Morgan Motor Company, the British sports car manufacturer, was founded in 1909 by Henry (‘Harry’) Frederick Stanley Morgan. The company is known for producing high-performance sports cars with a classic and vintage style.
One of the most iconic Morgan sports cars is the 4/4, which was first introduced in 1936 and is still in production today. The 4/4 was the company’s first car to have four wheels and was powered by a 1.1-litre four-cylinder engine. Since then, Morgan has produced many other popular sports car models, such as the Plus 4, Plus 8, and Aero 8.
Morgan cars are built using traditional techniques and materials, such as ash wood body frames and hand-formed aluminium body panels. This gives the cars a unique look and feel that is unlike any other sports car on the market. Morgan cars also feature a relatively low centre of gravity, which makes them nimble and fun to drive.
In recent years, Morgan has introduced modern technology into their cars, such as adaptive suspension and power steering. However, the company still maintains its commitment to traditional craftsmanship and attention to detail, which has made Morgan cars highly sought after by car enthusiasts and collectors around the world.
Morgan has a long and storied history in motorsports, with many racing victories to its name. The company has also collaborated with other manufacturers to produce special edition cars, such as the Morgan AeroMax, which was produced in partnership with the Italian design firm, Zagato.
Morgan cars have a loyal following of enthusiasts and owners who appreciate the hand-built craftsmanship, timeless design, and the traditional driving experience. The company produces only a limited number of cars each year, with a focus on quality and individuality rather than mass production.
Morgan’s range of sports cars includes models suitable for touring, racing, and everyday driving. The 3 Wheeler is a popular model for those who want a unique driving experience and the feeling of the wind in their hair. The Plus 4 and Plus 8 models are perfect for long-distance touring, while the Aero range offers high performance and advanced features.
The company has faced some challenges in recent years, including changes in emissions and safety regulations that have forced them to adapt design and production methods. However, Morgan remains committed to building sports cars that are fun to drive and embody the classic British sports car spirit. Morgan has also developed a strong community of owners and enthusiasts, with owners’ clubs and events held around the world. The company offers factory tours and driving experiences for those who want to learn more about the brand and its history.
Morgan Sports Cars are a unique and iconic part of British automotive history. They combine classic design with modern technology, and their hand-built construction ensures each car is a unique masterpiece. Whether you’re a racing enthusiast, a collector, or just someone who appreciates the beauty of a well-crafted sports car, a Morgan is sure to impress.
Henry (‘Harry’) Frederick Stanley Morgan, also known as “HFS” Morgan, founded Morgan Motor Company. He was born on 29th August 1881 at Morton Jeffries Rectory, Herefordshire, England, and grew up in a family involved in the famous mineral water company – Malvern Water.
He was educated at Stone House, a private school in Broadstairs, and at Marlborough College, the well-known public school in Wiltshire, England, after which he entered Crystal Palace Engineering College in south London, and it was here that his design and artistic talents developed. He completed an apprenticeship with Great Western Railway and then joined the family mineral water business for a while, but his true passion was for automobiles. In 1906 he opened a garage in Malvern, Worcestershire. The venture flourished, and HFS could then turn his thoughts to making a car to his own design.
In 1909, aged 28, HFS Morgan founded Morgan Motor Company to build lightweight and agile sports cars. The first Morgan car, the “Runabout,” was a single-seater three-wheeled vehicle with a Peugeot motorcycle engine and a lightweight ash wood body frame fitted with tiller steering. It was an instant success, and the company quickly gained a reputation for producing high-quality, hand-built sports cars. It also incorporated Morgan’s special form of sliding pillar independent front suspension. With the addition of such refinement as rebound springs and shock absorbers, this form of front suspension was still used on modern four-wheeler Morgans. The whole car was very light. The Runabouts impressed, and between their launch and the start of the First World War, the various models notched up 10 British and World Records and won 24 gold medals in major reliability trials.
