25 Jul

Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix July 19 – 21, 2019 – ‘Report from the Field’

July 15th my wife Sam, our 2 Giant Schnauzers and I (Rick Frazee) started north on our 4 day journey to race our 1959 Morgan 4/4 at this year’s 37th Annual Pittsburg Vintage Grand Prix.   Our trusty motor coach, Big Bird, had just come from the shop after having the rear bedroom slide and shower floor rebuilt.   The repairs had taken much longer than expected and so we were pinched for time to tidy up and provision the coach.   The first 3 days of travel were uneventful but Thursday, in Pittsburgh, became a test of determination to make the race.  

At about 10AM Thursday we were ten minutes out from Schenley Park where the race is held; then we missed an exit off of I-376 and headed north to I still don’t know where.  Our motor coach GPS usually just reroutes us but in this case it lost its bearings and I lost my trust in it which was probably my second mistake.   45 minutes later I got out my phone GPS and put in the desired location, now the coach GPS knows how wide, long and high we are while the iPhone thinks only of car size vehicles. 

We were routed through a nice little neighborhood were the roads got tighter and tighter until we reached a rather steep hill going down to a flat road with a major roadway within sight about 2 blocks away.   No choice so we headed down the hill but had to pause at the stop sign, at just that point we heard the grinding sound of the trailer hitch making solid contact with the pavement.   We ground to a jarring halt!    Tried to drive off but we were not pulling loose.   Upon inspection I discovered the bottom of the hitch had dug about 6 inches into the solid asphalt pavement.   Back in the coach I engaged the second rear axle, still only a lot of wheel spinning and tire smoke.   I began to try to unhook the trailer and disassemble the hitch just as the local police arrived.   They were most understanding and began directing traffic while I and a friendly local who stopped to help tried everything we could think of.   I finally had to ask the police to call a wrecker.   A small rollback arrived first and the operator agreed we’d need the big one!  

With the arrival of a semi sized wrecker the police blocked the road.   The wrecker crew connected 2 winch cables to the front and quickly pulled us free, the now detached trailer was loaded on the rollback and with police escort we all set off to find an open flat surface to readjust and rejoin the trailer.   Our first stop was a large park-n-ride lot which the officer thought would accommodate the work.   As soon as I made the turn-in I knew we were in trouble again.   I stopped and explained to the officer that we would have a hard time getting the coach out even without the trailer attached.  At the back of the lot there was just enough space to turn around to try to head out.   He set off to find a better spot leaving me to get out of the lot.   2 attempts later to go the correct, one way, direction out we decided to head out the aisle we came in on.  

As we nosed past a pick-up on the right that was out farther than the rest of the row a sharp twang on the left indicated we had made contact with the one way sign that we were headed past going the wrong direction.   With a bit of urging from my copilot I tried to back off the sign which then snagged a window instantly turning it into 1000’s of small pieces of glass.  

Pulling forward quickly cleared the sign and we headed across the street to a fire station lot to make the re-connection and pay the wrecker bill.   After reassembling the hitch and connecting to our trailer we headed south to find the Schenley Park Paddock.   Several circuits around Pittsburgh later we did find the proper entrance to the paddock area.  

Very weary and now 4 o’clock in the afternoon we found the paddock which was already two thirds full.   With a friendly golf cart escort we were directed to the loop end of the paddock where there was barely enough space to accommodate our 75 foot length on an almost level surface.   Did I mention that there are 447 bridges in Pittsburgh all crossing each other?   Or so it seemed.

Friday, a new day with a required driver’s meeting and walk of the 2.3 mile course.   My wife chose to join us which was probably a mistake as our guide was great at telling stories about this corner or that rock wall and who crashed where on the track.   It was an intimidating lesson with fresh pavement just done the day before, manhole covers, curbs, rock walls, elevation changes, road crowns, bridges and tar sealing lines that looked like a snake pit in one fast corner.   I did not let her look over the side of the bridge.   

The afternoon parade into downtown was hot and many of the race cars were steaming by the time we got to the designated section of downtown, thankfully not us.   The parade route was lined with waiving locals and a lot of kids.   We were parked in the middle of a street 4 race cars abreast and the open space was quickly filled with people asking questions and admiring the race cars.   A large jewelry store had agreed to host the cocktail party and there was plenty of food as well as flowing beer and wine.   After consuming our share and admiring the jewelry and watches (Sam didn’t find any she had to have) we went back out to the street which was now solid with kids and adults.   We let probably 100 kids and a few adults sit in the Morgan race car and answered bunches of questions.  What a great evening.

