11 Dec

A Christmas Tale (©John Chatwin)

Trevor and Andy peered between the two houses. Sure enough as advised there was a shed down the driveway.   ‘D’you think this is the house` asked Trev. Andy replied that the address was right and if the rumors were correct the Morgan should be in that shed.

They approached the front door and rang the bell. A pleasant lady answered the door and smiled. Trevor introduced himself and explained that he and his friend were following up a story that an old three-wheeler was in her shed. “Oh that old thing” she smiled and asked them to come in.

She was Margaret and explained whilst making tea that that the Morgan was her late husband’s. The two friends admired the photographs on the sitting room wall several of which showed a smiling couple, one whom was clearly Margaret some years ago, in front a smart Super Sports. Margaret appeared with tea and cakes which they gratefully accepted and sat smiling at each other.

At length Trevor asked what had become of the old car. Margaret explained that it was still in its garage at the bottom of the garden. They were both excited when she offered to show them. With much trepidation they followed her down the garden.  Margaret explained that as her dear late husband had died two days before Christmas some eight years ago the garage was not used.  There in the gloom stood the Morgan, very sad in its dirt and cobwebs.  Andy spotted a small urn on the seat, he looked at Margaret who explained and said Yes, it’s Tom. He always went for a drive on Christmas day so I put him there and left him in peace. She wiped a tear from her eye and the two men thought it wise to return to the house.

Over more tea she said that she thought he had been there long enough and in answer to their question agreed that it might be nice if the old car could again give someone some pleasure.  After negotiating a price, Tom was placed on the shelf by some pictures of his car which was then loaded on to the trailer.  They left promising to keep in touch and to show Margaret the restored result.

A year passed and as most of the work apart from the new paint job had been cosmetic the time came to test drive. This all went well and the two pals agreed it had been a worthwhile operation; so it was decided that as Christmas was but two days away they would again visit Margaret and show her the restored car.

The next morning being cold but dry. Trev opened the garage and to his horror the Mog had gone. Andy was called and in short order the police.  Evidence was sought, locks and keys were examined but there was nothing to indicate what had happened. Photographs were asked for but as they had planned a finished photo shoot there was little other than progress pictures. Andy remembered that in the old garage was a series of pictures of the complete car, so it was decided that these would be better than nothing.

The two friends despondently made their way to Margaret’s and over tea and mince pies told the sorry tale. She was as upset as they and agreed to them taking the photographs. They trooped down the garden and opened the shed door.  The three of them stood open mouthed, for there covered in cobwebs with its old faded paintwork sat the Mog.

Closer examination found the urn, back on the seat…

First published in the Morgan Three Wheeler Club’s Bulletin

[Traditions are traditions, and shouldn’t be taken lightly.  And, Morgan traditions are especially good.  Happy Holidays!! Mark]

04 Dec

Morgan Aero GT: new ‘race-inspired’ sports car coming in 2018 (www.carmagazine.co.uk)

► Morgan Aero GT
► Last Aero 8 car from brand
► Full reveal at 2018 Geneva motor show

The gloves are off, according to Morgan. The cottage industry car maker has just dropped its first teaser of a new, ‘race-inspired’ sports car – the Aero GT.

Thankfully though, these shadowy images of a front wheelarch aren’t the only information we have to go on.

Power will come from a BMW-derived 4.8-litre V8, with 367bhp-worth of shove being sent through a six-speed manual gearbox. A 0-62mph launch time of 4.5 seconds is possible, as is a top speed of 170mph.

Morgan says that since the engine is no longer in production over at Munich, this will be the last hurrah for both the Aero 8 and the naturally-aspirated engine the brand uses.  [This is old news. We are expecting to have an announcement on the replacement in March, at the Geneva Show. Mark]

Just eight Aero GTs will be built but all of them are already sold to existing Morgan customers. Each of the eight cars has been tailor-made to each owner, and all will have ‘bespoke customer-requested additions, in line with Morgan’s hand-crafted approach.’

The Aero GT marks the end of the Morgan Aero 8’s 17-year-long production cycle at Morgan’s Pickersleigh Road production site. Every panel of the bodywork has been hand-shaped by Morgan’s metal workers, and features new wing top louvres and a ‘drastic’ rear diffuser.

The new British sports car will be officially unveiled at the 2018 Geneva motor show, so set a reminder for early March 2018.

