Hangar works #22 – The front turn lights support

It’s time to solve a known issue of our Morgan. In fact, it’s not just our 3-Wheeler that has this issue, but every Euro4 version cars do. It’s the weakness of the front turn lights’ supports.

What’s wrong with them? And why only the latest cars seem to have this issue? Let’s answer these questions!

The standard turn lights in our 3-Wheelers are an assembly consisting of a bullet-shaped large enclosure made of plastic and an orange colour module with seven LEDs.

Left: the bullet-shaped plastic enclosure. Right: the LED module.

The LEDs module is wedged inside the bullet-shaped enclosure, as shown in this picture below.

This one on the picture is an old one been disassembled, therefore not so good looking. But fair enough as a general view of an assembled turn light.

So, again, what’s the problem with this turn light? Nothing really. It works properly. The first problem is where it is placed. Or it was. That’s why we say “first” problem. You’ll understand if you keep reading.

If you look at the following picture of an early 3-Wheeler, you can see that this turn light is screwed to a short bracket welded below the arm supporting the main headlamps.

Standard front lights’ mount on early 5-Speeders.

Here you have two more photos, courtesy of M3W Services, of an early-design spare arm, with the turn light installed. You can see the detail of the welded bracket holding the turn light.

Excellent view of an early 5-Speeder turn light fixed under the main front lights’ arm.
The welding of the early models’ turn light bracket is solid.

This early design was solid. The bracket is solidly welded to the main arm and there is no news of this breaking. But look again, more carefully, to this picture below! Do you see where the turn light is positioned?

Is the turning light too close to the exhaust header?

That’s the first problem. The exhaust headers run extremely hot, and the plastic enclosure with the turn light is too close. In fact, it’s so close that it can melt, as you can see.

It’s definetely too close!

Why are we talking about the “first” problem”? Why “first”? As this was a known problem, Morgan Motor Company redesigned this piece for the latest Euro4 machines. The main arm is still the same, but the welded little bracket holding the turn light was changed for a longer one, and repositioned: on the new design it’s welded at the very extreme side of the main arm, just above the big nut you see in the pictures.

New design on the Euro4 later models. The turn light is now far away from the exhaust header.
Detail on earlier models. The turn signal is just over the exhaust header and too close.

The idea is good, as this design takes the plastic turn light’s enclosure away from the hot exhaust header. It solves the “first” problem. The turn light will not be damaged by the exhaust header heat anymore. But with this modification, a “second” problem appeared… keep reading to know about it.

Detail of our Euro4 model, showing the turn light forward, even further than the main headlight.
On the earlier cars, it’s positioned just below the big M16 nut holding the main headlights.

Many owners of early 5-Speeder haven’t changed this front lights’ support, and they don’t complain about the melting plastic problem. It seems it’s not happening in all cars.

It might depend on how often you drive your car in heavy traffic, therefore slowly with little cooling air flowing around the exhaust headers and the turn light’s enclosure. If this kind of driving happens too often, you may suffer from this plastic meltdown.

But in the Euro4 versions as ours, it’s a different story. The heat coming out of the exhaust headers is much more because the catalysers restrict even more the exhaust gases’ flow. Don’t you trust me? Well… have a look at this next picture! This red-glowing exhaust header is our friend Pedro Freitas’ Euro4 car after a nice daily drive in Grindelwald. And not precisely slowly in heavy traffic, but at nice speeds with a lot of cool Swiss air flowing around.

Pedro Freita’s Euro4 exhaust header. Beautiful heat red colour. But please don’t touch!

It’s clear that having any plastics close-by this exhaust header is a very bad idea!

But, despite this new bracket design solves the first problem as it avoids the melting plastic issue, it comes with a new problem that makes it even worse: the “second” problem! The first one solved, the second one appears: the welding of the little bracket for the turn light is weak, and with the vibrations of the V-twin S&S engine, and the shacking while starting, they tend to break. It’s a manufacturing problem. The welding proves on and on to be too weak.

