Single-seat Morgan Runabout, similar to HFS Morgan’s 1909 car
The Morgan Motor Company is a family-owned British motor car manufacturer that was founded in 1910 by Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan.
Morgan is based in Malvern Link, an area of Malvern, Worcestershire and employs 163 people. Morgan produced 640 cars in 2007, all assembled by hand. The waiting list for a car is approximately six months, although it has been as long as ten years in the past.
A visitor centre and museum feature exhibits about the company’s history from Edwardian times until the present day, developments in automobile technology, and a display of automobiles. There are also guided tours of the factory.
Rear view, showingswingarm rear suspension
Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan, generally known as “HFS”, was an employee of the Great Western Railway, who bought his first car in 1902 at the age of 21. In 1904, he left his railway job and co-founded a motor sales and servicing garage in Malvern Link. In 1909 he designed and built a car for his own use. He began production a year later and the company prospered. Morgan continued to run it until he died at age 77 in 1959.
Peter Morgan, son of HFS, ran the company until a few years before his death in 2003. He was replaced as chairman by Alan Garnett, a non-family director, from 2003 to 2006. On his departure, a four-man management team was set up consisting of Matthew Parkin, Tim Whitworth, Steve Morris and Charles Morgan, (Peter Morgan’s son). In 2010, Parkin left the company and Charles Morgan was named Managing Director. In January 2013 Charles Morgan was removed as Managing Director and Steve Morris took that title. In October 2013, Charles Morgan was fired as an employee and a majority of the shareholders removed him from the Board of Directors. At the end of 2013, the shareholders appointed Andrew Duncan, a local solicitor and friend of the late Peter Morgan, as the first company Chairman since 2006.
Since 2011, the Morgan Motor Company and its related companies, (Aero Racing Limited and Morgan 3 Wheeler Ltd.) have been wholly owned divisions of Morgan Technologies, a company incorporated in late 2010.
Early cars: three-wheelers and 4-4s
1912 Morgan Runabout Deluxe
Morgan Aero 2-Seater Sports 1926
The early cars were two-seat or four-seat three-wheelers, and are therefore considered to becyclecars. Three-wheeled vehicles avoided the British tax on cars by being classified as motorcycles. Competition from small cars like the Austin 7 and the original Morris Minor, with comparable economy and price and better comfort, made cyclecars less attractive.
Morgan Super Sports 1937
V-Twin three-wheelers (1911–1939)
H.F.S. Morgan’s first car design was a single-seat three-wheeled runabout, which was fabricated for his personal use in 1909. Interest in his runabout led him to patent his design and begin production. While he initially showed single-seat and two-seat versions of his runabout at the 1911 Olympia Motor Exhibition, he was convinced at the exhibition that there would be greater demand for a two-seat model. The Morgan Motor Company was registered as a limited private company only in 1912 with “H.F.S.” Morgan as managing director and his father, who had invested in his son’s business, as its first chairman
Morgan established its reputation via competition such as winning the 1913 Cyclecar Grand Prix at Amiens in France. This became the basis for the ‘Grand Prix’ model of 1913 to 1926, from which evolved the ‘Aero’, and ‘Sports’ models.
These models used air-cooled or liquid-cooled variations of motorcycle engines. The engine was placed ahead of the axis of the front wheels in a chassis made of steel tubes brazed into cast lugs.
The V-Twin models were not returned to production after World War II.
F-Series three-wheelers (1932–1952)
1936 Morgan F4 Open Tourer
The Morgan F-4 was introduced in 1933 at the Olympia Motor Cycle Show. The F-4 had a new pressed-steel chassis the four-cylinder Ford Sidevalve engine used in the Model Y, and a four-seat body. The F-4 was supplemented by the two-seat F-2 in 1935 and the more sporting F Super, with cycle-type wings and louvred bonnet tops, in 1937. Production of the Ford-engined three-wheelers continued until 1952.
Morgan’s first four-wheeler was the 4–4, for four-cylinder engine and four wheels. The first production 4-wheeled Morgan was released to the public in 1936 and is known as the Morgan 4–4 Series 1. Three-wheeler production continued alongside the 4–4 until 1952.