25 Nov

For Sale! 1964 Morgan +4 Roadster $39,000 OBO (15 Nov, 2017)

For Sale – 1964 Morgan +4 Roadster

Current mileage 52,697 (15 Nov, 2017)

$39,000 OBO

  • Chassis #5582, Original Engine CT25240ME C
  • Connaught Green with Stone leather interior and weather equipment.
  • Sliding side screens, wood rim steering wheel, heater, wire wheels and luggage rack.
  • Dispatched from the Morgan Factory on February 12, 1964 to Fergus Imports, New York.

Upgrades, repairs, improvements since Purchase (Aug 10, 2002)

When I bought the car it looked a whole lot worse than it really was.  Everything wrong was an appearance issue.  The paint was peeling and primer was showing but the body was in excellent shape.  The upholstery was stained and cracked.  And I didn’t like the green car with yellow wheels.  One of the very first tasks was to paint the wheels silver.

Then the gas tank started leaking.  First I learned that there is a way to take the gas tank out of a Morgan without having to take the whole car apart.  Next I learned that the local radiator shop is not always good at fixing leaking gas tanks.  Then finally I learned that buying a new gas tank can be cheaper and easier that fixing the same tank several times.

The next few years we drove the car in warmer months and spent the winter working on upgrades and repairs.  That worked out pretty well but we got that all wrong in 2005.  We went to the New Orleans British Car Show in March. It was a whole lot colder and wetter than anyone expected. I knew the top wasn’t in the best of shape but I didn’t think it was as bad as it was. I think we used every towel we owned trying to stop the drafts and leaks in the passenger compartment. After we survived the trip I did a bit of searching and found a good local upholstery shop that custom-made a top exactly like the original. And it works at keeping out the weather.

It seems like there was always something that could use some attention over the winter. The biggest project was repainting the car. And it was not a high priority so I saved it for last.  It was simply a bad paint job and it was deteriorating.  The body was in good condition and not rusting or anything. It just looked awful.  The task was complicated by the fact that to properly paint a coach built body as on the Morgan is to remove the fenders and doors and paint everything separately.  That is twelve separate panels on the Morgan. And that doesn’t include the inner panels and brackets.  This is picking up the car at the painters and taking it home to put it all back together.

Touring in a Morgan

This is how my 1964 Morgan +4 looked when I first saw it in July 2002. This was an informal car show at the Kansas City Crown Center fountain area. I was there with the Kansas City MG Car Club and my 1949 MG TC. A lady pulled up in this car and promptly disappeared. I liked the car as it was exactly the same model car I owned 25 years earlier but in much better condition.

My first Morgan was barely roadworthy while this car had less that 20,000 miles and what looked to be a really solid car with a truly awful paint job. I took a couple of photos to show my wife. Little did I know but a few weeks later the car showed up for sale in the local paper. After few unusually frosty August nights, I bought the car. I rolled over 20,000 miles on the short ride home. The car had only been driven 5 thousand miles over the last fifteen years and there was a lot of ‘deferred maintenance.’ Most of it was minor issues. The car  was as solid as it seemed. The wood and metal all good.   The paint and upholstery—not so much.

The car was a complete factory leather interior kit which helped a lot. The first priority, though, was the leaking gas tank.  And thanks to the internet I learned that there is definitely a trick to removing and replacing a Morgan gas tank. The next thing I learned was that the local radiator shop can’t always fix leaking gas tanks. The final thing I learned it that a new gas tank is cheaper than repairing the old one several times. The radiator shop did a better job with the leaking radiator. Not 100% as still dripped a little. It was good enough to use while working on other projects.

My first out-of-town trip with the car was to the Brits in the Ozarks car show in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The car was not ready for a car show. But it looked like it would be a fun show to attend. And I was right. 2002 was the first year of the show and they have held the show every year since. My Morgan and I have returned several times and have actually won a few awards over the years. The photo is from the very first show where they didn’t even have a Morgan class. Two Morgans were in the Empire class. The other Morgan won.

The next year a group of Texas Morgans came with more than enough Morgans to form a class.  The next trip on the list was to a National Morgan Show.

When I had my first Morgan 25 years earlier, I joined all the clubs but never made it to any of their big events. I was a serviceman stationed in Texas and most of the events were on the coasts. Way too far to go in my broken down car.  We decided to go to Shepherdstown, WV for the 33rd Morgan Owners Gathering of the Morgan Car Club, DC in July 2003.  Shepherdstown proved to be an interesting Civil-War era town. Interesting enough that we went back in two years.

I spent the next few years driving the car in the Spring and Summer and worked in the Winter on repairing and replacing those parts that always seem to wear out after 40 years or so.  I already mentioned the gas tank.

