North Texas University, Denton, Texas, 1965. Heartbroken, after running off my high-school sweetheart, envious met her new flame, a boisterous trumpet player driving a red MGB.
Shortly thereafter when crazy Becky Jarvis said, “You ought to get a Morgan.” I said huh? And then …
I bought a Morgan Motor Car in Dallas from a garage guy named Big John, who imported them and raced them. This one was blue, with tan upholstery and black top. Three thousand dollars.
Built with a wooden frame atop a steel z-frame, whatever that might be. The whole car flexed. Weighted 1400 pounds and had a 1.5 liter engine, hopped-up Ford Cortina with Lotus modifications, Jaguar trannasaurus, ran like hell, whining high-pitched, a redline at 9000. About four inches from the ground. That would be your butt, flying above your asphalt.
The first night, driving it home, in the dark, was terrifying. It was so fast. Seemed like piloting the bolt from a crossbow, rocketing down that dark backwoods highway. Later discovered it had the wrong speedometer; and my highway trip at 65 was really around 90. It did seem sprightly.
The jack arrangement was to insert the jack through a hole in the floor. This hole normally was covered by the rubber floor mat. However, on rainy Dallas days I have seen the puddle splash up through the hole, lifting the floor mat, to spash against the windshield, on the passenger side. Kind of a defroster system.
Paul Miner drew up cartoons of our gang at that time. Mine was ‘Richard, the sports car nut’. It showed me in riding pants, saying “Of course, she won’t start on cold mornings, but at $2999, she can afford to be a little temperamental.”
Paul was right on the money. One of my proudest moments at that time was during an astounding snowstorm. On Dallas freeway and headed back to Denton, I let the air out of the tires down to about 15 pounds. Then, my 1400 pound car could walk up the icy hills where the big sedans just skidded and spun. Got me through. Good thing. That heater. I probably would have died out there.
A year or so later, living in Dallas in an apartment rented from Dunia Bean, which had a swimming pool, driving to work at the Cabana. And a fool oncoming lost it and bent my car. That was the end of the Morgan.
Regarding that swimming pool. It had an underwater light. Have you ever, at night, on LSD, opened your eyes underwater to look at a light? No? Well, that Morgan was something.