Saturday morning opened with practice session for all by class.   We were class 6, the last racing group on the schedule.   By the time we got on the track the sun was high and the heat was 95+ degrees.   Humidity was like Florida with the cloud cover to match.   The track was every bit as challenging as our previous day walk had suggested.   The afternoon qualifying was super hot.   Our class was all on the line at the appointed time but spent a bunch of extra time on the false grid while broken race cars from the previous secession were towed off and corner workers were resupplied with water.   Finally, we got on the track.   I had a fun session with an MGA and did manage to get around an Alfa and a Mini.   Passing was very difficult and while the Alfa dogged me most of the session, he did not get back around me.   I finished 11th out of 13 entries.   

Sunday, race day was gray.   The 15 minute morning practice was dry but big dark clouds drifted around the outside of the city.   The Formula Ford race, 2 before our group, came limping back with stories of rain-water sheeting down the hills onto the track surface.   The intermittent rain had stopped as FF came in and so I suited up and readied the Morgan to go out for the final race of the day.   As I got seated and about to strap in the race car the rain came down again.   To the relief of my wife I made the decision that I’d had enough and climbed back out of the Morgan.   

The rain did stop once again and group 6 did go to the grid.   I believe I heard them go off but their results were not posted on Race Monitor.   We had just enough time to load the Morgan race car and our pit car, our MOKE, before the rain began again.   Rain followed us to our stopping point that evening and again for the next 3 days to our home in Winter Park, Florida making driving our big rig a ton of work.   It’s great to be home.   The next month or so will be required to fix what we broke on the motor-coach, but the Morgan is almost ready to go again.   We saw lots of familiar Put-in-Bay race faces and met lots of new friends.

Our next race will be at Put-in-Bay, Ohio in September

If you’ve never raced at Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park Vintage GP you’re missing the most challenging track I’ve had the pleasure of racing on.    20 different turns on most every kind of surface but dirt.

Cheers,

Rick Frazee

25 Jul

MCCDC’s MOG 49 ‘Report from the Field’

MOG 49 CHAIRMAN REPORT

[Folks, this is Rich Fohl’s (MCCDC and MOGSouth member) report on the recent MCCDC MOG 49, held at the traditional Mimslyn Inn in Luray, VA. MCCDC will again use the Mimslyn to host MOG 50, next July 4th weekend, for their 50th Anniversary. This is a substantial milestone for MCCDC and given that MOGSouth came out of MCCDC we will want to support this event in the way MOGSouth used to, so save the dates (July 4th 2020.) More to come on this in the near future. Cheers, Mark]

MOG 49 CHAIRMAN REPORT

Well, we came, we took part and we had a great time! From what I have heard from many of those in attendance at this year’s MCCDC annual gathering, this year’s event at the Mimslyn Inn in Luray, VA was  very successful. We are gathering comments from as many as possible to improve on the details of the weekend and how each event and the overall experience can be improved.

Many thanks go out to our Event Chairpersons: Concours: Bill Blodgett, Gymkana: Reny Willoughby…and family!  Rally: Bates McLain,   Autocross: Greg and Mary Hastings. Also many, many thanks to attendees who came forward to volunteer and help make each event a success. And a very special thanks to Ed Zielinski for contributing his time and effort to create the Mog 49 Poster and all the Mog 49 art work. Needless to say, thanks to all of the Officers and Executive Committee members who also contributed much effort and many hours to MOG 49: President: Marlene Riehle, Vice President: Dean Worcester, Secretary: Tom Kennedy, Treasurer: Path MacAuley, Registrar/membership Secretary: Lisa Shriver, Liason Officer: Bill Blodgett, and Recent Past President: Lee DeBrish.

And a very, VERY special thanks to Linda and Larry Eckler ….owners of Morgans of New England and the all of their kids and crew…Linda and Larry contributed both personally and financially to help make MOG 49 a special event. They were also kind enough to field questions at a Saturday evening Q and A at the Manor House Noggin regarding Morgan importation and many other questions regarding all things Morgan.

 If you came this year, bring a friend or two along next year to experience a very special gathering. MOG 50 is officially planned for Friday-Sunday, July 3-5, 2020 at the Mimslyn Inn, Luray, VA…More information regarding booking rooms, etc.,  will be coming forth soon in the Rough Rider and on our website www.morgandc.com. We are planning some small and big changes for MOG 50 in hopes it will the best ever!