And guess where the turn light falls when its support breaks! Got it? Exactly! Just on the exhaust header… and as it’s hanging from the cables, it stays over the header melting as a marshmallow… This happened to us for the first time in September last year, on our way to Grindelwald (see our post “Long range campaign #2”, day 4).

This is what happens when the turn light’s support breaks. Our right side turn light almost disappeared, melted over the exhaust header while driving.

Our right turn light’s bracket broke, and the whole assembly melted as a marshmallow. September 2021.

When we came back to Madrid, after such a long trip without front right turn light, we went to the Morgan dealer’s workshop as asked them to fix the broken bracket. Our car was (and still is) under warranty.

It was then when I investigated a little more about this issue and got the confirmation via Facebook and, of course, the Talk Morgan forum, that ours was not an isolated case. These new Euro4 brackets are not solid enough, and we are many owners suffering this.

I started thinking about a solution, at least something to avoid the turn light to fall over the exhaust when the support breaks. But as the repair was done fast, under warranty, we picked up the car and I did nothing, hoping this new bracket will not break.

And I should have… because on a short drive, end of May, the same bracket (right side) broke again and got the turn light melting against the exhaust pipe once again.

Fortunately, this time I was driving in Madrid, and the smoke and smell warned me immediately about this issue. I could jump off the car and quickly remove the turn light from over the exhaust header. I rolled it over the main arm and drove home.

And broken again! May 2022.

But it was too late… the few seconds of the turn light being over the exhaust pipe were enough to partially melt the plastic enclosure anyway.

Just a few seconds over the exhaust header are enough to melt the plastic.

The turn light still works. But it clearly needs to be replaced again. History repeating: back to the Morgan dealer’s workshop, change under warranty faster than expected, got the same weak kind of bracket back again on my Morgan.

But this time I won’t make the same mistake. I’ll solve the problem for good before the next breakdown. I have a clear idea in mind. I’ll do a reinforcement bracket along the standard one, this one with a 3mm thick stainless-steel plate. Keep reading to know how it’s done!

I start doing the drawings and taking measures, using the still unbroken left side bracket as a template.

A detail of the bracket and the big nut holding the main headlight. The “workzone”.

The measures are not 100% accurate, but good enough to develop my idea of the additional reinforcement bracket.

For my idea, the real obstacle I have are the main headlights cables. Looking at the next scheme of the idea I have, you’ll realize why.

That’s the idea. Reinforcing bracket in red colour. Let’s see if it’s feasible!

I’ll need to totally disconnect the cables, removing them from the Econoseal connector. I mean I should unpin them from the connector, to be able to pass them through the upper big 16mm hole of the reinforcement bracket. And this is difficult, but not because of unpinning them from the connector (that can be easily done with the appropriate tool, that I have), but because you must slide them out of the protecting flexible corrugated hose they’re in, and later slide them back in.

The Econoseal connectors are accessible and easy to manipulate.

Before getting the Morgan to the dealer’s workshop, I tried this with the two cables of the turn light, and it was really complicated to do. So, as I’m using a very thick (3 mm) stainless-steel plate for the reinforcement bracket, I decide to make a simple cut, so the upper hole is open to the edge of the bracket. I’ll slide through the cables of the main headlights, so I don’t have to disconnect anything.

The reinforcement bracket should look something like this.

This is what I have in mind.

Then I think about how to build these reinforcement brackets. And, as a man who knows his limitations, I know that building these with the tools I have, and not being aside the car while doing it, will make this extremely difficult. I won’t be able to do this properly and in a decent time. I need a true workshop. And unfortunately, I don’t have it at home.