In 2003 I got a new stainless steel exhaust system.  2005 was the year we got a new top. It started out simple enough. We decided to go to the New Orleans British Car Show in March. Several people from Kansas City had been there in previous years and said it was a great show. They were right. It was a great show. Only the weather was wet and chilly.  And the worn-out Morgan top was not up to it.  We used practically every towel we had trying to plug drafts in a futile attempt to stay warm and dry.  After we got back we found a local upholstery shop that specialized in hot rods that made a top to the original design that fits perfectly and we have not had any problems since.

Some time in the early 2000s, I also replaced the generator, water pump and put in a high torque starter. One of the first things I did was to paint the wheels silver.  Neither my wife nor I liked the green car with yellow wheels look.

In 2009 I finally got serious and repainted the car.  I don’t have any ’before’ photos showing the badly peeling paint especially on on the rear deck. I didn’t paint the car myself but I took the interior out and took off the fenders so the job could be done right. The sheet metal and wood was all in good shape. No bodywork was needed anywhere. The chassis did have some kick-up at the rear so it was straightened and reinforced under the rear axle. I was really happy when I saw the condition of the sills when I took out the  interior. The wood is great. I didn’t have to do any patching on the wood anywhere.  Here I’m collecting the car from the paint shop taking it home to put it all back together.

This is what the car looked like as I was taking it apart for painting. The inner valences and all the brackets were powder coated. It is eventually going to need an engine rebuild if for no other reason than to fix all the oil leaks. The last big project was a cylinder head rebuild.  I knew the valves and seats were bad and I expected to have to rebuild the engine but everything else was good. The only other pending maintenance project is to rebuild the front suspension. I have the new parts on hand. I keep thinking that I’m going to need to replace the kingpins and bushings but they seem to do fine if I keep the chassis lubricated. A Morgan always needs some TLC. It is not Toyota Corolla.

We really have enjoyed touring in the Morgan. We have gone to many interesting places: Destinations have included Aiken, SC: Elk Hart Lake, Wisconsin; Shepherdstown, WV; Staunton, VA; Huntsville, Al; Niagara Falls, ON. And we have more places we would like to go.  We have also found a new activity to go along with the touring. It is the MOSS Motoring Challenge. It is a nationwide photo scavenger hunt sponsored by MOSS Motors. It has been a lot of fun for the past few years. Some of the simplest photos can be the hardest ones to
find. As an example, the first year we were looking for a Dead End Street sign and couldn’t find one. The proper term today seems to be “No Outlet.” We finally found one in an older part of town. We just started for the fun of it. I wasn’t even sure MOSS would let us participate. The Challenge is open for vehicles supported by MOSS Motors. They seemed
satisfied that Morgan was well-supported by MOSS as they use a lot of the same parts as many cars listed in the MOSS Catalogs. Now we are waiting to see how well we did in 2017 and what is in store for 2018.

Charles R Hill, chillmog@sbcglobal.net

08 Nov

University Funding Drives Business’ Expansion (www.insidermedia.com)

[This story shows cooperation among businesses and academia which in itself is always a good thing.  However, the article points to a interesting development for Morgans, e.g. the potential of a factory implemented automatic gearbox.  Factory implemented and supported ‘auto-boxes’ are available on the BMW powered Plus 8s and the Aero 8s, but are available only in the after market for the ‘traditional’ cars.  (Not that I have ever seen one?) 

This may mean we will soon see the MMC announce an optional ‘auto-box’ for the traditional cars.  This would be viable way to make the cars quicker and more fuel efficient.   Let’s see what get announced in March in Geneva!   Mark]

The University of Derby has awarded a Leicestershire automotive business almost £100,000 to expand and make new international relationships.

Vitesse Global provides specialist engine, gearbox and ancillary components to a niche market in the automotive sector.

The business, based in Hinckley, is aiming to use the £97,650 to exploit a gap in the market where British sports car manufacturers do not offer automatic gear boxes to buyers.

Morgan Motor Company had said it was keen to work with Vitesse Global to produce an automatic gearbox, but it needed support.

The funding from the university, which comprised of a grant of £65,000 and the remainder as a loan, has covered the costs of the mechanical design and software development, leading to the development of the final product.

Vitesse Global’s new product has now been sold in Dubai, France, the UK and New Zealand.

The company’s managing director Tim Henderson said: “We saw there was a market, and we knew there was a demand, but we did not have sufficient investment capacity on our own.

“We saw Invest to Grow as the stepping stone, providing us with the time and input required to deliver the product.”

Invest to Grow has also enabled the business to employ three new staff members, with the hope to employ more, and increased its capacity for innovation and research and development.

