10 - Dennis Glavis and Morgan Motor Cars
from commedia this is that matter matter. This is Robert Loss with another episode of Cryptos cars that matter today. We're going talk about a car that most people have never even heard of and I'm talking with someone who most people who own that car have heard of the car is Morgan Morgan. And my guest is Dennis Gladys friend and compatriot in the Morgan World. Dennis it's great to have you great to be here. Dennis is not one and to blow his own horn. So I'm going to do that for him. Dennis's the owner of Morgan West. Santa Monica based Morgan dealer and really probably the Reading heart of the mark in America certainly Dennis has done more to keep the mark alive during its various fits and starts which well swell started long before both Dennis and I were born actually started around nineteen o nine when hfs. Morgan opened his little Morgan company skill. A Little Morgan company Dennis. I think you'll tell us a lot more about that as our conversation. Ensues Chuck Drive Lamborghini or a Porsche and Ferrari and so many times you're met as often with an extended central digit as you are a friendly wave of the hand. Nobody hates them. Morgan brings out the best in people. When you drive it when you when you just look at it as an owner or it's just a spectator just elicits a very positive response? That vintage cars tend to with a specially Morgan's for those who have it cede one close your eyes and imagine a car made in nineteen thirty six. which is if I'm not mistaken? Dennis when the first four wheel L. Morgan was made. Yes and imagine a car. That really looks fundamentally the same today as it did back then now of course the mechanical underpinnings are all new. But these are made in the same way that they they have been made literally for decades and decades and decades and decades. I mean it's still a hand assembled car most of the well. The Ashtray means made at the factory. The assembly of the aluminum body they used to be steel but they've been alloy for quite a while is done at the factory. The louvers are hand cut into the Bonnet Haves and it's mostly done by most of the people that work there are. Actually the average age is only about thirty two or thirty three but they're very often third generation Wardley adoration sons grandsons great grandsons of original employees. That's that's really amazing where where Morgan's made I know their English. But where are they made at the factory of Mall. We're in England. which is the northwest tip of the cuts wolves inning? I've gorgeous town. It's built on the side of a mountain at has about nineteen colleges alleges and Universities Gorgeous Cathedral. It was originally a spa town in the eighteen. Hundreds for wealthy Londoners wealthy Europeans to come and either bather drink the medicinal waters which are absolutely disgusting to taste. I must tell you I've tried them. Well I prefer the eighty six proof and higher medicinal waters that come out of the British isles. I can't tell you what a fun car. The Morgan is true. Confession I was an owner of a plus site for a number of years. Thanks to Dennis was actually a gift I gave myself when I turned fifty. I thought well I'm too old to buy another motorcycle. Well not really but maybe but the Morgan seemed like the closest thing and I swear that I have never had more fun with any car. I've ever driven. Yeah we'll well you've riding so close to the ground credibly low center of gravity if cut away doors so you could trim your nails on the sidewalk or street as Dr Live. If you want that view down that long louvred bonnet is just wonderful. You can feel the wind in your hair smell things I I often think when I first moved to. La Twenty years ago to open. Morgan wisdom stuck in traffic on the freeways. And I'm not used to that whatsoever and I'm going God. This is terrible. I'm in an open car and then suddenly I smell this absolutely wonderful aroma and I realized that sitting there on the center divider. There's awesome wildflowers. That have erupted and they're in full blossom. And if I were in any normal car I. They've never had that experience. Here's isn't that just made everything great with the world. I mean I was suddenly so happy there. I was driving a Morgan that I was fortunate enough to be stuck in traffic. It's that positive positive aspect that the world goes by too fast when you're in the enclosed cocoon air conditioned radio or podcast podcast blaring. The great thing about the Morgan is even though they do actually have air conditioning and radios these days. If you so desire you don't need any of that to have the kind of fun you're talking about. I never ever listen to the radio. When I'm driving Morgan? I've got it in the fuel. Mike Arts never turned out of it just like love listening to the engine. Sound of the exhaust purrs had had deep snarls. It just does everything you wanted to do. What a great car? It was explained audience what the Plus Eight was and why it was such a really an amazing car. Well their their most popular car was called the Plus Four. Let me go over the new. The