But here is the good point: we’re taking our 3-Wheeler in July to M3W Services, in Southwest France. The purpose of this trip is to leave the Morgan in the magical hands of Steve, so that he can make the improvements the car deserves. And these are:

  • Bleazey Centa drive conversion
  • Bleazey upgraded clutch plate
  • Centa main bearings
  • Clutch release cylinder
  • LED main headlights
  • Walbro fuel pump upgrade
  • M3W Services’ rear disc brake conversion
  • New front and rear Öhlins shock absorbers
  • New rear tyre

And some other small things here and there. The purpose is to make the car as much reliable as possible. As enthusiastic 3-Wheeler travellers that we are, we don’t want to see ourselves in the middle of the Portuguese countryside with a fuel pump failure, or have the Centa rollers breaking in a Moroccan mountain pass and be unable to repair them in a little local workshop.

As I know that M3W Services has a really nice workshop plenty of tools I can borrow, I’ll wait to be there to manufacture my reinforcement brackets. I hope the delicious Spanish cold meats and wines I’m bringing to Chas and Steve will be enough as “payment” for borrowing their workshop!

Before leaving, I buy all the materials I need and pack some of my own tools. The most important item is the stainless-steel profile. It’s a 1m long, 20mm wide and 3mm thick piece. And I also take the 4mm Allen bolts, washers, locknuts, metal bits, etc.

The “raw” materials are basic, and easy to find for less than 10 Euros.

Thursday, July the 7th

And it’s on Thursday July the 7th that I secure the trailer to the Land Rover Defender and hit the road to France! It’s a 785 km trip, and I shouldn’t drive faster than 90 km/h as I’m pulling the trailer. So, I leave Madrid at 07h45 in the morning and set the cruise control on the motorway. Unfortunately, Ana Maria must stay at the office, incredibly overloaded with work these summer days. So, this is a solo trip.

The new “Bomber” with the trailer, on its way to France.

Driving the new Land Rover Defender is a delice. The P400 petrol engine pulls the trailer without effort. And the comfort is amazing. I even have a small fridge between the front seats, under the armrest, with cold bottles of water! I’m really in love with this new “Bomber”. And despite travelling alone, I don’t feel tired at all during the whole journey.

With the appropriate stops to rest, refuel, and lunch, I arrive to Montignac-de-Lauzun at 18h00. The sunflowers’ fields welcome me to this quiet and beautiful French area!

The sunflowers’ fields are beautiful this time of the year.

I park and disengage the trailer in front of the M3W Services mythical barn. Four other 3-Wheelers are awaiting ours inside. This is the “temple” of the 5-Speeders. Steve shows me where are the tools I’ll need tomorrow. Apart all sorts of wrenches and all imaginable classic tools, he shows me the whole set of Makita wireless electric tools: drills, grinder, impact wrench,… they even have a bench grinder, a bench powerful drill, and a massive vice! And all this in a garage holding four beautiful 3-Wheelers. I’m drooling all over the place!

Spacious work space!

After memorizing the tools and where they are in the workshop, I jump back in the Land Rover and drive to the lovely guesthouse Le Papillon, in the village. It’s just a 3 minutes’ drive. Le Papillon is managed by lovely Annette, and it’s a super-comfortable and spacious village house. Really a peaceful place with all the commodities. Even too big for me being alone! As the house has three large rooms, I can’t decide in which one sleep!

Check Le Papillon in AirBnB! If you ever plan to take your 3-Wheeler to M3W Services, and want to stay a few days in this beautiful area, that’s an amazing place to stay!

Maison de Papillon-Charming house. Free wifi – Houses for Rent in Montignac-de-Lauzun, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France – Airbnb

Le Papillon guesthouse at Montignac-de-Lauzun.

After dropping the luggage, deciding about the room, and having a fast shower, I head to Au Bosq. Chas and Chris invited me for dinner, and I’m really happy to see them again and enjoy their fresh and comfortable terrace. Excellent dinner, fantastic wine, and the best possible company! I really like Montignac-de-Lauzun!

Friday, July the 8th

It’s Friday morning! Time to work! I get to the M3W Services workshop and start cutting the stainless-steel profile.

Having a powerful bench drill makes the difference!

Then comes the drilling, bending and grinding to reach the appropriate shape and dimensions of the piece, so it fits perfect below the turn light bracket.

