Evolution Not Revolution
For over a century, Morgan Motor Company has created some of the most elegant sports cars the British car industry has known and 2014 marks the launch of the new Morgan Plus 8 Speedster
Writers Emily Jarvis & Matt Bone
Project Manager Dave Alexander
As the last remaining family-owned and independent British sports car manufacturer, Morgan Motor Company has come a long way during its 105 year life, maintaining a stellar reputation among enthusiasts whilst also upholding the British sports car tradition. Modern pressures such as ensuring both their vehicles and processes are as environmentally friendly as possible means that the company must continue to innovate and implement the latest cutting edge technology throughout both the design process and production stages. With the intricacies of craftsmanship at the forefront of every aspect of manufacturing, employees at Morgan Motor Company continue to be truly driven by their work. Morgan is extremely proud of its heritage and have successfully established themselves as a manufacturer synonymous with pure excellence, reinforced over time by adherence to the company's superior principles, high standards and the best craftsmanship. Leading design capability, an extensive array of luxurious materials and the latest drive-train technologies combine to create an unparalleled driving experience.
Remaining Competitive in a Mainstream Market
Steve Morris, Managing Director of Morgan Motor Company holds the belief that it is evolution, not revolution that keeps Morgan competitive in an increasingly mainstream market: "When you look back at the classic Morgan cars that have been produced, you see a look and style that has remained the same. It is elegance that has been quietly refined and modified but has always remained true to the original design. It is evolution, not revolution that has kept us competitive in today's mainstream car industry, which seems to be constantly changing its mind on what is in and what is out." With prices ranging from only £32,995 for a 4/4 Morgan and up to £130,000 for an aluminium platform car, owning a Morgan has never been easier.
Currently manufacturing around 1000 cars every year - including 500 traditional vehicles, 100 aluminium and 300 three-wheelers - Morgan are looking closely at bringing British sports cars into the orient. Subsequently, on 23rd August this year, Yong Da Automobiles of Shanghai opened their first Morgan Cars Showroom, which will service as a showcase for Morgan Motor Company in east China, adding Britain's oldest privately held car company to the portfolio of Yongda and includes Jaguar, Land Rover and BMW . The new showroom is decorated with a pair of brand new Morgan Plus 4's and the grand opening was attended by a total of 50 high ranking local authorities, VIP guests and media. "The Asian market offers a lot of potential for sales and enables us to bring the Morgan brand to new shores. When you look at the brands already represented here Jaguar, Landrover, BMW , these are world renowned brands and Morgan will stand alongside them proudly and confidently," cites Morris.
100 Years at Pickersleigh Road
2014 marks 100 years of Morgan production at the world famous Pickersleigh road site in Malvern. As part of the celebrations for this incredible milestone, the Morgan Motor Company have produced a series of short videos about the world famous location, which are viewable on their website. Inside Morgan: 100 Years of Pickersleigh Road showcases what makes Morgan so exquisite and hears from the people behind the scenes at the oldest privately owned car manufacturer in the world. "Reaching 100 years at the same site is a huge achievement and one that we are immensely proud of. We celebrated our centenary in the summer with a weekend event and to commemorate this occasion we have produced a limited edition Speedster. It has some new features and clearly highlights the achievement of the company on its bodywork," remarks Morris. The Morgan Plus 8 Speedster will hark back to the days of 60's sports car with no hood or windscreen and will remain true to its roots as a lightweight, thoroughbred sports car. It will have a thumping 4.8l V8 BMW engine nestled in its custom built body and with just a run of 60 cars, it has become one of the most sought after cars Morgan offers.
Special Projects and the Birth of the Morgan SP1
The Morgan SP1 (Special Project 1) is a one-of-a-kind bespoke creation that was specially commissioned by a customer who wanted to use the spare body from the 2009 LifeCar concept vehicle Morgan produced, and turn it into a unique car. The finished product is a thing of beauty. A 3.7l V6 engine, dedicated Engine Management System and custom sports exhaust are stunningly encased in a wooden coach-built body constructed in Ash wood and African Bubinga Red Hardwood, chosen specifically by the client. On top of this sits a cutting edge-designed aluminium shell that is sculpted, streamlined and finished to perfection. "The SP1 showcases every aspect of the skilled craftsmanship utilised at Morgan; harnessed over 105 years of bespoke, coach-built design and crafting. The client saw the spare aluminium body and instantly wanted to evolve it into his own Morgan car. After speaking with him about his design and ideas, we began work. One constant that remains throughout any commission process, especially in our Special Projects division is the question 'is it in-keeping with the Morgan brand?' We always keep one eye on the brand and one eye on the future. That way Morgan Motor Company can continue to produce cars that are the perfect blend of history and future," cites Morris.
The business is also proud to reveal the opening of their new training academy this year, with the first two apprentices already going through the programme. The training academy is something that is very close to Morris' heart after he began his career 31 years ago as an apprentice at Morgan. The academy was born when the management team looked at the options for the future and how Morgan could ensure that the new generation of employees were skilled and taught in the ways of the brand. Modern apprentices for a craft based company are not necessarily taught the extra skills that may be needed in their role such as finance, health and safety or lean manufacturing. With any trainee brought into Morgan, the senior managers are always on the lookout for potential management trainees and those who show promise in other areas of leadership.
The training academy was designed to ensure that all trainees were schooled in not only their relevant department but also on how their role fits into another department's role and how they contribute to the bigger 'Morgan' picture. "I started out as an apprentice 31 years ago and it was through the training I received that I worked my way up to where I am today. The overriding goal of the academy is to take a group of new recruits and broaden their bandwidth of knowledge. There will always be varying levels of capabilities within that group, but some of them, whether painters or metal workers will show an aptitude for management. What we wanted to be able to do was offer a chance to those who showed real promise in the training programme as potential managers, the chance to work on that promise and see where it took them. That is how I got my break and I want to show the new recruits that with the right attitude and perseverance, they could well become CEO one day," concludes Morris.