07 Sep

Morgan Road Trip to the Pacific Northwest Planned for the Fall of 2018

MOGSouth members looking for adventure or have the need to check a cross country Morgan trip off your bucket list?

A new road trip is being planned for the fall of 2018.  It is primarily for Morgans that will travel from Cleveland OH to the Pacific Northwest.  
A preliminary itinerary has been developed with the assistance of Bill Button (Morgan owner from Washington state) who knows the roads very well.  

There are still some details to work out but the overall plan is as follows:

Leave Cleveland after Labor Day 2018.
Travel to Rapid City, SD
Visit to Needles, Rushmore
Travel to Yellowstone (this is still uncertain because we don’t have time to do it justice)
Travel to Glacier NP
Travel to Olympia NP
Travel down Washington and Oregon coast to Northern California
End trip

The trip will be about three weeks from Cleveland to Northern California.  From Rapid City on it will be primarily a driving trip over glorious roads that Morgans were made to conquer.  Some attractions will be included along the way but that is not the emphasis. Journey back home will be on your own.
Warning!  There will be interstate traveling from Cleveland to Rapid City.  This is necessary in order to get there as quickly as possible.  Speed will be a reasonable 60 mph or so.  We don’t want wear ourselves and cars out before the real fun begins.  About 6 hours driving a day.

I have already advertised the trip to others and there are still a limited number of spot available.  But time is of the essence to make lodging reservations at some hard to book locations (Yellowstone).  

We already have interest from Morgan owners in Ohio, Morgan Club of DC, and the West so anyone interested needs to respond quickly to assure inclusion.  Interested parties can contact me directly.

I need to get a commitment reasonably soon because we will be making lodging reservations shortly.  The commitment must be almost certain and a non-refundable deposit might be required depending on the terms we get at the hard-to-book locations (i.e. Yellowstone).
Also, negotiations with hotels often require booking a set number of rooms to get a discount.  If there is a reduction in the numbers of participants there could be a penalty.

Furthermore, we might have more interest than spaces and we don’t want to exclude someone only to have another participant drop out.  I don’t mean to be harsh but that’s just the way it is.  Let me know as soon as you can.

Bob McKenna

 

06 Sep

Cars and Coffee at Amelia Island Concours (Saturday, March 10, 2018)

Yes, I know this is early, however they have just announced the event and have posted the application on line.  Some folks couldn’t attend last year as they didn’t get their application in on time and didn’t get accepted.  Don’t be one of those that didn’t get their application in on time.

This event requires that you submit an application and be accepted before you can attend.  If you haven’t as yet decided that you will attend or take your Morgan please fill out the the application anyway and submit it.  You can always chose not to attend later.

Although every one that wants to take a car must go through an application process, showing a collectible car costs nothing and the event is free to the public from 9am to 1pm.

Click this link for the application.  Cars and Coffee Application 2018 Fill it out and send it in now!!  Also, let me know via email (series1@cfl.rr.com) if you are planning on attending so I can finagle the head counts for the Friday Noggin.  Don’t worry I won’t hold you to it, if you change your mind later on.

The event this past spring (March 2017) was amazing and very well attended by MOGSouth members and other Morgan enthusiasts and I suspect it will again be a big draw.  I also expect that the event will fill up quickly as it did in the spring, and they will have to turn folks away.   They have already begun receiving applications so please do not wait to apply.

Just like we did this past March (2017) we will again have a Friday night (9 March 2018) Noggin somewhere in the area.  We will post the information (location and time) about the Noggin on the web site in the near future.  However, I wanted everyone to get the application for the Saturday 10 March 2018 event as soon as possible.

31 Aug

Report from Put-In-Bay Ohio

[Two MOGSouth Members flew both the Morgan and MOGSouth flags on the 2017 race track in Put-In- Bay Ohio.  This report (and the pictures) is from Rick Frazee.   Rick is in the yellow car in the pictures.   He and Jim Besst did battle with the other race cars and it would appear hay bales.  I have yet to get there but will find a way some time in the future.  Mark]

2017 Put-In-Bay races are done for another year.  The races are staged every year (8th year in a row) on the airport runways of Bass Island in Lake Eire.  In the 50’s the races were run through town on the city streets.   While my Morgan continues to improve in speed and reliability we still had a few problems.

