Questions Most Frequently asked of Cantab– And Our Most Frequently Given Answers
Q. We just learned about Cantab. How long have you been a distributor of new Morgans?
A. Cantab was granted a coveted new Morgan distributorship by Peter Morgan in October of 1985. We received our first Morgan in March of 1986.
Q. Would I enjoy visiting your shop?
A. Well, we certainly think so, and we’ll do our best to make you feel welcome. We’re located in a small, Virginia country town, an hour from Washington, DC, and a half hour from Dulles Airport. Our shop is loaded with all sorts of Morgan memorabilia. There are usually two or three used Morgans around, four or five under restoration, often a couple of customer’s new cars passing through, and of course our current demo Morgan. We think you’ll find Cantab a busy, happy place to visit.
Q. What Morgan models do you import?
A. The Plus Eight, powered by the 4.0 liter Rover V8, and the Ford Zetec engined Four Four. The Plus Eight is our flagship model, but we are also keen on the Four Four, combining the classic Morgan dimensions with a more than adequate quickness.
Q. What is the waiting time for a new Morgan ordered through Cantab?
A. It depends on the model. Currently, about 6 months for a Plus Eight, a year to a year and a half for a Four Four.
Q. Once I place an order and move up on your waiting list, how long does it take me to get my Morgan, once they begin to build it?
A. With the factory’s recently unveiled production program, your Morgan can be built in as little as three weeks. Allow two more to ship it to us, then two more for us to complete the U.S. modifications and to accessorize it. So, about two months from beginning of build.
Q. Can I purchase a Morgan directly from the factory for U.S. import?
A. No, you can not. You must obtain one through one of the two factory-sanctioned U.S. distributors. This is due to the significant amount of modification required to be done to the cars once they arrive here in the States, mandating that they pass through our shops. For the same reason, there is no pick-up-at-the-factory-and-drive program.
Q. Do you import Four seat Morgans?
A. No, at Peter Morgan’s express wish. Safety is a major concern for a car manufacturer today, and the rear seat passengers are rather exposed in a Morgan.
Q. Do you ever offer discounts on a new Morgan?
A. No, we never have. We set the price as low as we can; and, with the relatively low number of cars allotted us, we can’t afford to lower the price and make it up on the next customer! To be candid, with a full order book and a waiting list, we have no need to offer such an incentive.
Q. I believe U.S. imported Morgan were propane powered. Is this still true?
A. No. From the mid-Seventies all U.S.-imported, factory-sanctioned, new Morgans were modified to run on propane, but Cantab imported petrol powered Morgans as early as 1986. Since 1993, the Plus Eight has been petrol certified and the Four Four is on the way. All current Morgans are fuel injected and catalyst equipped.
Q. I’m located a good distance from Cantab. If something goes wrong with my Morgan will I find it hard to get it serviced?
A. No. First of all, today’s Morgans are very well made, far more reliable then the sixties cars. A number of our customers have picked up their Morgans and driven them home, to Florida, Colorado, Texas, Utah and the state of Washington. We stand by with spares, an overnight UPS shipment for you. Our two engines are widely used in other cars in the U.S. (Range Rover and Ford Contour), and it’s a rare town in America which doesn’t have a “British car” mechanic. Our staff is here to work with them and answer any questions they might have and to supply any parts they might need. We have cars all over the U.S. and never ran into a servicing problem that couldn’t be dealt with.
Q. How does the value of a Morgan hold up over the years?
A. Morgans are that rare car which actually appreciates in value.
Q. Do you stock Morgan spare parts?
A. Yes, a considerable quantity. And for pre-1968 Morgans right down to the 1997 cars. Remember, you’re an overnight UPS shipment away from us.
Q. Do you sell used Morgans? And do you buy them?
A. Yes to both questions. Since we get a steady stream of inquiries, we are particularly interested in obtaining Morgans, in helping you sell yours. We’d be happy to discuss this with you, as they sell quickly, and to good homes!
Q. What type of restoration work do you do?
A. Mostly the 1960′s Morgans, but really any British car. We’ve made something of a specialty of the Land Rover and are currently working on three Morgan vintage race cars. We specialize in building our restorations around brand new fully paneled bodies made to our order by the Morgan Motor Company and in utilizing a great deal of aluminium and stainless steel in the reconstruction.
Q. The beauty of the Morgan is very important to me. In what ways do the Cantab Morgans differ in appearance from the British ones?
