Jeez guys I have no idea of how much I have typed on this very subject, on the MSCC DG and eMog, perhaps on NBC also...(-:
I suspect there are very many different factors that can be used to justify and influence any given point of view, in that there will be so many varied backgrounds relative to classic car owners of any marque..?
Unfortunately my Grandfathers did not have the wherewithal to own a Bugatti or any motor car let alone have somewhere to let it lie gathering dust... NOT that I envy those who were fortunate to inherit stunning machines or much else. I enjoyed all the processes of acquiring my own machines and in some cases a bit at a time, such were the financial constraints of the time, a process which required me to learn to be as self reliant as possible over very many years, and learning as many skills as possible to be able to keep my old machinery on the road, no tinternet back then for sure.... With all that and more in mind, my thinking on this particular subject has evolved over many years.
My yoof was spent passing time polishing whatever m/cycle I had at the time, untill the engine gleamed and keeping it that way, mileage limited by petrol costs. I started out dreaming of all the tricky bits related to m/cycle tuning and modification available in the 60`s while polishing the internals of an engine that was nearly as old as me, not exactly a garage queen, butwith an engine polished within an inch of it`s life, the m/cycle lived under a tarpaulin parked outside in the road...
Tuning, you bet, in time I was well into that, with my uncle an ex m/cycle racer, suggesting that if you want a faster machine, then buy one that was initially designed to be faster, for modifying a less performant machine bit at a time will ever upset the balance of the original design... How right he was, and it was not until I bought my first 60`s Lotus Elan that I began to better understand that which he was trying to teach me.... Though the Lotus I bought had been modified beyond which it should have been and suffered accordingly, but you hopefully get my drift in that my first car was a Frogeye Sprite which I..err..tuned, compare that to the lovely Twink of an Elan with discs all round thus a whole lot different from the somewhat less than ideal design and the components used to create an AH Sprite..?
Many machines later I came in search of a Morgan experience, by which time my thinking had evolved to prioritise originality, having come from 911s, I had by then learned that Porsche engineers new how to create a reliable sports car that could out perform most. For sure Morgan engineering standards were accepted as less than top quality and that I would have to compromise some degree of engineering qualities to find happiness in Morgan ownership, but then that was considered to be part of the Morganeering experience, foibles and all..and having spent a couple of years or so on the Morgan sites, I knew well what I was in for before I even considered parting with my cash.
I had over the years read of the build quality, of`t times compounded by home mechanics over-tuning one or other aspect of the car and ruining whatever balance had been made available by the MMC in the first place..? One has only to type in the word overheating into a search engine, to know that tuning an old TR engine is perhaps not the best idea if you are seeking reliability, balance is all, was my thinking and Morgans seemed likely to display foibles when they were new, add a bit of home mechanic fettling for fun and the result could be no fun if your priority was to enjoy driving your Morgan...? Of course there are many Morganeers who have tuned much and in the process have created wonderfully reliable and performant Morgans, which may be outnumbered by some degree by those less enjoyed by owners as the result of mad modifications...?
Modification was more often than not discouraged by me for folks who had little knowledge of the likely end product.
Justification of improving the quality of a Classic...? Well some such cars are pretty well designed, which is perhaps why I ended up buying three air cooled Porsches and running them one after another for a decade or so, before thinking I would like to sample a bit more of a raw driving experience by way of a Vintage car with a fair degree of performance, budget ever being a limiting factor,a Morgan as opposed to a Bentely seemed to be THE ideal machine... which proved it`s self to be.
Originality...? Well having learned the lesson of imbalance, I was not in search of any unreliable practically undrivable fire breathing machine, but also not searching for something entirely original, with original corrosion issues lying in wait under freshly applied paint. At a time of me contemplating which Morgan the GoMog webmaster told me I must buy this Morgan, which turned out to be Kevin`s +8... Knowing quality workmanship when I saw it I arranged to buy it on the spot, no argument on price given the quality Kevin had built in..... But...It was NOT original, and had been modified to take tubular shockers on the rear, Koni adjustables on the front, Areoquip brake lines the tank chassis rad bulkheads etc finished in high gloss two pack black lacquer with SS fixings used wherever possible, and all the usual corrosion areas given extra attention during the rebuild, thus a perhaps in the minds of some a tad too much over restored to be considered original, though the engine and running gear was indeed still standard and thus likely to be reliable, which it has proved it`s self to be in the circa 18 years in my ownership...(-:
As you may have read elsewhere I am in the process of replacing some of the "original" parts of my exhaust system with SS, thus my original thinking on originality has been sacrificed to quality improvements to some degree (-:
As for determining the way others should enjoy their Morgans or any other classics.... ? I suspect a garage queen can be equally valued by an owner as much as another owner enjoys covering as many miles possible, each to their own. I know one car polished to perfection which had covered more miles than most, and restored as and when necessary, and polished all over again year on year, the theory that polished metal survives better than paintwork when subjected to high mileages.... Works for me.
As for an old dog compared to a concours queen, I have before related the story of a tired old Mog that had been to Alaska and back, turning up at a US Morgan event where the majority of the cars may have been in perfect condition or better... The old dog was removed from the parking lot and given pride of place in the foyer of the fancy hotel. Seems when perfection is the norm, then something out of the ordinary trumps it all...? (-:
Another interesting contribution I remember existed on GoMoG and seems likely to have come from the pen of the webmaster there, and kinda described the value of a Morgan that could perhaps be applied to the many and varied owners of Morgans regardless of the variables of their Morgans condition. I suspect that page would be worth finding and posting on here, Lorne sure had a way with words, no doubt still has..(-:.
Ultimately I suspect cars will carry their own history with them, Mine was as perfect as it could be and I took it up a rough unmade road on the second day of ownership with stones flying. Recently I have have spent quite a few bob to replace corroding bits with SS. In my ownership my +8 has been both a tourer covering a fair bit of mileage over short periods of time, and for the majority of it`s life it has been sitting under a cover in my garage which explains its low mileage relative to it`s age, circa 8k miles when I bought it and now circa 40k.. it has acquired a used look, or patina if preferred...(-: It is a used and enjoyed machine, we have a history together and it provides a degree of enjoyment every time I see it sitting in my garage.
VALUE of a Morgan..? Well now we can wax lyrical about patinated old Morgans, but it seems to me that perhaps when it comes to the average purchase of any classic, that a buyer seems likely to use every sign of much valued patination accrued by the owner as another bargaining "chip" in his bid to reduce the asking price and once bought the new owner will present whatever patina exists as that which records the machines important and much valued history.....