This massive vice is fantastic.

The stainless-steel profile is surprisingly hard. It takes hours to make the first reinforcement bracket. But the point was to do it with precision, making sure that it fits like a glove below the standard turn light bracket. The highest difficulty I find is that the inside lower part of the standard Morgan bracket is 18mm wide, so I must file the sides of the 20mm profile to get it in there.

Then I use the big vice and a nylon hammer to bend the piece, then a metal hammer too, with patience and precision. More bench grinder, manual file, Dremel polishing… I try the piece on its position several times until I get the perfect shape, angles, and dimensions.

Bending the new reinforcement bracket. Little by little! Patience is key.

Once the first piece is done, the second one is much faster and easier. I do the final retouches with the Dremel to smooth the edges, and job finished! They might not look amazing in the pictures, but I assure you they do the job way better than I could imagine.

The new reinforcement brackets about to be finished.

I put them in place and tighten the big M16 nut that holds the main headlights in place, and now also the upper part of the new reinforcing bracket.

I make sure they fit perfect in place, without any unnecessary metal tension when tightening the big nut, I take them out again and make the final 4mm hole in the bottom part using the bench drill.

And I put them back again and, using the 4mm hole of the reinforcement bracket as a guide for the bit, I make the hole on the original bracket with the wireless drill.

The final dimensions of the reinforcement brackets are these.

Final dimensions.

I know I’m missing the angles of the elbows. I’m sorry for that, but don’t have on hand any appropriate measuring tool to get these.

A little bit of manual file to smooth the edges of the holes, and then I pass through the Allen bolt, washers, and nylon lock nut. This set is made of a stainless steel 4mm Allen head bolt, a stainless-steel standard washer and a locking star washer on the upper side, and a stainless-steel standard washer and a stainless-steel nylon lock nut on the lower side.

The final M4 Allen bolt assembly.

Once installed, the reinforcement bracket is hold by the big M16 nut and its washer, holding the main headlights. And it holds the standard bracket via this M4 Allen bolt assembly. If the standard bracket breaks again, this 3mm thick stainless-steel reinforcement bracket will hold it in place.

I have doubts about spraying these new reinforcement brackets with black paint, but I finally decide to leave them as they are, because you can barely see them, and many other pieces there aren’t painted either.

I make the final adjustments and tight hard everything in place. The result is very satisfactory. I’m really pleased with this idea. Now the turn lights’ supports look indestructible!

But the time is gone so fast! I can’t believe it’s already 17h30! And we must be at the local pub at 18h00!

With a big smile on my face and the satisfaction of a nice and productive day in the workshop, I drive back to Le Papillon, have a nice shower, and get ready for the evening. I’m joining Chas, Chris, Annette, Steve, and many other friends at the local pub.

The Old Lord Raglan. The local pub in Montignac-de-Lauzun. A British spot in the middle of the French countryside.

Tonight, there is live music at the Old Lord Raglan! And a Thai food truck is coming! It’s a sunny evening. Nice beer, nice food, excellent company. What an excellent day!

Saturday, July the 9th

After a peaceful sleep – this village is so quiet! – I wake up and talk to Chas and Steve and agree to meet around 10h00.

Today, Michel, a French owner of a really nice Super Dry Edition 3-Wheeler, is coming with his wife to pick it up after some M3W Services modifications and repairs. We meet them and have a good chat, then take the Morgans out for a short test drive. Everything is perfect, and on ours the reinforcement brackets are almost invisible. But we know now they are there. Our front turn lights should never again fall over the exhaust headers!

Chas comes with me as co-pilot, and he seems surprised of how quiet our 3-Wheeler is compared to the ones he owns. That’s a good sign. I really think our Morgan is healthy and runs smooth as it should.

I finally have to say goodbye. Because I’m supposed to drive back home today. Same 785km back to Madrid, but only this time I’m not limited to 90 km/h!

The sunflower fields that welcomed me on Thursday are gently waving goodbye with the breeze.

