A life with Morgan
1973-2018: a pictorial history of the twenty cars we had the pleasure to own and drive

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2018: +4

1: My first Plus 8
October 1973
(deep Brunswick green, black ambla, Rover 3.5l @ 160 bhp)

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1975: +8

Derek Day, the Morgan Sales Director went down on his knees as he peered into my brand new Morgan on that foggy day in late October 1973. And please, he insisted through the side windows, “don't forget to use the one shot lubrication plunger every 3oo miles!” His words were still ringing in my ears as I roared out of the factory and to the left on Pickersleigh Road. Derek and the peculiar greasing system have since retired from the Morgan Company but my affection and love for the marque have endured for the next 30 years to come.

On that Friday I had just become the owner of a brand new Morgan Plus 8, my first one of the 12 to come after him, it was in deep brunswick green. My dealer, the late Torben Krogh, had successfully convinced me that all Morgans had to be green and also “that leather tended to crack” and that the modern PVC interior was the only choice to take. And of course I needed a bonnet strap. When I was about 10 miles from the factory my car suddenly acquired “Cruise Control” i.e. it went 100 mph all on its own because the accelerator pedal had become stuck I needed help quickly and drove on to the next petrol station for aid but the attendant obviously had already had enough similar expiriences. Without further comment he muttered “Go right back!” and pointed in the direction I had come from. The problem was dealt with at the factory right away and I was again on my way to Harwich. The next fuel stop was interesting when to my surprise the answer to my “Fill it up, please!” was “I can only give you petrol for five pounds.”

Yes, young readers, those were the days of the first fuel crisis and I was beginning to think about a horse and cart instead of the V8 that propelled my Morgan. But eventually we limped to Harwich on to the ferry and further on to Hamburg where the car would be at home for the next 2 years. Taxes and customs paid (no EC then) and also a unique light-bulb-tax, that had been invented in 1914 to raise funds for the War efforts, I proceeded on with the questionable pleasure of getting the Car to pass the TUV, which is the equivalent of an MOT I suppose, This procedure would become a horrific experience for the next decades until MMC managed to get a European Type Certificate, which made additional national tests obsolete. Morgan was by the way the first car manufacturer to achieve that. Compliments! Anyway each and every time I had to present the Morgan to an Inspector engineer usually in grey coat and hat usually also freezing and starting the process with remarks like “What is this?” or “I would never want a car like that!” or even sometimes “I can't test the car, I don't fit behind the wheel!” And in an ever changing way here are just a few demands that drove me crazy on these days:

  • the side screens must be stamped with an approval, melted in!
  • you need a sun visor, my objection, that I would be blind then, did not help
  • the sidelights had to painted black, the bulbs working ,although you then couldnt see them
  • the seatback had to be moveable for 30 degrees
  • the number plates are to low
  • the spot lights are too bright
  • the water reservoir for the sprinkler needed to be doubled
  • the bumpers were too sharp and the edges had to be rubberized... and so on and so on!

I did however manage to pass the exam usually on the second or third try. Now to some more enjoyable matters. The German Morgan Club had just been founded and the first meetings were held. In 1975 there were only 90 Morgans registered in Germany. In 1975 I had the privilege to drive Peter Morgan around at the Clubs meeting in Berlin. It was Mr Morgan's first visit to our new Club. To get to Berlin in those days required you to transit the then communist Eastern Germany. Funny thing occured at the border where the Guard at first felt sympathetic for us, because we, just like him, had to drive what he thought were old and obsolete cars and that we just like him couldn't afford a new one. When, however, he learnt that the cars were in fact current production and cost a few grand his smile disappeared and we were waved on with the usual grim. My Plus8 performed very well, the only problem having been the overheating radiator. The cooling fan capacity of the earlier models was simply not sufficient and on hot days I feared traffic jams more than anything else. Peter Morgan took personal care at the meeting in Berlin and I was duly furnished with a new model. Great product support! I covered around 5ooo miles with my first one and went to numerous Clubmeetings also to the Danish club, where I discovered that most of the cars were indeed green. After 2 years I sold the car and was ready for a new one.

During the last 30 years I have had the pleasure of owning 13 Morgans. I always ordered another new one when taking delivery of the current model. So I have always had the fun of driving one and dreaming about the next one, thus indulging in the process of choosing colour, model extras and so on and discussing it with family and friends. I got to know all models over the years in all variants .On average I got a new one every 2 years which also was the average waiting time for me. My personal preference summed up over the years would go like this. Colour either dark green or dark blue, leather interior, wooden dash, motoloita steering wheel and that's about it for alterations. No doorhandles, no bonnet strap, no twotone color, no metallic, no radio, no wire wheels on Plus8s, no tombstone seats, no badge bar - just the real thing. But it took me some time to come to that conclusion.

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