Wings are the most distinctive and dramatic Morgan 4-wheeler feature. Their shape has brought the Works from 1936 to 2006 intact. No one will argue that without them, the company would have Peter'ed out (pun!) decades ago. As with any Morgan project, opinions/experience is gathered, options sought and therefore knowledge levels increase. This new stuff all settles in and compliments one's own experience. In a nutshell, speaking with the wing makers and their repairers in the last few weeks have given me a deeper perspective on these signature parts.
WING & RADIATOR (VW&R): Steel Wings
This is the original supplier of Morgan wings until the Superforms (reviewed below.)
Pros: My opinion of steel wings has risen.
A. They are impact resistant, protect the paint finish and if properly prepared, are slow to rust. After our accident, I took my old front wings (18 years old by then), had them sandblasted and we could find no signs of rust. I primed them to protect them. (Shiny mild steel rusts in hours). and they are now in use on Button's car.
B. When they do rust, one easily can weld in a patch.
C. They are inexpensive.
D. All wing styles from all eras can be provided as they are handmade, not poured into a mold.
Cons: They can rust. As well, they come poorly made with a wide variance in dimensions, fit and preparation time. They crack at the wing light and corrode at their stays/braces if proper measures are not taken. However, all of this is repairable.
2. VINTAGE WING & RADIATOR (VW&R): Aluminum Wings
i. Lighter than steel..but much less so than has been officially reported in the past.
ii. Corrosion resistant outside of the infamous edge.
iii. Can be welded (but with a higher standard of care than steel).
iv. They are inexpensive.
v. If one starts from scratch, (no pun) and prepares them very carefully (as described below). They can last many years. However, that type of prep cost puts them in the range of Superform wings without Superform advantages.
a. The way the steel wire is installed in the edge, coupled with the Factory prep normally pre-determines the death of these wings. Unless they are redone before it is too late and very careful steps are taken to completely seal the wire from moisture, corrosion MUST occur. The combination of steel, aluminum, water and the vagabond electrical charge all cars have throughout spells doom for these wings as, to date, when the edge goes, so does the wing.
In some countries and climates, namely the UK or the North American northwest coast, one can only retard the process as the only way to stop the electrolytic reaction is to open the edge, remove the steel wire, remove/repair the corrosion, and replace the wire with something else of sunk in non reactive sealant, then the edge must be refolded, a covering flange welded over the seam and the tabs replaced.
b. Their soft alloy cannot protect the surface paint. Star fractures are common. Welding extra plates on the underside has not proved to help. The best solution seems to be one I have seen developed independently on both sides of the Atlantic. That is an impact coating, (which can be covered with 2 pack black) and glued rubber padding in the key areas.
c. Their soft alloy is prone to crack. Spot/fog lights, stays and braces wing lights. It is in these areas that extra plates can help.. not with the star fracturing but the stress cracking.
d. Like the VW&R steel wings, they are awkwardly made and inconsistently finished..adding to the costs of prep.
IMPORTANT!! Additional information. Click HERE
3. SUPERFORM: Aluminum Wings October 2004 (2012 updates italics) (2019 updated again)
These wings, a feature on Morgans made after 1996 (from memory) are vastly different from earlier wings. They are now used on ALL Morgan models..no other options from the factory any more. The alloy used has, as its goal, its susceptibility to plastiforming rather than panel beating. Also, there are precious few choices for shape now. I would recommend steel wings for replacements for pre-Superform Morgans. Infinitely repairable. If a Morgan is not capable of owner/local garage interaction, what is it?
a. Made from an extremely hard aluminum alloy that has proven itself to be VERY resistant to star fracturing. I have been traveling 4 miles of gravel road at speed almost each day during the season for 3 years without a fracture yet. (originally written in May 2006 and still no fracture in November 2012)
b. Very light..more so than VW&R alloy wings above.
c. Very easy to weld.
d. They arrive with an (almost) perfect finish. So little prep or putty is necessary that their much higher price is mitigated by a saving of £350-400 per set in saved labor.
e. Instead of a steel stiffening wire at the edge, they employ a grooved aluminum molding that is bonded on. Ergo no corrosion anywhere, assuming you do not prejudice that with a steel to metal add-on and a bit of care is taken with the fittings through the wings (easy to do).
f. They have a plate welded on the underside at the wing lights, offering greater protection there for cracking. If the pressure is spread with the use of a large washer, that is sufficient to prevent spot/fog lamps from cracking the wings.
g. Not much need for
wing protect underneath, save a quick coat of black impact paint, more to
cover the Factory overspray
than anything else.