HFS Morgan was involved in all aspects of the business, from designing and building the cars to selling and marketing them. He was known for his love of speed and racing, and he often participated in hill climbs and other motorsport events. HFS Morgan was also an innovator, constantly experimenting with new technologies and materials to improve the performance and reliability of his cars.
HFS Morgan remained involved in the company until his death in 1959 at the age of 78. His legacy lives on in the Morgan Motor Company, where the family retains a minority shareholding. The company continues to produce high-quality, hand-built sports cars that embody the spirit of innovation and craftsmanship that HFS Morgan instilled in the company over a century ago.
Company Ownership and Future Plans
In 2019, the Morgan Motor Company was acquired by Investindustrial, an investment firm based in Europe. The Morgan family retains a minority stake in the company and continues to be involved in its operations. This acquisition has brought new investment and resources to the company, which is expected to help Morgan continue to grow and evolve while staying true to its heritage and traditions.
Morgan has recently announced plans to introduce electric powertrains to its range of sports cars, marking a significant shift for the traditionally combustion-powered brand. The first electric Morgan is set to be launched in 2023 and will feature a new architecture and design language that is adapted to the demands of electric power. The company has stated that it will continue to offer combustion-powered models alongside its electric offerings, giving customers a choice between traditional and modern powertrains.
Morgan has also expressed a commitment to sustainability and reducing its environmental impact. In addition to the shift towards electric power, the company has introduced other sustainable initiatives, such as using recycled materials and reducing waste in its production processes.
Furthermore, Morgan is expanding its international presence and aiming to increase its production capacity to meet growing demand for its cars. The company has recently opened a new factory in Malvern, allowing it to double its production volume. This expansion is expected to help the company reach new markets and customers while maintaining its commitment to craftsmanship and quality.
The company employs 220 to 240 people and produces 850 cars annually, all assembled by hand. Morgan seems to be poised for a new era of growth and innovation while still retaining the unique qualities that have made it an icon of British automotive history.
Motor Racing Success
Some of the motor racing successes of Morgan cars over the years, along with sources of information for each, are:
- Le Mans 24-Hour Race: Morgans have competed in the famous Le Mans 24-hour endurance race many times, with notable successes, including a class win in 1962 for the Morgan Plus 4 Super Sports. According to the official Le Mans website, Morgans have competed in the race as early as 1962 and more recently in the LMP2 category in 2012 and 2013. Source: https://www.lemans.org/en/history/marques/morgan
- Goodwood Revival: The Goodwood Revival is an annual vintage motorsport event held in West Sussex, England, and Morgans have been a popular fixture at the event for many years. According to the official Goodwood website, Morgans have competed in various races and categories at the event, including the St. Mary’s Trophy and the Sussex Trophy. Source: https://www.goodwood.com/motorsport/motorsport-archive/
- British GT Championship: Morgans have also been successful in the British GT Championship, a national sports car racing series in the UK. In 2013, the Morgan Aero 8 GT3 won the GT4 class at the championship, with the team of Gary Eastwood and Chris Jones taking the honours. Source: https://www.britishgt.com/results
- Morgan Challenge: The Morgan Challenge is a racing series for Morgan cars that has been running since 1985. The series includes various categories and classes for different types of Morgans, and races are held at various tracks around the UK. According to the Morgan Challenge website, the series has seen many competitive races and notable victories over the years. Source: https://www.morganchallenge.co.uk/
- Morgan Three-Wheeler Racing: The Morgan Three-Wheeler has a long history of racing success, including wins at various hill climb events and trials in the UK. According to the Morgan Three-Wheeler Club, the Three-Wheeler has also competed in various races at the Goodwood Revival and other vintage motorsport events. Source: https://www.mtwc.co.uk/racing/
- SCCA National Championship Runoffs: In 2006, a Morgan Plus 8 won the SCCA National Championship Runoffs, a prestigious racing event held in the United States. According to Road & Track magazine, the winning driver, Jim Hague, led the race from start to finish and claimed victory over a field of more than 20 other competitors. Source: https://www.roadandtrack.com/motorsports/news/a12189/morgan-plus-8-wins-scca-national-championship-runoffs/
- Morgan ARV6 GT3: The Morgan ARV6 GT3 is a racing version of the Aero 8 that was developed for GT racing series around the world. According to the official website of Richard Thorne Racing, the team that developed and campaigned the car, the ARV6 GT3 has been successful in various endurance and sprint races in the UK, Europe, and Asia. Source: https://www.richardthorne.co.uk/competitions/morgan-arv6-gt3
- Morgan-Nissan LMP2: In 2013, the Morgan-Nissan LMP2 race car competed in the FIA World Endurance Championship, a global sports car racing series. According to Autosport magazine, the car was competitive throughout the season, with podium finishes at the 6 Hours of Spa and the 6 Hours of Bahrain. Source: https://www.autosport.com/wec/news/morgan-satisfied-with-nissan-lmp2-performances-4464165/4464165/
The Early Models
Over its first 60 years, Morgan Motor Company produced a wide range of models, from the earliest three-wheeled Runabouts to the more modern and powerful Plus 8 and Aero 8.