The following are the Results from the events at MOG 49, Luray, VA:

CONCOURS:

BEST IN SHOW: Warren Muse/ 1965 4/4

4/4: First Place: Warren Muse/ 1965 4/4

         Second Place: Carl and BettyHC Clouser/ 1967 4/4

Plus 4: First Place: Fred Dantonio/ 1965 +4

Plus 4 4  Seater: First Place:Peter and Ann Dattels/ 1967 +4 4 Seater

Plus 4 DHC:First Place: Sheldon Hofferman and Gail Shepkin/ 1964 +4 DHC

Early +8 (Carburetored): First Place: Richard Fohl/ 1970 +8

Post 1983 3 Wheeler/Fuel Injected: First Place: Eric and Marjorie Scott/2012 3 Wheeler

      Second Place: Bruce and Shelly Menkowitz/1998 4/4

      Third Place: Lee DeBrish and Marlene Riehle/ 2005 Roadster

GYMKHANA:

First Place: Duncan and Lee Charlton/+8

Second Place: Peter Ballard? 4/4

Third Place: Greg and Mary Hastings/ +4 4 Seater

RALLY:

First Place: John DeTrana and Geri Oliveri/+8

Second Place: Eric and Marjorie Scott/ 2012 3W

Third Place: Barrie Abrams and Lenny Mandel/ +8

“MORGANS OF NEW ENGLAND” AUTOCROSS:

FTD: Duncan Charlton/ +8/ 1:26.005

Plus 8: First Place: Barrie Abrams/ 1:28.867 (including 4 sec penalty for 2 cones)

Second Place: Katie Eckler/ 1:32.900

Third Place: Matt Schrum/ 1:32.940

Early Plus 4: First Place: Bill Willoughby/ 1:28.142

Late 4/4: First Place: Bruce Menkowitz/ 1:39.477

Plus 4 4 Seater: First Place Lenny Mandel/ 1:38.195

Respectfully,

Rich Fohl, MOG 49 Chairman

01 Jun

MOGSouth / GatorMOG Regalia – Get it now!!

I got requests for regalia again at the Spring Meet. All sorts of MOGSouth and GatorMOG regalia, as well as Morgan Wings, Scripts, and Cars are available. Simply go to our regalia supplier ‘Fourth Gear LTD’ and get what you want. I doubt you need an excuse, but Father’s Day is coming up.

Here is a link to their web site.    Fourth Gear LTD 

You can see that they provide this regalia service for lots of other British Car Clubs.

MOGSouth has paid to have our club logos digitized and placed into their ‘Car Club Logo’ library.   They also have a library of ‘British Marques’ which includes Morgan wings and  Morgan Script, and a library of ‘British Cars’ include the cowled grill Plus 4 (in either a top up or top down configuration) as well as a Three Wheeler.

If there is an image or logo you want and don’t see let us at MOGSouth know.  If there is sufficient interest, we may be willing to have the image digitized and made available to the membership in the future.

The process is simple.  Go to their web site.  Pick a logo or other image from the libraries and place it in your shopping cart. Then select a regalia item, e.g. shirt, hat or wine tote or whatever and place that item in your shopping cart.   The regalia item price includes the embroidery unless something special is being requested.

As I understand it, they will gladly change colors. What color is your Morgan? They have both top Up and top Down versions of the car. If you have relatively simple requests or ‘special instructions’ to add to your order, there is a ‘Notes’ field you can use to specify your desires.

If there is something complicated that you want like logo size changes or location of the embroidery (e.g. big logos on  the back), use their ‘Request Information’ button to ask questions about your specific needs.  Some things may not be doable with their current equipment.  (FYI, the standard embroidery location is on the left chest of the shirt.)

Also, I believe they have, or will source different regalia items for you, e.g. denim shirts and sweatshirts.  If you don’t see what you want, just ask.

Note –  due to the complexity of the GatorMOG logo there is an additional charge when it is selected.  It also is a bit too big to fit nicely on a cap.   It is also recommended that it go onto a sturdy material to reduce the risk of puckering.

Let me know if you have issues or problems (or just have comments.)

Cheers, Mark

07 May

Invitation to the Hilton Head Island Car Club Showcase – 2 Nov 2019

[This is a great event! We participated, as a club, a few years ago, and all had a great time. This year, the timing fits nicely between the MOGSouth Fall Meet in September and the MOGSouth Holiday Party in December. A lovely venue and some wonderful cars. Mark]

We are pleased to invite your Car Club, Morgan Owners Group – South (MOGSouth), to participate in the 2019 Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival’s Car Club Showcase to be held on Saturday, November 2, 2019. Your Club may bring up to 5 cars

[If you want to participate, send an email to mogsouth@yahoo.com (Mark) and let him know. He will send you instructions on how to register your car for the event. They have a online system. ]

This year’s Motoring Festival will again be at the beautiful Port Royal Golf Club on Hilton Head Island. You will be pleased with this first-class venue and the events planned for this 18th Annual Motoring Festival. More details are available on our website at: http://www.hhiconcours.com.

