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

06 Jan

The Morgan Rides Again… (Randy Johnson)

It began with the 1961 Plus Four Roadster I purchased from my father in 1966.

This was my everyday car while I was attending Georgia State University where I had the good fortune to meet Dale, my wife of now fifty plus years.

We dated in that car for almost a year until it was sold and replaced with a yellow 1961 VW convertible (but that is another story).

Fast forward twenty years, we were raising three children, both working and dealing with all that goes along with a dual income, hardworking, busy family.

In celebration of our 20th wedding anniversary Dale said she wanted to give me another Morgan.

The search for a car began the Sunday after Thanksgiving of 1988.

Amy and Adam and I journeyed to a small British Car event in downtown Atlanta where we met Lance Lipscomb as well as Bob and Wynell Bruce and Maidie and Charlie Williams, all members of MOGSouth. I told them of my quest for another Morgan and by Monday afternoon, Lance, called and said he had found a car.

The car was in a basement in a home in Marietta and was being sold because the owner had begun a rebuild but had by then given up on the project.

I purchased the car on sight and all of the various pieces and brought it home.

It needed painting as well as an interior and reassembly and with help from Don Simpkins, Fred Sisson and Lance the car came together in early 1989 and made its formal debut at the MCCDC National Meet that summer after traveling in caravan from Atlanta along with Fred and Roni Sisson and their three year old daughter Sam.

The car was frequently driven to many meets and Morgan events over the next thirty years where we made long lasting friendships with the many members of the Morgan community.

After the MOGSouth Christmas Party of 2016, Dale and I made the decision that it was time to “freshen” the Morgan as it was showing its age and the wear and tear of 30 years of enjoyment. This car is not a “garage queen”. It was driven and enjoyed weekly for almost thirty years.

Randy and Dale Johnson with ‘New’ 1967 Plus 4

After several fits and starts, I reached out to Mitch Bressler of MSA Classics in Carrollton, Georgia to handle the project.

I had met Mitch just after the car was first on the road when he worked with Jon Stamps of Jon Stamps Racing and they had performed several major repairs to the car.

Mitch had begun full time vintage race car preparation and car restoration as well as general maintenance with his company MSA Classics in a large facility in Carrollton.

Mitch Bressler and Randy Johnson

As it turns out, what was to be a “freshening” became a full body off frame up restoration and now it sports a completely rebuilt engine and transmission, new brake and electrical systems, rebuilt transmission, aluminum radiator and fuel tank, new floorboards, complete respray and complete new custom fit leather interior.

In effect, it is a new 1967 Plus Four and in my opinion, the result is stunning.

Thanks to Mitch Bressler and his company MSA Classics and his local suppliers and craftsmen as well as Morgan Spares, Lonnie Bailey, who painted the car and Northpoint Auto Upholstery, and especially to Dale, my wife of now fifty plus years, the Morgan Rides Again!

03 Jan

RIP Bob Bruce, 81, Nov. 1937 – Dec. 2018

We lost another MOGSouth stalwart.  Bob Bruce passed away on Sunday, 30 December, just shy of the New Year.  He was 81 years old. 

Most of the relatively new MOGSouth folks wouldn’t remember the Bruces but those of us that have been around MOGSouth for a while certainly do.  Wynell Bruce was a past president of MOGSouth so Bob was always there with the Morgan. 

Bob Looking Into A Cockpit – A Familiar and Happy Place

My first introduction to MOGSouth was when Wynell was the president.  I was in some position of authority in MCCDC and had dealings with MOGSouth about support for a MCCDC MOG meet or some such.  This was around 1990 or so.  MOGSouth was seen as the ‘standard,’ organized, vital and aptly led. 

The Bruce’s lovely Blue Plus 4 2 Seater (Elizabeth) was always at the meets.  (There was a three wheeler, called Angus??, as well, that needed a bit of TLC. )  Bob was pilot for Eastern Airlines, then Eastern Airlines did their thing and Bob was piloting aircraft, island hopping as it was, in the Caribbean.  Bob took this all in stride and his understated sense of humor always rose to the top. 

At one point a MOGSouth event in the islands was discussed.  Now that would have been interesting!

Eventually the Bruce’s came back to the cars and house in Kennesaw.  The most memorable Bob moment for me was the phone call.  There was a message on the tape machine. Bob had called.  I returned the call, asking ‘what’s up?’  Bob was abrupt and asked frankly ‘What ever happened to the Five Dollar lunch?’ 

Now that took me a bit by surprise.  He was reacting to a recent MOGSouth event and comparing it to earlier times.  I think the question may have been partially in jest, but I failed to adequate provide a reasonable answer, so he kept hammering me.  Bob was a happy guy with an infectious smile.  He always expected the best. 