Picture Credit: Single-seat Morgan Runabout, similar to HFS Morgan’s 1909 car
Attribution: Andrew Bone from Weymouth, England, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Page URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Morgan_Runabout_(15023622404).jpg
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
Here are some of the notable models that emerged during the company’s first 60 years:
- The Morgan Runabout: Introduced in 1909, the Runabout was the first car produced by Morgan. The three-wheeled vehicle powered by a motorcycle engine, featuring a lightweight ash wood body frame and a two-seater body, was so successful it established Morgan’s reputation for producing high-quality, hand-built sports cars. The vehicle first appeared in 1910 at the Olympia motorcycle show in London. HFS unveiled a two-seat Runabout with wheel steering and a hood the next year, sparking major commercial interest, including attention from the managing director of Harrods. The two-seat Runabout remains the only car to ever appear in the shop window of the famous store. Not to rest on his laurels, HFS introduced a four-seater family Runabout in 1921. In 2011, after an absence of over 50 years, Morgan re-introduced the Morgan 3 Wheeler, a modern interpretation of H.F.S. Morgan’s classic design.
- The Morgan 4/4: Introduced in 1936, the 4/4 was Morgan’s first four-wheeled car. It was powered by a 1.1-litre four-cylinder engine and featured a two-seater body. The 4/4 has remained in production ever since, making it the longest-running production car in the world.
- The Morgan Plus 4: Introduced in 1950, the Plus 4 evolved from the 4/4 but featured a larger 2.0-litre engine and a more aerodynamic body, and it quickly became one of Morgan’s most popular models.
- The Morgan Plus 8: Introduced in 1968, the Plus 8 was a high-performance version of the Plus 4. It was powered by a V8 engine and featured a wider body and more luxurious appointments. The Plus 8 was one of the fastest production cars of its time and has remained a highly sought-after model among collectors.
These are just a few examples of the many models that Morgan produced in its first 60 years of production. Each model had its own unique features and characteristics, but all share Morgan’s commitment to hand-built craftsmanship, performance, and style.
Morgan Sports Cars can be hired for a day or longer from various locations across the UK. This allows people to experience driving a Morgan car without having to buy one. Information about this is available at: https://www.morgan-motor.com/experience-morgan/hire-cars/
- The first service for new cars should be carried out after the first 500 miles (804 km) to ensure that the engine and other components are properly broken in and operating smoothly. After the first service, subsequent services should be carried out according to the recommended schedule.
- An annual or 10,000-mile (whichever comes first) service regime. There are two types of service: Interval and Full, with a Full Service required at every second service.
- For high-mileage Morgan drivers and/or owners who use their vehicle in dusty conditions, the vehicle may require additional service visits, which should be discussed with a Morgan Dealer.
- Following the recommended service schedule is important to keep a Morgan car running smoothly and prevent any potential issues from developing. If you’re unsure about the specific service requirements for your Morgan, you can refer to the owner’s manual or consult with a qualified Morgan service technician.
