I should sell her of course.
Most years we do a couple of thousand miles. Some years – like this one – we only manage a few hundred. Truth to tell, most of the time she’s tucked away in a barn. She’s expensive to keep and not the greenest car in the world.
I should sell her but I can’t bring myself to let her go.
RX05 NFN is the third Morgan I have owned (cared for/loved/shared my life with). Hand built to a unique specification 9 years ago in a small family-owned factory in the Malverns, the 3.0 litre V6 Roadster represents everything I love about British engineering at its quirky, soulful best.
It’s cobbled together from bits left over from more sophisticated production cars. It has neither power steering nor sensible suspension; any bump in the road bigger than a cat’s eye threatens to rip out the sump; moving the gear lever an eighth of an inch too far to the left will find reverse rather than first (causing some traffic-light getaways to be less than impressive); and the cockpit is cramped and leaks like a sieve in heavy rain.
I could go on but I won’t because she’s perfect.
A dab on the throttle at almost any speed will press you back into the ox hide seat; a touch of the brakes will slow her down reassuringly quickly; a flick on the steering wheel will magically change lanes or pull her effortlessly round a tight corner. She’s a driver’s car not a family saloon (did I mention no boot?) and she loves the open road. On a sunny day, with the top down and the exhaust crackling and popping with each gear change as you devour the miles, it’s impossible to wipe the smile off your face.
But that’s not why I love her.
My dad flew Lancaster bombers during the war (though ironically he died before he had the chance to take his driving test so he never drove a car). Sometimes, when I strap myself into the driver’s seat, I imagine him climbing into the cockpit beside me, a middle-aged version of his 28 year old former self.
He turns to me with a grin: “Right son,” he says. “Let’s go.”
I turn on the ignition and pretend that I’m firing up the four 27 litre V12 Merlin engines that he was used to. He gives me a thumbs-up and puts his arm around my shoulders. We look ahead, over the long, louvered bonnet. I open up the throttle and we roar off down the road: 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120.
“Rotate,” says my phantom passenger. I pull back on the steering wheel and we lift off together into the dreaming skies.
It’s the closest I can get to him and it’s almost enough.
Of course I can’t let her go.
[Picture Credit: Chris Seeley, Pyrenees 2005]