Goodbye Montignac-de-Lauzun! See you again very soon! And ready for the third Grindelwald adventure!

Let’s go back home!

Short fighter mission #6 – 2nd & 3rd of July 2022

It’s June. It’s hot in Madrid. Very hot. 40ºC outside! The Speedy Marmots are seeking refuge from this early heat wave in our den.

As we work intensively with the blessing of air conditioning, we receive an email from Colin Duggan. Very interesting news! Colin and Carole, with Len Critchlow and his son Bill, are sailing from the UK to Bilbao, in Northern Spain. And in the ferry hold, their superb vintage Morgan 3-Wheelers! A pair of Super Sports. We’ll make a proper presentation of the machines further in this post.

Colin’s (1933) and Len’s (1936) Super Sports.

Their plan is to arrive to Bilbao on June the 28th, and then travel down crossing the Rioja region, stopping at Sigüenza, then to Segovia, and back up to Santander via Lerma. Fantastic trip! And they’ll be so close to Madrid! Sigüenza is just a little more than an hour drive from our house!

In his email, Colin copies also Sergio Romagosa. Sergio is a Spanish owner of another amazing historical 3-Wheeler, totally restored. Sergio and I talk to each other immediately after receiving Colin’s email and agree to join them in Sigüenza with our little rockets.

Sergio is an insurance broker specialized in classic cars. In his web page – www.escuderia.com – you find a lot more information than just insurance! He is a real enthusiast of vintage and historic cars, and his knowledge and net of friends is impressive. In fact, someone from his wide “spying” net sent him a few days later this picture of Colin’s and Len’s 3-Wheelers parked somewhere near Burgos!

Already in Spain! Picture taken in Burgos area.

Unfortunately, we both can join our UK friends only for the weekend. But we’re excited to meet such experienced adventurers!

We make some calls to arrange our stay, but there is no room in the hotel that Colin, Carole, Len and Bill have booked very close to Sigüenza. We all tried at Sigüenza’s magnificent Parador Nacional, but this is fully booked for months! In fact, all the hotels in the area are busy. The reason is that the early heat waves we suffered this month of June made the lavender fields bloom earlier. The lavender fields use to bloom last week of July or beginning of August. The earlier blooming this year is the reason why this area, normally famous and crowded due to its proximity to Madrid, is unusually crowded this first weekend of July.

Lavender fields are many and famous around Brihuega.

But Ana Maria makes her magic again and sends an email to the Molino de Alcuneza, this fantastic boutique hotel we stayed a couple of years ago (see our Short fighter mission #4), and she manages to get a couple of rooms for the weekend, for Sergio and his wife Susana, and ourselves. Fortunately, being in the travel business helps a lot in these situations!

The Molino de Alcuneza is a little luxurious oasis very close to Sigüenza.

The Molino de Alcuneza is part of the high-end Relais & Chateaux hotel chain. And with its 1 Michelin Star restaurant is probably the best possible choice around Sigüenza. We can’t complain about our stay!

Saturday, July the 2nd

Today we’ll meet! We’re the first ones to arrive to the hotel, around noon. We could have driven our 5-Speeder from home, but the day is too hot, and it’s also the perfect occasion to use our new Land Rover Defender to tow the trailer, for the first time. What a machine! And maneuvering the trailer with all the aids and electronics looks like a kid’s game. We’re in love with that car and its towing capabilities.

Sergio and Susana arrive just half an hour later, also towing their fabulous 3-Wheeler.

Sergio’s 1934 Super Sports, ready to be downloaded from the trailer.

We unload the Morgans and keep them under the shade of the old watermill stone wall. Almost a hundred years of Morgan’s history together!

Susana, standing by (almost) 100 years of Morgan history!

Meanwhile, the UK team is driving past El Burgo de Osma, through Berlanga de Duero, Caltojar, Rello, Barahona, Imon, to finally reach Sigüenza. They expect to be at their hotel around 14h30.

It means we have time to enjoy a nice lunch and the swimming pool!