I do have to say, that I think of Bob and his question often these days, especially when I am negotiating, on behalf of MOGSouth, something that costs real money.  I guess his question left a mark! 

After that the Bruce’s haven’t been seen too often, although they maintain their affiliation with the club but haven’t participated in any of the more recent MOGSouth events.  I know, sometimes it is just too hard, or there are too many conflicts.  The trike was sold to Lee Gaskins, if I remember correctly and the Plus 4, I believe, is still in Kennesaw.

The obituary as posted is as follows.

Robert S. “Bob” Bruce November 10, 1937 – December 30, 2018 Robert S. “Bob” Bruce, Sr., 81, of Kennesaw, died Sunday, December 30, 2018. A graveside memorial service will be held at 3:00 on Tuesday afternoon, January 8, 2019, in the Georgia National Cemetery, Canton. Mr. Bruce was born in Michigan but had lived in Kennesaw since 1972, coming from Miami. He retired from Eastern Airlines as a pilot and was Presbyterian. Surviving are his wife of 59 years, Wynell Bruce of Kennesaw; son, Robert S. (Laura) Bruce, Jr., of Dallas; grandchildren, Rob Bruce, Alicia Bruce, Tyler Bauch, and Austin Bauch; great grandson, J J Bruce.

Collins Funeral Home, Acworth, is in charge of arrangements.   

GRAVESIDE MEMORIAL SERVICE – Tuesday January 8, 2019, 3:00 PM at Georgia National Cemetery, 1080 Scott Hudgens Dr, Canton, GA 30114

28 Dec

Difficult Times – Betsy McOmber Passed Away

It was early morning on Christmas Eve that Betsy McOmber passed away. Her family was there and she was in no pain so that was good. Even if the Morgan Car thing was predominantly Gene’s she was always a vibrant presence at the MOGSouth gatherings. If she wasn’t there, her absence was always noted. ‘Where was Betsy’, everyone would ask. Betsy loved her music, her Church and she loved to play the piano and sing. It really is difficult for us, as a community, and we cannot adequately express our feelings of loss. But, we still have the many wonderful memories of car meets, road trips, omelet parties, racing trophies, the house in SC, the house in FL, the family and more. These we will not forget. A true and wonderful friend to us all and she will be greatly missed.

Gene And Betsy at the MOGSouth 40th Anniversary in Aiken, SC (Circa 2015)

The Obituary in The Sarasota, FL Herald-Tribune is reprinted below.

McOmber, Betsy Lane Thomas – Mar 7,1940 – Dec 24, 2018

Betsy was raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan by her parents Byron R. and Mildred Stein Thomas.

Betsy graduated from Grosse Pointe High South in 1958 and went on to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI. She graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science Degree and in 1966 with a Master of Arts Degree. She was a member of Sigma Alpha Iota Musical Fraternity.

Betsy taught 3rd grade at Westwood Elementary school in Kalamazoo from 1962-1967. In 1963, she married Gene LeIsle McOmber of Allegan, MI. Their first son, Thomas Clair, was born in 1967 at which time Betsy began giving piano lessons in her home in Westwood. Two more sons were born in 1970 and 1978 – Richard Morgan and Robert Thomas.

While living in Kalamazoo, Betsy was very active in the Kalamazoo Orchestra League and also her church – 1st Church of Christ, Scientist. She enjoyed selling advertising for 5 years to the Christian Science Monitor, an international daily newspaper. Betsy loved opportunities to play piano background music for various social events and singing in Jan Berghorst’s Women’s Choral group. She greatly admired her parents’ musical talents, both of whom were professional musicians. Her mother was her first piano teacher and instilled in her a deep love of music.

In 1994, Betsy and Gene retired to beautiful Keowee Key in Salem, SC where they lived for 17 years and enjoyed sharing their deck boat with family and friends. Betsy continued her musical involvements by singing in the Key Koraliers and joining a piano group called The Piano Connection where she played solos, duets, and quartets. Betsy and Gene were both very active in the Blue Ridge Art Center and Betsy became coordinator of an art program called Picture Person involving eleven elementary schools. At the 1st Church of Christ, Scientist in Seneca, she was Keyboardist for many years.
In 2011, Betsy and Gene re-retired to Sarasota, FL to be closer to their son, Tom, his wife Melissa, and their grandson, Cole. More musical opportunities opened up for Betsy as she joined the Village Walk Singers and two piano groups – Piano Friends and Musical Friends. At Third Church of Christ, Scientist, she was the music coordinator.