Mark Wheddon, head of strategic programmes at the university, said: “We are pleased to support Vitesse Global with the expansion of their business that has led to new international relationships being created.

“The business has a lot to offer and we can expect great things from them in the upcoming months.”


02 Nov

Trouble in Paradise – Palm Beach Morgan Dealer in Hot Water

Photo Courtesy www.bizjournals.com

[Reports in the press indicate that there are problems with the South Florida Morgan dealer  Chariots of Palm Beach. The truth of the matter has not yet been determined, and I certainly don’t want to jump to conclusions.  This is something that will eventually be sorted out by the courts.  As always be careful and ‘Caveat Emptor’.   Mark. ]

Luxury car dealership in Palm Beach files Chapter 11 with over $10M in debt (https://www.bizjournals.com)

Luxury car dealer Chariots of Palm Beach filed Chapter 11 reorganization and asked the court to appoint a chief restructuring officer.

The West Palm Beach-based company filed a petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on July 27 listing assets of $1 million to $10 million and liabilities of $10 million to $50 million. An affiliated company, H&S Inc., also filed Chapter 11 and will have its case managed together with Chariots of Palm Beach.

The dealership at 2400 N. Florida Mango Road sells pre-owned BWM, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Rolls-Royce and other luxury vehicles. Its showroom has room for 80 cars, according to its website. The company also rents luxury cars.

The debtor has yet to provide a detailed list of its assets. Attorney Steven S. Newburgh, who represents the debtor in Chapter 11, declined comment.

County records show that Chariots of Palm Beach owns a 0.7-acre lot with a 14,910-square-foot auto sales building. It was last valued at $1.33 million by the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser.

The largest unsecured creditors listed in the bankruptcy petition were Alan and Susan Gilison in Sands Point, New York with a $756,000 claim and Robert Berens, also from Sands Point, with a $284,833 claim.

The company has yet to disclose its secured creditors. However, a county record search shows Chariots of Palm Beach signed mortgages of $500,000 in October 2016 with North Florida Mango Credit and $1.5 million in April 2016 with Palm Beach Gardens-based Anchor Commercial Bank. Neither of those lenders have pending litigation against Chariots of Palm Beach in Palm Beach County Circuit Court.

[and another . . .]

Did exotic car dealer scam ex-congressman Mark Foley? (www.miamiherald.com)?

Former U.S. Congressman Mark Foley says he’s been ripped off by one of South Florida’s highest-profile exotic car dealers in what he claims is a pyramid scheme as la Bernie Madoff.

The Republican ex-congressman, who represented a Palm Beach to Fort Pierce district for five terms before he resigned his seat after sexting with underage male congressional pages, is among dozens of expensive-car owners who may have been taken for a ride by the owner of a bankrupt car dealership that specializes in used Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, Aston Martins, Ferraris and other exotic wheels.

The West Palm Beach-based Chariots of Palm Beach, according to federal court papers, could leave investors, banks and buyers as much as $50 million in the hole.

“We’re not dealing with billions like Bernie Madoff,” Foley said, referring to the former Wall Street investor now serving 150 years in a federal penitentiary after bilking investors out of $13 billion. “But I am the victim of a classic pyramid scheme.”

Until it closed recently, Chariots of Palm Beach was a fancy consignment store where multi-millionaires dropped off cars they no longer wanted. The dealership then tried to sell those cars for a commission.

Over the past few months, according to the bankruptcy documents, Chariots of Palm Beach founder Hugh Bate is believed to have used the titles to cars he didn’t own to secure millions in loans he can’t pay back.

“It’s a real mess,” says Foley. “A federal court might have to determine the ownership of hundreds of cars.”

Foley explains that on Aug. 10 he was coincidentally at the Chariots of Palm Beach showroom when a shopper decided to buy the silver-colored Porsche Macan Foley wanted to get rid of.

Foley had bought it last year for $68,000 cash, and took it to the dealership in May. The 63-year-old ex-pol says the man paid the dealership $57,886 for his car before peeling off as he waved bye-bye.

Two months later, Foley is still waiting for the dealership to pay him, and he is worried he might never be shown the money.

“I feel like I’d been carjacked,” Foley now says, “except that nobody stuck a gun in a face and yelled at me to get out of my car.”

Foley says the buyer of his car, a Broward County developer whose name he forgot, did nothing wrong.

“He probably thinks he now owns a nice Porsche. It’s the dealership that did God knows what with my title,” Foley said, adding he didn’t personally sign over the title to the new owner.

Which begs the question: Why would a savvy fancy car lover like Foley go to a consignment store instead of an official Porsche dealer?

