It’s well documented that two of the things that have influenced Christopher Ward most in our history are Worcestershire’s Malvern Hills and the early years of motorsport.
So, when we and retro sports car manufacturer Morgan announced our partnership at SalonQP in November, it felt like a natural fit.
Not only does Morgan make some of the most beautiful sports cars on the planet, but it’s also based in the town of Malvern.
Last week we took another fine example of British engineering, Olympic gold medal rower (and CW Challenger), Will Satch, to Malvern for a tour of Morgan HQ, courtesy of Morgan tour guide and ex-engineer Martyn Webb.
Morgan opened its first work hall – called Row 1 – in December 1913 (the company was founded in 1909). Since then the works have expanded, but the factory remains an unassuming sight: its cars, however, are anything but.
From its beginnings, Morgan has produced a series of stunning sports vehicles, but is best known for the 3 Wheeler, a beautifully shaped car that more than lives up to its iconic status.
As we’re led along the red line that guides visitors through the factory, there’s a huge range of car-making trades on show. Unlike modern car manufacturers, Morgan is a traditional coachbuilder, producing vehicles the old way with individuals working on specific parts of the production line.
“I love the history of the place,” says Will. “It’s like childhood dream. I signed a thing for one guy who’s been there 40 years. He learned the trade off his dad. I love that.”
Every Morgan begins life as a metal chassis. A wooden frame is then built around the chassis: ash wood – sourced from in the UK – is used because it offers more flexibility than steel. In another nod to tradition, the company has been using the same ‘jigs’ to clamp the timber together since the 1930s.
The factory is a hive of activity. Cars are moved around on ‘slave wheels’ (old tyres) and pushed round to each stage of production: new tyres are so expensive they’re not fitted until the car is ready.
The highlight of the trip, certainly for Will, is a quick spin in a Morgan Plus 4. Though the roof stays down to accommodate his impressive height.
“There’s a real point-and-shoot feel to driving it,” he says. “The power’s in the rear wheels. It feels raw but you’re in control – it’s old-school motoring. And the sound’s incredible, too. Now I just need them to lend me one for a while!”
The Morgan factory doesn’t set the world alight with flashy roadside displays and a fancy showroom. But its modest exterior hides a workforce dedicated to producing sports cars of unbeatable quality. We’re proud of our association with it.
Find out more about our partnership with the Morgan Motor Company.