Being married to a car enthusiast, Betsy was an active member of The Foothills British Car Club in SC, the Suncoast British Car Club group in Sarasota, and the Morgan Owners Group South. Betsy loved sharing her husband’s interest in cars and touring in their Morgan. Supporting Gene’s 47 years of racing a Morgan was a highlight of her life.

Betsy’s most favorite hobby was playing the piano and sharing her talent with others. She also was very devoted to writing – keeping in touch with friends and helping them through tough challenges consumed much of her time. She valued each person who came into her life. 

She also loved remodeling homes with her husband, doing yard work, entertaining, and going to concerts and plays. Sharing musical time with her grandson, Cole, in Sarasota was especially meaningful to her. Betsy’s husband, three sons, two daughter in laws, and three grandchildren made her very proud and she will be forever grateful for their loving attention to her.

Betsy was predeceased by her parents and only sibling, Terrell E. Thomas, of Mt. Dora, Fl in 2017. She is survived by her husband Gene McOmber and Thomas & Melissa (Sarasota, FL), Richard (MI) Robert & Francheska (UT) Grand children Morgayn, (NV) Cole (FL), Camilla (UT).

“A Celebration of Life” will be held at the Turtle Rock Community Ctr. (8500 Turtle Rock Blvd. Sarasota 34238) on Friday evening January 18th from 5 to 8 PM. 

An open house is to be held at the Turtle Rock Community Ctr., 8500 Turtle Rock Blvd. Sarasota 34238 on Friday evening January 18th, from 5 to 8 PM.  Please bring your British car (weather permitting) if possible. 

Suggested Hotels: Comfort Suites Sarasota Siesta Key: 5690 Honore Ave. Sarasota, FL 34233 (941)554-4475, Holiday Inn Express and Suites Sarasota: 5730 Gantt Rd. Sarasota, FL 34233 (941)925-0631 

Memorials to: Gator Wilderness Camp School, 44930 Farabee Rd
Punta Gorda, FL 33982  http://www.gatorwildernesscamp.com/

24 Dec

2018 Holiday Wishes from MOGSouth!!

[2018 was a great year!!  Let’s see if we can make 2019 even better!! 

Happy Holidays to you and yours.  Mark, Andrea and the rest of the MOGSouth team.] 

“Twas the night before Christmas and out in the shed
Sat a tired old Morgan, It’s battery near dead,
Its wings were rusted and the doors wont close
The seats and carpets look like old Renault’s.
The tyres had dry rot, the fuel tank was leaking,
And a turn of the wheel sent the tie-rods a-creaking

So I put on my coat with a weight in my heart
And went to the shed to get it to start.
The engine turned over– there arose such a clatter!
And I knew from the sound it was water-pump chatter.
From under the dashboard there came a bright flash,
The wiring harness had just turned to ash!!

I’ve had it with this Morgan I finally swore.
Enough is too much, I can’t take anymore:
When what to my red teary eyes should appear,
But a little old bloke–(Hell I need a beer).
“Cheers” he said grinning from ear to ear,
“You need my help, I’m an engineer”.

“This one can be saved, there’s no need to grieve,
All you need is faith; You gotta believe”
A hammer, some duct tape, get me more tools!!
When you work on these cars, just make up the rules,
We’ll get her cranked over, and no way will she stall
But stand over there with your back to the wall”

A cough and a sputter, the cacophony was stunning!
I couldn’t believe it the damn thing was running.
The ghost winked at me, and said kicking a tyre.
“What ever you do: Don’t touch this wire!!”

The old bloke then vanished amongst sneezes and snorts
But when the smoke cleared he had left me some parts!!

So I opened the shed door and let the top down,
Put pedal to metal and went out on the town,
And I thought to myself as I missed second gear,

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR

 

Reprint Courtesy of Barry Marshall of Talk Morgan.   

18 Dec

The Morgan Northwest Passage Road Trip – Sep 2018 (Don Moodie)

[This report came from MOGSouth member Don Moodie.  Others in MOGSouth participated and from all reports, the event was a wonderful time for all! Mark]

In addition to the various Concours, Cars and Coffees and Noggins, there was another, I’d say significant, Morgan activity which also took place this year.

The Morgan Northwest Passage Road Trip in September 2018

I thought the club might be interested in how it began and how it played out.

The initial announcement was broadcast over a year ago on August 31st of 2017 to a select list of club members. Those who had participated in the 1000 mile Pub Crawl around The Chesapeake were given early notice of this much more ambitious road trip. Apparently taking part in that earlier circumnavigation put a tick mark by certain names, identifying them as likely candidates for a trip all the way to the Pacific Northwest. During the Summer word of the trip became more widely known and additional club members decided to join in on the adventure. Eventually we had eleven cars signed up, including seven Morgans, one Lotus, one Jaguar, one MGB and a Ford Edge chase car.