This time what we thought was Weber carb jetting problems turned out to be an intermittently bad Petronix coil.    Luckily Jim Besst (another Morgan racer) had a spare coil, that I had given him some time ago, with him.

Race day brought rain showers that made the track a bit slick.    The final race was going well when about 3 laps into a 10 lap race, at one of the quick right left corners, a dive bombing MG TD forced me off my line and into a hay bale that a previous car had bumped out into the edge of the track.    While I knew something was wrong I did continue on for another lap.   Steering seemed to be getting progressively harder so I exited the track at my paddock entrance only to be stopped by the paddock steward and told to reverse.    He then proceeded to remove a complete hay bale still tied with string.    Once removed everything worked as it should with no damage to the Morgan other than a small crack in the left rear fiberglass fender.   The Morgan is all cleaned up as of this morning and we will leave Put-In-Bay for another year and head on to Watkins Glen Sunday to race at the Glen the following weekend.

Jim Besst’s Morgan 4/4, in the same race, made 9 1/2 laps before missing a corner and landing on top of some hay bales keeping Jim from finishing the last half of the last lap.  No apparent damage to Jim’s Morgan either.

[This photo came from Jim Besst, showing his green 4/4 in good form with Rick trailing (for the moment.)  The photo courstesy Daniel Mainzer.  Cheers, Mark]  

At the final lunch it was suggested that the airport authority was looking to offer me a job sweeping the goose poop from the airport run ways.

Cheers Y’all.   Rick

[This photo from Steve Cripps of Rick and hay bale (goose poop sweeping?) came in after the post.  Thanks Steve. ] 

07 Aug

MOGSouth Member Makes the Local Charleston Press!! (www.postandcourier.com)

Vintage cars parade through Charleston, gather at gardens on Collector Appreciation Day

[Great showing Ken!! We all need to fly the Morgan Flag when we can!! Mark]

In a role reversal, Brad and Connie Rustin inherited their shiny 1968 Datsun 2000 from their son.  The couple bought the roadster more than a decade ago and fixed it up over eight years — including a complete frame-off restoration — so their son would have a cool car to drive when he was old enough. The teenager enjoyed some hours behind the wheel but as he matured, shot up to 6 foot 5 inches. Now he “can’t get into it,” says Brad Rustin, who too has a personal interest in the car. “I actually owned a 1967 1/2 when I was in the Marine Corps,” he said.

Rustin husband and wife motored the classic Japanese sports car in a parade-like morning drive and parked it at Magnolia Gardens for a show July 15 in recognition of National Car Collector Appreciation Day. The collector day cruise-in, rekindled in 2016, attracted 52 cars this year, said Trevor Shelor, head of the local Antique Automobile Club of America chapter and appreciation day organizer. He brought three models — a 1953 Ford, 1926 Model A with a 19th century sleigh built for the seats and the city of Charleston’s 1949 Chevy police car.   “Just celebrate the day how ever you can,” Shelor said.

The Charleston area began celebrating National Car Collector Appreciation Day in 2010. The congressionally authorized event sponsored by the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association takes place in July, with localities selecting dates. Charleston has the only sanctioned event in South Carolina.

In the Lowcountry, the car collector day originally was a show, then evolved into a parade loop from Brittlebank Park around downtown Charleston. Last year, the parade started in Mount Pleasant due to a conflict at the Ashley River site. The car show returned last year at Magnolia Gardens, as models crossed the Ashley River and followed S.C. Highway 61 west. For 2017, the collector car route followed Savannah Highway to Davison Road near Hollywood, headed out toward Summerville, then turned east on S.C. Highway 61 to the plantation.

Justin Hustead of West Ashley wheeled his red 1933 Plymouth street rod with all-steel body and Corvette engine to the cruise-in, held on a grassy field near the sprawling house at Magnolia Gardens. The collector day drive and show was “fine,” said the antique car owner, who bought the 84-year-old Plymouth a year ago in Florida.