Morgan has developed a strong and active community of owners and enthusiasts around the world. Morgan owners’ clubs and events are held in many countries, providing opportunities for owners to connect with each other, share their experiences, and participate in various activities. In 1951, a group of Morgan enthusiasts met in the Olde Flying Horse Inn in Kegworth, Derbyshire, and from that meeting, the Morgan 4/4 club was born. The club’s name was changed to its present-day Morgan Sports Car Club in January 1971. The club continues the tradition of Morgan motoring to the present day with organised race and speed meetings throughout the year, recognising and supporting the historic tradition of Morgan cars and engaging in the glory of open-topped motoring.
Morgan owners’ clubs are typically organised by region or country, with members gathering regularly for social events, driving tours, and other activities. These events often include rallies, hill climbs, and track days, allowing owners to experience the performance and handling of their Morgan cars in a safe and supportive environment.
Morgan owners and enthusiasts also have a strong presence on social media and online forums, sharing their experiences and knowledge and providing support and advice to each other. This online community is a valuable resource for owners who may not have access to local owners’ clubs or events.
The Morgan owners’ community is a tight-knit and passionate group of individuals who share a love of the Morgan brand and its unique style and performance. Whether they’re driving on the open road, participating in a rally, or simply sharing stories and advice online, Morgan owners and enthusiasts are committed to supporting each other and preserving the legacy of this iconic British sports car brand.
Notable Get-Togethers in the Morgan Community
In addition to owners’ clubs, Morgan hosts its own events and gatherings, such as the annual Morgan Three-Wheeler Club Centenary Run and the Morgan Motor Company Run For The Hills event, bringing together owners and enthusiasts, and industry professionals from around the world. Details are:
- Morgan Three-Wheeler Club Centenary Run: This annual event is organised by the Morgan Three-Wheeler Club, which is one of the oldest and most active Morgan owners’ clubs in the world. The Centenary Run is held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Morgan Three-Wheeler, and it typically attracts a large gathering of three-wheeler enthusiasts from around the world. The event includes a tour of scenic roads, landmarks, social events, and other activities.
- Morgan Motor Company Run For The Hills: This biennial event is organised by Morgan Motor Company and is open to all Morgan owners and enthusiasts. The event features a range of activities, such as driving tours, live music, food and drink vendors, and a display of vintage and modern Morgan cars. The event also includes talks and presentations by industry experts and Morgan representatives.
- Mogfest: This annual event is organised by the Morgan Sports Car Club, one of the world’s largest Morgan owners’ clubs. Mogfest typically includes a range of activities, such as driving tours, social events, and technical talks and demonstrations. The event also includes a show and shine display of Morgan cars and an awards ceremony.
- The Revival: This annual vintage motorsport event is held at the Goodwood Circuit in West Sussex, England. The event features a range of vintage and classic cars, including many Morgans, and includes racing events, displays, and other activities. The Revival is a popular event for Morgan enthusiasts and provides an opportunity to see classic and vintage Morgans in action.
The list above provides just a few examples of the many Morgan owners’ events and gatherings that take place in Britain and around the world. These events offer opportunities for owners and enthusiasts to connect, share their passion for the Morgan brand, and celebrate the unique style and performance of these iconic British sports cars.
Krazy Horse is a custom motorcycle and car builder based in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, UK. While Krazy Horse is primarily known for its custom motorcycles, the company has also been involved in the customisation and modification of Morgan cars.
Krazy Horse has worked closely with the Morgan Motor Company to develop custom versions of the Morgan Three-Wheeler, including the limited edition P101 model. The P101 was developed in collaboration with Krazy Horse and featured a range of custom upgrades, such as a handcrafted leather interior, a custom exhaust system, and a unique paint scheme.
In addition to the P101, Krazy Horse has also developed a range of custom upgrades for the Morgan Three-Wheeler and other Morgan models, such as exhaust systems, suspension upgrades, and custom wheels.