Postwar four-wheel cars
1952 “flat radiator” Morgan +4
The Morgan +4 was introduced in 1950 as a larger-engined (“plus”) car than the 4–4. The +4 used the 2088 cc Standard Vanguard engine, while the 4–4 used a Standard Special 1267 cc engine (1950–58). Later +4s used Triumph TR2–TR4 engines (1954–1969). Plus 4 production was suspended in 1969 but brought back in 1985 with a Fiat engine (1985–1988) and then a 4-cylinder Rover engine (1988–2000). Production was again suspended and the Plus 4 returned once more in 2004 with a 155 bhp (116 kW; 157 PS) Ford 4-cylinder.
1963 Morgan +4
A version of the +4, designated the +4+, was made from 1964 to 1967 with a contemporary fibreglass coupe body. The light weight and reduced drag characteristics improved the performance of the +4+ over the regular +4 in every aspect. However, the traditional Morgan enthusiasts did not embrace this departure from Morgan custom, and mainstream enthusiasts did not embrace the seemingly archaic +4 chassis. Only 26 +4+ cars were built.
Limited edition Plus 4 model is re-introduced in the year 2014 as Plus 4 Super Sports where only 60 cars are made available and each car will be right hand drive.
Faced with the decreasing availability of large four-cylinder engines for use in their +4 models, Morgan began to install the recently available Rover V8 engine in their cars in 1968, giving these cars the model designation “+8”.
The engine displacement jumped from the 2.3 L of the Triumph TR4 engine to 3.5 L, then 3.9 L (1990), 4.0 (1998–2004) with an optional 4.6L (1996–2000) all based on the same Land Rover block. However, the V-8 was no longer than the Triumph. These features made the +8 accelerate much more quickly than the early +4 and also improved its road-holding capability.
Horsepower (143–204 bhp), weight and performance varied with emission and structural laws through its history. In its final form, the GEMS Land Rover V8 produced 190 hp (140 kW). Thus powered, the car could accelerate from 0–60 mph in 5.6 seconds.
Roadster at 76e international Motorshow Geneva 2006
In 2004, Morgan came out with a traditional styled model to replace the departing Plus 8. The Mk I Roadsters with the Ford UK Mondeo V6 produced 223 bhp (166 kW, 226 PS) at 6150 rev/min. It had a Getrag gearbox with direct drive in 5th with a 3.08 axle ratio. Later Marks had a Ford gearbox with direct drive in 4th with a 3.73 axle ratio. The overall gearing is virtually the same. The later Roadsters were powered by a Ford UK Mondeo V6 producing 204 bhp (152 kW; 207 PS). In 2007, the Mondeo engine was replaced by a U.S.-specification version of the same engine in the Roadster II. In 2011-12, the engine was replaced by the 3.7 Duratec Cyclone engine and output increased to 280 bhp (209 kW; 284 PS). The company calls this latest model the Roadster 3.7.
Morgan Aero 8 (Series I-V)
A Modern Morgan Aero 8 at the Scarsdale Concours
In 2000, the Morgan Aero 8 was introduced and, as always, the wooden body substructure was ash. (Contrary to popular myth, however, the chassis is metal; aluminium for the Aero 8.) The Aero 8, with a BMW V8 engine in a car weighing less than a BMW Z4and considerably less than a BMW M3, (though more than traditional Morgans) is even faster than the Plus 8, delivering whatAutoweek magazine termed supercar performance. The newest Aero 8 (series V), presented in March 2015, puts out 367 hp (274 kW) at 6100 rpm with the company suggesting a top speed of over 170 mph (270 km/h). Due to the Aero 8’s light weight it can do 0–62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.5 seconds.
During its customer production lifetime (2002–2009), the Aero was configured in five official versions, (I,II, III, IV, the Aero America and V) with mild variations in styling, engines, transmissions, braking and suspension. The company canceled the model in 2009 but relaunched it in 2015 for 2016 deliveries. The year of highest production for any Aero variation was 2002.
