The Morgan Plus Four Super Sports Sports Car

A review of The Morgan Plus Four Super Sports Sports Car, covering development, important features, and technical data of this the fifth model in the Morgan range.In this Article, I offer a nostalgic look at the Morgan Plus Four Super Sports, one of an elite group of classic cars, which was manufactured during the period 1936 to 1950.The creation of the Morgan Plus Four Super Sports is, in essence, down to the skills of Chris Lawrence, whose Morgan Plus 4 was very successful in the 1959 UK Race Season.In 1962, his competition successes came to the notice of Peter Morgan, who offered him Morgan works support.As a result, he won his Class in the 1962 Le Mans 24 hour race.Under the name Lawrencetune, he prepared engines for Morgan when specially ordered.The Lawrencetune Morgan Super Sports used the aluminium low-line bodies prepared specially for Le Mans.However, prior to low-line Super Sport production, a number of hybrid Plus 4′s were produced with the original steel high-line bodies, coupled with aluminium wings, and Lawrencetune engines.These are now a highly sought after models.During the period mid 1950′s to early 1960′s, the Morgan Plus 4 was powered by a series of Triumph TR engines and gearboxes.In 1960, Morgan teamed up with Lawrencetune, who modified the engines of a small number of Plus 4′s which were entered into various endurance events, including the Le Mans.Since it was not unusual for these modified cars to secure at least Class wins, they duly created interest amongst the sports car fraternity to encourage Morgan to produce equivalent modified Plus 4′s.Hence the birth of the Plus 4 Super Sports.In February 1961, Morgan launched the Super Sports which featured:
Specially modified 2138 cc, 4-cylinder Triumph TR2 engine developing 125 bhp at 5500 rpm
Four speed manual gearbox
Gas flowed head
Compression ratio of 9.0:1
Modified camshaft
Balanced crankshaft
Two twin choke Webber 42DCOE carburettors
Special inlet manifold
Four branch exhaust system using two pipes
An oil cooler
Four wheel disc brakes
The two seater Super Sports were produced in one of two body styles – either the high body or low body versions.Early models made use of the high-line bodies from the Plus 4, whilst later models used the low-line bodies from the 4/4.In 1962, a Lawrence tuned Plus 4 secured Morgan’s finest success at Le Mans, where it was a Class winner.As a result, it became the prototype of the Super Sports, which featured a lighter, low-line aluminium body, and a more powerful 125 bhp engine derived from a modified 92 bhp TR2 unit.These cars were distinctive with their bonnet scoop, which was necessary due to the cars’ two twin choke Webber carburettors.During the period 1961 to 1968, a total of 104 Morgan Plus 4′s were modified to achieve the Super Sports specification.Of these, 95 were two seaters built for racing and competitions primarily in the US.Furthermore, 50 of these cars were built as convertibles.With a top speed of nearly 120 mph, they were not only high performance cars, but also well suited to competitions.A unique example of this car was known as the Baby Doll, and was famous in Morgan folklore.It was specially ordered, in early 1962, by Lew Spencer, a Morgan dealer and noted SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) member.This was his personal Morgan race car, in which he subsequently won the 1962 SCCA C Class National Championship.The Baby Doll was renowned for the fact that it regularly beat Corvettes, Porsches, and E-Types, even though it sported a smaller engine than its competitors.It has been suggested that the Plus Four Super Sports offered what was probably the best value performance car on the market at that time.It had precise handling, with a body styling that took one back to the classic cars of the 1930′s.The Super Sports is the most desirable Morgan performance car owing to its competition successes in a number of major international races, combined with its limited production.This marked the end of the Morgan Plus Four Super SportsPerhaps this stroll down memory lane might have answered, or at least shed light on, a possible question:Which Morgan Sports Car is Your Favourite?However, should this question still remain unanswered, I will be reviewing, in some detail, in future articles within this website, the entire range of Morgan sports cars which were featured in the memorable era spanning 1911 to 1996.I hope you join me in my nostalgic travels “down sports car memory lane”.