first Morgan car was a four for meaning four wheels and four cylinders. They built that from thirty six continuously they still built it. But the plus four meant plus performance over the four four and that used a larger archer standard vanguard engine was introduced in late nineteen fifty little bit. Why they're chassis? Even the British population were getting a little bit or your by that by it it. It is amazing. If you've spent a lot of time in England to see the older people how short they really are or were and you see these illustrations of like four people luxuriating in a Force either a three wheeler and now you can barely put your foot in one. We've just gotten so much bigger. But then all the new smog standards started to come into effect in sixty seven triumph no longer is building four cylinder tr half three four engine which actually propelled most of the morgans during the sixties and was so successful in competition at the time. Yeah that was the plus four. There are several we'll SEC. Championship Slough Spencer in particular one they won the GT class in sixty two with the super sport. which was aluminum lightweight? Wait that was a green Lamonica. You had you owned a number of Super Sports. I still have three of them and I have a fourth almost about two weeks away. From finishing restoration duration man can never have too many more now. Still my favorite sports car in the world as far as performance feel sound. Just an amazing car really really amazing car anyhow. Then the came up to find a replacement edging for the triumph because it wasn't built anymore the TR six came out. The six cylinder would not fit to long. Yeah too long to fit in the existing chassis so there was one engine. The air and Bill Fink Isis as imports. They work together and they took an old buick. Just an old used engine via team. Yeah an old to fifteen aluminum. Va and jammed it. In and put a couple of bumps on the top it fit and the performance was unbelievable. I was a car that weighed. What eighteen hundred pounds probably probably at the time now? Eighteen hundred pounds and you know a tuned version Aluminum v eight. That's good for something. Yeah anywhere from one hundred eighty five if it had cam it'd be like two twenty five horsepower. I mean it was literally the same as a two sixty or stock early to eighty nine Cobra but it had more creature comforts albeit albeit not mentioned then the cobras did and I mean it was just it was basically a British hot rod. That's right but it became a production car and demand was was unbelievable for it. They actually built that version using the aluminum. V Eight which became from General Motors. They sold the rights. It's to Land Rover Range Rover. They built that engine through about ninety three. BMW Range Rover. They decided to use their own V gate which was too large to fit in the Morgan. Hence the Ford v six evolved but for thirty five years. That was the primary selling Morgan Automobile Automobile. Things evolved in terms of quality. Control the quality of paying leathers used assembly using stainless steel. Instead of you know very thin chrome them having galvanized Jesse's instead of just ham paid to Jesse's and it became a much much better corden quote modern car. In fact when I met You I bought my thirty thirty fifth anniversary which was a two thousand three model last of the Mohicans. Were a modern relic. If I mean it was it was like driving a corvette of of the ill AC- to absolutely CNC to live axle. And just this really great. V8 Gate that had monstrous work. You hardly ever had shifted if you want to plenty of horsepower. Me Great rumbling sounds great acceleration ratio. I mean it was a workhorse engine that with almost never wear out. It was just mother in the missions and the lack of as I mentioned Morgan. Having mentioned available Wolfram Range Rover are the more that had them change engines. But that's right so that let poor little dinosaur when extinct but replaced by some pretty exciting cars you talked about the roadster which came came afterward with a Ford v six by dental and appearance for all intents and purposes all of a sudden after the e six roadster comes this thing at least in the Morgan Universe that looked like it came from outer space. The Arrow eight. What was that? That was an attempt by Morgan. Charles Morgan's design gene tells the grandson of the founder. HMS Is that right in his cage. HFS was the founder. He was originally a bicycle design. They're trained in railroad engineering as most people of his generation were who were very well educated and interested in engineering hiring and that evolved into building his own bicycle company he then became an agent for three other manufacturers not British and he became the bus depot in malvern and maintain all the all the bus lines. But he had this dream and from the idea of you've motorized bicycles became the three wheeler his son. Peter worked with them at the factory. HFS died in fifty nine. Peter took over and I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with Peter Back in ninety nine hours as host for the