Displaying a 1967 Morgan Plus 4 with Kingfisher blue paint was Ken Kreuzer of Summerville. “In Europe, you can still get one,” he says.

Most of the attendees were from the Charleston area, although there were exceptions. Khushi and Sethi Salil of New York were visiting Charleston for the first time and went to Magnolia Gardens. They saw the car fest and came by to check out the classics.

“I’ve never been around Charleston,” said Jeffrey McCants, of Brevard, North Carolina, who displayed his 2014 Chevy Camaro. “We were actually on vacation and heard about it,” he said. McCants is fond of Camaros, noting that his father owned a 1988 model. “It’s cool,” McCants said.

22 Jul

Report from the Field: 24 Hours of Le Mans 2017 (June 17 – 18)

[This is a report from John Tuleibitz, a past MOGSouth member and friend to many in the club.  In fact we just saw John in Greenville, SC at the Spring Meet.  Thanks John!   Mark] 

Le Mans is one of the races I’ve always wanted to see .  .  .

Le Mans is one of the races I’ve always wanted to see, but the logistical challenges involved with getting there from Paris and trying to find a room when most of the 250,000 spectators and thousands of team members book their hotels and even tent spaces years in advance made it seem impossible. But, after attending two European F1 races with Grand Prix Tours and having all those types of problems worked out, I decided to try them this year for the 24 hour race. It was definitely the way to go.

I had transportation from and to Paris,  one of the finest hotels I’ve ever stayed in, great seats, good company and an excellent tour guide. They even managed to provide unusually good weather. Instead of chilly evenings and mornings and the normal several hours of rain, the weather was sunny with highs over 90 and lows around 80. Needless to say, I was over-dressed.

My seat, in a covered grandstand, was at the start/finish line directly across from the beginning of the pits, the official clock and the winners’ podium. From there, I had a good view of the final couple turns, the start/finish line, the pit straight and the first turn. It was a great place to watch some of the racing and marvel at the incredible speed of the LMP1 class Porsche and Toyota hybrids. GT3 cars, like Aston Martins, Porsches and Ford GTs are among the fastest cars in existence, and they were passed on the straight like they were parked.

But, there’s only so much of a day-long race that can be watched from one seat. Like many races, if you want the best view of the entire race and want to know just what is happening, you’re better off watching it on TV. At just over 8 1/2 miles per lap you really can’t walk all the way around and sample every corner, but it is possible to get to a couple track-side viewing spots and to see an amazing variety of people, cars and amusements along the way. Plus, the Le Mans museum is a must-see stop. In addition to a lot of vintage cars, it has a huge collection of cars that have raced in the 24 hour, plus a room filled with 1:43 scale models of many of the racers and dioramas depicting various years in the track’s history that have to be seen to be believed.

And, while all this is going on, the racing never stops. This is a flat-out sprint race from start to finish. The Porsche hybrid that won overall did not take the lead until about 2 laps from the end. In order to do that, it had to recover from a full hour that it had spent in the garage having a part of its hybrid system replaced.

I paid the closest attention to the top GT class since the cars are recognizable. As they approached the finish line to start their last lap, the order was Aston Martin, Corvette, Ford GT and Porsche 911. As they crossed the line 12 seconds later, it was Corvette, Aston Martin, Porsche, Ford. When they got the flag, it was Aston Martin, Ford, Corvette and Porsche thanks to some wheel banging on that last lap. The cheering from all the Brits in the stands demonstrated why this is often called a British race held in France.

It took a lot of years to finally make it to the race, and it’s one of those events that I don’t feel a great need to visit again, but it’s one of those races that has to be seen live once just to experience the atmosphere that can’t be captured on film or TV. If I were to go back, I’d probably spend a lot of time trying to find the best vantage points for spectating so that the next time I’d really be able to know what was happening and see more of the actual racing. I guess that’s why most people seem to go just once or every year.

If it’s not on your bucket list, it needs to be added. And if you decide to go, check out Grand Prix Tours.

