My first Morgan Three Wheeler (as if anyone needs a second)
Ron Garner ©2013
It seemed like a good idea at the time. In 1973 I was managing a lamp and light fixture factory in East Los Angeles, commuting from a home in the Santa Monica canyon. I don’t know how many miles but it was difficult and almost all freeway. My only car at the time was a 1965 4/4 that had a badly cracked chassis and I needed something to drive while I fixed it. But the 4/4 was gorgeous; fire mist gold with black wings, and very conspicuous.
Underwriters Laboratory made unannounced inspections of the factory periodically. The inspector was a car guy. Once he spotted the Morgan his “inspections” consisted of an hour in my office talking cars. During one inspection I said “what I really want is a Morgan three wheeler”. Mind you, I had never seen one, only a centerfold painting of one in Road and Track. A fellow in the office overheard my statement and piped in: “My old boss has one and I think it might be for sale”. And so I bought EFC 805 with the intention of using it as a daily driver on the Santa Monica freeway. Ford was president, the economy was tanking and managers were expendable. A trike made perfect sense? That first Monday morning, in suit and tie, I cranked (no electric) and cranked and cranked. The MX4 finally fired and off I went down the Pacific Coast Highway onto the 10. Ran at 65 for a while (scary) then did bumper to bumper until arriving at the factory. I checked the oil before leaving but checked it again on arrival. It didn’t seem that low considering my suit was soaked. When lamps left the factory they were in large plastic bags and, from that day on, so was I. The 4/4 was disassembled and for several months I wrapped myself in plastic and went back and forth to work, food shopping, day care and all places in between in EFC 805. My wife was not amused but daughter Robin took it all in stride. She would be my navigator on weekend test runs on the PCH and then through the canyons. Of course every run was a test run and weekends were dedicated to making sure the trike would make it through the next week. I eventually crashed the three-wheeler and added it to the queue for restoration. I replaced it with a 1953 +4 four-seater but that is another story. EFC 805 became my first ever completed restoration. I made what I now recognize as the usual mistakes but it looked good when I sold it. Derek Willburn had it in his shop two years ago when the Garner entourage attended MogWest. The color is different and Robin is older but both still look good together.