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First and foremost, I hope this finds everyone well and equally, a thank you for all the great info found here!

Certified car crazy and have and still work in the automotive industry for almost 25yrs.

Short Version:

I am in the initial stages of looking into getting a Chesil Speedster build started. While I am relatively ok with turning a wrench, I don't have the room to build my own so should I decide to pull the trigger I will go for the turn key option.  

It's my understanding that Chesil is the best one can get in the UK hence going this route. Factory visit/tour booked for the 23rd!

Long Version

Cars have been a massive part of my personal and professional life.  I am Canadian born and raised and worked with almost every OEM in the US and Canada before taking a job at VW in Germany.  A few years later I was offered an opportunity in the UK and did another move. The last 9 years have seen me running car configurators and currently doing this for Bentley.

Shortly after arriving in the UK I realised I was smack in the middle of the most fantastic country side and the hunt for a weekend car started.  Happy to share more info on how I got to where I did, but settled on a Morgan 4/4 and was lucky to snag an 80th Anniversary Edition.  Seeing as I work within vehicle commissioning I wanted a brand that would allow me to do this.  A Bentley was way too out of my budget!

The whole commissioning experience was beyond amazing and being able to pop into the factory at key stages to see my build was fantastic. I even got to sign the ash frame! (chassis is metal by the way )

I've done the same with a Porsche 718 GTS bar visiting the factory and the Porsche seed is duly planted.  I've always lusted over Porsche and more so the vintage side.

Having been to the NEC Classic Motor Show and spending time around a few replica Speedsters, I thought it's time to think seriously about pulling the trigger.  

The 356 would take the place of the Morgan and some big shoes to fill. While I know there isn't as much coachwork involved in a 356, the quality of what work is in place is paramount.  The Morgan is viewed as a 'kit' by those who don't know the brand but if you do, it's not.  

A very interesting video showing an 80th being built. Morgan 4/4 80th

For a longer video which nails what drew me to Morgan : Morgan and Balvenie

Part of me is hoping to be unimpressed with my upcoming visit lol but truth be told, I am already busy deciding on my spec. Truly hope the visit goes well and the car in the flesh and the factory tick all the boxes.  

The Morgan, while based on tech that is 100 years old, has been beyond reliable.  The engine is a simple ford unit and a Mazda MX-5 gearbox, but suspension, body construction etc is Edwardian at best hehe

Should there be anyone in Cheshire with a Chesil, I would love to meet up! Or any input on Chesil would be greatly appreciated.   I've read most of what's on here but there hasn't been much on Chesil lately.  

Apologies for my long winded intro! A few pics of Oliver during and after build.  

Thanks for reading,

Perry

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Original Post

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Interesting story,  from one  Canadian to another.  You've certainly had a varied and interesting automotive career.  That Morgan is a very sweet car, and I'd be thinking long and hard about trading it for a replica speedster, but I've always admired Morgans, so I am a tad biased.

I don't think many of us here know much about Chesil speedsters, other than in passing - a glance at some other speedster sites has meant I am familiar with the name, but nothing beyond that.

Good to see you here. 

Is there any chance of both, Perry?

I love my speedster, but that Morgan is special. I'd agree with the peanut gallery - hang onto it until you are well and completely over it.

I've always said that if there is any other car that will scratch the itch - buy (or keep) that other thing. No matter what replica you get, you'll end up with something that is compromised. There is no perfect replica.

@CurbKiller HI!  And welcome to our Madness!

You can do a search for other site members near you (even near Cheshire!) by using the member search function:

1.  Click on "Members" in the black menu line at the top of the page

2.  Over on the right side, find and click on "Advanced Member Search"

3.  Scroll down a bit and click on "Search By Geographical Data (Postal Code and Country)..."

4.  Choose your country, enter your postal code and choose a radius to search from you.

5.  Skip the "Member of Role" ('cuz I don't even know what that means....)

6.  choose between "List" or Map" at the arrow on the right of the Show Results drop down.