We created a WhatsApp group for the occasion, and Colin writes they’ve arrived on time, and they are resting too, waiting for the sun and the temperatures to drop down a little more. We agree to meet at their hotel around 17h00.

The “oldies” have arrived!

During the afternoon, Sergio calls a friend that works at the Sigüenza’s city hall. He is another classic cars lover, and he tells Sergio that he’ll arrange a “VIP parking” for our machines this evening. We’ll have a chain open by the local police, so we can park our Morgans in the middle of Sigüenza’s main square, just aside the XII century cathedral! Now that’s real VIP parking! Sergio’s network is truly amazing!

At the schedule time, we join Colin, Carole, Len and Bill at their hotel. What a scenery! Four 3-Wheelers, three of them from the 30’s, all together in Spain! That’s really unusual! Ana Maria and I have tried several times to contact other 3-Wheeler owners, but apart a couple of great exceptions (Ralph Jenner in Andalucía – far South – and Simón Martínez in Catalonia – far Northeast) the few 3-Wheelers Spanish owners have not replied our messages yet.

Morgans together!

Now it’s the right time to present the machines of this British-Spanish squadron! Let’s go from elder to youngest.

This is Colin and Carole’s beautiful green 1933 Super Sports. One of the last beetlebacks, a version with interchangeable wheels. With a nice JAP engine. Very few of these remain on the road today.

Colin’s 1933 Supet Sports beetleback.
Nice JAP engine, and classy details.

And here comes Sergio and Susana’s 1934 red and cream Super Sports. Astonishing restoration. Polished metals and neat Matchless engine.

Sergio’s 1934 Super Sports.
Neat and bright! Beautiful shining metals!

This super elegant in this blue duotone color is Len and Bill’s 1936 Super Sports. With another Matchless fantastic engine. A really fast machine for its age.

Len’s 1936 Super Sports
Classic elegance with a sporty touch.

And at least but not last, the Speedy Marmot’s 2020 Morgan Sports Green 5-Speeder, with a much bigger and thirsty S&S engine. The 21st century version!

Speedy Marmot’s 2020 5-Speeder.

At the hotel they’re celebrating a wedding. Loud music and joyful ambience. We have some of the guests being curious around the Morgans, and we even give a ride to some of them.

Enjoying the cars.

So, after the appropriate introductions, anecdotes, jokes, and of course drooling over each other’s cars, we start all engines and drive to Sigüenza. All cars but Sergio and Susana stop at the petrol station to fill up the tanks with fresh and expensive petrol. Petrol prices these days are beating all records!

Sergio and Susana did not follow us to the petrol station as they wanted to make sure that our “VIP parking” was set up. And here we are! At the “VIP parking” in the middle of the main square! The Morgans become immediately the center of attention.

VIP Parking at the main square in Sigüenza!

Soon after we park, we’re surrounded by many people taking pictures and asking questions. These machines are a true magnet to people of all ages.

The Morgans parked aside the XII century cathedral.

Sigüenza is one of the most historic cities in Spain located north of the province of Guadalajara. Undoubtedly, this municipality is marked by its castle, the current Parador National. Construction began in 1123 to serve as a palace-fortress and residence for the bishops who were lords of the city for seven centuries.

In Roman times, it was a site with a lot of trading and many inhabitants, who surely built the tower or watchtower over the valley in what is now the castle-fortress. Visigoths and Arabs inhabited this city.

The machines and their owners. From left to right: Colin, Carole, Ana Maria, Javier, Sergio, Susana, Len and Bill.

The reconquest of Sigüenza took place in the same year of 1123, being its first bishop, Don Bernardo de Agen, who commanded a powerful army and conquered the city from the Arabs who occupied it.

Perfectly aligned.

Since then, the history of Sigüenza and its castle has paralleled that of its bishops. From the XII century, these bishops and other influential people who passed through Sigüenza were raising, expanding, and fortifying the castle, until it became one of the largest and most important in the Iberian Peninsula. In its halls they put chapels, courtrooms, courts and jails. Many soldiers and servants were in the care of the Castle, where the bishops lived for long periods.