Here are some key things that make this year’s showcase special:

  • British Cars, including American Powered English Cars, will be the feature on Saturday.
  • In addition to the British Cars, the Mercedes Benz Club of America will be holding an event within our event and they promise to tell a most interesting story.
  • An excellent awards line-up will continue again this year, including the Crescent Awards and several additional special awards.
  • The Aero Expo will once again this year feature vintage aircraft, to be held on Saturday only at the nearby Hilton Head Island Airport.  Shuttles are provided so that you can visit this event all day Saturday.
  • The Exhibitor’s Lounge – A tent on the showfield for your convenience throughout the day on Saturday for coffee and pastries in the morning, cold drinks throughout the day, and a great place to view the Awards Ceremony at the end of the day.

Clubs planning to participate should note:

  • Our online registration process, the same as in prior years, is available now for your members to register their cars individually at www.register.hhiconcours.com.  Register using the CAR CLUB SHOWCASE option.  There is a $40 Registration Fee which must be paid when vehicles are registered. This registration fee has been increased for the first time in 15 years due to increased costs and awards over the years. Please note that each registrant receives two two-day tickets, a minimum $180 value.

Please let our Exhibitor Concierge, Meredith Kronz, know as soon as possible (no later than June 1st) the number of vehicles (and their owners’ names) that your club plans to enter.  Meredith can be reached at mkronz@hhiconcours.com or (843) 785-7469, ext. 4. Note that registration is now open, so your member car owners can register as individual exhibitors.

The Car Club Showcase Team is looking forward to seeing you and your Club at this year’s Car Club Showcase.  If you have any questions or if we can be otherwise helpful, please contact Meredith Kronz, the Exhibitor Concierge, at the Motoring Festival Office: (843) 785-7469 ext. 4.

Sincerely,

Michael Dyrenfurth, mjd27rod@gmail.com,
Manager, Car Club Showcase

Jim Ogden, jogden@mail.com,
Co-Chairman, Car Club Showcase        

Meredith Kronz, mkronz@hhiconcours.com ,
Exhibitor Concierge

          

                                                 

30 Apr

2019 GatorMOG Spring Noggin’ – Event Report

The Panhandle British Car Association’s All British Car Show – April 27th 2019 (GatorMOG’s Spring Noggin)

In this age of plastic simplicity, push button ease and instant satisfaction I find I am drawn to the less than optimal, fiddly to make work, greasy beasts of the past.  I just smile when they run. 

Start them up with a bit of this and that, then a bark with a gurgle and a wiggle, and a shot of soot out the back and it’s going.  Good stuff and I smile.  My expectations are different for the older things.  Certainty is not a given, and not really an expectation.  Something I fear is lost on the young. 

Pensacola looms large.  An event where the last count of Morgans was a big number.  (We were hoping for 8 three wheelers!)  Some of the old, some of the new, and lots in between.  It’s was hyped as a GatorMOG activity but, in fact, many of the attendees came from locations across the MOGSouth region, many from outside of Florida.  (Lance and Connie Lipscomb, Dwight Kinser, Bob Steele, Tony McLaughlin, Brian and Rosie Miller, etc.) 

We traveled up from Orlando on Thursday with a plan to stop a few hours shy of Pensacola.  We could have made it in one day, but why?  We had the time, and I don’t want to drive all day.  And, if I do, I am pretty useless the next day (and, I wanted to be functional on Friday.)  Then an early departure with the promise of a morning arrival in Pensacola on Friday.  The 1934 Super Sports three wheeler is in the trailer and I am using the new tow vehicle, the 2018 F-150 truck, to pull the thing.  Modern machinery enabling old machinery. 

We have Ian and Barbara Shelmerdine in our truck as well.  It has a crew cab, not the ‘super’ crew cab, so only occasional seats.  So, this is one of those occasions.  Good thing Ian and Barbara are not too tall.  These seats are just ok, and preferable for a short trip.  Oh well, it was the best we could do.   

The new trailer tow vehicle works as expected, and it tows well.  I fixed the source of the erroneous messages I had been getting on previous hauls ‘trailer disconnected’ and the like.  The trailer-to-truck umbilical cord had gotten frayed and laid bare a wire or two.  When I hauled the F Super project car to Fred Veenshoten’s home, a few months back, we found the problem and corrected it.  All good now!!