John Tuleibitz

 

30 Jun

2017 Report from the Field: MCCDC’s MOG 47 in Williamsburg, VA

[Report from Chuck and Karen Bernath (MOGSouth Members from Jacksonville, FL) who attended MOG 47 with their 1980 Turbo Plus 8 (a car recently converted from propane to throttle body fuel injection, while still retaining the turbo charger).  Neat car and it sounds like they had a great time.  Be sure to see the accompanying pictures from MOG 47 posted on the web site, in the Photo Gallery Category.   Mark]

The trip up to Williamsburg, Virginia for  MOG 47, June 16 – 18,  was great.  The 1980 Plus 8 ran well the entire way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were 19 Four Wheelers and 1 trike.  There was an even mix of Plus 8’s, Plus 4’s, Plus 4’s 4 seaters, and 4/4’s.  The predicted rains kept a lot of people from driving their Morgans.  They drove their tin tops.

The Concours on Saturday morning was accompanied by drummer and the bag piper.  The Saturday rally was fun even though rain was eminent.  We drove with another couple in their tin top.  Sure enough it rained buckets and the Morgan’s that drove the rally got soaked.

Sunday was another great day.  I helped run the gymkhana and the autocross at the airport.  The Gymkhana involved dropping balls in evenly spaced buckets by the navigator, stopping the car allowing the navigator to get out and pick up a sheep laying in the road and moving it to a pen.  Driving twice in a circle around a pole with a rope tied to the pole and the navigator holding the other end without tipping the pole over, throwing bean bags at target holes, and picking flags off the tops of cones and then replacing them.  All these obstacles were timed in one event with the shortest time getting the prize.  Sunday was also the autocross. This event was set up by Rich Fohl and was quite challenging

The Awards Banquet on Sunday night drew approximately 60 people.  The food was very good.  To round out the night we won two awards!  One for the longest distance traveled and the other for best early Plus 8.  Bruce Trabb did a great job as chairman of the whole event.

We spent two days in Colonial Williamsburg seeing the sights and then headed back to Florida.  The first day of our trip back was easy as we stopped in Kinston, North Carolina at the Chef and the Farmer Restaurant for supper.  The food was New York City restaurant style and wonderful.  The second day driving was a bit longer, as we stayed to the back woods. We were hampered somewhat by 4 different rain storms.

Another great Morgan weekend!  The car ran great and we won two awards.!  Can’t beat that!!

Chuck and Karen Bernath

 

16 Jun

1938 Morgan 3 Wheeler – From Trash to Treasure (Classic Automobile Insurance Inc)

(I recently posted the picture compilation, created by Diana Gibson, of our Morgan Three Wheeler Convention in Augusta GA and it was mentioned on the news update from Just British.  Just British included this video of MOGSouth member Fred Sisson talking about his 1938 F Type vintage racer. Fred was in Augusta with the car, and the car was selected as the ‘People’s Choice Awardee’ at our show. Neat stuff!!! Mark)

05 Jun

North American Morgan Three Wheeler Convention: Report

The first ever North American Morgan Three Wheeler Convention.

May 18 – 22 in Augusta GA.     A long weekend (4 days actually) of activities for the greasy Morgan Three Wheeler enthusiast and another set of activities for the less greasy set.   Lots to do.   Lots of moving parts.  Lots and lots . . . . darn impossible to keep up.

Hard to believe that there hadn’t been a North American Morgan Three Wheeler gaggle before.  Sharing knowledge about these silly beasts has been a problem for a good while.  Certainly for me.  What went where, and how, left me clueless most of the time.  A newsletter about British doings with occasional practical articles, emails, photos and an online forum have definitely helped but unfortunately these two dimensional, text messages lost something in the translation.  So with the Convention we brought folks together for the face-to-face contact and gave them direct access to the cars.  This was far better, more three dimensional, or so it seems as was evidenced by the sheer volume of participants.

We also planned activities for the ‘spouses’ (for lack of a better word). This meant that those that were not terribly interested in the greasy, and somewhat mystical, inner workings of these beasts had something more interesting to do.  Much of what we planned for the ‘spouses’ involved Augusta itself – a trolley ride, a tour of the Woodrow Wilson boyhood home, the Saturday morning farmer’s market.  One activity was needle felting, a handy-craft resulting in cute bits of fluff.   I was told they were ‘hedgehogs’.  Andrea took Lee Charlton’s needle felting session twice.  I now have nightmares of hedgehogs. . .  lots of hedgehogs overrunning the house.  And of course, the dogs are not amused.  The needle felting class was a grand success, with a single session expanding to three – so a big ‘thank you’ to Lee.