1. There is a very limited choice in styles. With the Superform process, each wing style requires a very expensive mold and that has limited the choices. (I advise owners to considet the headlight pod placement and consider whether it is wiser to order the wings with pods uninstalled. This will not allow you to place the pad as you wish rather than adopting another style, but it will also speed the delivery considerably)
2. The delivery time is long and getting longer. (This situation has not improved after 10 years of watching but who knows?)
also had a flaw for many years (until 2004 at least) that affected the turning
circle. The "groove" at the wheel wells is too severe and caused the tyres
to rub badle at full lock in either direction. The rubbing caused the paint
to blister and the wing to loosen. To prevent this, opne must stop the steering
from attaining full lock. This can be done by have a made-to-measure rack
and pinion steering rack made or fashioning anouther system, (like I did.)
In either case, the turning cicule is badly prejudiced. A complaint was made
to the Factory under the warranty, but refused.
3. The wings are very expensive. More than double the price of the VW&Rs (but then there is the large prep work saving). Only purchasable through the Morgan Factory or their Agents.
4. The Factory will not sell owners the molding. If it is twisted of damaged, even if you can repair the wing itself, you will be forced to buy a new wing, cut, prep, paint and fit it.
5. They require special paint preparation or bubbling quickly occurs. On this issue click BUBBLING CURE
I was a big fan of the Superforms at the start and I have had both my cars superwinged. I have learned to accept their design issues and I have, at great expense, learned to control their bubbling. But it must be said that Superforms have not stood the test of time as well as the original hand made wings did. Fifteen years of Morgan Superforms have left a heritage of bubbling paint and tales of inter-metal corrosion on every Mogger forum. The Company has not responded, so it is not known whether redress could be had or a cure ever discovered. The best Morgan resprayers are ill-at-ease painting a Superform car (classic or Aero) and some refuse to take on the job or offer no guarrantees. They have been hurt with the comebacks on Superform work.
This is made all the more more sad in that other companies who use Superform, do not have the same experiences. It is speculated that the problems are in the Morgan paint preparation techniques. IMPORTANT!! For additional information click SUPERFORMS
by Lorne Goldman
I often wonder whether Morgan owners, especially those who have joined the community since 2000, fret more than they drive. (wry smile) Many spend much time figuring out fixes that they have no need of, or that apply to other eras and not their own cars. Of course, I will not argue that the newer Morgans have a whole host of issues that older Morgans never experienced, and many of these have yet to be cured, but there is no need to fix things that do not require fixing. I am struck by these thoughts as I start this article on protecting Morgan wings from the consequences of debris impact (which expresses itself in star fractures in the paint finish on the other side). For these reasons, I will start with the newer wings first and move to the classic wings after.
By way of experience, I have had and still have a number of Morgans with all the metal wing types used since 1950 to 2012. Each year I mog 7500 miles in the UK and Europe and 10,000 miles in Canada and the USA as minimums. In Canada, I live at the end of a gravel road of 2.5 kms, which I take at speed. This is a thorough a testing of Morgan wings as one can find these days.
PROTECTION FOR SUPERFORM WINGS
Morgans no longer
sport hand-beaten wings. All Morgan wings have been made by the Superform
process since the late 1990s. There have been issues (see above). However, debris damage is not one of them.
I believe this concern might have begin by associated the vulnerability of
the earlier alloy wings to this type of damage. But the
Superform aluminium alloy and the aluminium alloy that was form beaten by
Vintage Wing & Radiator into Morgan wings in the old days are not alike.
Superforms are heat molded and the VW&Rs are hand beaten. The molding
process allows for a MUCH harder alloy to be used. Indeed, after the company
mistook a bad fitting
issue mistake for metal weakness, (they fitted slotted wing stays
that often rubbed holes through the Superform wings) they added
an unnecessary section of extra metal protection in the impact zone after
2004 which makes imact damage even less possible. I haven't bothered with
any protection with my pre-2004 and or post 2004 Superform wings and neither
has ever been a victim of road debris or a star fracture with absolutely no
protection whatsoever. As well, any impact capable of cracking the paint on
a Superform wing will also dent the metal anyway, requiring a invasive repair.