ninetieth anniversary of Morgan celebrations at Pebble. Beach lasted lasted about a week. And I wore the poor guy out but I just heard marvelous marvelous stories. You'll be telling me how he and his father would fight. have these like almost knock down drag out arguments at the factory over the future cars and I mean the stories were just absolutely wonderful and he ran the company until he brought Charles Charles had been a cameraman for the BBC during the Afghan Russian war and was a war correspondent and cameraman cameraman. There was under fire. I mean just amazing stuff. He's a bit of a swashbuckler. I know when we met. I had a chance to meet him. I was impressed with his character and his charisma. In a he's what you would expect. And he's not but he is characteristics or like British royalties very tall then very elegant and I and very young appearing long arms and legs gestures and he's great on camera because of his television background it marvelous spokesman for the company and he was managing director for many many years with Peter Coming to his office every day working. But letting Charles take over then they were argue fears and then unfortunately be there passed away in two thousand and two and Charles took over and now the company has a whole board award that basically runs it. But the Arrow eight was Charles's dream to build a lightweight ultra-modern sports car with almost formula. One derives suspension a much higher performance. BMW V eight engine. All aluminum chassis aluminum suspension mention bodywork and still had the aesthetic characteristics of a Morgan. But as if it were catapulted into the twenty first century well which it was the it was actually a modern outhern drop head which was one of the body styles in there that did not have cut away doors and it had a folding top instead of top you got out directed and then folded ended up and throw it in the back it went through a bunch of soybean the initial ones the windshields cracked. They would leak like sieves along the top the windshield just sorting problems but aesthetically. It was it was a really really striking car. performance wise. It was unbelievable. Abe went through about eight generation's over twenty years and eventually became probably about the most popular car the most successful car that mortgage mortgage bill despite most Morgan dyed in the wool. Lifelong enthusiasts saying that's not a mortgage. But what you discover for is that that's the same thing that was said when the four wheeler was brought out in one thousand nine hundred thirty six isn't that it's got four wheels. It's not a Morgan isn't us us working on That's not a more it. Just every generation is just imbued with a love of what they either have or want and they tend to look backwards you talked about the BMW relationship. As I understand it and correct me if I'm wrong when Charles Morgan and Karl Heinz called fell of BMW a Rolls Royce and BMW. Were racing and side-by-side Paddock's conversation ensued and the topic of engines. Came up and all of a sudden. BMW was talking to Morgan but being a supplier. Is that correct. Yeah and I've been with girls when like the then president of -ality walked up to us and and said to Charles IV onto by many of your Arrow Chelsea's to build a sports car around it and I well that's great and Charles looked at him said knowing Elon. We'll ever say Morgan Chassis. Other than more getting on a car so BMW MW and Morgan. It was Negga today the BMW power plants are are really remarkable things the V8's are compact and small and of course inline sixes are small to and and maybe with that you want to talk about the new Morgan's that are being proposed. We all know. BMW Engineering's is among the finest if not the finest in the world. There Assembly techniques attention to quality is perhaps unsurpassed using those engines in a superlightweight car like Morgan really fascinated the people at BMW especially motor sports. They brought out the Z eight at about the same time that Morgan brought out the air they did they did. And the Z eight weighs about eleven hundred pounds more even with its. It's aluminum chassis and aluminum body. It's just it's a big car compared to the mortgage and they were very disappointed. BMW engineers when they. I saw the Morgan. They were disappointed in their Z eight. They thought it was just a big old hauge card so they wanted to cooperate making clear that they both use the same. V8 injured there. Were fascinated with you. Know Morgan how they develop things in house and they really at that time. That they didn't have any cad designers designers they really only have one designer but again going back to the BMW engines. What Morgan has just started building and introduced to the world is called the plus plus six? It looks like traditional Morgan ever so slightly a couple of nuance of squarer angles. But to the newcomer you. Let's say that there virtually identical but it uses an all alloy chassis uses all alloy suspension integrated into the Jesse. It used a state of the New York for we'll just brakes and eight speed. CF and incredible