We planned for 40 or so attendees and a dozen or so cars, but ended up with 70 plus attendees and 23 cars.  I was in continual fear that all the complex planning for the event would simply fail under its own weight – the inability of the restaurants or other providers to satisfy our enlarged state.  Well, I fibbed a bit about the quantities of participants and luckily the suppliers were able to meet the actual demand.   It couldn’t have gone better.  Even the weather cooperated.  Hot and a bit humid, but no rain.  Rain would have been a big problem.  We were lucky all weekend.   Breakfast on the hotel porch, each morning, was divine.

Actually, we had planned the event around the parking garage, wanting somewhat of a hands-on experience with the cars. The parking garage, only one of two in Augusta, offered us shelter from potential rain or more likely, incessant sun, but the parking garage soon became irrelevant. The hotel ‘gave’ us three banquet/meeting rooms.  Something I would have thought they would have charged us for, to use for the weekend.  We ended up using these rooms for our technical seminars with only sporadic trips to the garage to emphasize some technical point, on an actual car.  Air conditioning in these hotel rooms, given the warmth of the day, was much appreciated.  We actually started each day with a morning meeting for all, in one of the rooms, to pass on the daily plan and highlight any communications we needed to disseminate. It worked quite well, but communication was the bane of the weekend.  We set up a bulletin board in the lobby, posting the latest and greatest, but it was like pulling teeth to get folks to refer to it.

Following the technical seminars and ‘spouse’ activities, our Friday involved a short, scenic drive through a number of the charming neighborhoods of Augusta.  Massive houses with amazing grounds – each undoubtedly steeped in history – adorned the route and we paraded some 22 vintage Morgans and newer 5 Speeders into downtown Augusta, to Enterprise Mill.  Enterprise Mill offered us a quaint park like setting for a small car show, a box lunch and a ride along the historical Augusta canal.

Saturday involved vintage Morgan driving familiarization and test rides offered by the 5 speeder vendors who attended.  We found a big parking lot at a local school that kept us off the public streets.  Later in the day Graeme and Jenny Addie hosted the group for an evening dinner party at their home.   Great food, great company and wonderful comradery.   Certainly all good stuff and a highlight of the weekend.

Another great Morgan gathering.  Many thanks to the MOGSouth members who participated and hopefully they enjoyed their experiences in Augusta.  It isn’t likely that I will be involved in the next one, however, we (Duncan Charlton, Graeme Addie and myself) learned a lot and will pass that on to the next set of folks that have the privilege (?) of planning and executing the 2nd North American Morgan Three Wheeler Convention.

12 May

I’d Cry if it Wasn’t so Darn Funny!

The Pinehurst, NC  Concours 2017

Andrea and I ventured north to the Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance in North Carolina.  A short few days after the great Greenville, SC caper.   Lots of travel in the Carolinas this year.

Pinehurst is a great venue for a classic car show and going north provided us with the opportunity to visit with a few MOGSouth members in the area whom we really like.  Pat and/or Jack Zimmerman are typically involved in some aspect of the Concours; and, this year, Jack served as chief of all of the Class Attendants. (Den Mothers??)   The Class Attendants are really quite useful as they provide a communications channel between the folks showing cars and the organizers of the event.  There are always questions, like ‘why is it so cold’?? And, ‘where do I get coffee’??  I am sure there are more important questions but this year we got very basic.   We trip north also gave us the opportunity to have dinner with Jack and Pat, Jim and Jeanne Vincent, and Don and Maddie Moodie.  Also, we linked up with an Aero 8 owner in the area who has yet to join MOGSouth.

I was anxiously anticipating our trip to Pinehurst, NC until the day before (Wednesday) the day before (Thursday) the day before (Friday) the show (Saturday).  That was the day I needed to load the 1934 Super Sports Three Wheeler but the car had been problematic.   I had been having troubles with the starter alignment to the ring gear.  Basically, the starter spins the ring gear which spins the engine.

