Wheels

4th February 2000 at 00:00
What does your car say about you? Dr Peter Marsh, co-director of the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford and author of Driving Passions - the Psychology of the Car, analyses the modes of transport found in school car parks "To own a Morgan is not so much to own a car as to belong to an exclusive club or tribe. There are Morgan clubs all over the world and a large proportion of owners are members. When you join, you are signing up to a very distinctive group.

"Morgans are handcrafted. Only a few are made every week, so they're not cheap. They are old-fashioned cars but they are also new, so you get all the refinements you would expect with a new car - in the Morgan's case that's not saying much - but you are not buying something that has to be restored or needs a specialist mechanic to look at it.

"These are very much for couples who are either not married (or certainly don't have children) or whose children have left home and who want to bring back the fun in their lives.

"Many are owned and driven by women. A woman who drives a Morgan claims equality in the driving stakes. It's not like driving a girlie car, because these things go like the wind. I can imagine her as a very no-nonsense sort of person.

"It's a classic car and those are increasingly rare. It's meant to be driven on the open road, and when you see them in photographs, it's usually in the Highlands with the driver gettng out to contemplate the wonderful scenery.

"Although that kind of image appeals to the woman who drives this, I imagine she is otherwise reasonably conservative. She's not from the stripped pine, Laura Ashley, muesli-eating set. She is middle-class, but in a more traditional sense thanthe aspiring soft lefty. People who drive Morgans definitelyeat meat."

This car belongs to Liz Noble, deputy head of St Peters C of E junior school in Horbury, Wakefield, West Yorkshire "This rings fairly true. I've got three step-children but they don't live with us and they hate to be seen in the car - it's embarrassing for a teenager. My secretary says I am definitely a no-nonsense sort of person and I liked the bit about equality.

"I have always been into sporty cars, but the Morgan is awful to drive, the suspension is dreadful. It's like driving across a cobbled street all the time.

"Because Morgan owners never put the roof up, you have to wear a flying jacket and furry hat and, in this weather, a travel blanket. There is a heater, but it's a bit basic. And he's right, they do go like the wind.

"We are members of the Yorkshire Morgan club and we went to a Morgan weekend after we got it. But one was enough for us. And I'm definitely not a vegetarian - that would be grounds for divorce."

Have you got a curious car or a striking bike? E-mail the details to harvey.mcgavin@tes.co.uk


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