Our arrival on Friday provided us with enough time to check into the hotel (the Pensacola Grand Hotel) and get in line for the tour of the Naval Aviation Museum on Friday afternoon. 

The designated car show hotel was the Pensacola Grand Hotel.  The hotel lobby, bar and restaurant, reception area was what used to be Pensacola’s train station.  Very cool!  It had character and patina, and maybe wasn’t as Grand as it used to be, but lots better than a modern, non-descript hotel along the highway.  And, it was just a block or so away from the show field and had a large parking lot for the trailers.  It worked out perfectly for our travelling bunch. 

The Grand Hotel. Photo Courtesy of Karen Bernath

What can I say about the Naval Aviation Museum.  It was awesome!!  Well, that is, of course, if you like aviation stuff.  It started with a trolley ride around the outside aircraft displays.  They have a good number of unrestored or more recent aircraft outside on the tarmac.  The trolley bus tour had a tour guide who provided commentary about the various displays and doubled as the bus driver.  The tour took us about an hour.  Then back inside the Museum we had a guided tour of a lot of the displays and vignettes, early aviation experiments, and world war one biplanes.  Lovely stuff.  Then more modern, World War II fighter planes, Navy stuff specifically, Dauntless, Marauders, Warhawks, etc.  A few flying boats and patrol aircraft but all the planes seemed to have been flown by the Navy??  Well, I guess it was a ‘Naval’ museum after all!!  And, in my opinion (regardless of the Navy bit) well worth the trip to Pensacola! 

WWI Naval Ambulance. Photo Courtesy of Andrea Braunstein
F4 Corsair.  Photo Courtesy of Andrea Braunstein
Ford Tri Motor. Photo Courtesy of Andrea Braunstein
The Pub at the Museum.  A recreation of an actual club. Photo Courtesy of Andrea Braunstein

On Friday night the local All British Car Association, our host of the show, had their ‘Meet and Greet’ at the Pensacola Museum of Commerce.  The show turned the Museum of Commerce into a wonderful reception hall and had a full buffet dinner to keep us all happy.  And, we had a blast.  I’d guess some 100 folks or more attended the Meet and Greet. The Museum was a treasure trove of neat things to look at and perfect spot for the meet and greet.  It was close, we actually walked to it from the Hotel! 

Folks from the local club all came with their hot plates, slow cookers and chaffing dishes full of tasty things and fed us until we couldn’t eat any more.  Beer and wine, as well as soft drinks were on ice.  Even some lovely desserts were provided.  (I know, my diet!)   The hospitality of the Pensacola club has to be commended and we certainly hope we can reciprocate, in kind, should they come our way!

The Meet and Greet.  Nicely Done!  Photo Courtesy of Karen Bernath

Back to the hotel and into bed.  It was late (well, not really, but we’re old . . .)  The show was on Saturday after a breakfast buffet of sorts, we headed to the show field.  A convoy of Morgans.  Five Morgan three wheelers, and a few more Morgans cars.  It wasn’t far, really just strait down the road about a half of mile.  We did make an impression, however.  Pensacola hadn’t seen that many Morgans . . . ever.  They had two classes for Morgans.  A three wheeler class and a (go on and guess!!) a four wheeler class.  We had 6 three wheelers.  4 Old and 2 new.  We had hoped for another vintage three wheeler but heard there was a family crisis.  The three wheelers out-numbered the four wheelers for a while, but then things changed.

The Morgan Three Wheeler Display.  6 Cars. Wow!  Photo Courtesy of Andrea Braunstein

The locals arrived and a few more cars from other places showed up and we ended up with 8 four wheelers.  A local Morganeer was hoping to finish sorting his Plus 4 but didn’t get there.  Still a tremendous showing of Morgans!  And, all but one of the 14 Morgans on the field were piloted by MOGSouth members!!

We found lunch right next to the show venue in a nice café adjacent to the park.  There were lots of animals about as well.  I saw a Humane Society truck go by and I was told that the show venue was also part of a ‘Paws in the Park’ event hosted by the Pensacola Humane Society.  The weather was great and the dogs didn’t disrupt a thing, certainly not our car show.   

Big congratulations go to Rick and Sam Frazee, Lance and Connie Lipscomb and Andrea and I as awardees in the Morgan Three Wheeler Class.  Larry Erd with his lovely S2 4/4 took 1st Place in the Four Wheeler Class.  Fred Fink’s two tone was Second.  All MOGSouth Members!!!

Tom Schmidt, as Pensacola local, won the third place trophy but he wasn’t there with the car.  I guess he had another car in the show?  Not sure. 

