Morgan 4/4 Sports Car in Dubai 1981

We moved to Dubai in 1971. 1976 I decided to fulfill a long held wish to own a Morgan 4/4 Sports Car. So I wrote to Morgans in Malvern UK asking to place an export order. After initially refusing ("We don't take orders from individuals") they eventually accepted my order plus 500 UK Pounds deposit.
Five years later Morgans wrote to me saying my Morgan was about to be built!

Len Chapman

Buying a Morgan 4/4 Sports Car

I had ticked all "optional accessory" boxes on the Order Form-Ferrari Red with wirewheels, leather upholstery, spotlights, a badge bar and, of course, a leather bonnet strap. Once delivery was confirmed, I arranged to collect my Morgan during my forthcoming UK annual leave. I had to collect my Morgan 4/4 from Morgan's Factory in Malvern UK in person, which was not Morgans' usual practice. My family drove me to the factory at Malvern. At the Factory Gatehouse. I asked where I had to go to collect my Morgan. They didn't know! Eventually a brown envelope arrived containing the car keys plus a piece of paper to sign. No formal handing over ceremony after a six year wait! I was directed to where all new Morgans are parked before delivery. As an afterthought they asked "Do you want to see round the factory?" Of course we did! So off we went on an unescorted tour of the factory.

Morgan Cars Factory Tour

Morgan's factory comprised a series of wooden floored warehouses with each warehouse dedicated to a particular task. There was no automation of course - everything was hand made by men in workcoats, mostly smoking a cigarette- but on the other hand it did not seem well organised. Cars in various states of build were everywhere. There was no obvious order to the way these cars were built.

Click Image for Factory Tour

After our Factory Tour, I found my Morgan 4/4 then, with the hood down of course, my daughter and I drove out of the factory! The gearbox was so tight I could hardly get it into gear let alone change gear. The Morgan's steering was incredibly stiff and heavy that I needed muscles of steel to turn corners. But it was fun. We encountered a traffic jam in Malvern. The Policeman controlling the stationary traffic came across to talk us about our new Morgan - he knew more about my Morgan than I did and gave me more information than the Morgan Factory had!! Welcome to Morgan Ownership! Later I shipped the car to Dubai.

My Morgan 4/4 in Dubai

Obstacles in my way and Police Curiosity

Initially driving the Morgan 4/4 in Dubai was fun. Favourite drive was across to the East Coast early morning - with the hood down it was magical. But one Friday morning we encountered new road humps at Masafi - not ordinary road humps but mini mountain road humps made from old oil pipes. These humps were about 6 inches high - cars had to stop and then carefully ease their way over the hump - most cars that is - but not my Morgan! My Morgan had 4 inches ground clearance so driving over these humps was impossible. We turned and went home.

Dubai Traffic Police always took a keen interest in my Morgan, periodically I would be waved to the roadside by a Police Patrol to be told I was speeding when I knew I wasn't! After the usual introductory conversation they would ask "What car is it?" "Where did it come from?" "How much it cost?". They had really stopped me to find out out about my Morgan. I was never given a Speeding Ticket!

My Morgan on the Road

A favourite run to Fujeirah Hilton via Masafi. CLICK IMAGE for MORE

My Flying Morgan 4/4

My Morgan was used less and less. At the same time Jumeirah Beach Road's sand and salt laden atmosphere was attacking the Morgan's aluminium bodywork so I decided it was time to ship the car back to UK. The car for UK export so free of UK taxes. I had owned it outside UK for the stipulated 2 years so could now take it back into UK without paying any duties or taxes. Question was how to ship my Morgan to UK.

Morgan44 in Holland

My Dubai Travel Agent was also a Morgan Enthusiast so we often talked Morgans. I told him my intention to ship the Morgan back to UK. A week or so later he called to say Malaysian Airlines was opening a new Air Cargo Service between Dubai and Amsterdam. He could secure space on the inaugural flight on very good terms - dirt cheap in fact. So I booked the car as cargo and bought two passenger tickets for myself and my wife (it was annual leave time again). On departure day my wife and I took our economy class seats on the Malaysian Airlines Aircraft with my Morgan 4/4 was stowed securely in the hold.

Arriving at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, we made our way to the Air Cargo Section, cleared the car through Customs then went to collect the Morgan only to find it would not start. Condensation from being in the aircraft hold had swamped the car's electrics. We pushed the car into a nearby car park then sat and waited while the summer sun dried out the car. It eventually started and we spent the next few days driving around the Netherlands before taking the ferry to UK. Arriving at UK Customs I was able to answer the Customs Officer's question of "Anything to declare?" with "Yes, the car!" That didn't present a problem and soon we were driving to our UK home

I used the Morgan on our annual leaves for a couple of years but my Morgan did not like being left untouched for months at a time. Mechanical problems with brakes and clutch resulted from this inactivity so, reluctantly, I sold my Morgan 4/4 via my local garage. Who bought and where it is now I do not know.
I often wonder what the new Owner would think if he or she knew the Morgan's history!