Is a love  affair with cars an innate quality, something preordained by our inherited DNA, or a result of parental, and wider family, nurture? Furthermore, can an inanimate object become part of the family or is it simply an heirloom, a reference to the tastes and proclivities of former generations?  I doubt these are questions that the average ‘petrol-head car lover’ ask themselves very often; however, if we found ourselves in the same position as Dan Stewart, perhaps we would be motivated to do so.

In his short story Time Machine: One Family’s 40 Year Morgan Odyssey, Dan tackles the retelling of his family’s 40-years of Morgan sports car ownership. Blame it on the sentimental side of me but by the end of the story, I could not help but imbue the Sunset Yellow Plus 8 with a personality all its own. Dan has promised to document his upcoming road trip, through the Carolina mountains, in the Morgan; therefore, I can look forward to hearing further adventures of this bright member of the Stewart family. Until then, I hope you enjoy Dan’s story as much as I did…

'Time Machine: One Family’s 40 Year Morgan Odyssey' by Dan Stewart

Morgan Plus 8 at Road Atlanta 1983

Time Machine: One Family’s 40 Year Morgan Odyssey

by Dan Stewart

The December, 1968 issue of Road & Track arrived in the mail about a month late, as it always did at our home in San Salvador, El Salvador.  My father had been a subscriber for years, and as his career had taken our family first to Europe and then Central America, he and I had become accustomed to receiving the magazine late, and occasionally in tatters.

This issue contained an item that captured my father’s attention more than most.  On pages 102 and 103, there was an article by Eoin Young about a sensational new Morgan, the Plus 8, powered by the Rover 3.5 liter all-aluminum V-8.  This engine was of particular interest to my father, who spent his entire thirty-eight year career working for Alcoa Aluminum; first as a metallurgist, and then in upper management with the company’s international division.  He was an enthusiastic proponent of the aluminum internal combustion engine, and during the war had assisted Packard with their production of the mighty Merlin V-12 that propelled the P-51 fighter aircraft.  He had previously owned a 1962 Buick Skylark convertible powered by the same compact V-8 used in the Morgan before GM had sold the production rights and tooling to Rover.  I should add that my dad was an unapologetic automotive enthusiast, and although he had never owned a British sports car he was more than open to the idea if the right one came along.

Nothing was going to come of it as long as we lived in El Salvador, but our family’s four-year sojourn there was coming to an end.  The following summer, we learned that Alcoa management had decided that my father was just the man they needed to manage their expanding operations in the UK.  So it was that in the fall of 1969, my parents moved to the town of Droitwich, in Worcestershire, and I was sent off to a boarding school in Rome, Italy to complete my senior year of high school.  My sister, three years older than I, was by this time attending college in California.

This being long before the days of cheap, instant communication, the weekly letter from home was eagerly anticipated.  I was especially interested to hear about the new family home and surroundings, as I had travelled directly to Italy from El Salvador.  When one particular letter arrived that autumn, I quickly found a quiet spot to read it.  My mother always wrote her part first, and I got the usual tidbits about the new house, neighbors, and surroundings.  When I came to my father’s section, my heart raced with excitement as I read that he had “…Placed an order for a Sunset Yellow Morgan Plus 8 at the Earl’s Court Motor Show.”  He went on to say that the car would be delivered in the late spring of the following year.  I quickly wrote back to praise my father for the wisdom of his decision and began to count down the days to delivery.

~ to continue reading Dan’s story about 40-years of Morgan Plus 8 ownership, click here