A. We couldn’t agree more! The beauty of the car is paramount to our customers and to us as well. We’ve worked very hard to see that the car differs very little in externals from the British version. Cantab Morgans do have side marker lights and hi-mount stop lights , and our rear lights are mounted 4 inches higher than on the generic car. They also have sun visors fitted to the one -inch- higher four-seater windscreens. Our bumpers are three inches higher than the British Morgan, mounted on heftier brackets which do not cut through the body of the car. There are other changes, but they are invisible, under the skin.
Q. I understand the new Morgans you’re going to be getting are something called the “long door model.” This really worries me, as the main reason I’m interested in a Morgan is it’s traditional look. Will I like the looks of this “new” model?
A. If you liked the traditional Morgan look, you’ll like the current car. It is virtually indistinguishable from last year’s Morgan, with the door only 3/4 inches longer, and just slightly lower. The hooding fits better, the seating is more comfortable and there is more room for the driver and passenger. The gauges are rearranged more compactly with the glove box expanded. Actually, the principal difference in the contemporary, “long door model” Morgan is in the quality of the materials used in it, not in any external appearance. From July,1997, all Morgans, wherever destined, will be the long door model.
Q. I was amazed to learn that Morgans will be equipped with airbags? Is this really true?
A. Yes, all U.S.imported Morgans will be equipped with airbags from this date on. The Morgan Motor Company carried out a major program to develop the bags, which were needed to remain in the U.S. market. By the way, our bags deploy at the safer, more moderate, European speed. Their presence does not change the appearance of the Morgan significantly.
Q. When Cantab modifies a Morgan to meet the U.S. federal safety standards, does the Department of Transportation tell you how to do it?
A. That’s a very good question. The answer is “no.” What DOT does is publish a thick manual which stipulates which areas are of concern– side impact, integrity of the fuel system, windscreen defrosting, seat belts–what sort of testing they must undergo, and what must not happen in such a test to the car and its passengers. But how one goes about meeting those standards is the manufacturer’s business, and DOT considers Cantab the manufacturer of the Morgans it imports, modifies and certifies. The fact that the specifics are left to the manufacturer to solve and accomplish in his own way accounts for the subtle differences between the Cantab and Isis cars, although each meets the federal standards.
Q. What is Cantab’s relationship with Isis Imports?
A. Cordial personally, although we modify our imported Morgans differently to meet the same federal standards, and we do not directly collaborate on a business level. We admire Isis’ work very much. Any further degree of working together may well come about and would be welcomed by all of us at Cantab.
Q. How many Morgans do you import each year?
A. Morgan currently manufactures around 480 cars a year and the U.S. market is considered to be thirty cars a year.
Q. Why are Cantab Morgans more expensive than those sold in the UK?
A. Shipping adds something to cost, but primarily it’s due to the cost of the significant modifications needed to meet the US federal safety and emissions standards, which differ in some ways from those of the EEC. The considerable R&D work must be amortized among relatively few cars, both by Morgans and by Cantab. The Morgan has always been priced, not at what the market will bear, but at what it takes to build the car plus a fair profit. We believe our own pricing also is in keeping with Mr. Morgan’s philosophy.
Q. Do your new car customers accessorize their Morgans very much? I always think of the Morgan as a very straight forward car.
A. Yes, they do, but your point is well taken. We consider the Morgan to be an implied car, one that is only completed with the active collaboration of the customer. We’re convinced that, after the beauty of the car, the most important thing in bringing customers to us seeking a Morgan is the fact that we listen to their wishes and work with them to make the car theirs. Our job is to guide the customer in making his choices. He invariably knows the traditions of the car, but generally we know its technical aspects better from our experience. So it’s an active collaboration between Cantab and the customer. And don’t forget, the factory itself offers a considerable range of extras for the car during build. A great many of the further accessories we offer are made for us in England of stainless steel, insuring it a long and happy life. It’s really great fun to work with a customer to design his Morgan.
Q. Cantab has been a Morgan distributor for twelve years. Of what is Win most proud of accomplishing in that time?
A. Hmmmmmmm. Well, of sticking it out, of persisting through some very rough, lonely and discouraging times. Of Ruth for sticking by me during those times, of making a huge contribution in supporting us. Of our backers, especially Homer, for their patience and support and trust. And of my staff today, my “kids,” who are truly dedicated and wonderful and who make every day– well, most every day — a genuine delight.