Sunday, 31 May 2015

Cheeky chap!!!

In recent correspondence, my learned friend who enjoyed his recent drive in a 4/4 at the factory and who was the subject of my prevoius post, questioned my long-held opinion that a spare wheel should be supplied on all Morgans instead of the silly puncture repair kit that is provided and which necessitates the costly replacement of the punctured tyre.
The paragraph in his letter that referred to this matter is as follows:-

  "......I would like to see an update on your bizarre idea that Morgans should have a full spare wheel. To wit: exactly how many punctures have you had in all your years of ownership? And how many Morgan owners, not known to be life's spring chickens, could actually change the wheel? Might it not be better to use the spare wheel space to store something useful? A defibrilator?"

On the basis that there is perhaps some truth in his comments, I do not intend to respond....cheeky devil!!!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Another Morgan Experience.

An old friend of ours has once again enjoyed a Morgan Experience at the factory, but this time in a 4/4.
There follows his account of the event.......

.........."I have been out Morganeering again, so this morning I peeked at your blog.
Good lord Chris.
Seems you are spending much time trying to avoid the clutches of the grim reaper!

This year my boss Mark gave me a Virgin voucher for a balloon flight over the Peak District.

It didn't take me long to exchange the voucher for another run in a Morgan at Malvern.

This time a red 4/4 - brand new - with the Ford Sigma 1.6 engine. Please see pics. First pic (green car) points up how much better a Morgan looks than the fast-depreciating tin boxes pictured behind. More importantly it shows how hard the rain was bucketing during my one-hour trundle. I was quite happy about this as I have often worried about your tale, Gleave, of wrapping your leg in a towel in wet weather and I wondered if all Morgans suffer ...

The Looks - I would not have chosen red - but on this car with the black wheels and chrome spinners I have to say the colour looks rather natty. I like the over-riders too - they suit the super-slim 4/4 body. Rear hi-level brake light still looks most odd. Bonnet strap detracts from the cars best feature - the long louvred bonnet. Tsk tsk - like putting a nose ring on Audrey Hepburn. Full marks though for the "correct" round door mirrors. I have noticed over the years that many fine sports cars (notably MX-5) retain a slight girly image. Mercedes SLK too. What I mean is that a man driving those cars doesn't always look quite right. I don't know why. But with even this slimmest of Morgans (they are very small cars), there is nothing pansy looking about a man behind the wheel. And also (the school secretary when I was a boy had a Morgan) a woman behind the wheel of a Morgan looks absolutely right too. Though you don't see that often enough.

Features - heated seats - love them! Though I can sense your lip curling Chris "because they didn't have them in 1930". No Chris, they didn't have heated seats in 1930. They had diptheria and rickets and cold bottoms. Heated seats, like antibiotics, are a godsend I assure you. If it were a toss-up I would rather have heated seats in a Morgan than a steering wheel. That way I could keep warm - admittedly while not really going anywhere. Also a heated windscreen. Worryingly - "it might have a loose wire" - this was not working even though the car only had 1,300 miles on the clock. Leather quality, fit & finish all a great improvement over the 1986 model I last hired. The binnacle dial directly in front, through the steering wheel, is the rev counter. The speedo is way over to my left on the passenger side. So the passenger can report back what speed you are doing, I suppose. Make up your own mind on that one. I was told this arrangement is reversed on the Plus 4 "because it has a different ECU". Huh? Steering wheel was a thin wooden affair with drilled metal spokes. Looked the business but very uncomfortable to hold - cold and too thin (I have hands like spades) I would much rather something thick & leathery. The handbrake I would like to claim is further away than in earlier models. But in truth as I get older it just seems more of a stretch. Getting in & out of the car with the roof up is most inelegant. I regarded it as a triumph when I managed to emerge without putting my hand on the road. Followed by a little stagger along the pavement as I tried to straighten back up.

This was the demonstration car.
Performance - I am told this does 0-60 in around 8 seconds. It was peppy enough and remarkably is supposed to give 50mpg. On paper the performance is not much down on the Plus 4. I could  live with this little engine, I think. Just. It endeared itself to me by starting without any churning AT ALL. The very moment I turned the key the engine started running. I have never experienced that before in any car. The engine though is typical of other Fords I have driven, in that their engineers always strive for a linear power delivery - it pulls with the same strength throughout the rev range (ok to 6,000rpm). I don't know why Ford do this - its was the same in a 2.5 litre Mondeo I had - very smooth put there is no point in the rev range where the power kicks in. In most cars you learn at which rpm you will get most boost, and select the gear to get that point for overtaking. But in this thing, no. I would guess that the torque curve looks very flat throughout. Sad face.