Do You Know How to Be an Engaging and Highly Effective Educator?

Anyone can teach. We teach each other every day. For example, we give instructions to each other for such things as cooking, putting together furniture, and completing household other tasks. However, teaching someone is different than the process of educating someone. Consider the difference between informal learning and formal learning. An example of informal learning would be following a recipe to learn how to cook. In contrast, formal learning occurs within a classroom and usually is accompanied by evaluation and assessment. It may seem that teaching and educating are the same thing; however, the difference has to do with the place or context for learning.This is the same distinction can be made for teaching informally (giving instructions) and teaching students in a formal classroom environment. A person enters the field of education as a profession – either full time in traditional academic institutions or as an adjunct (or part time) instructor. The reasons vary for why someone would choose to be in the classroom. A traditional full time professor may likely be responsible for conducting research, teaching, and publishing scholarly work. An adjunct instructor may teach in a community college, traditional college, or an online school. When someone teaches students in higher education he or she may be called a facilitator, instructor, or professor. This is important as there isn’t a job with the word educator in the title.The questions I would like to answer include: What then does it mean to be an educator? Does it signify something different than the assigned job title? What I have learned through my work in higher education is that becoming an educator is not an automatic process. Everyone who is teaching adult students is not functioning as an engaging and highly effective educator. However, it is possible to learn how to educate rather than teach and that requires making a commitment to the profession.What Does It Mean to Teach?Consider teaching as part of the system of traditional, primary education. Those classes are teacher-led and children as students are taught what and how to learn. The teacher is considered to be the expert and directs the learning process. A teacher is someone who is highly trained and works to engage the minds of his or her students. This style of teacher-led instructional continues into higher education, specifically traditional college classrooms. The teacher still stands at the front and center of the class delivering information, and students are used to this format because of their experience in primary education. The instructor disseminates knowledge through a lecture and students study to pass the required examinations or complete other required learning activities.Within higher education, teachers may be called instructors and they are hired as subject matter experts with advanced content knowledge. The job requirements usually include holding a specific number of degree hours in the subject being taught. Teachers may also be called professors in traditional college classes, and those positions require a terminal degree with additional research requirements. For all of these roles, teaching is meant to signify someone who is guiding the learning process by directing, telling, and instructing students. The instructor or professor is in charge, and the students must comply and follow as directed. Here is something to consider: If that is the essence of teaching, is there a difference between that and educating students? Is the role of a teacher the same as that of an educator?What Does It Mean to be an Educator?Consider some basic definitions to begin with as a means of understanding the role of an educator. The word “education” refers to giving instruction; “educator” refers to the person who provides instruction and is someone who is skilled in teaching; and teaching is aligned with providing explanations. I have expanded upon these definitions so that the word “educator” includes someone who is skilled with instruction, possesses highly developed academic skills, and holds both subject matter knowledge and knowledge of adult education principles.Skilled with Instruction: An educator is someone who should be skilled in the art of classroom instruction, knowing what instructional strategies are effective and the areas of facilitation that need further development. An experienced educator develops methods that will bring course materials to life by adding relevant context and prompting students to learn through class discussions and other learning activities. Instruction also includes all of the interactions held with students, including all forms of communication, as every interaction provides an opportunity for teaching.Highly Developed Academic Skills: An educator must also have strong academic skills and at the top of that list are writing skills. This requires strong attention to detail on the part of the educator and in all forms of messages communicated, including anything written, presented, and sent via email. The ability to demonstrate strong academic skills is especially important for anyone who is teaching online classes as words represent the instructor.The use of proper formatting guidelines, according to the style prescribed by the school, is also included in the list of critical academic skills. For example, many schools have implemented APA formatting guidelines as the standard for formatting papers and working with sources. An educator cannot adequately guide students and provide meaningful feedback if the writing style has not been mastered.Strong Knowledge Base: An educator needs to develop a knowledge base that contains subject matter expertise, as related to the course or courses they are teaching, along with knowledge of adult education principles. I know of many educators who have the required credit hours on their degree transcripts, yet they may not have extensive experience in the field they teach. This