On Wednesday 22nd April, perfect Morgan motoring weather awaited the 20 Beaulieu One Hundred members who made the trip to Malvern to see 106 years of Morgan history.
We were welcomed by Martyn Webb, the company historian, archivist, curator and tour guide – multitasking comes naturally at Morgan!
Today the company makes 900 cars a year, a third of them the new three-wheeler, half of them the classic Morgan (now with three engine options from 1.6 to 3.5 litres), and the rest the £75-£125,000 Aero modelled supercars – or more accurately SuperMorgans as Morgans are still indeed a breed apart.
It is this being ‘a breed apart’ that has seen the company survive and prosper where so many other have failed.
Appealing directly the inner Mr. Toad in us all, the cars are still handbuilt using a quixotic mixture of a coachbuilder with a hammer and a carpenter with a jigsaw on the one hand combined with the latest aerospace aluminium vacuum forming techniques and BMW engines and electrics on the other.
Henry Ford would not be amused if he saw how one man still builds up each chassis; I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking ‘why not two or three?’ but then soon realised I had missed the Morgan point.
After the tour and lunch we were given a talk by John Wells, a bright young Jude Law lookalike who heads up the ten strong design, engineering and marketing team.
Thus the central Morgan paradox: using the most modern management fashions – combining car and website design, marketing and customer research and product and legislative engineering in one department – to ensure the success of the most traditional manufacturing methods of a family run company.
The new three wheeler is a case in point. When four wheeled Morgans could no longer pass US rear impact standards they had the market idea to build a three wheeler – not because it would pass US crash tests but because as a tricycle it didn’t need to. From bright idea to production took only 18 months; as much ingenuity went into the dedicated website and option choice as the £35,000 fun on wheels that came put the other end.
I’m sure we would all like to thank our new friends at Morgan for a most enjoyable day. They understand the inexplicable: the quirks of British eccentricity, blending tradition and technology, and how today online leads to on road – and of course how to make their guests feel most welcome.
A big thank you to them all.
And a big Thank You from the blog editor to Lord Strathcarron for hosting the day, for writing this blog and providing the photographs.
A big Thank You to Veronica Strucelj for the excellent photos below – they provide a real feel of the visit.