Kathi’s first Morgan

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There were plenty of clues; she was warned. On our first date I talked about Morgans. And where were we going on our honeymoon trip? To visit Morgan friends in California. She was looking at knick-knacks when she overheard one of those friends say: $2000 to which I replied; OK.

“You spent half of our honey-moon money to buy what?”

“An engine. A JAP engine for a three wheel Morgan.”

“But you don’t have a three wheel Morgan.”

“Well; not at the moment”.

As the years ambled by the Morgans came and went as did the money. Kathi taught at the local elementary school and I attempted to turn my Morgan affectation into a business. I found a 1959 Series II 4/4 in Delaware. It was apart (as all my acquisitions tend to be) and the price was more than it should have been but I bought it “for Kathi”. The cobbler’s children are the ones without shoes and so progress on Kathi’s 4/4 was glacial. It was only after the business closed that I spent serious time on it. I thought it would be perfect for her. The Series II had a ridiculously small 1172cc flathead English Ford engine and a top speed approaching that of a 10 speed bike but her school was only two miles away so speed was not an issue. And of course she would enjoy the novelty of learning to use the reversed pattern, three speed, push-pull shift lever. Certainly.

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Seven years in total is what it took to complete the car. She picked Night Watch Blue (appropriate choice for an art teacher) for the body color and I applied it in many coats of hand-rubbed lacquer. The wheels and chassis got silver metallic, the engine my hallmark red. The interior had to be special.img011 I made the dash out of figured walnut and added a Moto-Lita four spoke wood rimmed wheel to match. As a final touch I had the leather custom dyed to match a pair of her boots. Of course the boots were long gone by the time the car was finished but it’s the thought that counts. I liked the narrow body with the two tread strips on each wing and the 16” disc wheels. It was sometime in mid-1959 that Morgan switched to the wide body and 15” wheels so Kathi’s 4/4 was not only particularly cute it was somewhat rare.

After the first driving lesson the car sat in the garage for months and she continued to commute in our tired old Toyota.

Finally I confronted her. “It’s just too conspicuous. I’m in an inner-city school and it just sticks out in the parking lot and I, well I just feel CONSPICOUS.”

Fair enough, I couldn’t argue with that but she did need a new car so I sold the Series II to John West Hunt who, at that time, lived in New Jersey. John still has the car and it is essentially unchanged.

We looked at a lot of new cars and I did my best to stay out of the decision making. After all, this was to be her car and I did not want a repeat of the 4/4 experience. She chose an Alfa Romeo spyder, bright red…img009

Not at all conspicuous.

Mad about, maddened by a certain motor car