Morgan Factory Tour - My Review
Set at the foot of Malvern Hills is Morgan Motor Company’s long-standing home. Here since 1914 and unlike other companies out there they have stayed true to their roots. From the moment you see the factory you can imagine this place back in the 1920s where men with handlebar moustaches pushed cars from one building to another.
Today Morgan build 3 models: the 3-Wheeler, the Plus Four and the Plus Six. Most recently the 4 wheeled cars have undergone a complete refresh, underpinned by Morgan’s new bonded aluminium “CX” platform and now powered by BMW 4/6 cylinder engines. Ash is still featured in the car but is only used for the frame around the passenger compartment.
The tour begins with a short film on Morgan’s history and then an overview of the CX platform. I must admit, I was very impressed with the construction. You can see this is a car that has been very well designed and engineered, yet you can see it still has those classic proportions.
From leaving the initial room we are led outside to look at the newly renovated showroom and to ogle a few demonstrators that are parked under a very slick looking gantry, which is designed to ape the Malvern hills none the less.
As we walk towards the factory we catch a glimpse of a very rare Aero 8 GT along with a handful of other Morgan’s which are waiting to be signed off for delivery. To the left of these cars are several rolling chassis and racks upon racks of bare chassis, our guide jibes that this is the wet weather testing area.
Walking up the hill and towards the original offices we spot another batch of rolling Plus Four chassis tucked away awaiting their bodywork.
As we enter the original offices we are greeted by a handful of the Morgan family’s personal collection, including a super rare +4+ as well as stacks and stacks of memorabilia. This building has remained largely unchanged since the 1920s and has a distinctive old timey feel. I should note that due to Covid rules the tour is a little back to front, but Morgan have done a fantastic job of keeping it safe and enjoyable.
Joining the offices is the subframe and final chassis assembly area, this place is a true Aladdin’s cave of shiny engineering parts. There are containers full of hubs, brakes, shock absorbers and all manner of fixings. It’s the sort of room where you just want to start bolting things together, almost like a giant Mecano set.
The next area is where the completed bare chassis receive their body panels. Most of the body Is made with a technique called superforming, where an aluminium sheet is heated then blown into a mould, creating a very light and very strong panel. Each bonnet is made by hand and is unique to every car, starting as a flat sheet and through tens of hours of panel beating, forming and stamping of louvres the end resulting product is stunning.
Through to the next room and we are in the woodshop, perhaps the most iconic part of a Morgan is its hand-built ash frame. Used for its strength and lightness, Ash has featured in Morgan cars since the start. Our guide points out the buck that is used to form part of the frame, it is believed to be over 65 years old but no one knows its true age. This room was my favourite area, there was a calm serenity to watching craftsman use hand tools and work with raw materials to make something truly beautiful. They do not rush their work and it really does show.
We leave the woodshop via a sliding wooden door and watch as a rolling chassis is driven from one building to another, its magical how simple Morgan’s process really is, no robots or automation, its done the old way, which as it turns out is the best way. The interior shop is the next stop, where a strong smell of leather and the rattling of sewing machines transports you back in time once more.
Down the stairs and we’re into the paint shop and finishing area. Every car is painted by hand, with whoever painted the car also finishing it. A surprisingly simple yet genius idea, after all no one knows the paint better than the person who sprayed it.
From here we get a sneak peak into the 3 Wheeler workshop, a much simpler car than the 4 wheelers yet it is still finished to the high standard Morgan are known for. A single technician will build a car from start to end with it only being finished when they say so, another example of genius thinking from Morgan.
This now marks the end of the tour and we finish as all good tours do, in the gift shop.
I’d highly recommend this tour to anyone who has an interest in cars. I’ve left with a newfound respect and admiration for Morgan, dare I say they may be my favourite car manufacturer. The approach they take is a blend of old-fashioned common sense mixed with a knowledge of the latest technologies. Their workforce is incredibly skilled and proud of what they produce, with the final product being a true testament to that.
You can find out more at https://www.morgan-motor.com/factorytour/