“Chariots had an extraordinary reputation,” Foley said, pointing out that the dealership was the area’s go-to place for rare exotic wheels. “They were able to get a better sales price for used cars than the official dealerships.”

And now, the ownership status of dozens of consigned Aston Martins, Bentley Azures and Ferrari Spiders, some of them worth in excess of $400,000, are in limbo.

The list of original owners included in the bankruptcy reads like a who’s who of East Coast business and society, including: New York real estate company owner Stephen Haymes; Palm Beach philanthropist Ross Meltzer, who brought a convertible Bentley to Chariots of Palm Beach months ago; Wolf Von Falkenberg, who’s famous in Palm Beach for his marriage to Standard Oil heiress Anne Terry Pierce McBride while she was on her deathbed; and Washington, D.C., developer Albert Van Metre Jr.

Former Assistant Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Rick Facchine, whose BMW M4 is gathering dust in the shuttered up showroom, is also among the alleged victims. His car wasn’t sold, but he can’t get it back because the title may have been used by Bate to get a lender to loan him money.

Facchine declined comment.  Foley says he and others have filed criminal complaints with West Palm Beach Police and the FBI.     No criminal charges have been filed.



26 Oct

MIG versus TIG (grassrootsmotorsports.com)

MIG versus TIG

We’ve spent a lot of time discussing welding skills and technique in this magazine, but maybe it’s time to back up and start at the beginning: How do you decide what kind of welder to use in the first place?

Sure, the skills and techniques we’ve covered apply to all types of welding, but we’ve generally assumed that our readers are most familiar with MIG welding. The MIG approach has become nearly ubiquitous thanks to the availability of relatively inexpensive, high-quality machines from numerous manufacturers.

However, more and more members of the grassroots community are getting their hands on TIG welders. A new wave of lower-cost equipment and a bevy of craigslist ads hawking used machines have given enthusiasts another affordable way to weld.

If you sit around and bench race welders with your friends, one of them will quickly proclaim that TIG is better than MIG. Is that true? Well, let us put forth this proposition: As with most of life’s big questions, the answer is, “It depends.” The two types of welders operate differently, and each one has its advantages and disadvantages. We’ll let you make the final call based on your needs.

Hard or Soft?

MIG and TIG welds feature different levels of hardness—technically called malleability. The piece on the left was TIG welded and hammered. The one the right was MIG welded and hammered, but cracked.

Let’s get right to it with some quick definitions. MIG stands for metal inert gas, while TIG stands for tungsten inert gas. Further, the M and T give us important information about each method’s heat source. Let’s dig into that subject next.

In the case of MIG welding, the heat source is the consumable wire. The wire and its arc heat the surrounding (base) metal, melting it together into a fused and welded joint.

With TIG welding, the heat source is the tungsten-tipped torch. The arc from the torch heats the surrounding metal, and then the consumable rod is melted in, forming the fused and welded joint.

Doesn’t sound like these two welders are all that different, right? Turns out they really are: Where the heat comes from and, more importantly, where the heat goes, can significantly affect weld quality.

With MIG welding, the heat starts at the weld joint and moves to the base metal. With TIG welding, the heat starts at the base metal and moves to the weld joint.

Another big factor is how the weld cools. A MIG weld cools much faster than a TIG weld. That’s because the base metal surrounding it serves as a heat sink that quickly sucks the heat from the MIG joint. A TIG joint, on the other hand, cools relatively slowly because the base metal is already very hot—and that means no heat sink effect.

A couple parts of this story will prompt the engineers to chime in with angry emails about our grassroots explanations of deeper science. Here’s their first opportunity to do so: Time to discuss the strength differences between these two types of welds.

Most people understand that heat treating metal usually involves heating it and then cooling it, often rapidly. When metal is heat treated, it often becomes harder, which implies—and means—more strength. This strength is often measured as tensile strength.

While high tensile strength is the real deal, it does have a couple side effects: increased brittleness and reduced malleability. Harder metal truly is stronger—but it’s only stronger until it breaks. Plus, sometimes brittleness is a bigger problem than low tensile strength.

Let’s apply this to how MIG and TIG weld joints cool. It turns out that a MIG weld joint becomes very hard and very brittle due to its fast cooling. Conversely, a TIG joint’s slower cooling leaves it softer and more malleable.

Clean or Dirty?

There’s more to these two types of welds than their strength and malleability. A large factor in the quality of a weld is the joint’s cleanliness, and this is another area where MIG and TIG welding are quite different.