in line. Six Twin Turbo de tuned in for engine and I had the privilege to drive. I've one last time I was at the factory about three months ago. And all I can tell you. It's just an amazing car in terms of performance. It's it's comfortable. It's got more room than the V six or the plus eight had not a huge amount more in but it makes a difference once. You're inside the car. The quality is second to none and materials the assembly. I mean it's a breathtaking car the drive and I I really think it'll be the equivalent or is the equivalent of almost any sports car in the world in terms of performance characteristics. Speaking to taken around the block. Let's take a break and when we come back we'll talk to Dennis about what it's it's like to drive some of his Morgan's driving that based on not just on the street but on the track we'll be right back sometimes. The exceptional title is not the biggest budget. Sometimes the exceptional is someone's ability to actually take their soul and printed on the screen for a moment. Learn everything that there is to how about the filmmaking process I think part of art is hearing from the artists who create a number of different visions a number of different qualifications that have to go into making any film is insurmountable and hearing those stories can be just as exciting and insightful as the himself certain movies or certain scores certain actors have shape you too. I am as a person of such appreciation for the things that people produce and the work that goes into whether it's the writer who came up with the story in general or how the film makers were able to take that from the age and put it onto screen and then from the actors themselves who are able to kind of bring that all to life. That is what I want to hear because it makes me love my my favorite movies even more. I'm Scott to law. If you love movies like I do. You're going to love. Hollywood unscripted Eh. Wherever you get your podcasts Hi My name. Is Chris Porter from one. Last night left the show. You've been listening. Thing too is sponsored by proud stores water. That only do they distribute their water in these stylish recyclable aluminum bottles but the water itself is sustainably sourced and naturally filter proud there's water believes in the ripple effect that one person's actions can impact the world for the better. You do your part and I do mine and maybe come out better than we started so go to. Crowd Outsource Water Dot Com to learn more about the company their vision and their water. Leave the world better than you found it. Drink crowd source water. Welcome back this talking talking about driving those Morgan's it's not just a car. You drive on the street but they were big and continue to be big in vintage motor sport. I know you participate in that quite a bit with a few cars. I tell us about those personally. have run to flat Red Morgan's for about twenty eight years. I stopped racing about two years ago. Brad meaning the flat radio station integration. Before they got that kind of little round radiator in front exactly the the plus four's were built with a flat raid starting in late nineteen fifty through nineteen. fifty-three my own not so illustrious vintage race career I did the Carrera Panamericana in Mexico three times in the flat red had flat rate either Morgan plus four that we called the flying haggis. You're familiar with the guy that I'm familiar with that delicacy see and I use that with large air quotes around it. I believe on is actually served. The annual Morgan meet with great pomp and ceremony. But yes the flying lying half us. I I've seen the car of course and that was quite a machine. Well we transported to Mexico to Tuke slow laggy tiers the first a starting point for that was the eight race and the Mexican transport there that brought down rolled and crashed outside Guadalajara Lahara and burned to the ground and six of the cars burned to the ground. And we're there day after day waiting to find out what two cars burned to the ground and then we suddenly got word that the Hudson didn't burn and the Morgan partially burned a truck arrives and all the career pen America all the livery every on cars all bubbled the one side of the car from the heat from other cars and the wood framing that is broken in half on just absolutely in half half so that when you drive the car and go around the corner the would that the wheel wells are made of rubs against the inside of the tire. And you get. This is wonderful symphony. Dispel of racquet rubber so we raised it and it never failed us. We finished sixth in class. The interiors missing from the car. Celica what are we going to do because the only thing behind the seat BAC DOC is a one by one piece of wood. which is your seat back adjustment so we had no seat back and no cushions? There were just two would boxes and we just stole about six or seven pillows from the hotel. We're staying at and sat on those strapped ourselves. strep them under stress pictures of this fiasco because it just sounded amazing. And you get hazard pay for even thinking about enduring