If you are fixated on some protection, you can try a very light spray can
coating of a gravel guard, more to cover the Factory's paint overspray than
anything else. Don't waste your time and money on more than that.
|Morgans' forte are their lightness and simplicity. Don't weigh them down with non aesthetic stuff they don't need. It only adds to the things that will go wrong and lightens only one thing, your pocket book.|
PROTECTION FOR STEEL WINGS (1936-1998)
The story with steel wings (also made by Vintage Wing & Radiator by form beating), is pretty much the same as Superform. I have not known them to be vulnerable to stone or gravel impacts that cause paint fracturing. Again, any impact capable of cracking the paint on a steel wing will also dent the metal anyway and require an invasive repair. If you are fixated, you can try a very light spray can coating of a gravel guard, more to cover the Factory's paint overspray than anything else. Don't waste your time and money on more than that. (For goo'ed (MMC undercoated) cars, even this is not only impossible, it is totally unnecessary) Many question the wisdom of covering impact-resistant, unrusting metal and color-coded wires/connectors with thick non-hardening tar. Many owners go through hell removing it. It takes an average of 60-80 hours..then a careful finishing off with a professional steam cleaner. However, its removal makes maintenance and repair much easier and gives the subject a running chance at a Concours. I have never seen a Morgan win an award proper Concours if they have been goo undercoated.
PROTECTION FOR THE EARLIER ALLOY WINGS
These are the wings that have the need for protection (and gave mistaken reputation for the same to the other Morgan wings above, especially to new owners. In order to make them capable of hand forming, these wings had to be made of a soft alloy. That means they are very vulnerable to road debris. They can be properly protected. However, this will add weight negated some or all of the poundage advantage they had.
Some solutions that work;
1. BED LINER:
The best VW&R alloy wing protection I have seen yet was done by Lance Lipscomb of U.S. state of Georgia. Lance is the owner for one of the most stunning Plus 8s I have ever seen. Lance totally restored his Morgan years ago and had the wings stripped. Before painting, he had the wings' undersides professionally coated with a pickup truck bed liner, creating a impact resistant and waterproof surface. Perfect!
2. COATING by Tudor
Another fine solution can be had at Tudor Motors, master restorers in Shropshire in the UK. They will use an etch primer underneath, then 2 coats of a quick drying anti-chip coating (for these wings) and then a black 2-pack gloss.
3. FLOOR TYPES
I have seen Morgan old-timers use self-adhesive rubberized floor tiles. However, the surface has to be very clean and dry before installation.
4. GOO by Morgan
For many years of the years after 1990 many alloy winged Morgans arrived with an optional undercoating of a gooey non hardening tar product that covered the wings and the wiring. It was not a rust protection as alloy does not rust. It also gathers and holds road dirt. However, it did provide protection for the earlier soft alloy wings. Sadly, without the goo removed, other options are precluded. Many question the wisdom of covering impact-resistant, unrusting metal and color-coded wires and their connectors with thick non-hardening tar. Many try to remove it. It takes an average of 60-80 hours..then a careful finishing off with a professional steam cleaner. However, it makes maintenance and repair much easier and gives the subject a running chance at a Concours. I have never seen a goo-ed Morgan win at a Concours.
5. One product that provides non-invasive (removable) protection for the VW&R alloy winged cars is a wing liner made by Vic Championess of Black Phey. It clips on the undersides of the front and rear wings and is attractive and fool-proof. It should not be used with goo-ed cars as it is should be unnecessary and simply sandwiches the goo between metal wing and plastic protector.
POINT: LEADING EDGE REAR WINGS
by Lorne Goldman
At the rear of the front wings, where they meet the rear wings, there is a space is formed between the two at the Factory as they cut the rears of the front wings straight just where the rear wings are curving back. (Morgan wings arrive too long and too wide so that they may be cut to each car. As all Morgan owners know, the space they create there is open to road debris and the paint is quickly ground off.
However, rather than finishing the wings as they do, if one is replacing the wings, work a bit harder than the MMC and cut the front wings to curve to match the curvature of the rear wings and close the space. The result is both aesthetically pleasing and very effective. This little mod allows the Morgan's rear wing to remain untouched at this decade's old weak point.