Krazy Horse has a reputation for producing high-quality custom builds and modifications, and its work with Morgan cars has helped to expand the range of customization options available to Morgan owners and enthusiasts. The company’s involvement in the Morgan community has also helped to raise awareness of the brand and to promote the unique style and performance of these iconic British sports cars. Krazy Horse is an officially appointed dealer for the Morgan Motor Company and is approved to sell, service and repair all models of the diverse Morgan Range.
Chatter, Gossip and more, as well as some interesting facts about Morgan cars that most people don’t know:
- Morgan Sports Cars are highly esteemed because they combine traditional craftsmanship with modern technology, creating unique and distinctive vehicles that offer a thrilling driving experience.
- One of the main reasons the three-wheeler cars were so successful was because they had all-round independent suspension, which was ahead of most cars until the 1960s.
- Morgan Sports Cars are not cheap, but they offer value for money in terms of quality, performance, and exclusivity. Depending on the model and specifications, a new Morgan car can cost anywhere from £31,995 to £204,000. A used Morgan car can cost less, but you must be careful about its condition and maintenance history.
- Insurance issues for Morgan Sports Cars will vary depending on your location, age, driving record, and other factors. You must compare quotes from different insurers before buying a Morgan. Some insurers may offer special rates or discounts for classic or vintage cars, while other insurers may charge more.
- The boot space of a Morgan Sports Car may be an issue, but it depends on the model and configuration. For example, the Plus Four has a boot capacity of 154 litres, while the 3 Wheeler has no boot at all.
- Morgan cars are hand-assembled by skilled craftsmen at a factory in Malvern Link, an area of Malvern, Worcestershire.
- The waiting list for a Morgan car is approximately six months, but it has sometimes been as long as ten years.
- Morgan cars do not have airbags, but they meet all safety standards.
- One of the common misconceptions about Morgan cars is that ‘the cars have a wooden chassis.’ They don’t, they are metal. They only have a wooden body frame.
Picture Credit: Morgan 3-wheeler (2012)
Attribution: Mr.choppers, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Page URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2012_US-spec_Morgan_3-wheeler.jpg
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
The following drawings are the property (and copyright) of the artist who drew them, my good friend Grahame Joseph, who has kindly given his permission for me to use them in this paper. He is, of course, a proud Morgan owner.
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Sources and Further Reading
- Morgan: 100 Years – The Official History of the World’s Greatest Sports Car, by Charles Morgan, published by Michael O’Mara (11 Sept 2008), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Morgan-Official-History-Worlds-Greatest/dp/1843172674/
- Morgan Cars 1969 – 1979, by Clarke R. M. (compiler), published by Brookland Books (1 Jan 1979), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Morgan-Cars-1969-Clarke-compiler/dp/0906589851/
- Morgan: The Last Survivor (Classic car), by Chris Harvey, published by Oxford Illustrated Press (1 Nov 1987), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Morgan-Last-Survivor-Classic-car/dp/0946609284
- Morgan: First and Last of the Real Sports Cars, by Gregory Houston Bowden, published by GT Foulis & Co Limited (2 Jun 1986), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Morgan-First-Last-Real-Sports/dp/0854294430
- Morgan Sports Cars the Heritage Years 1954-1960, by J.D. Alderson, Chris Chapman, et al., published by Plus Four Books (1 Nov 2007), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Morgan-Sports-Heritage-Years-1954-1960/dp/1872955304/
- A Morgan Called Red: Brooklands to Laguna Seca, by Larry Ayres, published by TPR Inc. (1 Apr 2004), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Morgan-Three-Wheeler-Called-Larry-Ayres/dp/092975820X/