Ride. Jolly good. All felt solid & well built. Relative to the 3 wheeler the ride was very smooth, comfortable. Exhaust boomy under hard acceleration. Not raspy, or rorty, or howling. Just boomy. MX-5 gearbox could not be bettered.

The Rain. Aha. A pleasant surprise. Very heavy rain on test. Nothing coming in to the footwells at all. Only slight spots coming through the tops on the windows, but only on one side depending on which way the sideways rain was attacking the car. Nothing to worry about. Impressed that the easy-up hood allowed nothing through its seal. Less impressed with the 3 wipers, which struggled.

Sum up. A time machine, but not just back in time. It warps time. This is still the only car in the world where a one hour journey passes in 10 minutes."

He finishes his letter by describing me as 'a decrepit old git'!!!  Fair comment I suppose!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

A 'right picnic' at Donington and a proper picnic with the Morgan!

Some weeks ago we were looking forward to a week on the Norfolk Broads with a couple of friends on a 42 foot motor cruiser. Sadly this was not to be!

Helen and myself only reached the Donington Service area on the A50, about half way to meeting up with our friends in Thetford for the night, prior to taking over the boat.

We had stopped for a comfort break and the next thing I knew, I was underneath the right hand urinal in the Service's loos with a concerned lorry driver encouraging me to get up and live!
What a way for a man of my calibre to go!!!!

Anyway, to cut a very long story short, I ended up in the Royal Derby Hospital, where I spent two nights, having blood tests and scans that revealed a pulmonary embolism and a couple of other non life threatening issues.

The reason for my collapse has been referred to as postural change and micturition, which to the uninitiated means sitting down too long in a car and then peeing. Apparently it is quite common amongst old gits like me and as a result I am now going to be a slow laner and stop for a walk around every hour on long journeys.

As I bruised my coccyx when I collapsed it has meant that sadly, lowering myself into the Morgan's cockpit was out of the question for what has been weeks.....but today I managed it!
Morecambe Bay and Heysham Nuclear Power Station in the distance on the right
The prospect of a lovely day today encouraged us to once again drive into the Trough of Bowland where we spent two or three hours on the Duke of Westminster's estate, with a very pleasant Sicilian White and other 'goodies'.
The open road beckons.
As you will notice in the photographs we were sitting by a small tributary of the River Wyre, the gorse was in bloom, Marsh Marigolds bordered the river and we spotted a Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail and a good number of Lapwings, supposedly an endangered species, but thankfully not here. Not a bad way to spend a few hours, but you know, it ain't Summer yet in the UK, especially in the north, there was still a sneaky breeze which was very noticeable when the sun disappeared behind a cloud and amazingly, we noticed that many of the trees were still only just in bud.
Coffee at our first stop.
Let's hope that the effects of 'El Nino' will not be too severe and we can enjoy many more sorties in the Morgan.
A very pleasant Sicilian White in a lovely spot.
Incidentally, another vehicle has joined the Morgan in the garage, a 2009 Volvo V70 2.4D SE LUX to replace our ageing 2002 V70 with 134000 on the clock. The new one has a lot to live up to though, but I must say that after 12 years, the acquisition of another car has been quite therapeutic.......

.......and another thing while I think about it!

All my readers know that I have been highly critical of 'Top Gear' and was hoping that I would enjoy 'The Classic Car Show' on Channel 5..... Well I don't!..... It is too precious by half, with presenters almost as annoying as those on 'Top Gear'. Who is interested in Jodie Kidd driving down Route 66 in a Camaro and Bruno Senna charging around the Mercedes Test Track at Brooklands etc.,etc.,etc. Obviously some people might be, but I am not.

I am interested in vintage and post vintage classics. Cars that ordinary people owned, expensive or otherwise, such as, Morris, Riley, Lagonda, MG, Morgan, Vauxhall, Ford, Bentley and Austin, plus other fascinating marques, a subject that could fill a TV series ten times over... why does it have to be all about speed and supercars?

God help us if Jodie Kidd fronts the proposed new 'Top Gear'!!!!!!