Morgan art

Aluminium, ash wood and leather: they make up the Morgan sports car and a great day out. Having a friend to stay is the best excuse I can think of to be a tourist in your own area. My pal is a car buff, so what better reason to book a tour around the Morgan sports car factory?

For those of you who don’t know, Morgan is the only British owned car manufacturer left in the UK

There is talk of Blackpool based TVR setting up shop again but for the present, the honour lies with Morgan in Malvern, Worcestershire. They’ve been building cars there since 1914 and make a variety of two and four seater, three and four wheeled sports cars. And boy, are they stunning!

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A red and cream Morgan

This one was customised for an undertaker. Any comments on its taste?

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A Morgan car with sculls!

The factory nestles at the foot of the beautiful Malvern Hills. I last visited when about seven or eight. Dad was a sales rep for an engineering company and one of his customers was Morgan. During the summer holidays, if Dad was going somewhere pretty such as Malvern or Tewkesbury, I’d go with him. I always enjoyed popping into the Morgan factory as the workers gave me sweets! I have a vivid memory of seeing the cars being worked on out in the open on a sunny day.

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Mogan Aero 8,4

It was sunny when we went last week but bitterly cold. I don’t blame the workers for staying inside. The factory is really no more than a series of sheds but now has a new visitor centre, cafe and museum attached. The tour lasted two hours but you could easily make an afternoon out of it as the museum is fascinating and apparently the cafe does a mean cream tea.

I have to confess to being so excited about being in the presence of such gorgeous examples of engineering that all thoughts of blogging about it went clean out of my head. I did not make notes, nor do I recall numbers well

However, I think I’m right in saying the factory makes about ten or twelve cars a week and there’s a waiting list of nearly a year. They most definitely do not churn them out and there wasn’t a conveyor belt in sight. What was apparent was the sheer craftsmanship and immense pride in what the company does. I’ve never been in such a happy work place.

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An enginneer working on a Morgan car


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The Morgan workshop

Our guide was a hoot. Completely un-PC and all the funnier for it. He was entertaining and knowledgeable and good company throughout our visit. I’d worried about standing for two hours (bad back – too much time spent crouching over the first draft of the latest book) and being bored.

Nothing was further from the truth. The time flew by

We began by seeing how the aluminium chassis is created (the metal is brought in and then shaped to the unique and instantly recognisable Morgan curves), then moved on to the wooden framing section. A nice touch – each visitor was offered a tiny example of the ash wood that makes the frame. It’s stamped with an imprint of a Morgan car to make a wonderful souvenir. We saw how the Cosworth tuned Ford, or BMW engines are fitted – and Mazda gearboxes. It was surreal to see crates of recently shipped in BMW engines stacked against the wall.

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Leather upholstery is added next – to match, complement or clash with your chosen paintwork. You can choose from a staggering range of colours, including shocking pink and bright green. Personally, I think this is a crime against sports cars and it should be cream, red or British racing green! Interestingly, the upholstery section was where I saw the first women working on cars. Once you’ve ordered a car, you can also ask for a book to be made up and which records the process of your car being built (the book is leather bound to match the seats – I kid you not).

The leathers are imported from Germany and are fully waterproof. Apparently, according to the guide, Morgan drivers don’t stop driving if it rains!

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A Morgan wheel

Once the car is fully assembled, it promptly gets taken apart to be painted. Then, all that’s needed is a test drive and a thorough clean and polish. The guide explained they keep tissues handy – for the ladies who cry when they see their very own Morgan for the first time and Man-sized variety for their husbands who weep when writing out the cheque to pay for it.

Told you he was un-PC!

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A Morgan being assembled

The museum is small but very interesting. The gift shop has some eye-wateringly expensive souvenirs so I contented myself with a Morgan fridge magnet and key-fob. It’s the closest I’ll ever get to owning the real thing!

To find out more about Morgan cars and factory tours, go here:

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