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The Morgan Historic Register

Formation of the Register

Four wheel Morgans built on the traditional steel ladder chassis were in production for 84 years and represent the majority of Morgans on the road today. Although there has been a range of models and minor changes to the chassis and body in that time, these cars share a common ancestry and represent the longest ever production run of cars based on a common chassis design.

With 35,000 of these older cars having been produced between 1936 and 2020, it is unsurprising that so many have survived and are still in use in every corner of the globe. Indeed, in many countries, the tightening of technical standards and import controls has driven a resurgence in the restoration and maintenance of older cars. This is particularly true for example in the USA where there is a probably the largest population of older cars.

Europe and the UK also has a strong following for older Morgans as part of the tradition of preserving historic vehicles and it was in response to numerous conversations and requests for support that Machiel Kalf on 18thJuly 2015 organised a meeting for owners of older cars at the Morgan Visitor Centre in Malvern, attended inter alia, by some officers of the MSCC.

A key outcome of the meeting was the decision to form a ‘Morgan Historic Register’ for ‘older cars’; with these being defined as ‘four-wheel Morgans fitted with one or more carburetors’.

Although it hadn’t been his intention at the outset, Machiel Kalf was overwhelmingly proposed at the meeting to organise and run the newly formed Register. In his own words “there was no escape route; people asked me to pull the carriage”. Fortunately, Mike Pullen also volunteered to help assemble the Register and fulfilled this role for several years until he was succeeded by Ron Fermont.

Another key player in MHR has been Andy Downes who was originally asked to take care of MHR regalia but who over time has come to play a bigger role and now also helps edit copy for the monthly articles in Miscellany.

Resources

Many of those who attended the founding meeting in 2015 expressed a desire for a ‘Parts and Suppliers Register’ but whilst this didn’t at first find a great deal of support there is renewed interest in this requirement, especially now that steel chassis cars have gone out of production. There are now plans afoot for introducing a dealer and suppliers register onto the MSCC website and it is hoped to go live with this in 2022.

The regular MHR articles in Miscellany have driven a large number of questions and requests for more information and technical support. To address this, the MHR maintains a library of manuals and technical documentation for the 4/4 and +4 models, (and to a lesser extent, +8’s), with some in digital format. Machiel can supply digital information by email and also has a number of original instruction books and manuals available for sale.

Participation

Response to Miscellany articles by the MHR has been very positive and feedback is always welcome. Readers have enjoyed the articles on the history and racing activities of the past, and enjoy seeing some of the older photographs. Articles about ‘barn finds’ and older restoration projects are also very welcome and popular.

For those who like to participate, the MHR also organises occasional meetings and get-togethers especially where there is an opportunity to celebrate a particular anniversary for a specific model. In the past this has included:

  • 2016 – Sywell. A visit to this iconic art-deco style aerodrome and the Sywell Aviator Hotel
  • 2017 – MHR Croome Park meeting and the MMC “Run for the Hills” at the Three Counties Showground
  • 2018 – MHR event at Goodwood and the Brands Hatch Morgan’s track day. The MHR also took a stand at MMC’s Thrill on the Hill event.
  • 2019 – Back at Goodwood for Brands Hatch Morgans Track Day and the MHR “60 Years of Lawrence Tune” where there was an opportunity to meet the people who played a role in the development of Lawrence Tune engines for the Plus 4 and Super Sports.

With the COVID interlude coming to an end, activity planning is back on course with an MHR presence at Mogfest on the books. This will include dedicated parking for MHR cars and the opportunity for like-minded owners to meet and network. If anyone would like to assist in the organisation of MHR events, they should contact Machiel Kalf who is also considering an event to mark “60 years after Le Mans 1962” in Holland.

Membership of the MHR is simple and new members are very welcome.