The starter turned fine but it wasn’t properly aligned to the ring gear.  Sometimes it turned the gear, sometimes not.  Rick Frazee and I had played with this a few days earlier.  The culprit is the crazy mount of the starter.  I have to attribute the design of this *&33v)@@g mount to someone, somewhere else.  It is just not good.   After a few trips up and down on the lift, I had it where I thought it would work. It started briefly so I declared success . . . well, it turned out that my declaration of success was a bit premature.

I winched the car into the trailer hoping for another bout of success once in Pinehurst.  It was getting late so I hooked up the trailer to the car and tested the trailer lights and rear view camera.  All was ok.  I was bushed and dragged myself back into the house, knowing we had a drive in the morning.  Thursday morning came (as usual, too early) and we finished packing the car and headed north.  No marathon drives for us anymore.  We just needed to get to Savannah.  We’d finish the trip on Friday morning.  The drive up I-95 was dull.  But with I-95, dull is good.

We arrived at the designated hotel in Savannah late in the afternoon.  Parking out back with the SUV and trailer was a breeze.   Andrea picks hotels and uses the magic of the internet to find us ones with good parking for the car and trailer.  She used Google Maps and looks at the Satellite photos to verify decent parking for car trailer.   Also part of her plan included a bar and grill right next store, so a place for dinner and a beer within walking distance.  Then to bed.  Soon it was Friday morning and we faced cardboard waffles at the Hotel.  Nope, not this time, we opted for the good stuff!  There was a Waffle House just down the road.

We arrived in Pinehurst on Friday just after lunch and the parking for the show car trailers was at the harness racing track just adjacent to the show field (Pinehurst No.2 golf course).  The plan was to unload the car from the trailer and drive it over to the show field.  Putting the car on the show field on Friday afternoon seemed to be better (at least to Andrea) than getting up at the crack of dawn to have the car on the field NLT 8AM.

Well, the car wouldn’t start, even after numerous attempts, so a tow was needed.  After a few grinding noises I got nervous.  I didn’t want to make it worse.  A few youngsters with a diesel powered ATV and a tow strap were soon put to good use and we motored (albeit very quietly) onto the show field and found our designated spot.   Our class was Pre War European Classics.  This could be good or bad.  The only other car there on Friday was a 1935 MG PB.  A lovely two toned red car, well restored and nicely presented.  I wouldn’t be disappointed if I lost to this MG.  If only the MG was the worst of my problems.

1935 MG PB (Photo Courtesy of Andrea Braunstein)

Well, when we arrived Saturday morning it seems that they had brought in the big guns.  The rest of my Class had arrived.  And, I swear they needed harbor pilots and tug boats.  The MG and the Morgan were joined by a very large, BRG leather covered 1927 4.5L Bentley, an equally large 1928 Mercedes Benz S-Type 26 Convertible, a 1935 SS90 (predated the SS100 by a year) with a wicked blue (supposedly Bugatti Blue) paint job and a 1925 US bodied (Piccadilly it was called) Rolls Royce Silver Ghost.   These cars are all massive compared to the Morgan.  Size doesn’t matter.  Andrea said so!

1935 Swallow Sidecar 90 (SS – Evolved into Jaguar) (Photo Courtesy of Andrea Braunstein)

Also in the show was a 1951 Plus 4 Flat Rad Drop Head Coupe (in a post war class) belonging to Harry Gambill, who is also a MOGSouth member.  [Spelling error and typo in previous version – darn autocorrect … Sorry Harry]  His car was beautiful (darn near perfect?) and an exceptional Morgan, with racing provenance, but it didn’t win any awards either.  Morgans seem to be at a disadvantage at any Concours.

1952 Morgan Plus 4 Drop Head Coupe (Photo Courtesy of Andrea Braunstein)

I have come to believe that showing a Morgan at a Concours event, any Concours event, and hoping to win something is sheer madness.  Winning your class is a totally unrealistic expectation.  Morgans are not fancy cars.  And, are hopelessly underwhelming in Pre War Classes.   They don’t have the jewels or bling of the MGs or the elegance of design of the Bugatti, Mercedes, Rolls Royce, [insert just about anything here].   What they do have is personality and character.   And, the Super Sports Three Wheeler just oozes character . . . as well as all sorts of other things, e.g. oil, water, fuel, etc.