The germ of the idea came from Bob McKenna and Gary Kneisley. In the months between the first suggestion and the actual departure there was much planning and re-planning to be done.  Bob and Gary put in countless hours refining the itinerary, planning the route and lining up hotels while Reg Hahn and Bill Button contributed valuable tweaks to the route.

By the time we were about to head out on the road, Bill Button had also compiled what he called The Bedside Reader. It contained day by day descriptions of the areas we would be driving through and the history of each. It was an outstanding addition to our understanding and appreciation of what we were experiencing.

In broad terms the plan was to reconnoiter in Cincinnati right after Labor Day 2018. From there we would make a kind of “forced march” to Rapid City, South Dakota. The pace and distance covered each of those early days was a reflection of the fact that a lot of the middle of the country is comparatively uninteresting. But Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, and for some of us The Badlands, were the beginning of the major sites for this trip. From Rushmore we continued on to the furthest point in the lower forty eight before turning left and going South through Oregon and California.

But while we were still heading West from Rushmore, we passed through Needles, Crazy Horse National Monument, Deadwood, The Little Big Horn Battle Field, Cody, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park and Cascades National Park. At that point we were two weeks into the trip. We boarded the ferry over to Port Townsend, Washington and Olympic National Park. Being the furthest possible Northwestern point it was the justification for calling this The Northwest Passage Road Trip.

From there, driving down through Oregon and Northern California we passed through Crater Lake and Lassen National Park. Another left brought us to Reno Nevada where we visited the outstanding Harrah Car Museum. At that point some of us would return home by whatever route we chose while others would extend the trip to visit with family or take in more of the sensational National Parks. Since we were in the Reno/Tahoe area I wanted to drive through the famous Donner Pass. As it turned out we drove through from East to West rather than the homeward direction which meant I had to turn around and go up and through again. So that particular bucket list item got checked twice.

Madeline and I then made our way home via Zion, Arches. Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Capitol Reef and Canyonlands National Parks. Incredible! As we were at that point thirty days into the trip and still West of Denver, it was time for another “forced march” through the middle of the country. Altogether we were on the road thirty-seven days, covering 9,300 miles and visiting fourteen National Parks and attractions.

It made for a truly epic road trip!!

 

 

 

03 Dec

2018 MOGSouth Holiday Party, St Simons Island or ‘Drill Bits are Interesting’

The 2018 Holiday Party was held 1 December, at the St Simons Island, GA, King and Prince Resort.  The weather getting there and going home was great (well at least for us from Florida.)  Top down both ways.  The weather while we were there . . . well, not so good.  It was overcast and cool (60s) and we had some showers and even a tornado warning!  However, it didn’t really affect anything, so nobody really cared.

The majority of the attendees arrived on Friday. Some actually came in on Thursday and few more arrived on Saturday.  Friday was spent checking into the hotel and getting situated before heading over the ‘Hospitality Suite.’  GatorMOG showed up with five Morgans in convoy.  There were a few more Morgans that came individually.  Other than these cars, most arrived via tin tops.  There were a few that flew in.

Pat and Ken Kreuzer organized a dinner Friday night at one of the local restaurants, the Georgia Sea Grill, and it was superb!  It started as a small group but grew to almost the entire MOGSouth crowd.  The restaurant did an amazing job of accommodating so many.

The King and Prince gave us their Wesley Cottage for the Hospitality Suite.

The Wesley Cottage – Our Hospitality Suite (Photo Andrea Braunstein)

The Wesley Cottage was a complete out building, apart from the main hotel building.  It provided us a superb spot for the hospitality room away from the rest of the hotel guests, so we could (and did) get loud without disturbing others.  It was just about big enough for our gaggle and had a television, so we could all watch the conference football championship of choice (Alabama – Georgia, UCF – Memphis, Clemson – Pitt,  Ohio State – Northwestern, etc.)  It seemed as if everyone wanted a different game, so channel switching became the norm.  I lost the bubble early on, and never really knew who was winning or who was losing or in some cases, who was even playing.  Confusion seems to be the new normal for me these days.  As they say, getting old is hell.

Chuck and Karen Bernath were our hosts and they did all the shopping for the Hospitality Suite.  They had their big SUV and it came in very handy a good number of times.  They brought up their own coolers, cork screws, and other necessary things making the Hospitality Suite operate quite smoothly.  Chuck also collected money for the trolley and for the dinner.

Chuck Bernath (Photo Andrea Braunstein)

We had plenty of food and drink, and then others brought in more and more goodies, local fudge and holiday cookies and fresh zucchini bread, etc.  It was a good thing none of us were on a diet!   I guess it’s really futile (or stupid!) to try to diet around the holidays!  I won’t do it, again.  We did have to make a wine run on Saturday as folks were quite particular about the wine they wanted to drink.  On Saturday it was a beer and ice run.  Good thing we were close to a Liquor store and well stocked gas station!