Morgan AeroMax, showing distinct boat tail rear
The Aero was followed by the Aeromax, a limited edition of 100 units produced between 2008 and early 2010. The Aeromax was a coupé variation of the Aero 8. Customers have included Richard Hammond, Rowan Atkinson and Paul O’Grady.
Morgan Aero SuperSports
The Morgan Aero SuperSports is a targa-roofed version of the AeroMax, sharing its bonded aluminium chassis and lower bodywork with the coupe. It was launched at the 2009 Pebble Beach car show in California. Its cancellation was announced in March 2015.
Morgan Aero Coupe
The Morgan Aero Coupe is a hard top version of the Aero SuperSports, sharing its bonded aluminium chassis, bodywork, suspension, and engine. It was launched at the end of 2011. It is not available in the USA. Its cancellation was announced in March 2015.
Morgan Aero Plus 8
The new Morgan Plus 8 is a classic body version of the Aero SuperSports and Aero Coupe, sharing their bonded aluminium chassis, bodywork, suspension, and engine. It was launched at the end of 2011. It is not available in the USA.
Morgan Plus E
The Morgan Plus E was another experimental electric version of a classical Morgan, a joint project of Morgan with Zytek and Radshape, funded by the UK government. It was displayed at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.
Morgan Eva GT
Based on the same chassis as the Aero Supersports, the Eva GT will be a 2+2 grand tourer, and as such it is longer in the body. The Eva GT will use BMW N54 twin-turbo straight-6 producing 302 bhp, this is Euro-6 emissions compliant. Shown at Pebble Beach in clay in 2010 and expected to go on sale in 2012, deposits have been taken since 2010. At the end of 2011, Morgan announced that it will use new magnesium technology for the body and therefore it will not be re-presented until 2014 with deliveries after that. In 2013 dealers confirmed that the EvaGT had been cancelled.
2011 Morgan 3 Wheeler
Morgan 3 Wheeler
The Morgan Motor Company announced that they would launch the “3 Wheeler” in 2011 at the Geneva Motor Show. The 3 Wheeler was initially said to have a Harley-Davidson Screaming Eagle V-twin engine and a Mazda 5-speed manual transmission, and was estimated to deliver 115 horsepower (86 kW) at the rear wheel. However, there was a surprise when the prototype that was shown at Geneva had an S&S engine. Production three-wheelers turned out to have S&S engines. The kerb weight was originally estimated to be less than 500 kilograms (1,102 lb), but the final weight was tested at 550 kg. The acceleration from zero to 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) was estimated by Morgan as 4.5 seconds, with an (estimated) top speed of 115 miles per hour (185 km/h). The three-wheeler is to be homologated as a motorcycle in the United States. The company states that 850 deposits have been taken since the announcement in 2011. Customer deliveries began in Europe in February 2012. USA deliveries are not expected before June 2012, when the first imported three-wheeler was displayed in New York City and at the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance. The Morgan 3 Wheeler was featured in a Series 18 episode of UK motoring show Top Gear where presenter Richard Hammond picked the Morgan 3 Wheeler in a comparison of track-day cars. The 3 Wheeler won the “Not-A-Car of the Year 2011” in Top Gear.
Availability in the United States
Morgan Motor factory, main entrance
For part of the 1950s and 1960s, the USA provided the company with its largest market worldwide, taking up to 85% of all production. This ended with the first wave of US safety and emission regulations in 1971. For many years (1974 to 1992), all Morgans imported into the United States were converted to run on propane as fuel to pass the U.S. emissions regulations. However, this conversion, along with bringing the cars into compliance with U.S. vehicle safety leglislation, was carried out by the dealership, and not by the factory, making the cars grey market vehicles.
However, when the Rover Group re-certified their V8 engine for use in the Range Rover 4×4 sold in the U.S., Morgan was able to use the same engine for a fully U.S.-compliant stock Morgan from 1992 to 1996, and again from 1998 to 2004 In 2005, the engine was replaced with the U.S. version of another traditionally shaped model (with a V6), called the Roadster.
In 2002, Morgan centralised its international compliancy development and regulatory interaction in-house. . In 2005, its right to import its classic models ceased when supplies of its necessary airbag were exhausted and no replacement was developed. In 2006, a request for an airbag exemption to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was refused, and the import of classic Morgans ceased.