Larry Erd’s Award Winning 4/4.  Photo Courtesy of Andrea Braunstein

We tried valiantly to have a group gathering after the show, but it was not to be.  Finding a watering hole on Saturday night was almost impossible.  We didn’t realize it, but it was not only ‘date’ night, but it was ‘prom’ night and every eatery in town was overloaded.  Even our hotel was a mess with a ‘wedding reception’ for a very, very large wedding.  Crowded!!   

Parking at the hotel (during a wedding reception) was at a premium, even with it’s large open lots.  It seemed that every available spot was used.  I couldn’t even put my car back into my trailer after the show as someone had parked in front of it.  I was at least able to park the trike in the lot, but not in the trailer.  So, I put the tonneau cover on it and walked away, best I could do. 

Then we were on the hunt for a beer (and dinner).  It was a long and dry hunt.  We almost went to bed hungry.  One spot we tried, had some 200 (or more) folks in two separate lines falling out the door and covering both sides of the building.  Wow!  I don’t have that kind of patience.  I just don’t know how they managed??

Another place wanted us to wait about an hour and a half hour for a table and then, who knows what for service?  They said they were under staffed?  After a lot of going left, then right, we finally found a table at a Carabbas restaurant, with only a 15 minute wait.  And, of course by then we had lost most of the Morgan group.  We ate at two different tables in two different groups.  Better than nothing.  Then back to the hotel.  It was an early night.  We were all pretty beat and a few of us were suffering with the start of a cold or allergies or something. 

Karen Bernath relaxing after the show. Photo Courtesy of Andrea Braunstein

We were lazy on Sunday morning.  We had a plan to leave at 9 AM but finally got under way closer to 10 AM.  We really weren’t in too much of a hurry.  We just had to get down the road to Gainesville, FL.  A hot shower and then something to eat at the Hotel’s restaurant.  I dawdled some.  I still had to get my car back into the trailer and wasn’t convinced that the parking lot issue would have been resolved.  I envisioned a late night for those attending the wedding reception dinner.  As I was poking around in the parking lot the guy that had parked in my way finally moved his car.  He was pretty much oblivious to the problem he caused. 

I didn’t waste too much time and quickly loaded the car into the trailer.  I hooked the trailer to the truck and was soon ready to roll.  Rick Frazee had both his and John Stanley’s car in his trailer and we added John, in his Roadster, to our convoy and headed south. 

The hotel in Gainesville was a Doubletree (quite nice) and we didn’t get there any too soon. I really was ready to stop. I needed a beer and rest from the road.  Driving the trailer is not too difficult but it is a bit more stressful than just driving.  It took me a while to stop vibrating (a couple of beers, if I remember correctly . . .)

It was a really good weekend and a worthwhile show.  Only down side was the distance.  Pensacola, albeit still in Florida, is still a good ways away from most places.  And, to add to this distance problem was the route. Well, at least the one we took. It is boring!  I-10 across the panhandle of Florida is definitely not a Morgan road.  Straight and boring, mile after mile, with nary a sign of life.  Still it was well worth the trip.  Maybe next time, I won’t take a trailer!!

[Be sure to check out all the other photographs taken at the Museum and during the show.  There were too many to include is this report so a Photo Gallery was created and posted to the MOGSouth Website.  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!! 

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  

24 Feb

MOGSouth Membership Roster 2019 V3

Folks, we have begun to distribute the MOGSouth Membership Roster for 2019. It is being distributed as an encrypted PDF file. You should receive this file via email, to the email address you provided to us, sometime in the next week or so.

In order to ensure we secured this file, as best we could, we have undertaken the following precautions. First, this file is encrypted, meaning it has a password that you will have to enter each time you open / view the file. Secondly, we are distributing the PDF file itself and the file’s password in two separate messages. These methods are our attempts at keeping the information on the roster secure from the everyday hacker.

We understand the sensitivity folks have to sharing this information with just anybody, so we want to protect it. However, we also realize that one of the biggest benefits of MOGSouth membership is knowing who else, in the local area or region, shares your Morgan passion. So we want to be sure you to have the membership roster.

We struggled with distribution methods and in the end we came up with the two methods mentioned above. It is highly unlikely that a hacker will be able to get both messages and then put them together.

The other key element is the password itself. In the end we wanted to make the password something less likely to be hacked so we have used what is called a ‘strong’ password, e.g. one that is somewhat lengthy, uses Capital letters, numbers, punctuation and is relatively memorable (for a Morgan type, that is.) The password we chose is;

Morgan’sPlus8Speedster

It must be entered exactly as above, with the Capital letters, etc. When you attempt to open the PDF MOGSouth Membership file, you will be asked for the password. Simply enter it, as provided above, and hit enter. The file will open just as any other file on your computer.