Most people understand that the inert gas used in MIG and TIG welding plays a huge part in keeping the joint clean. However, they’re overlooking the role of heat.

Both machines circulate inert gas—usually argon, CO2 or a mix of both—around the weld joint to keep it from becoming contaminated with dirty ambient air. This process works very well, but the gas shouldn’t get all the credit. It turns out that heat can really help clean a weld joint, too, and that’s where MIG offers an advantage.

Think about a self-cleaning oven. It works by running at a very high temperature, burning the crud off the racks and interior surfaces. The heat concentrated at the MIG joint has a similar effect on the base metal, improving the quality of the weld.

You’ll remember that we strongly advocate cleaning weld joints thoroughly before welding. In fact, “You can’t weld dirt” is one of our welding mantras.

While buying a MIG welder won’t get you out of cleaning duties, sometimes it’s difficult to remove all of the grime. In these cases, MIG welding is your best bet. Maybe TIG isn’t always better than MIG after all. See how it depends?

Steel or Aluminum?

When it comes to home welding, many people gravitate toward MIG units (left). A TIG unit (right) doesn’t take up much more space in the shop, but the welding process is a bit more involved.

Now let’s go a little deeper into welding operation and theory. Engineers, here’s your second chance to scoff at our generalizations or grab your pitchforks.

We’ve talked about how heat affects the weld joint, and we’ve talked about where the heat is applied—at the joint or at the surrounding metal. It turns out that the polarity of the welder also affects where the heat ends up.

When welding steel, both MIG and TIG machines use DC current. There tends to be more heat on the positive side of an electrical circuit, and a MIG welder’s torch and wire typically handle that end of things; its ground wire is usually set to negative. This setup makes the MIG weld joint hotter and the base metal cooler.

A TIG welder’s polarity is the opposite. Its torch is set to negative and the ground is set to positive, which means heat travels into the base metal. Here’s the rule of thumb: With a MIG weld, two-thirds of the heat is in the weld joint and one-third is in the base metal. With a TIG weld, the inverse is true: Two-thirds of the heat is in the base metal and one-third is in the weld joint.

Let’s look at the TIG welding process a bit more. It uses DC current for steel, but it switches to AC current to tackle aluminum. Why the special treatment? Because aluminum is much more sensitive to contamination than steel. It’s also much more likely to crack.

Aluminum requires a welding process that can handle dirt well (like MIG) and create a less brittle weld joint (like TIG). TIG welding with AC current offers a set of compromises that make it more suitable for the job. Let’s dive even deeper into the process. An AC circuit reverses polarity 60 times per second on common household or industrial current sources. They don’t call it alternating current for nothing.

With TIG, the ideal setup for welding has the torch negatively charged and the base metal positively charged. The ideal setup for cleaning is when the polarity is reversed. Since AC current causes the polarity to switch constantly and rapidly, a single TIG welder can handle both the welding and cleaning processes. The result: a quality weld joint.

As a side note, more advanced TIG welders allow the user to adjust the AC process: You can lengthen the negative grounding wavelength to boost the cleaning capabilities, or lengthen the positive grounding wavelength for faster and more powerful welding.

So, what about welding aluminum with MIG? While it is becoming more common and practical to use specially equipped MIG welders for aluminum, TIG still tends to hold the advantage and is more flexible in most cases. This specific topic really warrants its own story, so keep your eyes peeled for that in a future GRM.

Simple or Complex?

MIG (left) and TIG (right) machines both require the operator to use different techniques, but MIG welding is a bit easier.

If MIG welding is like throwing a ball, TIG welding is like juggling three of them. Guess which one is more difficult to master.

MIG welding can be a one-handed, point-and-shoot operation. You set the welder, pull the trigger, and off you go. With TIG welding, you’ve got to handle three different operations at once. One hand holds the torch and the other hand feeds the rod. Meanwhile, your foot is on the current pedal, and the harder you push, the more current (heat) you put into the weld.

As with juggling, these three factors must be in sync with one another or you’ll drop the ball and mess up the weld. So, this is another difference between MIG and TIG: It takes more time and practice to become proficient at TIG welding.

While that may make TIG seem less appealing, its complexity is actually a benefit. Good welding is about good control, and with a TIG welder you can dynamically control a lot more of the welding process.

With MIG, you set your current and wire speed before welding. After that, you don’t have to worry about them—but you can’t adjust them while you weld, either. TIG welding, on the other hand, allows you to make adjustments on the fly. If you need a little more heat, just press the pedal a little further. If you need a little less, back off a bit. More filler? Feed the rod faster. And so on.

