Thursday, 31 May 2012

Thoughts on Morgan Hoods

This is a further contribution to my blog from my Morgan chum, Dennis Duggan

When Stephanie and I took delivery of our 4/4 Sport in January 2009 we were Morgan virgins, and perhaps a little apprehensive at the thought of living with such an idiosynchratic motor car.
One area of concern was the traditional hood, which looked like it could be a potential minefield.  Those unfamiliar with the breed might like to know it is secured to the car with fourteen lift-the-dot fasteners, six turnbuckles and eight press studs - a total of twenty eight items to deal with each time the hood is removed and refitted.

At the time I fervently wished the car had come with one of those easy-fit hoods advertised in Miscellany, as they seemed a lot more straightforward, but three years and 15,500 miles later those doubts have proved unfounded.

Dennis's 4/4 Sport

During that period I estimate the hood has been taken off and put back on some two hundred times, and there has been a problem only once.  We are now so expert that it regularly takes us a mere fifty five seconds from removing the hood from its storage behind the seats to unfolding and fitting it to the car.  Removal takes around thirty seconds, though converting it from a four-foot square mass of shapeless material to a neat package takes somewhat longer!At classic car shows we have observed that owners of Triumph Stags, some Mercedes and the like have a right old tussle to erect or stow their manual hoods.  The job, which usually seems to involve two people, looks to be very fiddly  and takes a considerable time - certainly a lot longer than fifty five seconds!

Advantages of the traditional hood include:  easily removed and refitted by one person; has a large rear window;  has transparent panels at the corners, which improve visibility and allow more light into the interior; does not spoil the flowing Morgan lines when stowed away.

Disadvantages include: can be difficult to refit when cold and wet (on one occasion in winter I was unable to fit all the fasteners) takes up storage space when stowed behind the seats; access to the storage area very difficult when the hood is erected, though to be fair that must surely be a problem with most sports cars fitted with head restraints.  However one firm who advertise an easy-fit hood solve that by allowing access via the rear of the hood.

Last year we accidentally stumbled on a useful wheeze.  When parked at a show, and the weather looks a bit iffy, we remove the hood then refit it to the five lift-the-dot fasteners at the rear of the car.  The hood can then be folded neatly so it sits behind the seats, resting on the bodywork, and in the event of a sudden shower it takes only seconds to whip it over the frame and secure it to the windscreen with two or three lift-the-dot fasteners.

That is a quick method to keep the rain out whilst parked, though obviously it would not work when the car was in motion.

Incidentally, when stationary our Morgan traditional hood is 100% watertight.  On the road in torrential rain it is 99% watertight; an occasional drip might work its way past the seal where the hood joins the screen but that's about it.

So our traditional hood is a credit to the Malvern ladies who made it, well done to them.

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