Cheers, Mark

19 Feb

Roadster Run!

It’s chilly outside . . . got to go south!  Well it’s only 60° but even so I’m chilly, none the less.  Been in Florida too long.  I think my blood has thinned.

This weekend is the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club All British Car Show (actually the 26th annual).  It is down in South Florida where it’s warmer.  We go every year as we have several MOGSouth members down that way and it’s good to see them every now and again.  It used to be in Boca Raton but now is in West Palm Beach.  Still south, still warmer!

We have few folks from North / Central Florida going along with us, as well.  Perhaps they too are chilly?  Allan and Mary Ann Rae, Chuck and Karen Bernath, and Robin and Christine Bycroft.  The others in the area are either predisposed or in some other way committed . . . off racing or vacationing in Asia or some such.  But it won’t be a problem as I suspect we will join another 4 – 6 Morgans once we get there.  And a host of other British Cars. 

Getting there is a logistics challenge.  We all come from differing parts of Florida and need to travel on different roads.  However, as it is more fun to travel in packs, we have a rendezvous or two in the plan with designated gathering spots and hook-up times, along the route.  Gas and rest stops are always good! 

I took the Roadster out this time.  It has been a few months since the car has had a good run.  Also, I just changed the oil and filter, and completed a full maintenance (112 tasks) session on the car.  This has got to make it faster . . . right?  The only problematic thing I found during all that maintenance was an inoperable front (passenger side) turn indicator.  I figured a bulb was blown but when I pulled off the lens it was much more than that.  The whole thing was corroded.  An entire new light or at least a new bulb receptacle was in order . . . but then, after some thought and being cheap, I figured I might be able to rebuild it! 

I rummaged around in my bin of bits and found some derelict light housings.  Actually, I found three old round light bases, complete with wires.  Two had a single wire to the bulb and one had two wires.  And of course, the size and shape were different from the corroded one on the Roadster.  Progress, I assume! 

I contemplated the differences for a few minutes, pondering all sorts of Morgan induced gremlins, until it finally occurred to me that the two with only the single wire were both steel and the one with the double wire was aluminum.  Why the change, I thought.  The steel ones said Lucas while the aluminum one was devoid of any markings.  Perhaps someone was afraid to admit to making the thing or perhaps it was just an aftermarket piece?  

Ah ha!  The steel ones were grounded directly when bolted to the car.  No need for a grounding wire.  The aluminum one however needed a grounding wire.  Aluminum isn’t the best conductor of electricity.  Again, that college education pays off! 

I then decided that since the size and shape were different, I would only use the inner bulb receptacle.  I took the aluminum one, the one with the two wires, and cut away all but the needed bulb receptacle.  I then stuffed this bulb receptacle into the recess left when I removed the corroded one from the Roadster.  A tight fit, but a fit none the less.  I tested it with a new bulb.  And, there was light! 

I tightened it all back up and bingo, I had turn indicators!  An hour of fiddling about and it was all good again.  Ok, the car was ready for the road!

Now to gather all the requisite stuff.  It’s not that Morgans lack storage space, there’s plenty.  It’s that we have become too accustomed to travel with all sorts of crap.  Chairs and hats and phones and blankets, tools and rags and on and on.  Not to mention the bulging suitcase on the luggage rack! 

Finally, . . . down the road we go!

We stayed at the designated hotel chosen by the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club.  It was right next to the show field . . nothing too fancy, clean and affordable.  Close to the show was good for us as we really didn’t want to drive all over an unknown location, risk getting lost or arriving late, or worse yet missing the show altogether.  And, this hotel had free breakfast and was in walking distance of a decent restaurant.  We gathered for dinner and walked to the recommended sports bar, BJs, for our evening repast.  A sports bar is fine for this crowd, lots of options for food, beer and wine, and the noise level wasn’t adversely impacted by our raucous babble.  

The free hotel breakfast came earlier that I liked but there it was in all it’s glory . . . cardboard waffles and rubber eggs.  I had coffee. 

Then we all piled into the cars and drove, had to be all of a mile, to the show.  We were parked all together this year (last year we were scattered about), except Robin and Christine Bycroft who were past Class winners and were parked in a separate ‘Prestige Class’ with the other past winners. 

The Morgans had quite a respectable showing.  We had 7 Morgans in the show counting the (1) Bycroft’s lovely BRG 1989 Plus 8. 