will still allow these educators to teach the course, provided that they take time to read the course textbook and find methods of applying it to current practices within the field.Many schools hire adjuncts with extensive work experience as the primary criteria, rather than knowledge of adult learning principles. Those instructors I have worked with who do have a strong adult education knowledge base generally acquired it through ongoing professional development. That was my goal, when I decided on a major for my doctoral degree, to understand how adults learn so that I could transform from an instructor to an educator.Becoming an Engaging and Highly Effective EducatorI do not believe that many instructors intentionally consider the need to make a transformation from working as an instructor to functioning as an educator. When someone is hired to teach a class, someone other than a traditional college professor, they often learn through practice and time what works well in the classroom. There will likely be classroom audits and recommendations made for ongoing professional development. Gradually the typical instructor will become an educator as they seek out resources to help improve their teaching practices. However, I have worked with many adjunct online instructors who rely on their subject matter expertise alone and do not believe there is a reason to grow as an educator. For anyone who would like to make the transformation and become an engaging and highly effective educator, there are steps that can be taken and practices that can be implemented.Step One: Continue to Develop Your Instructional PracticeWhile any educator can learn through time on the job, it is possible to become intentional about this growth. There are numerous online resources, publications, workshops, webinars, and professional groups that would allow you to learn new methods, strategies, and practices. There are also social media websites such as LinkedIn and Twitter that allow for the exchange of ideas and resources within a global community of educators.You can also utilize self-reflection as a means of gauging your effectiveness. I have found that the best time to review my instructional practice occurs immediately after a class concludes. That is a time when I can assess the strategies I have used and determine if those methods were effective. Even reviewing end of course student surveys may provide insight into the perspective of my students.Step Two: Continue to Develop Your Academic SkillsI know from my work with online faculty development that this is an area of development that many educators could use. However, it is often viewed as a low priority – until it is noted in classroom audits. If an educator has weak academic writing skills, it will interfere with their ability to provide comprehensive feedback for students. For online instructors, that has an even greater impact when posted messages contain errors with spelling, grammar, and formatting. The development of academic skills can be done through the use of online resources or workshops. Many online schools I have worked for offer faculty workshops and this is a valuable self-development resource.Step Three: Continue to Develop Your Subject Matter ExpertiseEvery educator has subject matter expertise that they can draw upon. However, the challenge is keeping that knowledge current as you continue to teach for several years. The best advice I can offer is to find resources that allow you to read and learn about current thinking, research, and best practices in your chosen field. This is essential to your instructional practice as students can ascertain whether you appear to be current in your knowledge, or outdated and seemingly out of touch. Even the use of required textbooks does not ensure that you are utilizing the most current information as knowledge evolves quickly in many fields.Step Four: Continue to Develop Your Knowledge of Adult LearningThe last step or strategy that I can recommend is to gain knowledge about adult learning theories, principles, and practices. If you are not familiar with the basics there are concepts you can research and include critical thinking, andragogy, self-directed learning, transformational learning, learning styles, motivation, and cognition. My suggestion is to find and read online sources related to higher education and then find a subject that interests you to research further. I have found that the more I read about topics I enjoy, the more I am cultivating my interest in ongoing professional development. What you will likely find is that what you learn will have a positive influence on your work as an educator and will enhance all areas of your instructional practice.Working as an educator, or someone who is highly engaged in the process of helping students learn, starts with a commitment to make this a career rather than a job. I have developed a vision related to how I want to be involved in each class I teach and I recommend the same strategy for you. You may find it useful to develop teaching goals for your career and link your classroom performance to those goals. For example, do you want to complete the required facilitation tasks or would you rather put in the additional time necessary to create nurturing class conditions?After developing a vision and teaching goals, you can create a professional development plan to prompt your learning and growth in all of the areas I have addressed above. While this strategy may require an investment of time, it is helpful to remember that we always make time for whatever we believe is most important. Being an educator is not sustaining a focus on job functions, rather it is cultivating a love of what you do and learning how to excel for the benefit of your students. Becoming an engaging and highly effective educator occurs when you decide that teaching students is only part of the learning process, and you work to transform who you are and how you function, while working and interacting with your students.

