On January 4th 2018 I was given the opportunity to tour the prestigious Morgan Motor Company factory who have been making hand built cars on the same site in Malvern for over 100 years
When I arrived I headed straight to the café for a well-earned lunch of soup and tea after the two hour drive. The café had a good selection of both hot and cold food as well as snacks which catered for most tastes. After lunch the tour began with a presentation of the history behind Morgan and the key events that made the company the success that it is today. We were then taken to see Morgan’s private collection of cars which included prototypes, race cars and included a couple of last of the line vehicles.
Afterwards, we headed for a look around the various factory buildings where everything is produced, excluding the engine and gearbox which are brought in from other manufactures. The first part of the build process is the manufacture of the chassis which is built with a combination of wood and steel for all models, excluding the Aero which uses a combination of wood and aluminium. During this phase of the build process the engine, gearbox, suspension, brakes, wiring and wheels are added.
The rolling chassis is then wheeled into a workshop where the hand crafted wooden body is fitted. The wooden body is made with a mixture of woods, clued together and set with tools which are nearly as old as the building itself. The bare skeleton body is then treated to its custom built aluminium body panels, and it’s said that this tailored process prevents body parts from being interchangeable between Morgan cars. For example a bonnet cannot be taken from one car and transferred to another, even if it was made by the same builder.
Once the body it completed the car is moved into the paint shop where modern paint processes are used to achieve a gleaming finish. In theory any colour is a available if you’re willing to pay for the privilege, and in most cases the customers are. The freshly painted Morgan is then transferred to the interior trimmers who hand craft the interiors from leather and just like the paint, any colour is available. They have to be careful not to damage the paintwork!
The final phase of the build is the pre delivery inspection which involves checking that every component is fit for purpose, and after the car has been through the vigorous checks the test drivers take the cars out for a drive in the beautiful Malvern country side to make sure that car has handling characteristics to match the exquisite looks. Only after all that, will the finished masterpiece be loaded onto a covered transporter and shipped to its new owner, who is keenly waiting in any part of the world.
The tour ends with a look around the Morgan museum which contains some of the oldest Morgan’s in the world and even has Morgans which have owned been owned by the Morgan family. I then got a quick look in the shop which naturally had Morgan merchandise including clothing, alcohol, key rings and other items befitting of the manufacture and vehicles. I found the Morgan factory tour one of the best available, and only increased my respect and understanding of the build process and the craftsmanship required to complete each vehicle. I felt a great atmosphere within the factory, and it has only increased my longing to own a Morgan one day.