TIG welders offer a level of flexibility that can greatly improve the quality of a weld. (Note: There are high-end MIG welders on the market that let you adjust these parameters as you go, but they’re generally out of reach for most enthusiasts.)

Another practical difference between these two welders involves prep work: MIG welding is more forgiving when it comes to the fit-up of the joint. Since TIG welding requires heating the base metal and then melting the rod, the base metal components need to fit together very tightly so they can be evenly heated and thus evenly melt the rod. If there’s an air gap, the weld will often fail. On the other hand, since a MIG welder’s heat source is the filler wire, it’s not only more forgiving to the base metal, but it can also fill air gaps to some extent.

Fast or Slow?

Whether you’re welding on the job or at home, time is usually money. MIG and TIG units operate at different paces, both before and during the welding process.

Assuming you have a higher-end MIG welder that can handle aluminum, converting it from its steel setting requires some work. Typically this means changing the shielding gas, the wire, the welder polarity (often with some disassembly of the welder) and even the liner or the whole welding torch assembly. Setting up a TIG welder for aluminum is usually as easy as flipping a switch from DC to AC and using a different rod.

However, MIG welding is typically a speedier operation than TIG welding. Since the wire feeds automatically and the heat gets in the weld joint faster, MIG welding is generally a timesaver.

We usually figure that MIG welding is about two to three times faster—that is, it will take two to three times as long to lay a 12-inch bead with TIG than MIG. That extra time may not matter to everyone, but especially in production environments, MIG can offer a distinct advantage.

See, It Really Does Depend

Finally, there’s the cosmetic factor. Even the staunchest defenders of metal inert gas will admit that TIG welds look better than MIG welds. Sure, MIG welds can look nice, but TIG welds can approach art. That stacked-coins look produced by a well-executed TIG weld is what most welders are after, especially on exposed welds.

Compared to the lumpier and less graceful look of the MIG weld, TIG work generally wins any beauty contest. So, is TIG better than MIG? It’s certainly got some advantages, but so does MIG. We hate to say it, but the answer really depends. At least now you have the information to make the decision for yourself.

Which is the best for us? How’s this for an answer: We’ve got both types in our shop, and we pick the best one for the operation at hand.

23 Oct

Thousands Gather for Morgan’s Inaugural Run for the Hills (justbritish.com)


Morgan Motor Company celebrated over a century of innovation and craftsmanship at the inaugural Run For The Hills event last weekend (26th & 27th August) with 1000’s of Morgans from a 108-year history returning home to Malvern.

Held at the Malvern Three Counties Showground in association with the Morgan Sports Car Club, Morgan owners and aficionados from around the world gathered for two days of family fun, just a few miles from the Pickersleigh Road home of the iconic coachbuilder.

The RFTH weekend saw over 5,000 owners and enthusiasts enjoy activities for the whole family including an open house at the Morgan Motor Company factory, hot air balloon rides, Morgan AutoSOLO track experience, live aerobatic displays, racing simulators and male grooming and beauty treatments and a freestyle motocross stunt display.

Visitors were also treated to a stunning lineup of Morgan dealership displays as well as a concours and historic area celebrating Chris Lawrence and his significant impact on the Morgan marque. All three Morgan SLRs were displayed alongside TOK258, the Morgan that Chris Lawrence drove to victory at Le Mans in 1962.

Visitors on Saturday morning witnessed a special 3 Wheeler cavalcade from the factory to the showground, showcasing Morgan’s iconic 3 Wheeler models from over a century of the marque’s history. The oldest models were built in 1909 by H.F.S. Morgan while the newest model had rolled off the assembly line that week. The cavalcade included over 50 3 Wheelers and was led by the all-electric EV3, driven by Managing Director, Steve Morris.

A grand Gala Dinner took place on Saturday night, hosted by the world’s greatest living explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes. The British hero thrilled guests with stories from over five decades of his expeditions in the world’s most perilous climates. The Gala Dinner menu celebrated produce and companies from across the 3 Counties, and was local sourced where possible. A charity auction hosted by auctioneer Philip Serrell raised £22,000 for the British Heart Foundation. Stand-out lots included a clay model Aero 8 created by Jon Wells, and an EV3 Junior.

The climax of the weekend was the Morgan prom on Sunday evening, with the English Symphony Orchestra playing iconic pieces of music for a packed arena, with the backdrop of a spectacular fireworks display bringing the weekend’s celebrations to a close. A highlight of the event for many, the concert provided a fitting ending to a truly memorable weekend.

