Thursday 4 July 2013

I'm saying goodbye to an old friend: My Morgan

Still looking good after almost 45 years. (A tip of the hat to Steve and Martin Beer.)
I have owned two Morgans in my lifetime. One came from Malvern Link while the other came from Bolton, Ontario. And both were the same car!

My Malvern-Link-Morgan could not be driven from Windsor to Ann Arbour on a hot summer's day without overheating. I learned to carry gallon jugs of water any time I ventured outside the city. That car seemed to run on water along with gasoline.

Mississippi: a place to party in the late 60s. Ah, the memories.
On the highway my first Morgan would shake at certain speeds. I blamed the 60-spoke wheels. Pavement could be very bumpy back then and those wheels were not strong enough to last through a few back road trips to Mississippi and one long trek to the west coast and back.

More than once I was stopped for traveling over the speed limit. I would explain the little roadster shook at highway speed, some kind of resonance I would say. The police officer would invariably tell me that traveling a bit under the speed limit would also solve the problem. I never got a ticket, or I should say the Morgan never got a ticket. Everyone, even the traffic police, loved that car.

Starting was hit and miss with my first Morgan. I learned to read a parking lot. I always noted the placement of the storm drain and parked accordingly. I got quite adept at pushing my Morgan towards the drain, hopping in and popping the clutch. As the engine was already hot, this little trick always got the little car running. (Although Curly at Metro Motors in Windsor gets credit for curing my Mog of this problem. Thanks to the changes he had made to my car, it started one winter's morning in Kapuskasing, Ontario, despite the temp nearing 40 below.) The Beers have improved on Curly's work. I now park where I please and storm drains be damned.

My Bolton, Ontario, Morgan never overheats. O.K., I confess it overheated once in California on a very hot day after a long, fast run but the water was captured in an overflow bottle — also new with my Bolton redo.

If I let the temperature gauge control my speed, the car never overheats. Never. The water jugs are now just memories.

As for shake, the Bolton Morgan is rock solid. I credit the 72-spoke rims. I haven't had to talk my way out of a speeding ticket since the Beers redid my car. The little roadster is a joy at 50 mph, 60 mph and 70 mph, even if the rpm's are a little high at 70 mph. (Night is the best time for traveling fast. The air is cooler and it is more important in the dark to be keeping up with the flow of traffic. And, let's be honest, the glow of the dash lights is just so cool in the dark of night.)

Judy and I on our way back from the west coast in 2010.
Today, I am sad to announce, I am forced to sell my Morgan. A car that has evolved over the years into one fine automobile. My wife, Judy, and I had planned on taking it to the east coast and we never for a moment worried it was not up to the adventure.

In the end, the little car outlasted me. I am not up to the journey. In the past month, I have had a number of shocks from the ICD I carry in my chest. I have had at least two TIA incidents, minor strokes, I have stopped driving until I get the all-clear from my doctors.

Fiona: "A Morgan is NOT a Miata."
As my wife doesn't drive a stick and has no intentions of doing so in the future, the little roadster, bought new in December 1968, is for sale.

My three-year-old granddaughter, Fiona, is taking it hard. When a relative tried cheering her up by saying, "Maybe grandpa Ken will buy a Miata. They come with an automatic and grandma Judy can drive it." Fiona replied firmly: "A Miata is NOT a Morgan."


  1. I bought my 4/4 from Curly in 1969 while at UWO.
    Beers did a rebuild in 1980 and another in 1996, so I guess I have a Curly and 2 Beers!
    Sorry you are selling the old girl.

  2. oops--make the 2nd rebuild 2006

  3. Fiona’s reply really blew me away big time! Haha! Well, that car is indeed a sweet darling! That must be the reason why it’s hard for her to say goodbye to it. The new owner must be very lucky to own such a well-loved car.

    Rhonda Burgess @ Bob Dunn Hyundai