1934 Morgan ‘Matchless’ Supers Sports Three Wheeler (Photo Courtesy of Andrea Braunstein)

These little cars do attract crowds of folks and certainly the kids.  They are enthralled as the Morgans are not so huge and imposing.  The diminutive size of the Morgans makes them just that much more approachable.  Lately, following Rick Frazee’s lead, I have been having the parents put the kids into the car for photos.   They can’t hurt anything and if we want some younger folks to get excited by the cars we need to accommodate them in some way, other than the usual ‘don’t touch’, ‘don’t get too close’ . . .

The weather wasn’t too warm, quite the opposite, overcast, windy, cool and spitting.  It was freezing cold the first time we went to this Concours in 2013.  The locals all swear it is always nice, warm and sunny in Pinehurst, except when we come up.  They started blaming the weather on us.   Ok, so Pinehurst is cold when we come up.  Not sure what that means?

At one point Jack Zimmerman had to shuttle Andrea to the club house in his golf cart so she could get warm.  I waited in the rain for the judges and amused myself with my Morgan’s impressive array of tools.  The SS90 (Jaguar) owner displayed a fine collection of tools, laid out in rows on his tonneau.   He had numerous hand books and operators manuals, even a large air pump to inflate tires.   On the other side of the Morgan was the MG PB.   The MG owner had followed the SS90’s lead and laid out his car’s tools.  A period jack, with wooden jack handles, a full supply of Whitworth spanners (wrenches), and several MG special tools, all emblazoned with MG logos.  Quite impressive.

Not one to be outdone, I laid out my Morgan’s tools neatly behind the car – the hand crank and the wooden dowel used as a fuel gauge.  Well, at least I got a chuckle out of it, even if the judges didn’t notice.

Interestingly enough, the Judges weren’t the usual Morgan neophytes.   They actually seemed interested and had some ancillary knowledge of the marque.  I was chastised however for not mentioning that the engine was a ‘Matchless’ one as opposed to a J.A.P. engine in my description of the car.  Still not sure why that mattered?  And, I guess the large ‘M’ on each of the rocker boxes gave that detail away.   The good news was that the lights and horn worked, when they had to.  Simple things. Yeah!

The weather actually lightened up a bit as the day evolved. There were a few patches of blue sky and sun but not many.  The show itself was well run, organized and executed.  Again, they used the local high school students as junior judges and entered the judges’ scores into the computer, in real time.  No sooner was the judging over, all the deductions were tallied and the winners known.  No waiting or heated discussions about dust or unnecessary chrome.  Pretty cool!!

Then the show was over and a Sara Evans (Country Singer) concert began.  We moved the car back to the trailer in lieu of listening to the concert, and then headed back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner.

Oh, and that US Piccadilly bodied Rolls Royce? It not only won Best of Class (my class), it also won Best of Show.  It turns out that it was a ‘barn find’ of a very rare Piccadilly Rolls Royce whose original owner was none other than Howard Hughes. And, to pile it on more, its restoration was completed just 3 weeks ago.   [So, do you want to see my hand crank and fuel gauge?]

1925 Silver Ghost Rolls Royce (Photo Courtesy of SC Digest)

Jack and Pat picked us up at our hotel and transported us to dinner, where we joined Jim and Jeanne, and Don and Maddie.  Dinner was superb and the company even better!

After Saturday dinner, it was back to the hotel and early to bed.

Another travel day in the morning.  This time we headed west to Augusta, GA to see Graeme and Jenny Addie. It was Sunday and pretty quiet on the highways.   Once in Augusta we dropped our trailer with the car inside, at Jenny’s dog park.  Jenny has Agility and Herding dogs and exercises them, with all the necessary equipment, in her own dedicated dog park a few miles from their home.  The trailer and car will stay there until our next great Morgan adventure, the North American Morgan Three Wheeler Convention, 18-22 May, there in Augusta.   It seemed silly to drag the trailer all the way home, just to turn around and drag it back to Augusta.