Most of us spent Saturday morning on the trolley tour.  The trolley tour was in a covered trolley and the very light rain didn’t impact our ability to see the sights, take photographs or enjoy the tour guide’s banter.  The Trolley Tour company we engaged, Colonial Trolley Tours, dedicated the entire day to MOGSouth.  They provided several tours at differing times, picking us up and dropping us off right at the hotel’s front door.  Those that participated in the tours were quite complimentary of the entire operation.  The tour guide was knowledgeable, animated and quite entertaining.  I thoroughly enjoyed it all; however, we got so much information, it was like drinking from a fire hose, and much of what was mentioned, I have now forgotten.

Island Spirit (Photo Andrea Braunstein)

During and after the tour, there were periods of light rain, nothing too heavy.  Some folks wandered about downtown Saturday afternoon, taking in the local crafts fair or other sites mentioned on the trolley tour, but I don’t think anyone really got wet.  Folks found lunch on their own and made their way to the Hospitality Suite.  Spending lots of time at the Hospitality Suite is getting to be the norm.  This is where everyone is and everyone wants to see everyone else and chat.  I guess this is what the club is all about.

More ‘Hospitality Suite’ prior to the Holiday Banquet.  Then everyone left the Hospitality Suite to return to their rooms to don their Holiday finery in preparation for the banquet.  We had a cash bar outside the banquet room and used this area for our silent auction.  My apologies for the somewhat hectic nature of the silent auction.  We had some folks mention a desire to donate some items to the club.  Ok, we thought, we’ll have a silent auction for charity.  It was a last minute thing and we didn’t solicit other donations but were simply overwhelmed by a huge quantity of things that were donated.  Next time we will be better organized and better prepared and do this thing right (?) or at least we will be better organized.  Perhaps we should make this a standard part of the Holiday Party?  It is the only time we tend to travel to a MOGSouth event in a vehicle with sufficient space for added stuff.

The Holiday Banquet Room (Photo Andrea Braunstein)

The Mother Courage Award was presented during the Holiday banquet remarks. The 2018 awardee is Rich Fohl.  Rich, unfortunately, wasn’t present to accept the award, however, we will get it to him in the next few weeks.

It was suggested that we survey the club on their preference for allowing previous winners of the Mother Courage award to be eligible to received it more than once.  We tried a verbal vote during the dinner, but this was inconclusive.  A suggestion was made to get the entire membership involved, so we decided to table this for now and include it in a more formal survey later on.

Also, it was suggested that those voting on the Mother Courage Awardee, i.e. the previous three awardees, should be allowed to rank order their votes (e.g. First choice, second choice, etc.)  This would allow for a simpler selection of the awardee should the initial votes all select someone different, resulting in no obvious winner.

When the suggestion was made during the dinner, I said I didn’t think this had occurred before, but now thinking back on previous years, I seem remember that this situation did occur just once, and we simply asked for another choice from the voters which resolved that year’s voting.  Ranking the choices, however, would eliminate the delays associated with a second vote, and the rankings could be used to more quickly determine an awardee.  These suggestions will be included in a survey we send out later in the spring.

As has become tradition, Collette Clark provided a beautiful platter for the event hosts.  And, Lee Gaskins gave us a few minutes of his experience with the fabled Morgan Plus 4 Super Sports.  Then we all left the banquet room and headed back to the Hospitality Suite for more imbibement(?) and interaction with friends.  A wonderful weekend and start to the Holidays.  A Happy Holiday to you and yours from MOGSouth.

Let’s do it all again in 2019!!

Cheers,  Mark

 

06 Nov

2018 Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance.  Morgan Three Wheelers and More!!

WHAT A HOOT!!

Hilton Head Island Concours!   A large Morgan three wheeler class and Harry Gambill’s exquisite 1951 Morgan Plus 4 Drop Head Coupe on the lawn.  I actually think Morgan stole the show!!

The run up to the show, for me anyway, was all about the three wheelers.  I got a call from Peter Olson in Atlanta telling me the Hilton Head Island Concours wants a Morgan Three Wheeler Class for the Concours.  Wow!!  Putting together a class for HHI was a big deal.

And I wasn’t alone.  It seemed that the entire Morgan Three Wheeler community in North America was energized.  We had tremendous interest, even from the West Coast of the US and Canada when the word got out we were forming a class.  There were a good number of folks highly interested in being part of this event; but, unfortunately, we had to limit participation to only 10 cars.  And this was more than HHI had actually wanted (they initially asked for just 5 cars).

