This week, after two years of very hard restoration work on the part of some of the country’s top Morgan mechanics (and I’m not just saying that because they patched up Connery after Emily made me run him into a pillar) the Morgan SLR is finally making its first public appearance at the RAC Club, where it will be on display for the rest of the week.
If you've been reading this blog for a while you may remember that I’ve talked about the SLR before. Since then I’ve learned a bit more about where it came from, courtesy of dad's research. It’s one of three SLRs designed and built in the early ‘60s by Sprintzel Lawrence Racing (can you guess where the name comes from now?:). Chris Lawrence, one of the brains behind the Morgan Aero, intended the car to be a high performing sports car based on the Morgan +4, whose chassis, suspension and running gear frankly kicked the competition to the kerb.
And it was worth it, right? This is one of the earliest photos dad's been able to get his mitts on, from (we think) the car's second incarnation - no pun intended.
Of course, as is the nature of such things, the car’s first owner wrote it off almost instantly. Chris then rebuilt it after the other two had been completed – making it both the first and last SLR made. It was raced competitively by a series of its owners and in the mid 70s was painted fire engine red by Sir Aubrey Brocklebank, after it and he were singed in a fuel leak which caught fire at Silverstone!
In the late 70s the car was then exported to the US by a gentleman called Bill Fink, who raced it at Monterey and other circuits for almost 30 years.
Two years ago its current owner (my esteemed parent) brought it back to the UK and had it restored to its original condition by various fabulous people* – just in time for this year’s Morgan Motor Company Centenary.
Isn’t she lovely?
*To name names: restoration and race preparation by Brands Hatch Morgans of Borough Green, Kent; bodywork by The Historic Coachworks (formerly Rod Jolley Coachbuilding) of Lymington, Dorset, and paintwork by Panel Craft Elite of Sittingbourne, Kent :)