On my retirement and following many years of single-handed sailing in the Lake District, an interest not shared by my wife, we decided in 2007 to buy a sports car, while we were physically still able to get into one! It would enable both of us to share an interest and enjoy fully the freedom that retirement affords.
In my opinion there was only one car to choose, a car that I had lusted after for many years, the quintessentially English, Morgan.
So it was that in November of that year we found ourselves at the Morgan factory in Malvern to see our car being built. What a unique and fulfilling experience it was, seeing the high levels of personal skill being lavished on our car. For the payment of a modest sum of money this is a factory visit that I would commend to anyone with an interest in true craftsmanship, so refreshing to see today.
On March 1st 2008 we travelled to the dealer in Southport to see the finished result of the company’s efforts and to pick up our new Morgan 4/4 (four cylinders/four wheels). What a memorable first drive that was, with the wind in our hair and grins from ear to ear!
Joanna Lumley described the driving experience beautifully in 1986 when she said,“ the Morgan is extraordinarily eye-catching, with a flirtatious and rebellious quality. She is an old fashioned English sports car with unparalleled charm. Her road-holding at 60-70 mph on a country lane is superb, she is as eager as an under exercised racehorse and goes like a bat out of hell.”
When I first considered the prospect of owning one, my imagination went into overdrive with sensuous thoughts filling my mind. Pootling down beautiful country lanes passed sleepy villages, sun kissed picnics in the local fells by babbling streams or in Europe where we would enjoy driving top-down in the searing heat by fields of sunflowers, vineyards and olive groves.
We are living that dream. In almost four years we’ve completed three tours, embracing much of France and northern Spain plus memorable drives in this country amounting to around 16,500 miles and we’ve enjoyed every minute. The car’s light weight, teamed with a 125 bhp 1.8 litre engine gives a top speed of around 125 mph and a 0-60 time of around 7 seconds, so it’s no slouch and quite fast enough for us.
I cannot describe more succinctly just one aspect of the Morgan driving experience than the journalist who said in a 1993 road test of the 4/4, “and boy does the chassis communicate, yapping away like Ruby Wax, telling you things you would rather not know about the road surface. And somewhere in all that cacophony there are messages that will get you around the next corner in one piece.”
Yes, it’s exciting to drive and what’s more it attracts attention wherever we travel. We’ve even had a car drawing alongside us at 65mph on the French autoroute in order to take a photograph, been surrounded by Japanese tourists with their cameras in the centre of a French village as well as the numerous appreciative comments that the car receives on every occasion that it emerges from it’s garage.
It’s all tremendous fun, a rolling tribute to English tradition and engineering at its best and has truly enriched our lives.