Harness the Potential of Technology in the Homebuilding Process

Homebuilders who aren’t interested in offering technology integration as part of their business model are now firmly in the minority. This point is proven by research from the CEA’s annual “State of the Builder Study,” which was compiled in conjunction with the NAHB Research Center. It states that 85 percent of builders believe technology is important in the marketing of a new home. The applications of this technology are extremely compelling to homebuyers: entertainment, whole-home control, security and more that can come with their new house, instead of them hunting for it on the aftermarket.Clearly, in these extremely competitive times, the time is now to embrace technology (if you haven’t already). And thanks to some retrofit technology that’s on the way, it’s effectively yesterday! Allow me to elaborate.Structured wiring and powerline
Wherever possible, structured wiring is a must for the 21st century home, bundling all of the home’s communications wiring into one coherent system. These bundles can include wiring for home networking, telephone, video, audio, alarms, infrared remote control and more. Running these wires before the walls are closed is more cost-effective and less disruptive than ripping up walls to do so at a later date. These bundles also serve as a Trojan horse, giving builders the opportunity to approach the homebuyer with new technological offerings as they become available.Structured wiring has some inherent advantages compared to more slapdash wiring installations. With all of the cables running back to a central wiring panel, it’s easy to change how and what each individual cable is connected to and what it is used for. Structured wiring also makes troubleshooting a snap, since each of the cables can be isolated and tested for problems. Furthermore, because all the cables run back to the central wiring panel, they can all be connected to the same source without the need for some outlets to pass through more splitters and splices than others. This greatly improves the consistency of signals.Structured wiring isn’t a good fit for every builder or every situation, however. With that in mind, here’s some great news. If you’re not willing to commit to structured wiring, a new option that leverages the electrical wiring in a home to transmit audio, data and more is on the horizon. This technology will allow you to retrofit your existing housing inventory at a reasonable cost and with minimal disruption to add a fresh twist for wooing homebuyers. The system will also provide an alternative way to offer some technology to homebuyers if you aren’t yet investing in full-blown structured wiring for new builds. A multi-room audio system using this technology will be available later this year with other solutions certain to follow.The first feasible multi-room audio system using powerline technology will be available later this year with other solutions certain to follow. If you hear the name Renovia in the near future, you now have the inside scoop.Explore Quick and Easy Demos
Demonstrating technology, particularly architectural consumer electronics like multi-room audio, has long been a thorny issue for home builders. A prominent objection is the expense. So consider this inexpensive trick to introduce the multi-room audio concept into your model home at a fraction of the cost of installing a full-fledged multi-room audio system. It starts by utilizing the consumer’s own music with an appliance they know and understand: the iPod.Multi-room audio today is a more compelling new-home option than ever because it ties directly into the exploding concept of “My Music” among consumers. The advent of portable music players like the iPod has enabled music collections to go virtually anywhere their owners go. Many home buyers would welcome the extension of “My Music” to an entire home. By providing a simple music demonstration, you can entice home buyers by showing them how uncomplicated, powerful and fun a multi-room audio system can be.Simply install an amplified source input and connect it to an iPod dock and in-wall or in-ceiling speakers. Set up a location in the room where an on-wall audio control pad would go. You don’t need to install a live control pad, just a blank plate covered with a transparent graphic that shows what a control interface would look like. Install this demo in the most public of spots in the home-the kitchen. Allow the home buyer to plug his or her iPod into the dock and hear the music instantly over the speakers. The demo will show the home buyer how easy it would be to hear “My Music” over the home’s audio system. It will make an immediate “I want that” impact on the home buyer: “Here’s something that will make life in this house simpler and richer.”This unique selling approach is highly affordable. Roughly speaking, a pair of speakers runs $200, an iPod dock runs $49, and an amplified in-wall local source runs $125. Add a nominal cost for speaker wire and installation, and you’ve got a slick demo that doesn’t break the bank.Find Your Digital Path
Believing technology is important, as the aforementioned CEA-NAHB study found, doesn’t make it easy. The complexity of choosing and installing home technology systems and products has always been the biggest hurdle for homebuilders, and it remains so. Low-voltage integration of consumer electronics products requires specialized skills, especially when dealing with proprietary technology platforms, rapidly changing technologies and user preferences, and the unique programming and configuration models many systems employ. Acquiring these skills-either by partnering with a local electronic systems contractor (ESC) or hiring your own talent-can be expensive and time-consuming. The builder just wants it to be profitable.