(2) 1967 Plus 4 Drop Head Coupe (Cream w/ Brown Wings) belonging to Gil & Barbara Stegen
(3) 1980 Plus 8 Fuel Injected Turbo (Gray w/ Black Wings) belonging to Chuck & Karen Bernath
(4) 2003 Anniversary Edition Plus 8 (Aston Martin Green) belonging to Bennett & Mary Shulman
(5) 2005 3.0L Roadster (BRG) belonging to Allan & Mary Ann Rae
(6) 2005 3.0L Roadster (Cream w/ BRG Wings) belonging to Mark & Andrea Braunstein
(7) 2018 3.7L Roadster (Blue) with only 100 miles, belonging to Lewis Pollack.

The Morgan Class winner was the ’67 Plus 4 Drop Head Coupe belonging to Gil & Barbara Stegen and rightly so.  The car was lovely and superbly displayed (as always).  Second in Class went to Bennett & Mary Shulman’s spectacular 2003 Anniversary Edition Plus 8.  Third in Class then went to the extremely well prepared 2005 3.0L BRG Roadster, goggles and all, belonging to Allan & Mary Ann Rae.  Then they announced the Prestige Class winners and Robin and Christine’s 1989 BRG Plus 8 took second in a group of quite stellar competition.  I dare say the Morgans did quite well on the day!

A big highlight of the show, for us Morgan types anyway, was ogling Lewis Pollack’s brand new, 2018, component 3.7L Roadster.  What a lovely machine!  We were all drooling.  Blue over cream leather.  Wow!  Lewis quickly fit right in with the MOGSouth crowd and as he is already a member of the club, I suspect we will see this car again, quite soon.

After the show, it was back to the hotel for a nap.  Then off to another sports bar for dinner.  This time we had to drive, but it wasn’t far.  Dinner came and went.  Then back to bed.  We were all spent.  The midday sun and 85°+ temperatures had done us all in.  

Hotel breakfast again on Monday.  There was a plan to convoy home, but it somehow fell apart.  The two Roadsters, Raes and Braunsteins, set off together to explore the coastline and meander North.  Banyan tree canopies, sparkles of sun light and glimpses of the ocean.  Marvelous!  And, then there were the mansions. 

We meandered along the Florida coastline traveling north but really getting nowhere fast . . . (photo courtesy of Allan Rae)

Now, I understand large homes and even waterfront properties.  But these were simply amazing!  It boggled the mind.  Most houses had a driveway, ok we all have one of those, but then 100 yards or more, further down, they had a ‘Service Entrance’.  These houses must have been massive!  Really, a Service Entrance?  Wow!  

Now I want a ‘Service Entrance.’  I may just make a sign . . .

The Bernath’s had taken off a bit earlier and found the Elliot Museum, in Stuart Florida.  They stopped, so we stopped.  What an amazing place!  The collections at the museum were eclectic.  Vintage cars, wooden boats, airplanes, dioramas of a vintage kitchen and a commercial pharmacy with soda shop, a model train collection, outboard motors, Frances Langford’s wardrobe (she sang with Bob Hope on many USO tours), and much more.  

The most incredible thing, for me anyway, was the vintage car storage machine (sort of like a car vending machine?)  Just watching this thing was worth the entire stop.  Although there were many cars openly displayed in the various rooms, there were some 54 cars stored in a large, temperature and humidity controlled, glass enclosed machine / complex.  They were stored three levels high and two rows deep.  The docent had a computer controlled selector and when he selected a specific car, the machine went and found the car.  It then lifted it up and put the car on an elevator, which brought it down, moving it to the center of the complex, and then displayed it (rotating it on a turn style) just in front of where we were sitting.  We couldn’t get enough of this thing and asked to see some three different cars.  The cars were cool, but the machine, moving the cars around, was even cooler.  We stopped before the darn thing broke.  We feared the worst as the docent indicated the company that manufactured the complex machine went belly up a year after it was created, and the machine was now the most demanding maintenance item in the entire museum!  

We soon left the museum and continued up the coast to a water front restaurant (Kyle Gs) for lunch.  Chuck Bernath got there a few minutes before we did and wrangled parking spaces, for the Morgans, at the front door.  Thank you, Chuck!  This was certainly appreciated (as the parking lot was overflowing.)  Although the restaurant was pretty crowded, they found us a table with a view.  Excellent service and excellent food. 

Then it was back in the cars and up the coast.  West to I-95 and a dash for home.  

A bit hot in south Florida but all-in-all good fun!  Great cars, great company and really another great Morgan weekend! 

Oh, and just as I pulled off the highway, with no more than a mile or two to get to my house, the turn indicator I had fixed, stopped working.  Go figure?  Oh, the pleasures of Morgan ownership!

See you soon!
Mark