- Morgan Aero 8: A Brave and Exciting World, by Gavin Farmer, published by John G Henry (4 Feb 2015), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Morgan-Aero-Brave-Exciting-World/dp/095702231X/
- Four-wheelers, 1936 to 1968 (Completely Morgan), by Ken Hill, published by Veloce Publishing Limited (1 Aug 1994), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Completely-Morgan-Four-wheelers-1936-1968/dp/1874105332/
- Morgan: Haynes Classic Makes Series (Performance plus Tradition): Performance Plus Pedigree, by Jonathan Wood, published by JH Haynes & Co Limited (1 Nov 2004), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Morgan-Classic-Performance-Tradition-Pedigree/dp/1859608817/
- Morgan Plus 4 (Super Profile S.), by John Teague, published by GT Foulis & Co Limited (1 Feb 1988), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Morgan-Plus-Super-Profile-S/dp/0854296026/
- Morgan Sports Cars: the Early Years, by J D Alderson and Chris Chapman, published by Sheffield Academic Press (31 Dec 1998), available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Morgan-Sports-Cars-Early-Years/dp/1850756805/
- Morgan Motor Company – This is the official YouTube channel of the Morgan Motor Company. It features videos of new models, company events, and other behind-the-scenes content. available at: https://www.youtube.com/user/morganmotorcompany
- Morgan Three-Wheeler Club – This is the YouTube channel of the Morgan Three-Wheeler Club. It features videos of three-wheeler events, rallies, and other activities. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAqIDrpYspxxGmxaMGD6d9g
- History of Morgan Documentary, at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD0P4Ss5ypM
- NEW Morgan Plus Four: Road Review, at: https://youtu.be/NyNsfBRPHrE
End Notes and Explanations
- Sources: Compiled from research using information at the sources stated throughout the text, together with information provided by machine-generated artificial intelligence at: bing.com [chat] and https://chat.openai.com ↑
- Source: https://morgandc.com/short-history-morgan-motor-company/ ↑
- Source: http://carphile.co.uk/featured-cars/the-morgan-story-a-brief-history-and-its-cars-by-carphile/ ↑
- Commentary: The Morgan company website (https://morgandc.com/short-history-morgan-motor-company/) says the company was formed in 1909 but other sources, such as Wikipedia, suggest it was 1910. ↑
- Note: It is believed that all the latest designs have wishbone suspension. ↑
- Source: https://morgandc.com/short-history-morgan-motor-company/ ↑
- Source: https://allonwhite.co.uk/history-of-morgan-cars ↑
- Source: https://morgandc.com/short-history-morgan-motor-company/ ↑
- Commentary: The Morgan 3 Wheeler, originally introduced in 1909, was re-introduced in 2011. The post-2011 3 Wheeler was a modern interpretation of Morgan’s original three-wheeled Runabout. It featured a V-twin engine and an exposed tubular frame, and it quickly gained a cult following among enthusiasts for its unique design and driving experience. ↑
- Source: https://vuenj.com/a-history-of-tradition-with-morgan-motor-company/ ↑
- Ibid. ↑
- Source: https://www.morgan-motor.com/about-morgan ↑
- Source: https://www.morgan-motor.com/morgan-work-servicing/ ↑
- Source: https://www.morgansportscarclub.com/history ↑
- For more information, go to: https://krazyhorse.co.uk/pages/morgan-motor-company ↑
- Source: https://classicsworld.co.uk/classic-car-price-guide/morgan-4-4-buyers-guide/ and https://www.motors.co.uk/morgan/used-cars/ ↑
- Source: Morgan owner, Grahame Joseph, February 2023. ↑
- Sources: https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/cars/article-9861367/Morgan-Plus-Four-CX-T-mad-road-sports-car-costs-170-000.html and https://www.hagerty.com/media/car-profiles/why-arent-morgans-worth-more/ ↑
- Source: https://classicsworld.co.uk/classic-car-price-guide/morgan-4-4-buyers-guide/ ↑
- Source: https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/best-cars/top-10-best-affordable-sports-cars ↑
- Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgan_Motor_Company and https://www.morgan-motor.com/about-morgan/ ↑
- Ibid. ↑
- Source: https://www.focus2move.com/whats-so-special-about-classic-morgan-cars/ ↑
- Source: Morgan owner, Grahame Joseph, February 2023. ↑