Speech at Duluth 1st June 2005



Speech at Duluth 1st June 2005



Morgan Drivers, Morgan Navigators, Girl Friends, Ladies, Gentlemen, Parking Wardens and wives,


Firstly, I’d like to thank the Minnesota Morgan Club for their kind hospitality, both at Stillwater and here tonight. Thank you also for the good weather, because, the last time we visited your State in 1990, we had 4 inches of rain in one day and we changed the name to Minnesoka!


You will be pleased to hear that my navigator, Tonto Godwin, has been giving me elocution lessons as we drive along, so you should be able to understand at least some of what I have to say.


Tonto calls me “Kemosabe”, which he says means “rather nice bloke”. However, Tonto speak with forked tongue, because I have looked it up on the internet using Michael Myers handy lap-top and it actually means “he who knows nothing”!


I know it looks suspicious, two handsome, slim, guys, driving together in a lilac roadster, sharing a room and a couple of Queen beds, but I can assure you we’re NOT gay. I did jokingly put a sticker on his door at Stillwater reading “Sorry girls, I’m gay”, but that was mysteriously removed.


We have both left our wives, my first wife is called Gill and Tonto’s squaw is Sue, back at home in Blighty, to do far more important things like housework, shopping, washing, ironing, cooking and not forgetting the essential grand-child sitting. Actually, it is my twin Grandaughters’ Sarah and Jane’s 11th birthday today.


Now Tonto has an eclectic collection of cars, including a beautiful 1951  LHD Flat Rad Morgan +4, a superb Ferrari 246 Dino Spyder, which, incidentally, he gave himself as a present last Christmas….yes, he IS that rich!........and two rather nice Bentleys. He will be driving his 4.5 Litre Tourer across Australia almost immediately after this MOA and his lovely 1958 S1 Fast Back Continental has been promised to me when he dies……..he does have an history of heart problems……… so I have been driving accordingly!!


Now, I am the big cheese on this event, that’s “le grand fromage” for our Continental friends and anyone from Quebec, so it is natural for you to want to take photos of me, but I must insist on some basic rules for the MOA paparazzi. All photos must be front-on, slim photos and NEVER taken from the side …… actually, like my wife, I’m rather good when taken from the back ……… but that’s another story. Those amusing photos of the Buddha on the pony in Monument Valley, must be destroyed!!


Actually, did you know that being this rotund shape has its advantages…..I never have to queue for anything, I just shout out ,“HEAVILY PREGNANT PERSON COMING THROUGH” and it always works, especially when I’m wearing my shoulder length, lilac wig…..although, they often look at me and wonder how anyone so ugly could get pregnant!!


Anyway, back to our MOA adventures. So much has happened that I’ll just highlight some of the incidents…


1: Swiss cars don’t start, they flood, not only their engines, but also Gas Station forecourts with cheap American fuel……..yes, you think your fuel is expensive at $2.35 per gallon, but in the UK, a US Gallon costs the equivalent almost $8.

2: Several US cars seem to work without clutches.

3: The 350 BHP, Corvette engined, +8, I drove at Bill Finks, is rapid. In fact so rapid, that Tonto pressed the stop button on the video as we started off, so we lost all the action. Unfortunately, his heart stood-up to the forces involved, so I knew then I’d have to wait a little longer for that Continental to be parked on my drive!!

4: Electric fan blades disintegrate in the US atmosphere.

5: If you’re looking for the turn indicator fuse on a 3.9 +8, it’s the one for the heated rear screen ……… which this car does not have!!

6: US roadwork’s flagmen can surf-dance.

7: It’s a BIG mistake to remove a nail from an already inflated tyre, just to cure an annoying clicking sound.

8: Its BIGGER, BIG mistake, NOT to remove a nail which has punctured your inner-tube not once, but on 3 occasions in one morning.

9: It’s a HUGE mistake NOT to have return springs fitted to your throttle cable.

10: When you see a “CAUTION, FLOOD” sign on a very hot day, BELIEVE IT!!

11: Reading Elaine’s notes actually helps and delving through to find her maps REALLY helps, especially when you encounter unexpected “ROAD CLOSED” signs.

12: Prop-shaft nuts need tightening too.

13: It’s a BAD idea to try to dine 90 people, at the same time, without prior notice, especially if they want separate checks!

14: Don’t paint your car yellow……every yellow car on this trip has had major, major problems, but at least it has enabled Philip Fisher to get that 5 speed gearbox he’s always wanted.

15: There is always someone who wants us to rebuild his car as we go along.


17: Los Angeles is a delight to drive in the rush hour.

18: US spec. Aeros have 50 fuses and no wiring diagram.

19: Those lovely Eagles you see soaring above are actually VULTURES, so keep moving.


The US and Canadian cars have had problems with their engines, gearboxes, oil leaks, prop-shafts, tyres and numerous electrical problems with fans, starters, alternators, light switches, fuses and even a sat-nav system. The UK/European cars have needed a fan, a couple of fuses, some rad-weld and the securing of a loose wire, all caused by unpaved American roads.


However, it is when people become ill, that our problems become more serious and difficult to cope with…….When Tonto collapsed, unconscious, in front of Ben Fryrears cars in Kansas City, I was torn between calling 911 for assistance and having that Bentley Continental on my drive. I DID turn down several offers of help, but eventually, some FOOL phoned for the Ambulance and, to cut a long story short, Tonto was saved, so I’ll have to wait a little longer for the keys to that car!


Anyway, after over 4,000 miles of travelling, we are all in good health and all the cars are now fixed. Let’s hope the rest of the trip runs a little more smoothly for us all.


So once again, many, many thanks to the Minnesota Morgan Club for being such gracious hosts.




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