REAR END COLLISION RISK (revisited May 2020)
by GoMoG (aka Lorne Goldman)

YES, it was my wife and I that went through the experience written of below. I have finally purloined John Mott's fine pdf article, copied below as a jpg. I haven't been near that article since it was posted 17 years ago. For the first few years, it would have brought back painful memories and after a while avoiding it became a habit. I can tell John (overdue) that I KNOW it has saved lives and Morgans, certainly more than I have been told of. I am also aware that the problem has caused others much sadness..and I only know of those that were able or willing to write me.

I would have left this all as it is after 18 years (this August) but some concerned friends told me that the incident and the article had been brought up on an anglo-Morgan forum and pointed me to it. Much of what I read was disheartening. One cannot save lives with silliness and half-truths. Only the person calling themselves TBM on that forum exchange makes much sense and wisdom. What is it about history that we all make it so wrong so quickly?!

Happily, the memory no longer causes me the same distress and I can add some relevant details to flesh it out. At the time, I was under a lot of pressure from important Morgan people NOT to write of the incident. But I figured my first loyalty is to other owners first and foremost.I even had one friend at the time who told me that he "drove a motorcycle and they were more dangerous than Morgans"!  But the inherent dangers of a motorcycle (making them a driver-accepted risk) are obvious and this Morgan issue is not. By the way, I begged my friend for 15 years to do something remedial, even offering to do it myself for luck.

I also was loathe to give anyone a problem without coupling it with a solution. Been at this stuff too long. So I waited sometime to get the facts and analysis from the experts while examining the car and the images taken, before and after. In the meanwhile, I had a racing fuel cell made for my new Morgan. With pressure of mates, the Factory had agreed immediately to make me a one-off under the same VIN number.. something only a manufacturer can do if there is proof of an accident and the destruction of the original chassis. That was a VERY exciting story all on its own!!! BTW, my bladder based foam-filled fuel cell was replaced last year by a stainless fuel tank I designed with the help of the very wonderful Peter Mulberry. I had it 
made at a local machine shop.

Which Morgans Are Effected

1. ALL Morgans with their handbrake actuator welded to the back of their axle. I believe that would be any four wheeler up to June 1993 when Bill Beck changed the rear brake systems and turned the rear drums upside down so that the hand brake actuator would face forward rather than point rearward at the adjacent tank.  However, I have found cars made after that date where the welded on actuator bracket is still there AFTER the brakes were changed to the later version Beck came up with..a transition period. I would check any car made up to a year after. Please note that those of us with Morgan bumpers overriders at the rear that they simply guide a rear impact more precisely towards the tank
. As well, the same disaster can happen when hit at the side of the car at the wheels as the puncture can occur with the tank being pushed into the axle or the axle being pushed into the tank.  

 POST 1993 HOWEVER, a similar problem was created even after Bill Beck's 1993 wisdom in this area when the Steve Morris era happened in production. (I do not blame could very well have occured without his knowledge or noticing it by those in the production department responsible for this area. Very often, in the communication between the Morgan development (aka design) department and production important elements are lost. This could likely be improved merely by explaining changes to line staff in production as Maurice Owen used to do! But enough of this old mans' rambling.) In a nutshell, the new system uses a splitter to run the brake fluid to each rear brake drum wheel cylinder. Rather than pointing this upward or towards the front of the car away from the fuel tank, they point it directly at the adjacent tank.  Makes absolutely no sense, but there you have it!  Perhaps it could be dangerous and perhaps not. Do not ask me to find out! See the image to the right. My solution here was merely to loosen the holding bracket and carefully angle the device upward..bending the metal brake line slightly. I figure (no guarrantees), that if the piece slams into the tank at an oblique angle, it will not pierce the tank as the old bracket did. I tightened the bracket only to the point that it will not move unless force is applied. 

2.  The posted implication on the noted forum that this disaster can only happen with those Morgans who have pushed their axles back to centre their wheels in the wheel well is ridiculous. Do not put your life in the hands of the people who suggest that! (shiver!)

3. The problem is made worse if:
                a. the tank is full to a point above the line of the hole the braket punches.
                b. speed of the impact is NOT a factor. We were hit at the rear by a small van travelling at an                         estimated 30 mph+ (it happened in the USA) However, I have seen the same puncture with                     a rear or side rear collision at a speed of as little as 5mph. To the left, is an example of                            another Morgan at 5mph collision with another car. The tear in the tank is the identical.

4. The problem can be made worse if the car has a rear mounted or intank electric fuel pump. There is always a chance that electric bumps keep working when they shouldn't.

5.  It is a given that the hoses, both from the filler and the fuel hoses will fall off on impact.

6. The problem is made worse if the car has no rear impact mitigation. These are only available on some overseas cars. I know of nosuch  mitigation on cars made after for the rest of the world. Please advise if something has changed in the last decade. .

7. The problem is made worse if you have a car with sharp forks holding the brake lines and pointing backwards. See image to the left.

8. A similar problem has continued after 1993 to this date.

My Solution

After painfully staring at that damn burned tank for the 2-3 months it took the Factory to recreate a new Morgan for me and for it to arrive in Canada, and after reading the police and accident experts' reports (it was a BIG claim), I realized what the easiest solution was. Not everyone is going to run out and spend $2-3 thousand on a made-to-measure racing cell! The Morgan tank had only been pierced at the protruding handbrake bracket, though it had been dented far deeper by the axle..WITHOUT A PUNCTURE! So if the actuator blow could be blunted, it seemed logical that a puncture would NOT occur. This has proven correct (so far) with the similar accidents that have occured since. John Mott's article seems perfect even with hindsight almost two decades of hindsight.  And TBM is correct. This solution costs neglibly in time and effort.

Ancilliary Thoughts

This and other Morgan safety issues (yes there are a few) are not subjects Morgan professionals or the Factory have ANY desire to speak of, especially in public. That is understandable. But I have NO sympathy with that. Surely we love our Morgans to either accept them as is, assuming we know of the danger points, or we can spend 5£ and 15 minutes to fix them. But such things must be known. As for those who tell you "it never happens", I can attest it DOES.

On the good side, the police and the insurance gurus were amazed we had survived. Whatever our Morgan was made-of..we were not knocked out or stunned and that allowed us enough time to jump through the flames and over the jammed doors.

I will add to this article as my memories continue to reawake. 
In the meantime, I once again offer my thanks to John Mott on behalf of those who would have suffered sadness, past and future.