was instead shipped to England, where Rover engineers concluded it would suit their needs.

In 1965, Rover inked a deal with GM that included all rights to the aluminum V-8, tech data, blueprints, and a few used engines.  Designer Turlay, about to retire from Buick, moved to England to assist the production restart.  Apparently, it didn’t occur to anyone at GM that Rover would be competing against GM’s own European brands, Opel and Vauxhall, with the exiled engine.

Rover switched block manufacturing to conventional sand casting with pressed-in cylinder liners to solve the porosity problem for good.  Starting with the P5 sedan in 1967, Rover’s 184-hp V-8 graduated to the P6 a year later and to the Range Rover luxury SUV when it debuted in 1970.  The enduring success of the Land Rover brand in our market is the direct result of its arrival with a smooth, potent engine.

Growing in steps to 5.0 liters, the aluminum V-8 thrived in MGS, Morgans, Triumphs, and TV Rs and stayed in production until 2004.  The remanufacturing firm MCT then took the baton to continue the supply of engines to Britain’s low-volume specialty brands until 2010.  Without this V-8, the Japanese would have annihilated British sports cars as quickly as they had laid the U.K.’s motorcycle industry to rest.

GM’s courageous aluminum and turbocharging initiatives yielded several worthy permutations of the original Buick 215 V-8, notable racing success, and millions of satisfied customers.

In life, as in the engine lab, tenacity pays off.

21 Mar

Routine Maintenance Items

As you all know, I have several Morgan cars. Each of these cars is different and each of these cars needs to be maintained in a different manner.

For each car, I have identified a number of maintenance tasks that need to be accomplished at specific times and/or mileage intervals. I also have a tracking mechanism (computer program) that keeps me from forgetting to change the oil or check the lights on a given car.

These maintenance tasks have been identified over time through personal experience, found in published books, MMC handbooks, or recommended by others with similar cars. These lists have evolved over time, and continue to evolve.

These service lists may seem excessive or not accurately match your specific list, but I thought I would provide them, not as gospel, but as merely a suggestion, starting point, or food for thought.

In each of these service lists there are also likely to be duplicate tasks, misspellings or other editing problems. My apologies, these errors get fixed as I find them, as this really is a work in progress.

These service lists are provided as Microsoft Excel files (*.xlsx) which should be readable and/or editable by just about everyone. If, however, you cannot read and/or edit these file, and want to, just let me know. I will find another format that works for you.

There are certainly others of you that are far more technically inclined than I am and can offer some very good advice (send me an email!) on what I should change.

Cheers, Mark

12 Mar

How do you say ‘MOGSouth Noggin’ in Italian??

Actually, it does translate! ‘boccaletta’ !

The weekend was grand!  Top down the entire time!  I did flop the top up on the car up at night but never really secured it.  It was just to give the storm cover some support.  I don’t even think Allan and Mary Ann Rae, who traveled with us from central Florida, did even that much. 

There weren’t any storms or even strong winds.  The weather was glorious!  A little cool when the sun went down, but otherwise spectacular.  Certainly different from past years in Amelia. 

This one was a bit special.  The announcements from Geneva this year were certainly thought provoking.  Also, we had the MMC factory folks and many of the US Morgan dealers in town for a ‘big’ dealer meeting.  I invited a good number to the Friday evening Noggin and many came.  It was great for the MOGSouth members at the Noggin to chit chat with folks they know and love.  Well, ok perhaps ‘love’ is a bit strong, but . . .

Andrea and I, along with Allan and Mary Ann Rae, traveled up on Friday morning in the Roadsters.  It was really a sprint up the highway.  Amelia Island is not too far north of Jacksonville, Florida, so a pleasant enough drive for us.  About 3.5 hours.  We chose this year to stay in Jacksonville and drive back and forth along the St Johns river, as needed.  This was necessitated by the limited hotels on the Island itself.  You really have to anticipate and book a hotel room some 6 – 9 months out.  And, then you have to save your Nickles and Dimes to pay for the room and be willing to accept the minimum number of nights demanded.  The Amelia Island inn keepers tend raise the rates quite high for the big Concours weekend. 

Alas, supply and demand . . .

Once we tucked our bags and such into our rooms in Jacksonville, we headed back out to the cars and meandered our way up to Fernandina Beach for lunch.  The drive along the river during the day has a different feel than the drive at dawn, but it is still quite pretty, nonetheless.  Lots of twisty bits, lots of water and lots of folks fishing off the bridges.  You could tell it was Concours weekend as 90% of the oncoming traffic was something noisy and interesting.  Porsches, Ferraris, a Deux Chevaux? and others.  Very neat!

Once there, we found lunch with a view of the water after parking on some grass next to a Blood Bank table.  The kids at the table assured us that the grass was a fine place to park (some others had just left!) so we parked and walked away.  Parking is quite difficult in Fernandina Beach during the Concours weekend and I suspect (well, I hope!) the parking police are pretty lenient during the weekend.  It seems like there were cars everywhere.  (And, there were many, many folks with yellow tape or rope barriers across their home’s road frontage, trying to protect their lawns from folks looking to park.) 

This was only our first taste of the parking challenge . . . 