We joined Graeme, Jenny, Emma and Brian (Graeme’s daughter and her husband) and the grand kids for a quick Sunday dinner and then headed back to our hotel.  We hated to leave, but wanted to get an early start in the morning and make the trip from Augusta to Sanford, FL in one day.

We made it home without too much drama.  A good thing.  Our Mercury Mountaineer SUV, the tow vehicle, is showing its age.  The bushings affixing the torsion bars are worn and the SUV wobbles down the road with an occasional clank or clunk.  It also has a noisy exhaust leak, and the hood and rear window won’t stay up (aging hydraulic props, I guess) and a host of other age related failings. I will have to get it to the local dealer very soon.  It is way too modern for me to work on.  I only understand archaic engineering . . . like Morgans.

Mark

10 May

MOGSouth’s own Speed Racer?? Bill Stelcher!! (http://www.yourobserver.com/)

 

Braden Woods Resident has Drive to Continue Racing Antique Automobiles.

Shortly after he started collecting and racing antique cars in 1965, William Stelcher contracted a rare disease.

“I told myself I had polymorganitis,” said Stelcher, who now is 73. “It was a word I invented because I had a crazy collection of six, three-wheeled Morgan cars.”

He eventually recovered from his love of three-wheelers, but there was no antidote for his love of collecting and racing.

Stelcher’s current classic cars:

1929 Model A Speedster: Purchased in 2007. Stelcher says, “I love this race car because it is just exhilarating, and racing an old car is a real adrenaline rush.”

1965 Morgan Plus 4: Purchased in 2002. Stelcher says, “It has an openness to it. It’s a perfect car to go on just a ride in the country.”

Stelcher, who lives in Braden Woods, still has a Morgan, only this one is a 1965 Morgan Plus 4. It’s not his racing vehicle, though, for he spends more time just riding around town with it.

His racing car now is a 1929 Model A Speedster that he uses as a member of the Daytona Antique Automobile Racing Association.

“We are just a bunch of old guys driving very old cars,” Stelcher said of the group. “Our goal is to drive them as fast as we can, while simultaneously trying to make sure that our parts don’t fall off.”

The parts aren’t likely to fall off since Stelcher not only races and washes his cars, but he builds them as well.

“I’m pretty well-known with pre-war cars,” said Stelcher, who owned Kinetronics Corp., a manufacturing business that sold photo lab equipment, before retiring eight years ago. “I’ve raced on tracks all across the country, and I am considered one of the sport’s senior members.”

Since purchasing the Speedster, which can reach 90 mph, in 2007, Stelcher has raced it around the United States at tracks such as Watkins Glen (New York); Road America (Wisconsin), Lime Rock Park (Connecticut) and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Ohio).

Races for Stelcher are typically four-day events that include a day of practice, a day of technical inspections, then qualifying races followed by the final day of the features.

Braden Woods’ William Stelcher’s Ford Speedster sits in his auto shop that he had built on his property.

It is not a grind for Stelcher, who has no plans to retire from racing. “It is just too fun,” he said.

Of course, the racing events are just part of the hobby. Stelcher spends countless hours in his auto shop, cleaning and fixing his cars. “I spend more time out here in my shop than I probably should,” Stelcher said. “My wife (Carol Stelcher), thinks I’m hiding from her sometimes.”

His wife is a big part of his hobby as well. Carol cheers him on as they travel around the country and she has made many friends, too.

“The ladies trade recipes, just like the old times,” Carol Stelcher said. “And it is a wonderful hobby for him. Between his dog, Willy, and the cars, he is very active, and I think that’s good.”

Those around Lakewood Ranch should be seeing him driving his Speedster for quite some time.

“I would not sell the race car if someone offered me $50,000 because it is a huge part of racing history and it is really special to me,” Stelcher said of his Speedster. “I love my Morgan, too, though. I bought it from a retired school principal in Memphis, Tenn. It is a wonderful car to drive, it’s sporty and it handles beautifully.”

Driving his Morgan around town keeps Stelcher young, and he said it makes him feel like the cool kid on the block.

“Everybody gives me the thumbs up when they see me in the car,” he said.