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Friday, July 22, 2011

The Best 10 Pounds I Ever Spent Since I Bought My Marriage License - Today We Toured Morgan Motor Company in Malvern Link ENGLAND

This is the current 2011 Morgan Roadster. It has a Ford Mustang V-6 engine (220 HP) and costs about $55,000.

Malvern Link (pronounced MALL VERN) is the home of Morgan Motor Company. Most of the workers live right there in that town - the same way for over 100 years.

About 100 miles west of London is Malvern Link - small town where Harry Morgan started building 3 wheel sports cars in 1909. Over 100 years later - the Morgan family is still building the small - light - fast - expensive sports cars here.

Harry Morgan died in 1959 - then his son Peter took over the company. When Peter passed in 2003 - his son Charles Morgan picked up the torch and runs the company today.

The main reason that Morgan chose a 3 wheel configuration is that one could avoid the British Automobile Tax that way - the trike was registered as a motorcycle. Registration was less - taxes were less - and safety laws were less stringent. It had a 2 cylinder engine.

In 1936 - the Morgan 4/4 was built. The numbers stood for 4 cylinders in the engine and 4 wheels. Since then - the Morgan used the same basic body. It has a steel chassis - with an ash wooden frame over that. Finally - aluminum body panels are bonded to the wood - making a strong - durable - flexible car.

In 1968 - they made a Morgan Plus 8 - it looked the same except under the hood was an aluminum 215 cubic inch Buick V8.

Up until that time Morgan sold 85% of the cars to Americans. Then the USA passed safety laws that kept the little car out. Morgan even tried marketing the car burning propane to avoid emissions tests.

Starting this year - 2011 - they are once again building a 3 wheel car. The main reason for that car is again to circumvent USA safety and emissions laws. As a motorcycle - it is exempt from those laws. They hope to gain back their old American customer loyalty. With over 100 horsepower and weighing just 1100 pounds - it will perform like and Indy car.

Presently - Morgan builds 1000 cars a year. In this article I only covered the classic Morgan Roadster - I did not discuss the Aero 8 - a larger expensive super car. Morgan produces a few of those which cost from $150,000 to $250,000 each. They have a full aluminum chassis - and a 375 horsepower BMW V8 engine.

Each Morgan is hand built to the buyer's specifications. A paper is attached to the window of each car with the buyer's name on. The entire construction process is videotaped and presented to the owner. Right now - if you order one - it will be delivered in 6 months.

While I was not looking - Lulu bought a 5 pound chance on a new Morgan - they were chancing one off to build a bronze Morgan statue downtown.

Morgan Motor Company has been in this building for over 100 years. It is about 1/4 of a mile from the Malvern Link train station. There are no signs directing you to it - it is in a residential neighborhood - then bam - it is there.

When I got my teacher's license in 1970 - I ordered a Morgan. They were only $2800 then. Things happened and I settled for an MGB. I have regretted it ever since. The next year I bought that marriage license.

You can buy a car on the spot - it is your problem getting it into the States - or you can rent one for 120 pounds for a day and drive it right out of the factory door. Maybe next year I will try that.

This is the original 1909 Morgan three wheeler. You could buy it with 2 seats or 4 seats. The front wheels are far apart for the stability. The rear wheel is the drive wheel.

This is the trim area - where interiors are assembled - tops put on - seats installed.

NEWSFLASH - so far they only assembled 10 of these 2012 Morgan Three Wheelers. This configuration allows them to circumvent the USA safety laws. Also - as a motorcycle - registration fees are less - insurance it less - and at 1100 pounds - it gets over 40 miles per gallon. It will seat two people and have a V Twin Cycle Engine. There were rumors of a Harley - but they are an American S & S engine.

You select your paint colors - leather colors - light or right hand drive - and performance modifications. You wait 6 months and can pick it up at the factory and drive it all over Europe.

Morgans have had ash wooden frames since 1909. It is really a hoot seeing the cars sitting on old wooden saw horses. The wood smells great.

This young man was gluing together some wheel wells. The ash wood is kiln dried to 15% moisture and then sealed.

No splinters here. These cars are works of art.

Notice how they let us roam around the cars on the 2 hour tour. You could take all the pictures you wanted - and talk with the workers.

It was not a moving assembly line. The cars were moved from station to station a few times - but the workers stayed with each car. Most of the other components were made all over the world. Most of the engines are Ford right now.

This is the steel frame with an ash plywood floor. It is galvanized - dipped in zinc to prevent rust. Note the old wooden saw horses. The shops are
very clean.

These are Ford 1600cc double overhead cam engines. Some of the cars come with V-6 Ford Mustang engines - producing 220 horsepower.

This is a base 2011 Morgan 4/4. It is has a 4 cylinder - 1600 cc Ford engine - and 4 wheels. It costs $45,000 new.

This guy is working on the firewall - the metal between the driver and the engine. In this case - it is made of stainless steel.

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