Sigüenza’s castle. Today a Parador Nacional.

We walked uphill from the main square to pay a visit to this magnificent and historic fortress. But sadly, we can’t get further than the reception of the Parador Nacional. The excuse is that there is a wedding and the whole building is hired for this private event.

We come back to the main square through some narrow medieval streets, passing in front of a couple of beautiful roman churches, to finally sit down for a few cold beers and have relaxed and interesting conversations.

We just notice that Ana Maria’s t-shirt matches with the gay flag shown on the balcony of the City Hall (this is the Gay Parade week in many cities in Spain, therefore this flag on the City Hall balcony).

Enjoying beers and sodas.

After a very nice time in this beautiful medieval square, we decide it’s time to leave for dinner. Sergio and Susana decide to stay and have dinner at the place, while the rest of the group we head back to our respective hotels.

Let’s get ready and rest for tomorrow’s route!

Sunday, July the 3rd

Today’s route is a round trip, from and back to Sigüenza, enjoying the country roads in the area. We plan to stop at Cifuentes for lunch. But before that, we’ll stop by a friend’s house to chill out a little bit, eat some appetizers and drink some wines.

This was our morning itinerary.

First section – From Sigüenza to Cifuentes

78 km and 1 h 45 min estimated driving time.

If you have a keen eye, you may notice that the map indicates 1h08min estimated driving time, and not 1h45min as I wrote. But this is because the Morgans our friends are driving are not 5-Speeders, with a powerful engine and 21st century settings. And consequently, their average speed on these roads is slower, between 45 and 50 km/h (28 to 34 mph).

Driving the old 3-Wheelers is a totally different challenge! Throttle, mechanic brakes through cables, independent brakes front and rear… the differences are many and the difficulty much higher. The skills of the pilot are key for a smooth drive, keeping the engine cool, and avoiding the brakes to fade away at the first downhill.

These are a real challenge to drive! Fearless and experienced drivers!

We planned to meet at 9h45 in front of Sigüenza’s railway station. The day is announced to be hot. Very hot. Hats and UV protective sleeves are a must for us. And of course, the essential sunscreen.

Getting started! UV sleeves and cap on!

Sergio turns the crank of his Matchless engine and it fires immediately. We drive smoothly to the meeting point, with loud pops and bangs while the old Matchless engine warms up and Sergio makes the correct adjustments.

Lovely photo of such an elegant vehicle!

After joining the Brits, we all cross the village and Sergio makes a short stop to fill his tank. Now we’re all ready to go!

We drive towards Alcolea del Pinar. The road is easy, and the old cars run faster than expected, reaching on some occasions the 70 km/h (44 mph). No one wants to drive too fast, as the day is getting hot and Sergio’s engine is still newly restored, with very few miles on it, and he doesn’t want to force it too much.

We’re really enjoying the drive, despite some confusions with the maps and routes to follow at the beginning.

As our 5-Speeder is more agile, we play back and forth taking beautiful videos with the GoPros.

We reach our friend’s house on schedule, at 12h30. Isa and Ricky’s house is beautiful, a pure oasis with water running everywhere, in the middle of the semi-arid region of Guadalajara. It’s a fully restored water mill, with a lot of history, and one of the oldest hydro power plants in Spain. Small size, of course, but surprisingly still generating.

Isn’t this looking fantastic as a pit stop?

Our friends delight us with a delicious Spanish potato tortilla, cold meats, homemade croquettes, and of course excellent wines and soft drinks that we enjoy by the pool. This stop in such a fresh environment is highly appreciated by all of us.

Green oasis in the middle of a very dry region.

The day is very hot, and despite wearing hats and caps, sunscreen and UV protecting sleeves, we could feel that the sun is merciless today, and hitting hard. We do feel the dehydration! The air in this Spanish region is incredibly dry, and you can get easily dehydrated while driving the 3-Wheeler if you’re not careful and drink a lot of water.