This necessitated the selection of cars that were of sufficient quality to meet the high standards of the Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance and as broad a spectrum as possible of cars that would allow us to tell the Morgan Three Wheeler story appropriately.  Some may argue we could have chosen attendees differently; however, in the end these cars, unique cars in some way or previous award winners, were selected.

  • 1923 Grand Prix – Bob Barclay (Ontario Canada) – Thought to be the oldest running Morgan in North America.
  • 1930 Anzani Beetleback Super Sports 2SP – John Stanley (DeLand, FL) – Thought to be the only Anzani (or 1 of only 2?) powered Morgan three wheelers in North America.
  • 1932 J.A.P. Beetleback Super Sports – Pete Olson (Atlanta GA) – Very Successful Vintage Racer
  • 1934 Matchless OHV MX4 Beetleback Super Sports – Mark Braunstein (Sanford FL) – Previously Al Moss’ (founder of Moss Motors) Race Car. Raced on the West Coast of the US for 17 Years, to include the famed Monterey Historics.  ‘People’s Choice’ winner at the 2016 Lake Mirror Concours.
  • 1934 Ford Engined ‘F4’ 4 Seater – Gene Spainhour (Hickory NC) – ‘Best in Show’ winner, Morgan Owners Group South (MOGSouth) 40th Anniversary Meet
  • 1935 Matchless Side Valve MX Sports – Fred Veenschoten (Pensacola FL) – ‘Best of Show’ winner at Mobile Bay MC Show
  • 1936 Matchless OHV MX4 Barrelback Super Sports – Rick Frazee (Winter Park FL) –‘Amelia’ award winner at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
  • 1937 J.A.P. Barrelback Super Sports – Steve Beer (Caledon East, Ontario Canada) – Numerous Awards to include Cobble Beach Concours
  • 1938 Ford Engined F Type Racer – Fred Sisson (Nashville, IN) – ‘People’s Choice’ winner at the 1st Annual Morgan Three Wheeler Convention.
  • 1947 Ford Engined ‘F Super’ F Type – Dave Childress (Crozier VA) – ‘Best in Show’ winner at the Morgan Car Club DC’s annual meet.

As we actually got closer to the date of the HHI Concours, we lost a car due to mechanical gremlins, the 1927 Grand Prix.  The problems could have been rectified with sufficient time, but . . . (Bob and Janet Barclay did come down from Ontario, Canada to join us though, so that was superb.)

It was a shame, nonetheless, and just as we were resolved to this reality, we thought we would lose the 1930 Anzani SS, as well.  John and Debbie Stanley had family issues that precluded their attendance.  But Rick Frazee kept the loss of the Anzani from happening by doing yeoman’s duty and, not only prepared the Stanley’s car for the show, but trailered it to Hilton Head Island in his own trailer along with his own 1936 Super Sports.  (And, certainly, his efforts on the show field presenting the two cars was highly commendable.)

For me it was the start of another Morgan adventure!!  Just back from Safety Harbor in Tampa, FL, we loaded the trailer with the 1934 MX4 SS.  And, just to make things interesting I have new tow vehicle, a Ford F-150 Pickup Truck.  (No longer a Yuppie with an SUV, but now a Bubba with a Pickup Truck!)  Getting to this point really wasn’t easy.

The 1934 Super Sports has had its share of mechanical challenges over the last year.  I first had the flywheel lose its taper and then the electric starter, and its hand ‘crafted’ mount went awry.  This led to a ring gear replacement.  The cobbled together intake manifold was replaced, along with two different-sized stub axle bolts.  One new stub axle with bolt had to be made.  Then it was a broken cam follower.  We welded it back together but bought new ones from the MTWC just in case.  Now it is all good, I hope!!  We started it and Rick Frazee ran it around the block a week or so before the show.

The Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance is a very big deal.  A very prestigious show with a tradition of excellence and high quality.  I had no thoughts of winning anything, but I certainly didn’t want to be embarrassed, hence I cleaned, best I could.  The week before the show, all I did was clean.  Well, I tried anyway.  I used a great number of my ‘omnipotent’ jams and jellies in my attempt to clean this car.  My efforts were pretty much in vain, however.  None of my other Morgans ‘oozes’ (as in any sort of fluid, e.g. gas, oil, water, grease, etc.) as much as this car.  Just the short drive from the trailer to the show field will negate everything I had done to clean the car prior to the show.

We drove up to HHI from Florida on Friday, 2 November.  A number of other folks were already there or drove up on Friday as well.  There were a few, though, who got there on Saturday, 3 November.  Just having a group of Morgan three (and four) wheeler owners together is always great fun.  Therefore, we put together a beer call, noggin, dinner at a local restaurant on Saturday when the majority of people would be there.  Everyone who was there had a great time.  We even had the folks that were there to support the folks with cars.  Lots of folks.  Good stories, baby pictures, good beer and good times.  This is what this Morgan stuff is all about!