enduring. That can't coming in six classes as it was great. That is absolutely great and we ran that same car. We fixed the chassis and never never fixed the pay. That was kind of a souvenir. That's right and ran it the next two years and never not finished. I mean I don't even remember where we placed in the automobile. Minore the little cars class but we had some incredible races with other fellow from pink. Floyd Nick Mason. He had a A launch we could pull them in the coroner's but he had a higher top end. We'd go down these like ten mile long straightaways and he'd be just inching inching inching. Go go past us a very slowly disappear. And the last leg on the last day was about twenty five mile straightaway and it was just pedal pedal to the metal the hallway. And we're just stay right on the crown of the center of the road case. You Wander something coming along and we're just doing one fifteen. The car became an aerodynamic brick at that speed. Of course read it. And there's an Armadillo just I'm very slowly not going to be yelling get get. Luckily we avoided him. He avoided US safely. And the best part is what do we come. Nick Mason broken down I man alive he should have been in his two fifty. GTO that might have been the only way to escape you for good. Well I guess the Morgan stories just are almost endless because the characters it on. These cars are endless like I essay. I mean when I used to join the club for some of the annual dinners and whatnot. Time at some of the biggest characters of any car club ever met my life and certainly probably know him all. Yeah we've had some amazing experiences and I was in northern California Morgan Club for still in it but I was an active member when I lived there for about thirty years and now I'm down here. The last twenty years but the characters were just amazing and just the experiences reince is that a lot of the three wheeler guys. Were kind of the British. Hells Angels of the club except it was without no drugs going to take that back. Yes there were guns and I mean just the things they would do. They'd Outrun police through neighborhood. I mean it was kind kind of silly stuff. And one of the characters were at the Casa Moon Ross was our base and it was also the base for the Aston Martin guys and their wives. But that's a different crowd but they helped us and and this is the early days when Guys Drome D. before is Deby fives sixes there before before was just an old used car. Yeah I mean they were just a big lump engine. So we're in the bar of the cost of moon. Ross the Aston Guys Morgan guys. Some role telling lies to each other fishing stories and one of the fellows with us was John. coombs John coombs have been kicked out of Kingland. He was a dwarf little person and his father was Clary coons Clary coons was considered the world's greatest expert on F type type three wheelers and had bought one new and that was his everyday car until he passed away in the late nineties. Fat Claridon even have a a telephone in the rural area. He got that in the mid nineties trying to modernize his life but any the reason John was kicked out of England and was that John Love to drink and being small as was he couldn't hold his liquor at all and everyone knew it and all he wanted onto the do was fight so his kind of caretaker and fellow imbiber carried a chrome forty five strapped to his ankle for God knows what reason just because he thought it was cool. Whatever it was kind of a wild man and John is standing on the Barstool obviously had way too much drink says to the bartend? GimMe another Irish whiskey and the bartender says. Hey you're cut off buddy the and John just gonNa kind of and you turn around and there's this dwarf running down the top of the bar leaps it gets the bartender by the throat and starts choking him screaming anyone's more booze and that's a mortgage Owner and then his protector Cohen. Beiber pulls out his forty five runs and grabs John under his arm and runs out the back door. Well the bartender at called the police they were there in minutes. The Astor Morton guys guys were all leaning against the front door. Keeping the police insurance. John made a getaway. Sounds like up. Peter Sellers comedy by the way in which he drove a three wheeled mortgage four wheeler own. Also what's he really the benefits of being famous us like us but the fact is the cars have been owned by a lot of famous people and a lot of people that no one's ever heard of and yet they all share the same experiences day. It's just the love of life. Yeah it really is I mean just. There's something about the car that absolutely no other car in the world has almost it gets in your DNA. You'll never sell a Morgan and be happy sold it. I have literally never I've sold thousands of Morgan's in the last forty forty eight eight years. I have never bought when they're taking trade from somebody that's a just in like it never. Yeah that's right. I really ever sold mine back back to you. And I'm going to remedy that mistake as soon as the new plus sixes here Oregon does get in your blood under your skin all the kinds of things