Steve Morris, Managing Director of Morgan Motor Company, said:

We have had such a wonderful weekend here at Run For The Hills. We are continually blown away by the unrivaled passion that our owners and enthusiasts have for the marque. There were many highlights for me, however seeing the 3 Wheelers leave the factory on Saturday morning and then watching the English Symphony Orchestra concert and fireworks closing the event were perfect book ends of the show.

We welcomed well over 1,500 Morgans home to Malvern throughout the weekend from early pre-war cars to latest production cars, returning home from all over the world. The strong attendance of the event and the superb atmosphere throughout the weekend is a signal of great strength for the Morgan community. On behalf of the Morgan family, directors and staff, I would like to thank all those involved in helping to make this event a success. We are already looking forward to our next event.

23 Oct

‘Want wind-in-the-hair fun and a trip to a gentler time? Nothing beats a Morgan’ (www.carmagazine.co.uk)


When the sun shines, a young man’s fancy turns to sports cars.  So this (old) man heads to Malvern Link, home of Morgan, and to the driver’s seat of a 4/4, the world’s oldest new car, now in its 81st year of production.

Now of course Porsches and Ferraris go faster, Mazda MX-5s are sweeter to drive and Caterhams steer and stop better. But if your priorities are wind-in-the-hair fun, turn-up-the-volume driving engagement and a passport back to a gentler motoring era, then nothing can beat a Morgan.

They are mostly made as they always were: hand-built using mallets and files and saws and human sweat, and crafted from traditional materials. Indeed the frames of the oldest ‘classic’ models, like the 4/4, are still made from ash. They are far more hand-wrought than any Bentley or Rolls-Royce, whose bodies are invariably made by machine and whose hand-craftsmanship is typically confined to cabin carpentry and trim leathersmithery, plus the odd specially commissioned bespoke flourish.

Little has changed since the 4/4 was new. Morgan is still an independent family-owned company. The manufacturing technique is so unusual and old-fashioned that factory tours (£20) are a popular attraction. Last year, 30,000 people took the tour and, in typical English style, it includes afternoon tea. It gets five stars on Trip Advisor.

Our Morgan has a modern 110bhp 1.6-litre Ford engine and a previous-gen Mazda MX-5 five-speed gearbox but in every other way it’s about as mechanically similar to a new saloon as a Spitfire is to a 787.

Take the windows. There are none. Instead, we find side screens that we unclip and leave behind. It is a beautiful summer’s day, so no need for weather protection. Also, no need to put up the fabric roof, coiled behind our heads. There are only two seats and entry is by a tiny shallow door, opened by a latch. The door has leather pull-straps. It appears to weigh nothing.

The steering wheel is wood rimmed and alloy spoked – forget about an airbag – and it’s large and upright, closer to your chest than a modern car’s. The dash is a plank of varnished walnut. The only digital display is total mileage. This is not a digital-age car.

Out front there is a little upright chrome-ringed windscreen, and a long bonnet, elegantly sculpted, hand formed and tethered by leather straps. Little louvres help the engine breathe. We see twin headlamps standing proud, like frog’s eyes, and elegant sweeping round fenders.

The (optional) side-exiting exhaust is just under your right shoulder. It barks into action when you turn the key – you can smell the fumes on start-up – and the engine soon settles into an uneven and throaty idle.

Its smallness and all-aluminium body makes for a light car, just under 800kg. There is no power steering, so turning the big wood-rimmed wheel when stationary or at low speed requires shoulder and arm heft. Clutch and brake pedal are also heavy.

It feels and sounds fast but isn’t. This is a car that’s all about sensation, not measurement. Just as cycling at 20mph feels faster than driving at 60mph, so the Morgan feels fast beyond the speedo’s numbers. The ride is firm and easily unsettled and the handling lacks finesse. But what do you expect from an 80-year-old design, whose rear suspension owes more to a wheelbarrow than double wishbones? Like all old cars, it needs manhandling and heft; anticipation and concentration; and, yes, just a little love and understanding.

It’s designed for the winding narrow roads of England of 70 or 80 years ago, which still gently crisscross much of the country’s rolling green land. They are wonderful driving roads. Speed is irrelevant. The slower, the better. You’re always interacting with your environment: with the weather, with nature and its many scents and sounds, and with the car itself. It is a different type of motoring, totally alien to the hermetically sealed air-conditioned cabins in which we today rush hither and thither, isolated from everything around us, in a world bulldozed for speed.

Every once in a while, it’s good to be transported back to sports cars of yore and to the driving world of yesteryear.  Only an old classic, or a new Morgan, can do this. It helps us to understand how much cars have improved and, just as important, how much raw driving enjoyment has been diluted.