Enjoying our friends and their fabulous hospitality.

After a nice hour and a half enjoying our friend’s company, house, and kitchen, we fire the engines and head to the village center. It’s just five minutes’ drive. We’ll have a light lunch at the restaurant La Esquinita. A nice spot with a terrace covered with a large centennial vine.

Parked aside Adam’s beautiful 1931 Alvis.

Arriving there, we have another surprise arranged by Sergio. He called a friend he knows through vintage and historic cars insurance business, and he was waiting for us at the restaurant with a fabulous and pristine 1931 Alvis!

Adam is British, and he lives in Cifuentes. And as you can see, he is another enthusiast of vintage and historic cars! Apart this Alvis, he owns an old Seat 600 too, that we missed to see yesterday in Cifuentes as there was a Seat 600 club meeting there!

Alvis’ bunny guarding the vehicles!

We park the Morgans around this beautiful machine and, as usual, we have plenty of curious people asking and taking many photos.

We stay around the cars chatting and enjoying the conversation, but soon we realize that the sun is still up there, cooking everything that’s not under a shade, and we take refugee inside the restaurant. The thick stone walls and some air conditioning make the interior really comfortable compared to the outer inferno! We are reaching the 40ºC right now outside!

The cars outside, under the sun… with 40ºC ambient temperature!

Lunch is again a very pleasant moment of rest, with excellent conversations and fantastic company. After rehydrating as much as possible, and with not too much food to digest in our bellies (hard to say in Spain, generally), we go out again under the sun and restart our route.

Lovely bunny.

We do some videos and take the mandatory pictures after lunch, before saying goodbye to Adam and his daughter.

At Cifuentes, after a nice lunch.

We fire the engines and head now towards Brihuega and its famous lavender fields. With a short stop at the exit of the village to refuel again the old machines.

This was our afternoon itinerary.

Second section – From Cifuentes to Sigüenza

75 km and 1 h 45 min estimated driving time.

We drive at very good rhythm, with the engines staying relatively cool for the heat of the day. Nice average speeds heading to Brihuega through Solanillos del Extremo. Definitely, this Spanish region is really dry.

We do a couple of stops before reaching Brihuega, to enjoy the first lavender fields we see in bloom.

Lavender fields are blooming earlier this year!

There is very little traffic on this road, and we drive easily crossing very few vehicles, and comfortably stopping at will whenever we see a nice sight over the purple fields.

We finally reach Brihuega. And we must climb from the bottom of the canyon on one side to the top of the hill on the other side of town. The road is too demanding for the old engines, and Sergio’s Matchless gives him the overheating alarm and he needs to stop just before the end of the uphill.

Waiting for Sergio’s Matchless engine to cool down.

After a few minutes waiting for the temperature of his cooling system to drop down, he restarts and joins us a few hundred meters further on the plain. There we stop for a good half an hour, drink some water and enjoy the views while the Morgans rest under the shade of the short trees, engines cooling down to reasonable temperatures.

We finally restart with crews and machines refreshed, and drive easy back to Sigüenza, enjoying the landscapes, more lavender fields in blossom, and even spotting few deer on the high grass fields aside the road.

After reaching Sigüenza, Sergio and Susana say goodbye to the British team and head direct to the Molino de Alcuneza, dreaming about the freshwater swimming pool. We can’t blame them, as not only their machine overheated today! Meanwhile, Ana Maria and I follow Colin, Carole, Len and Bill to their hotel, where we spend a really nice time chatting and having some dinner with beers and sodas.

Tomorrow, they drive to Segovia. We talk about the route, and we recommend them some mountain passes around this impressive city.

What a fantastic day! We are really happy we joined our friends. The experience of driving with such skilled drivers and their historic machines is an amazing experience we hope we’ll repeat again!

After a fond farewell, our day and our 3-Wheeler adventure ends with a short drive to the Molino de Alcuneza. Tomorrow, we drive back home with a lot of new great memories!