A Personal Note

I have been a Morgan three-wheeler fan since my teens in the 1960s in London. At that time a friend and I  decided to try and acquire one, and followed up on an advert in the Exchange and Mart, the principal auto trading magazine in those days. The bloke wanted ₤35.00, which was quite a bit of money at that time. On phoning him we were told that over 20 people were already interested, and if they all turned it down it was ours. Needless to say, nothing came of that! Shortly after this, prices for old vehicles began to rocket, until owning one of these little beauties was soon quite out of my range. Then I moved to Canada and the idea became even more remote. And thatís the way things remained for over 30 years, until I was in a somewhat better financial situation (though still hardly wealthy) and was looking around for possibilities.

I had heard of a Morgan three wheeler just up the Ottawa Valley in the small town of Cobden. Around the year 2000 I phoned  its owner, Dr. E. C. Pye, who told me he had sold it to Greg Kaufmann of Kinburn, a little nearer to Ottawa. I visited Greg and saw the car - a Beetleback of 1933 - in his workshop, and completely dismantled. I looked over all the parts and thought at that time "There's nothing here that I couldn't make myself". That's a fundamental feature of H. F. S. Morgan's vehicles; they are essentially very simple and were built using the simplest of tools. And if  you are at all handy (as I am) and have a fairly decent workshop, it is quite possible. Also, if I couldn't make the part in question, there were many suppliers of new parts and traders of second-hand pieces.

So, I planned to build a car from scratch. This would be a so-called 'bitsa', a newly built repro with no history. Meanwhile, I visited Greg as the Beetleback restoration proceeded. This picture shows his completed car posed with a scratch-built model I made 'way back in 1973. (Sadly, Greg died accidentally not long after this picture was taken.)

I am glad that the 'bitsa' project didn't advance beyond the acquisition of a J.A.P. KTW engine, because in 2003 a dismantled 'kit' of Morgan parts was advertised in The Bulletin of the Morgan Three Wheeler Club. The price was right, and it became clear that with a lot of labour and time I could be the owner of a vehicle with a history. I had no idea then just what sort of history I was inheriting; this is described in the chapter A Brief History of GU2599. So, I had this bundle of bits shipped to Ottawa, Ontario from the UK in 2003. The Restoration chapters of this website describe what I did.

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Bob Barclay & Loose Cannon Designs, Ottawa, Canada, 2008