In 2005, the new Morgan Aero 8 model (versions 2 and 3) received a three-year exemption from rear impact non-compliance, along with a separate exemption for compliance with “advanced airbag requirements”. The rear-impact exemption lapsed in May 2008 without further application. Morgan has indicated to its U.S. dealers that it plans to re-apply for US certification for some model at as yet an undetermined date in the future.
In April 2012, the new Morgan 3 Wheeler was show-cased at the New York International Auto Show, at the Jacob Javits Center, by Bobby Singh and Gideon Lang-Laddie of Manhattan Motorsports. This was the first time in 10 years that Morgan had had a presence at the largest of the American car shows and was the first US specification Morgan 3 Wheeler in the USA. The Morgan 3 Wheeler was voted one of the “Hottest Cars Of The Show” by G4TV.
In May 2012, Manhattan Motorsports took delivery of Charles Morgan’s Super dry edition Morgan 3 Wheeler and prepared it for its first major American trial. This vehicle was driven across the States, from New York to Los Angeles by Charles Morgan and his wife, covering 3000 miles, in the Gumball 3000. At the end of the seven-day drive, the Morgan 3 Wheeler was awarded the “Spirit of Gumball” prize.
Traditional Morgan sliding pillar suspension
In spite of their traditional design, Morgans have always had sporting or “sports car” performance, due to their extremely low weight.
Among their enthusiasts, Morgans are affectionately known as “Moggies”.
H.F.S. Morgan’s 1909 Runabout used sliding pillar suspension, an independent front suspension system with each front wheel mounted on a stub axle able to slide up and down a fixed pillar that also acts as the kingpin and supported by a spring and external shock absorber (damper). One advantage is reduced unsprung weight, theoretically allowing the tire and wheel to better respond to road surface irregularities. The Morgan system is described as an ‘inverted’ sliding pillar, as the pillar is fixed and the hub carrier slides over it. Earlier systems had the wheel carried on the pillar, sliding through a bush on the axle.
Morgan used developments of this suspension system throughout its existence and it is still used on Morgan’s “classic” line, although not on the Aero 8 or its derivatives.
• 1909 Runabout
• 1911–1939 V-Twin 3-wheeler
• 1932–1952 F-Series 3-wheeler
• Since 1936 4/4 Two-Seater and Four-Seater
• 1950–1969 Plus 4
• 1964–1967 Plus 4 Plus
• 1968–2004 (and 2012-) Plus 8
• 1985–2000 Plus 4
• 2001–2009 Aero 8
• 2004-2012 V6 Roadster
• Since 2005 Plus 4
• 2006-pending Morgan LIFEcar
• 2008–2009 AeroMax
• Since 2009 Morgan 4/4 Sport
• 2010–2015 Aero SuperSports
• 2010–cancelled Morgan Eva GT
• 2011–cancelled Morgan Plus E
• 2011-2012 Morgan Plus 4 Supersports
• 2011–present Morgan Anniversary 4/4
• 2012-2015 Aero Coupe
• 2012–present Morgan 3 Wheeler
• 2012–present Morgan Aero Plus 8
• 2012–present Roadster 3.7
• 2015- Morgan Aero 8
Morgan cars can be found in many areas of motorsport, from club and historic racing to more prominent examples, including the Le Mans 24hr race and the Morgan Aero 8 GT3 car. Another notable Morgan racecar was the Aero 8 GT car that campaigned in 2008 Britcar races and the 2008 Britcar 24hrs at Silverstone, prepared and run by Mark Bailey Racing.
Pescarolo Sport will be rebranding its Le Mans Prototype as a Morgan for the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans, partly to mark the 50th anniversary of a class victory for a Morgan Plus Four Super Sports at Le Mans.
In popular culture
• GoMoG’s Morgans at the Movies
• Sir John Harvey Jones famously visited the firm in the 1990s BBC documentary series Troubleshooter in which he advised the firm to modernize. The company rejected the advice but made other changes to its processes and has gone on to prosper