After lunch, it was over to the location of the Friday evening Noggin.  I wanted to get there early as this was a new location for us, the Salt Life Bar and Grille.  It was fairly close to the sports bar we have used previously but this place had oodles and oodles of parking.  Something lacking at our previous spot.  (ah, that ‘parking’ thing, again!) 

The restaurant manager, Tina, had us set up in a roof top ‘lounge’ complete with propane heaters, couches and overstuffed chairs.  It even had a fire pit.  Not too bad a spot for us, albeit a bit chilly when the sun went down.  The view of the ocean was stunning! 

Taking on a big group like ours is always difficult.  30+ folks are always in need of something, whether it’s food or drink, so the staff was constantly jumping to keep us all satisfied.  And, I have to be somewhat appreciative of their efforts as this restaurant doesn’t take reservations but did reserve this ‘prime’ spot for us!

A very good turn-out!  Lots of MOGSouth folks attended.  Some we hadn’t seen in quite a while.  We also had a good number of the US Morgan dealers at the Noggin.  We talked mostly about nonsensical stuff, all-the-while trying to eek out some tidbits of information or get some sense of their feelings about the big Geneva announcements and the forthcoming dealer meeting.  I didn’t get any earth shattering nuggets but did sense a feeling of ‘concerned’ optimism.  Other comments about the component cars, future business outlooks, the very different and misunderstood American market, etc., seemed to flow freely. 

Then we had to head back to the hotel.  The drive in the dark was uneventful.  We got the cars home safely and tucked them in.  Prime parking spots right out front next to the hotel portico.  Diamond Members (I think not!).  Then up to bed with an early rise in the morning.  The convoy back to Fernandina Beach was to start at 6:30 AM. Yikes!

The drive from Jacksonville to Amelia Island, along the St Johns River, at the crack of dawn is truely amazing! 

The sun coming up over the horizon, peeking through the swamp grass and the masts of the boats in the marinas is very special.  Getting up early to make the drive, however, is not so special.  This year we had the two Roadsters, ours and the Rae’s, and Harry Gambill’s Aeromax with Rick Fraser’s Aero Eight in our convoy. 

As we have done in past, we all met at a convenient diner, and then convoyed down the road, into the cars and coffee display area, as a single gaggle of Morgans.  Typically, if you don’t come in as a group, the organizers will just park you wherever they have space.  This year was different.  With the Morgan factory folks and the Morgan dealers having a new car display, they wanted the Morgans to park in a specific location on the field, just adjacent to the new car display and tent.

We were directed to our predefined spot which was fine, but it was a bit far away from the coffee and donuts.  I don’t think we could have gotten much further away.  I finally walked back to the coffee tent, got a cup, and started the trek back.  I think I was all but done with my cup by the time I got back.  Oh well, there was probably some overly caffeinated Porsche owner, vibrating right next to the tent.  (Who knows, he may still be there!)

As usual, the Morgans were a big hit.  Lots and lots of interested folks and lots of questions.  We had a very good display with almost all model variants represented.  Roadsters, Plus 8s (early and late), Plus 4s (Larry Erd was there with his freshly restored SuperSports clone, still not totally sorted), a Four Seater, the Aeromax, the Aero 8, M3Ws, and Austin Britton’s early 4/4.  And, when folks asked about availability, we pointed to the new car tent.  It was all good.  

There were also a number of MOGSouth members, or other Morgan owners there without cars or supporting some other marque, who came by to say hello.  Tony McLaughlin of Morganville fame, Jon Scott from Charleston, Charlie and Beth Miller, Stu Mosbey was there with his Porsche(?), Ray Morgan was running around the Ritz, getting ready to show a car on Sunday, and Ian Levitt from Nashville all came by. 

Again, I tried to get some information out of the MMC folks and Morgan dealers.  I spoke to the two factory employees (Mark and Mike?) for a few minutes and I spoke to six Morgan dealers.  Again, I came up empty.  Nothing, nada, zilch . . .

I really wish I could report on some momentous tidbit of information, but I never got any.  And, my attempts to get feedback from the dealers following the afternoon’s big meeting have also failed. 

I suspect the dealers are all confused somewhere, hunkering down under the ‘cone of silence’. . .

Following the show, a dozen of us or so ventured downtown to find a late lunch.  The traffic leaving the Cars and Coffee was nuts, every intersection was backed up, so a short-cut through a neighborhood freed us from our confines.  We found the restaurant but, again, were challenged to find a spot for the car.  Around the block a few times, then a couple guys, car enthusiasts I guess, found me a spot.  It wasn’t optimal but it was a spot.  I had to go the wrong way down a one way street and then back into the spot.  It was a bit chaotic getting in, it was tight and I hit the curb a few times, but I had a parking spot, and an official one at that.  And, it wasn’t all that far from the Restaurant.  Score!!

After lunch, we drove back to the hotel.  Tired and ready for a nap.  We had the hotel booked for another night so no need to hurry home.  We drove back along the St Johns one last time and parked out front once again.  We found dinner in the adjacent sports bar.  Nothing fancy just a salad bar, a ‘pork’ chop and a ‘belly-up gold fish’?  

Breakfast at the hotel Sunday morning was abandoned in hopes of something better.  I think we found it.  Then it was time and we reluctantly headed south down I-95 for home. 

It was a lovely weekend.  Lots of cars, plenty of sunshine, good company and nothing broke!!  Can’t ask for much more!

Cheers, Mark