The Hilton Head show also had a vintage aircraft/car display that was held on Saturday.  We had two three wheelers (the Beers’ and the Childress’) that were part of this display and their cars were paired with vintage aircraft and displayed on the airfield during the day on Saturday.

All the other cars found their way to the show field either late Saturday or early Sunday morning.  Having a dedicated Morgan Three Wheeler Class is very special occurrence, as evidenced by the large crowd and substantial interest we attracted.

The designated Morgan Three Wheeler Class display area was tight though.  Made so by some inconsiderate MG owner who parked his car right in the middle of where the Morgans were supposed to go on Saturday night and did not come to move his car until 10 minutes before the show was supposed to start.  We had to work around this issue and, since we were a large class already, we were parked quite close together.  This worried us some when we thought about the crowd.  In the end, it didn’t matter and made for a great display.  The cars being close together invited comparisons.  We had a huge crowd of onlookers and folks quite amazed by the odd, if not archaic, technology.

The Morgans Three Wheelers on the Show Field 

The judges came, studied each car, asked questions, taking their time.  The primary judge was no other than automotive author, Ken Gross, who owned a Morgan Three Wheeler in the 1970s.  Ken was very knowledgeable and quite inquisitive.  Ken’s articles have appeared in Road & Track, GQ, Special Interest Automobiles, Automobile Quarterly, Automobile, Playboy, Hemmings – over 40 different publications and he has been directly involved with 6 major automotive museums.  We couldn’t have asked for a better judge.

Pat and Ken Kreuzer, MOGSouth members from Summerville, SC came by on Sunday to see what all the Morgan fuss was about.  We also had help of Elliot Balo and his lovely wife, Jennifer.  Elliot is a rare bird these days.  He is young.  Well, certainly in comparison to the rest of us!  And, in a day and age where the younger among us have no interest in the messy business of mechanical things, Elliot is very passionate about vintage Morgan three wheelers.  When he heard we were showing cars at Hilton Head, he jumped on the opportunity to come see the cars and offered to assist in any way possible.  Well, he got his opportunity, and even got a Morgan Three Wheeler driving lesson, thanks to Bob Barclay.  He took to it like a duck to water.  Oh, did I mention it was during our Sunday afternoon rain?

In addition to the Hilton Head Island Concours d’ Elegance trophies presented (First in Class, and two Palmetto Awards), there was a special Morgan Three Wheeler award presented, the Graeme Addie Morgan ‘Innovation Award.’  We thought we would be doing the Special Award presentation, however, the HHI Concours judges actually selected the winner of this very special award and that took the burden off of us.  It is so very hard, for me anyway, to make decisions like this when all the cars were exceptional, superbly prepared and all represented by good Morgan friends.

 

The Best in Class Winner, Steve Beer J.A.P. SS (Photo Courtesy of Andrea Braunstein (ALB))

 

Palmetto Award Winner, Dave Childress F Super (Photo Courtesy of ALB)

 

Palmetto Award Winner, Gene Spainhour F4  (Photo Courtesy of ALB)

Special Award Winner, Mark Braunstein MX4 SS (Photo Courtesy of ALB)

But, it wasn’t all about 3 Wheelers.   Harry’s 1951 Plus 4 DHC took Best in Class, and deservedly so.  The car was absolutely stellar!

Harry Gambill’s 1951 DHC Best in Class Winner (Photo Courtesy of ALB)

The only downside to the whole weekend was the rain late Sunday afternoon.  It hurried the awards presentations along (which actually was good thing) but loading the cars was a bit of challenge.  Everything and everyone was soaked.

We stayed the night in Hilton Head, leaving the drive home for Monday.  And there was nothing hurried about Monday.  We went to breakfast with friends, Sam and Rick Frazee and Alan and MaryAnn Rae.  Alan and MaryAnn Rae, who own a lovely green roadster came as spectators rather than exhibitors and, being Canadians, had site seeing to do while the rest of us just headed for home.

Well, anyway we got home with almost no issues or drama.  Really nothing significant.  No rain, no mechanical problems, nada.  The way I like it.  The only scary bit was my new truck.  This is just about the first real trip I have made pulling the trailer with it and it has some new-fangled odds and ends for trailering.  So, in the midst of the run down I-95, I was starting to yawn.  Andrea is texting to Sam Frazee to find a truck stop.  Perhaps a cup of coffee.

