Morgan car owners to congregate in Natchez

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 17, 2005

NATCHEZ &045;&045; He joined the ranks of celebrities and European nobility when he purchased a Morgan automobile one year ago. But the attraction for Dr. Mallan Morgan was far more than the celebrity associated with the storied British car.

When other Morgan automobile owners come to Natchez Friday for a three-day meeting, they will bring with them about 20 of the classic cars, one from as far away as Canada. Mal Morgan’s will be the hometown example and one of the newest &045;&045; dating back only one year to April 2004. But no owner will be any prouder than the Natchez physician.

&uot;I had been looking at Morgans for 30 years,&uot; he said. &uot;When it came time for me to buy a new car, my children and my wife suggested I look at the Morgans. They talked me into getting it.&uot;

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Does the name of the automobile add to the appeal? Well, a little bit, Morgan admitted. But most important is the beauty of the car. Then there is the way it handles. And there’s the history. And the superlatives go on and on.

&uot;It is the most beautiful car in the world,&uot; he said. &uot;It is an English sports car and, according to the Morgan people, it’s the last and best British sports car.&uot;

His two-seat roadster is a joy to drive, he said. &uot;It’s totally hand built and therefore somewhat fragile. It likes to get up and go, but I obey the speed limits.&uot;

The body is aluminum, but the frame is wooden &045;&045; ash, to be specific. &uot;It’s wooden in the tradition of English carriage makers,&uot; Morgan said.

The suspense system is legendary, including the story that a driver can run over a penny and not only feel the coin but also tell whether it’s heads or tails, Morgan said.

His azure blue beauty took eight months to build at the factory in England just north of London. &uot;They’ve been making cars since 1910 and have built a reputation for beating cars such as Jaguars, Triumphs and Austin Healys,&uot; he said.

One year ago, Morgan and his wife, Lana, flew to San Francisco to meet the cargo ship that would deliver the new Morgan.

&uot;We picked up the car and drove it back. We came along that beautiful Highway 1 down the California coast and went on to Las Vegas and then Flagstaff,&uot; he said. &uot;At the Grand Canyon, everything fell apart.&uot;

Crestfallen and nervous about what was happening to their new car and knowing they were a long way from any mechanic who knew about the Morgan, they realized the electrical system was dead.

With phone calls to a Morgan mechanic, they finally were able to pinpoint the problem as a fuse. They installed the right ones and were able to continue on the trip, albeit slightly limping all the way back home, Mal Morgan said.

&uot;We found when we got back to Natchez that there were a couple of wires in the front bumper that had never been properly connected,&uot; he said. There have been no problems since.

On good days &045;&045; but only when the weather absolutely is fair &045;&045; the car comes out of the garage and onto the open road. And the Morgans’ Morgan will be out and about with many of its cousins during the weekend.

&uot;We’ll have a couple of drives through historic Natchez on Saturday and out to Elgin Plantation, then to Richland Plantation in Church Hill; the evening will begin at Dunleith and continue at Magnolia Grill for dinner.

&uot;They want to see the sun set over the river,&uot; Morgan said.

Sunday will begin with breakfast at Marketplace Caf/ and continue with an easy pace of light touring before the group says goodbye later in the day.