7.  Hold your breath and hit "Search" to see the results.  

There are a few UK Speedster folks on here, kind of scattered around, so someone may show up near you.  Try different search parameters as I never seem to get it to work properly on the first try or two.

Good luck, and I'm in the "Keep the Morgan" camp.  That car is gorgeous!

.

@CurbKiller

Risking attack from all sides, I'll venture a semi-informed opinion.

I've owned a 'lower end'  Speedster for almost eight years now. I use the term 'lower end' reluctantly (and without consulting counsel), but my older VS was built in haste and with more an eye towards price than Speedsters from some more up-market shops.

I have no experience with Chesils, but from reading reports here by owners who join us from time to time, my impression is that build quality is somewhat less than my VS. (Again, my general impression, and without advice from counsel.)

I've never driven a modern Morgan (if it can be said there is such a thing), but I have visited the Malvern works, taken the tour, and spent a few hours watching them being built.

So, with little hands on experience and making many assumptions, my feelings are that you should definitely hang on to the Morgan until you've driven a newer Chesil. I think the build quality of the Morgan - especially the finish - is likely to be higher than the Chesil. The suspension and handling of the Chesil are probably at least as 'Edwardian' as the Morgan. And the drivetrain of the Morgan is almost certainly stronger, smoother, more drivable, and much easier to maintain, with high quality OEM parts still readily available in the UK, and experienced service folks everywhere.

There seems to be an inexhaustible demand for new Morgans in the UK (last reports I saw were that the works can't keep up with it), while I'd doubt that's the case for Chesils.

It could be that Chesil build quality has improved since Westfield took over, but I'd want to drive a new one and talk to an owner or two before letting the Morgan go.

Good luck, and please keep us informed of how things work out for you.

.

Last edited by Sacto Mitch

First and foremost, thank you All for the kind comments about my MOG and replies in general. All input and views are greatly appreciated.

To avoid a long string of quotes, I'll try by best to provide input on all questions.

Having Both

I wish I could have both but currently that isn't an option. I've got the Morgan and a Porsche Boxster GTS that I got just last year and adding a third toy isn't do-able. Budget won't allow and garage space. Houses here in the UK rarely have a two car garage and a single one that fits a car is deemed a luxury!

General Views of Morgan

If you have watched the Balvenie video link, you will have gotten a sense of the craftsmanship that goes into a 4/4.  The gent who commented about measuring twice and cut once is the main installer of the convertible tops and was lucky to be paying a visit as he was putting the finishing touches on mine. The older gent, Taff, who talked about retirement installed the carpets and centre tunnel coverings and again, happened to be there when it was being finalised.  So for me at least, it wasn't just a bespoke car but a very personalised journey and made to feel 'part of the extended Morgan family.'

I have to say, the day I drove it home was VERY anti-climatic. I think I had more fun commissioning it and visiting the factory than I did getting my hands on it. lol

Take away the warm and fuzzy parts of a historic brand and what I mentioned above and a Morgan is a bit of a mixed bag. My snag list to get it right was long, it's not exactly the most comfortable car to drive, limited in many ways and some aspects scream 'car built in a shed' mantra. 

But on a perfect day and paint gleaming, the view down the long bonnet and a favourite country road erases all the shortcomings.

It is a pleasure to own and humbled to be the custodian of it but I am also pragmatic about how I use it.  A visit to a car meet or pub on a sunny afternoon.

While the car is simple in design and engineering, there is a lot that can wear and needs constant tinkering. Greasing the suspension, lubricating the beading between body panels, bee's wax or Vaseline the cloth stripes that sit between the bonnet and body etc.

Chesil

From the research I've done, it's them or Pilgrim and from a few people I've spoken to, the Chesil is the better built unit.  I'm told I could have a build slot in 7 months with Pilgrim offering one in 22 months!

My visit to the factory will 100% help me see for myself on what this is all about.