Then, a loud beep, and a dash message “Trailer Disconnected!”  Yikes!  Where did it go?  I frantically looked in my mirrors – nope it is still there, a big white thing.  It’s all I can see!  Then another loud beep, and “Trailer Status – Normal!”  Well, I was awake now but I think my heart stopped.  We soon pulled off I-95 and I checked.  All good.  Must have been a Morgan gremlin!

I have yet to fully unload the car and the trailer.  I looked at it briefly when we arrived, and everything was a bit of a shambles, and damp, just like it went in.  I was a bit too tired to tackle unloading yesterday.  That is today’s activity.  I was more prepared for a few large glasses of wine and an early bed time.

Oh, well this Morgan adventure had to end, so it’s back to the daily drudge, at least for a little while.  The MOGSouth Holiday Party is just a few weeks away and I am looking forward to seeing everyone again!

Now to get that trailer unloaded!

Cheers, Mark

[Be sure to see the Photo Gallery with more great pictures from the 2018 Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance. Click the Link Below. Mark]

29 Oct

2018 GatorMOG Fall Noggin – Safety Harbor – Event Report

The Tampa Bay Austin Healey Club hosts an All British Car Show each year, in a quaint little suburb of Tampa called Safety Harbor, FL.  This show is held right in the middle of the town and they close the roads and make a big deal out of the whole thing.  It brings business to the hotels, restaurants, boutiques and other shops so the town is happy to have the event.

There are any number of All British Car Shows around during the fall and the spring in Florida.  It’s the location, however, the town of Safety Harbor, that makes this one special.  This year was special for another reason.  Morgan was the featured marque.  Given this honor, we decided that the 2018 GatorMOG Fall Noggin should coincide with this show.  In that way we could ensure a good turnout.

Interestingly, I was contacted last year, a month or so before this show, asking if Morgan could support being the featured marque for 2017.  I said no.  The show was a month away, on day where all the local Morgans were already committed.  We needed time to get the word out.

Well, it worked.   This is only the second time I remember having attended this show.  The timing is usually in conflict with other shows or things on my calendar.  The first time I attended, there were only 2 of us.  Gene and Betsy McOmber were there with their lovely Plus 8 and Andrea and I had the Series 1 DHC.

But, this year it was different, we had 12 cars.  I knew 10 of them that had registered and then two local cars (non MOGSouth members) augmented our number.   I was pretty pleased.  We had Plus 8s and Roadsters, Plus 4s and a DHC.  The only thing missing of the 4 wheeler variety was a 4/4.  Seems we are all shifting to the idea of ‘bigger is better’ or ‘size does matter’?

The organizers split the Morgan class into 1999 and older, and 2000 and newer.  We had 7 older Morgans aligned on one side of the street and 5 newer cars, post 2000, directly across the street.  Not too bad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 1999 and older half the of the Morgan Class.  

As is the norm, we had lots of interest in the cars and lots of questions.  Many were surprised to see the newer cars, thinking Morgans had gone the way of the dinosaurs.

The 2000 and newer half of the Morgan Class. (4 Roadsters and Ron Gricius’ red ‘03 Plus 8.) Photo Courtesy of Alan Rae.

They had a good number of awards to present and the Morgan contingent got their share of them but they all say ‘Austin Healey.’  Go figure?

Alan Rae getting his award from Bill Borja, the President of the Tampa Bay Austin Healey Club.  Photo Courtesy of Alan Rae.

The picture below was our attempt at a group shot, but only shows some of the Morgan crowd and most the of awards.  Somehow we missed getting the rest if the gaggle into the picture.

This picture is purposely fuzzed as we all look like hell.  It was a long day!!

Having the show downtown on the streets of Safety Harbor was certainly interesting.  I normally don’t enjoy shows on the street or in parking lots as the tarmac gives off too much heat.  This wasn’t too bad as there was a cool front coming through and we had some sort of sea breeze making for a bit of overcast.  Really quite pleasant.

We were parked directly in front of a great breakfast and lunch spot,   (which we took advantage of, several times.) It was very, very convenient and quite good!  This venue provided something for everyone.  Those not interested in the cars were welcomed in the little shops and boutiques.

Following the awards presentation we all packed up the cars and drove them back to the Safety Harbor Spa, our hotel.  The hotel was all of 1/4 mile down the road from where the show was held.  Another good thing about this show, a very convenient hotel.  We got freshened up, had a drink at the Tiki bar by the pool, then walked back downtown for a lovely dinner.

Another supper weekend out with the cars and good friends!  In my opinion, this is the best of year in Florida.  The weather is superb, no longer hot and humid, and the snow birds are just now starting to arrive.

This one was so much fun, we will have to keep it on the schedule for next year.

If you feel the urge, come join us!  You will be more than welcome!!