The current slowdown is giving us all a chance to reconsider, reflect and reboot what we do and how we do it. Right now is the time for the builder to consider this: What kind of technology offerings do my potential homebuyers want? Once you definitively answer that question, you can build a new, updated strategy from there-before you make any investments that may or may not be as focused and efficient as they should be.Homebuyers in 2009 are far more sophisticated about technology than they were even five years ago. Smart phones, multi-room entertainment systems, networked PCs, HDTVs, iPod docks, GPS systems and powerful universal remotes, among other products and concepts, have changed the way homeowners and homebuyers view technology. It’s no longer considered a convenience or a luxury to be “connected.” It’s now a lifestyle necessity. It’s something people expect, and it’s something that can and should be profitable for homebuilders.Identify what homebuyers care most about. Is it security, entertainment, energy management, convenience? A newly married twenty-something couple is probably going to get more excited about streaming music from their iPods all over the house, while a five-person family might want a dedicated home theater for movie nights and the ability to monitor security cameras from any TV in the house. Get a good sense of your target demographic’s needs, and explore and build your technology strategy and options from there.In-House or Partnerships?
One way larger builders are adding technology integration services is by hiring ESCs. These professionals often are members of the Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association (CEDIA), the main trade association for ESCs, which provides them training, certification and education. Both CEDIA and the CEA both offer a wealth of educational information for builders that includes best practices for technology installation.Ideally, every builder would be able to employ one or more in-house ESCs who could control the customer experience and installation process. Unfortunately, not every homebuilder has the resources to expand in this way, so long-term partnerships with reputable ESCs are the next best option.The worst nightmare for a builder is to hire an unfamiliar “tech guy” at the homeowner’s request who comes in, does the electronics and wiring installation, collects his check and is never heard from again. The builder is often left holding the bag, but unfortunately is simply not equipped to troubleshoot any sort of A/V or electronics systems issues. Homeowners don’t want to hear this, however.Before working with any independent ESC, demand that the ESC will be responsible for all follow-up service calls. The builder must be certain that the ESC will provide support over the long haul; if not, the installation should not proceed. By building a strong partnership with an ESC, the builder will gain a loyal and trusted A/V specialist on call who can provide punctual, effective service, rather than always scrambling at the last second to find someone to consult or, even worse, leaving it in the homeowner’s hands. Fortunately, collaboration between CEDIA, CEA and NAHB is at an all-time high and each trade group provides resources for pairing up homebuilders with ESCs on a local level.Involvement early in projects allows the ESC to plan progressively not only with the builder but with the other trades in order to avoid costly and unnecessary changes to wiring, closet/outlet placement and other things that can affect electronics installation and performance.Regardless of whether services are contracted or offered in-house, it’s wise for builders to have an understanding of “good, better, best” technology solutions for their customers. By offering coherent and appealing electronics packages, you can better keep on-time and on-budget. Avoid customization in all but the largest luxury homes, where price is secondary to the homebuyer and the sky is the limit.Whether through an in-house staff or a partnership with an independent ESC, home builders need to find the technology models that work best for them financially and logistically. Ignoring technology is no longer an option when dealing with today’s homebuyers. Fortunately, those of us in the electronics industry are willing and able to help builders get where they need to go. We’re willing and eager to do great work for you-both in your upcoming projects, and to help you sell your existing inventory.