A VISIT TO THE MORGAN FACTORY
WHEN we ” went west ” for the 11.A.C. Championship Trial, we took the opportunity Of visiting the Morgan Motor CO., Ltd., at .Malvern Link.
This little factory might be said to carry on a tradition upheld on a larger settle by M.G., that of turning out mainly Sports models. It lies beneath the shadow of two hills, snow-clad at the time Of our visit, and its rather chapel-like brick entrance-porch is faced by trim suburban houses. This is the factory which Morgans moved into in the early ‘twenties, but if you climb the steep hill facing it you come to the garage of Bowman 4 4cock, Ltd., Morgan agents and Worcestershire distributors. Mr. Bowman told me that this wait the original Morgan factory, dating back to 1910, and that Mr. H. F. S. Morgan was ‘born in the house next-door, which this enterprising firm .has recently turned into a restaurant. Mr. Bowman discovered the crib in which ” II-F.8.” was born, and much historical correspondence, in clearing up before the conversion.
Back in the small reception-hall Of the present factory in Piekersky Road we came upon hand-painted hoards listing Morgan competition achievements from 1912-1920, commencing With H. F. 8. Morgan’s historic Hour Record at Brooklands—they were very large boards. There was also a photograph of Sammy Davis, in rather baggy overalls, about to take over Mrs. Stewart’s three-wheeler on the later successful record-breaking occasion at Montlhery. Beside it was a framed certificate relating to the 1912 A.C.U. One,Day Motor-cycle Trial, on which the bold copperplate hand of officials of long ago proclaimed that H. P. S. Morgan’s Morgan three-wheeler had fulfilled all requirements, had run non-stop at between 18 and 20 m.p.h. average speed, and had climbed Kirkstone and Red Bank hills at 7 m.p.h. Happy days I And so different from the conunissionaire-guarded haunts of the big Midlands motor manufacturers . . .
The factory consists a a series of long. well-lit sheds, through which Morgans pass from the initial stages of manufacture to the dispatch Shed. In the latter were two of the new 2-litre Vanguardengined cars and a good number of the now-defunct 1,265-e.c. “4/4s,” in twoseater and coupe form. There were also about half-a-dozen three-wheelers, in “F Super” and “Family” form, with Ford Ten engines, awaiting shipment to places like Spain and Switzerland. We were interested to barn that the new 2-litre model has undergone a few modifications sincethe Show. The engine and separate gearbox are mated into a unit by the earden-shaft tunnel and this unit is now mounted at. four instead of six paints, two at the front of the crankease and two at the bark of the gearbox. To deaden the noise, which a separate gearbox probably emphasises, a double floor has been introduced, with soundproofing between the panels. This new 2-litre should have a very outstanding performance, and many Vanguard engines were seen awaiting installation in this
exciting new chassis, which. incidentally, is longer than the old 4i4.” Some people may have been puzzled, when they examined the new Morgan at Earls Court, over the rather flimsy-looking arms running out to the i.f.s. units. These strips take no load, apart from somewhat strengthening the front-end assembly, but act as dampers which prevent the exposed coil springs interfering with the steering. Formerly secured to the chassis by sprung bolts, they are now more securely anchored on alloy blocks.
We were encouraged to discover that much hand-assembly and old-time craftsmanship is to be seen at Malvern. All the bodies are made in the factory, the wood frames being held by Hint* clamps while they are screwed together by hand. They are panelled in steel these days and on the 2-litre the scuttle with its tool compartment is also of steel, although wood was used on the older “4/4.” Three-wheeler body .frames were seen in considerable numbers, incidentally.
We were struck by the brightness of the finish on the cars awaiting shipment, and were very interested to learn that after the cars have been sprayed with Synthetic cellulose they are hand finished. The coupe model has deep doof-pockets and the glass side windows can be unbolted complete, if desired, so that, with the ” top ” lowered into its recess behind the seat, a very open two-seater is quickly acquired. The very generous leather upholstery, leather padding round the prop.-shaft tunnel, and the provision of’ Iwo spare wheels were other points which endeared the Morgan to us. Naturally, proprietary parts play their part, as in all present-day factories—very efficient Lucas 11,EltdianipS, LUCAS pass-lights, Newton and Andre shock-absorbers, HardySpicer prop.-shafts, Lucas ignition and electries, Borg and Beek clutches, Dunlop wheels drilled at Malvern, Dunlop tyres. Solex carburetters, A.C. oil filters, Champion plugs, Girling brakes, Smith’s jacks, Burman-Douglas steering, and so on. The 2-litre has Girling hydraulic brakes and its Moss gearbox is the same as Standard use on the Vanguard, hut cleverly adapted to separate installation, a feature Morgan doggedly retains. New cars go out filled with Castro! oil. The Vanguard engine replaces the former ” 4/4 ” engine, which was first an im.e. Coventry-Climax, later a 49,b.h.p. Standard Ten supplied specially to Morgan’s requirements with a push-rod oh.v. head, and giving good power output low down the np.m. scale. These engines were bench-run before leaving Coventry and not tested subsequently. Naturally, the predominant theme at Picket-sky Road is.—Morgans. A Welshman was buying -spares for a 1936 V-twin three-wheeler he had recently acquired and was anxious to overhaul. The ” works ” truck is on a Morgan ” 4/4 ” chassis. We were Met by G. M Goodall, a legendary Morgan figure in his active competition days. The only ” gatecrasher ” we saw was a 3i-litre Bentley saloon with pre-war 13.A.R.C. badge. We learned that one of the actual” Le Mans” ” 4/4s ” had just been sold and a “
Alans Replica ” was being rebuilt in the works. Altogether we tame away from the little Morgan factory with a, pleasant feeling that here good cars are built by craftsmen in an atmosphere far more reassuring than that which is encountered in these vast plants where massproduction predominatcs.–W. IL