As I only use my 4/4 for the odd car club meet, visiting a pub or a short blast down a country lane to enjoy the sun, I figured a 356 can fill those needs and provide something different look/feel wise.

General Replica

A few comments were made concerning these not being reliable. I know an air-cooled engine will need to be maintained to ensure longevity but I am perhaps being foolish in thinking that because the car will be for the most part complied of all new parts, that I wouldn't have too much to worry about.

I know a Speedster won't have the level of hand craftsmanship that goes into a Morgan but in my view, they truly are stunning and from the few video's on youtube, they are calling out to me loudly!

I fully respect that comments made that Morgan is a historic brand and in the end, the Chesil is a copy, but the one thing I've learned over all this Covid madness is YOLO. 

Looking forward to my factory visit more now than ever which will help me make an informed decision. I am bringing a friend who was given strict instructions that under no circumstances am I to put a deposit down.

Sorry again for the long winded reply.

Hope this find you well

Perry

Perry - I have been fortunate enough to drive both a Morgan (+8 owned by a friend's family since new) and a Speedster replica (my '06 Beck) back-to-back, so I think I can offer a reasonably accurate comparison.

  • Comfort: The Beck wins.  Its ride is smoother and it is considerably roomier, although some of that is due to the tube frame.  A Chesil, on a VW pan, will be a bit less roomy, but should still be more spacious than the Morgan.
  • Practicality: Ok, I must be crazy to even bring this up as neither are practical.  Both leak when it rains and neither has much luggage space.
  • Handling: Tough to say, as neither drives like a modern car.  Steering was lighter in the Speedster, but a bit more precise in the Morgan.  Handling was different between the two, but in the short drive I had in the Morgan I can't really offer much of an opinion here.  You'll have to ask yourself whether you prefer front or rear engine characteristics.  The Speedster can be a bit tail-happy if one doesn't remember the adage "Don't lift!"
  • Power: The Morgan, hands down, despite the 120-ish bhp in my Beck.  It's not a valid comparison to your car, though, as my friend's car was originally the more powerful +8.  I say "originally" because after fighting overheating problems in the South Carolina summers he finally gave up and had it converted to a Pontiac Solstice DOHC 4-cyl/5-speed configuration a number of years ago by Isis Motors on the west coast.  The Pontiac engine has more power and gets much better mileage than the original Rover V8, and the 5-speed helps immensely.  My Beck was pretty quick in its own right, but the Morgan wins this one.
  • Reliability: The Morgan has been pretty much bullet proof since the engine swap.  My Beck was generally reliable as well, with the exception of the Weber carbs, which can be finicky.  Still, I had little hesitation to take trips >1000 miles in it.

In reviewing what I have written I would imagine that none of this is particularly helpful, but maybe it will offer some food for thought.  Either will provide a lot of fun, along with the vintage experience.

@CurbKiller

Perry wrote: "a Morgan is a bit of a mixed bag. My snag list to get it right was long, it's not exactly the most comfortable car to drive, limited in many ways and some aspects scream 'car built in a shed' mantra. "

You know, it sounds exactly like you're describing most of the Speedsters out there on either side of the pond.  LOL

Hey, BTW:  Have you seen some of our Speedster/Spyder/MG/etc gathering videos?  There are four or more of them here and more from MUSBJIM's channel:

https://studio.youtube.com/cha...A%22DESCENDING%22%7D

@CurbKiller posted:


Morgan is a bit of a mixed bag. My snag list to get it right was long, it's not exactly the most comfortable car to drive, limited in many ways and some aspects scream 'car built in a shed' mantra.

Welcome Perry! While most of us on this side of the pond revere the Morgan, we recognize that the madness is personal. We want what we want. Pursue your dream and we will help as much as we can.

Just to clarify one point, a car that screams 'built in a shed' will never compare to a car built in a 'tarp shed' 😀.

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Enjoy!

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