Fourth Time Morgan Owners Participated in the Classic Motorshow
by Kari Nettamo
On May 4 and May 5, the Morgan Club of Finland (www.morganclubfinland.com) held the Classic Motor show event which was held in Lahti, Finland. This year’s theme was” Sports Cars.” In good conscience, we can say that our group was one of the show stoppers.
Risto Laine, founder and director of the show, talked about the events history. Contributors to Finland’s largest classic auto show event have been the U.K. and Milton Keynes. During the early 2000’s, Risto spent many years in Milton Kaynes. That time initial thoughts for an event in Finland focusing on classic cars and motorcycles, now expanded to all motorized vehicles, was born after familiarizing himself with what the U.K. had to offer. The first event in Finland was held in 2008 and in Lahti every year after. By Finnish standards, this is a monumental show with approximately 20,000 participants. In a country with 5 million residents, we can count this as an important achievement. In the U.K., it would equate to 240,000 participants based on their population. The event gathers a cross section of vehicles, from mopeds, to military tanks.
“The 5 Morgan Finnish Team”
The Finnish team was five Morgan cars strong. It was the 4th time our club participated in this annual event. A few of the vehicles were brought in with trailers because of poor weather conditions. Parts of Finland had snow fall before the event and the cars came from different parts of the country. The weather predictions were not favorable. The team met in Lahti on Friday, a day before the event began.
On display were older models including the 4/4 (1957), four-seater 4/4 (1987), Plus 8 (1982), 4/4 (1991), and the newer 4/4 (2011). Our goal was to tell a bit of Morgan’s history on a smaller scale and showcasing different options. Keeping the Morgan style in its original form was both a thing of wonder and admiration. In Finland, the number of Morgan’s is small, which meant that seeing them during the event was a positive new experience. Despite Morgan’s low visibility on Finland’s roads, there was a surprising number of attendees who knew about the car by name. Part of what contributed was this year’s display at the Whealer Dealer, where Edd China renovated an older Morgan. I big impact to the attendees was Morgan’s plant assistance for car repair. The conservation of original blueprints was phenomenon to them. The same went for spare part prices. Great advertising for Morgan’s! At the same time a stiff rumor about the wooden chassis was corrected – at least among the people watching Edd’s work. It may be the Finnish language which has caused this misunderstanding. The words chassis and frame are wrongly inverted and both words are understood as chassis. This was corrected more than twice. Unfortunately, our club members don’t have any of the pre-war Morgan’s, so the early parts of the car’s history were left untold. Not a huge problem when you’re talking about a Morgan!
Rough weather did not deter number of attendees
During the two-day raining event, there were 19,970 attendees which was a few hundred more than the previous year. The Morgan’s were on an open floor plan which meant visitors could study the cars in depth. Some of the sections with precious vehicles were roped off. In the Morgan section, young children were given the opportunity to sit in the driver’s seat while parents took photos for memories. Hopefully, this gives the young ones a spark to get into Morgan’s in the future after they are legal to drive. The childhood photo may make them buy a new Morgan in the future – Morgan’s will be the same style also in the future. Also, in attendance were the Morgan owners; club chairman Markku Junnila with wife Barbro and the gorgeous Plus 8, the group leader Pekka Vitikainen with his wife Kirsi Nykänen and the red 4/4, Sami Torvinen and the four door 4/4, Jouni Okko with the newer grey 4/4, and myself, Kari Nettamo, with the yellow 4/4. Finland’s most experienced restorer of Morgan’s, Markku Junnila, made an interesting presentation about the renovation of his car in different phases. The photo series rotated in front of his Morgan during the event. This vehicle was practically renovated from scratch. The results were astonishing, as if it had come from the manufacturing plant. Maybe even better! Any Morgan enthusiast can always get technical guidance from Markku, as I have many times in the past and will in the future.
Models from Different Eras
The oldest of the cars was Pekka Vitikainen’s 4/4 from 1957. Unfortunately. This car has visited the United States, and eventually through some deals, ended in Finland. The aforementioned Plus 8 was in rough shape when Markku purchase it. The car was found in Bewdley England in 2008. Markku tore it down and build it back up into its current condition. Many of the parts were made by him. One example of a unique part is the steering wheels middle part, which Markku produced himself. Also, he produced all of the leather interior, not to mention numerous technical parts in the car. The last piece of work he did was the power steering.
My yellow Morgan 4/4 has a newer 1.9-liter motor installed about five years ago. The car is still an RHD, because I went to get it from London three years ago, and I want to preserve its original British style. Last year, I had a power steering installed. Other than these changes, the car is pretty much in the same shape as it was in England minus some small improvements. The yellow color received some positive attention, which I was thankful for.
A four-seater 4/4 was brought into Finland as a test drive vehicle for a new dealer in 1986. For a brief period of time, Morgan imports were done by Besmec, Ltd. This particular vehicle was processed into the country in six months which was a fast delivery for Morgan’s. During this era, Morgan’s were sold in Finland through importers. Unfortunately, the low volume of sales resulted a disappointing momentum and Besmec discontinued representing Morgan’s. Regardless, this car stayed in Finland and its current owner is Sami Torvinen.
Our groups newest Morgan is from 2011, which owner Jouni Okko’s 4/4 was bought brand new to Finland. Before Jouni, it has only had one previous owner which means the mileage is very low. It comes as no surprise that this car is in outstanding condition.
At It Again Next Year
The plan is to exhibit our Morgan’s again next year. The goal is to spend more time which have more materials about their history and technical information during the event. To that end, we would welcome any ideas and lessons learned from other Morgan clubs that have participated in similar event. Spreading the positive information about our Morgan’s is something we can agree on.