that in the same way that a a big Harley v twin or a Porsche nine eleven gets under an enthusiasts scan and once you've had one of those ridden one driven one you just you can't ever kind of not have Have One. Let's imagine for a minute that you could have any three cars cost and rarity be damned. What what would you want? Well there are the production adoption cars. And then they're the de la creme cars. I'd probably want to fifty GTO or a series to to fifty in GTO The notchback notchback. I actually sold one of those. You really for fourteen thousand dollars. The heavens you you you you robbed them off to a fellow named Bob Epstein Bob would drive a car back then it was just the inception of the collector car market. It wasn't a really people like the looks of the the series one more so these were less expensive. I mean it was just like four. Twenty seven's a lot of people say. Oh It's do bulbous. The two eighty nine is the perio real. But Yeah Bob who lives in L. A. and was driving a TR. Three last time. I saw him instead of the four Hundred Twenty seven at Sea Cobra he bought from us and then the two fifty series as do GTO. But I mean it was just amazing. The cars we had MUIRA s one of my best friends up north. Who now lives in the trailer park here up on Heaven? Right above the Beach Zuma here he came in and he said God you've got that restored. SV MIRA and he says that's let me tell you that's a car I've always wanted. Let's go for a drive. If I like it I'll take it. Let's great so we pulled it out and we're driving and of course his knees up high and he's leaning back and the carburetors Marie. There's are doing their thing inches from the backyard. Yeah and it's just drilling through his head. I loved it but he said this is the most uncomfortable uncomfortable guard I've ever met in my life. How does that he would drive this thing right? That's the beauty of it. You know it's all it's all it's all animal it's all machine it's all I said. It's all about the experience. Nothing no other car in the world. Looks like this. Feels like this and get used Danny. Driving the way the mirrors have such a following. And he just he passed and I'm sure he's thought about many many times. He's on anything he wanted. But I'm sure he's thought about about that more than once. In retrospect that's pretty funny so you got okay. Let's imagine you've got that Ferrari in the stable pick two more probably either in X. K.. ESERA ASU D type JAG. That's hard to beat either. The we sold a couple of those Eddie. Really the Steve McQueen. Oh Peterson now. Yeah that's us in the Peterson Museum. Right Richard Freshman own that for years. So he's out in Chatsworth right right and he couldn't get it's old. I mean he advertised is differ like two years one could have a more modern type even shipped it to a potential buyer in Europe. Just if if you like it by it if you don't ship bagging guy shipped back amazing. Yeah again the status that they were just old used cars the word no collector cars except some pre war stuff you know the same guys usually sell him they were mostly all in a three. Okay so you got a Jagannath Ferrari rounded out one of my favorite every cars and I've owned three of them. It's not that valuable but in terms of just a delight and exciting encor drive is loathe say lawns sprint. Drop it. Yeah what a beautiful. Just I mean the steering you exhale. Xl and you're changing lanes right and the acceleration. I mean you're this tiny little cockpit. Kinda like Morgan in a lot of ways almost like a racecar. You just cramped in it but it is so direct all your senses are activated driving it. I mean it's absolutely brilliant. Really thrilling little core paperweight construction. Shell construction that's right and one of my favorite things about it was it had power or windows were standard after the first year in car like that. It's not the power windows but it was the owner's manual. When you looked up power windows Zain had operate them and it said under in big letters under no circumstances ever attempt to activate both power windows Zazi courageous? They should've put the drying of nuclear nuclear. The the entire electrical system would melt down with all that current running through it. What a great story? Well I'm sure we need to make a fourth space to put a Morgan in the garage because every garage needs one. Data says fun having you here. I really appreciate your coming by and spending time with our audience and introducing for to mark that they should know more about thank you thank you. Thanks to the dentist Gladys Morgan West and Santa Monica for joining me today on cars matter come back next time as we continue to talk about the passions the drivers and the passions as we drive in this episode was hosted by Robert Ross produced by Chris Porter sound engineering by Michael Kennedy theme. Mm Song by Celestin Dick Edited by. Aj Moseley recorded Kurkova Malibu podcast studios additional music and sound like Chris Porter tune into cars no matter wherever you rub up at casts. I'm Robert Ross. Thanks for listening. Comb media media for your mind.