“I’d take the Roadster V6 3.7 litre engine, in dark blue with ivory leather, and I’d drive it down through Italy,” says London Morgan Managing Director, Anthony Barrell, when asked about his perfect road trip. And a top-down Mediterranean driving experience, with the sun beating down as the car winds along the Italian roads, is of course perfectly in keeping with Morgan’s exclusive reputation.
Founder of Morgan: Harry Frederick Stanley Morgan
Ever since the company was founded by Harry Frederick Stanley Morgan, back in 1909, (it is still family-owned), the Morgan name has been a by-word for vintage-style, craftsmanship and a visceral driving experience. But, Morgan cars aren’t all about sunglasses, headscarves and jaunts down the Amalfi Coast. Although these iconic vehicles are rightly prized by the rich and famous (Mick Jagger, David Gandy and Tilda Swinton are all owners), the unique quality of the cars lends them a universal appeal.
if you’re going to a big black tie evening do and you want to turn up in style, then the Morgan is great, but if you want to go out into the country with your dog on a Sunday afternoon, it’s perfect too.
“We sell Morgans to all-sorts of people: young men of 21 and ladies of 70,” says Barrell, who worked his way up from an apprentice at his local Peugeot dealer. “You don’t need to wear a flash suit to appreciate the cars,” he adds, “if you’re going to a big black tie evening do and you want to turn up in style, then the Morgan is great, but if you want to go out into the country with your dog on a Sunday afternoon, it’s perfect too."
The cars are popular, not just because they are exclusive, but because they are hand built, traditional and are built by genuine craftsmen. “Many modern cars are just stamped out on the factory line, but buying a Morgan is a whole different experience,” Barrell explains.
After further discussion, it seems that no two Morgans are the same. A client can choose from 60,000 shades of paint, although if you brought a swatch along the team could probably match it, and an incredible 30 leather colours. “It’s not like going to a normal car show room, where you can have a red one with black leather,” says Barrell, keenly aware that many want more than the ‘one-size fits-all’ approach.
Each Morgan client is invited to the company’s factory at the foot of the Malvern Hills, where 130 staff members create Britain’s most characterful cars. The team begins by mocking up various colour combinations for each client. “Often they will have it in their mind that they want racing green with a tan leather, but maybe they’ll come away with a metallic blue and ivory leather,” Barrell explains.
And, once the aesthetic choices have been made, it’s on to the nuts and bolts. The steel chassis is dressed in a lightweight frame of English Ash, which is then dressed in aluminium and hand beaten into shape.
The car is then painted and the leather-work (sourced from English company, Yarwood) trimmed and fitted by the in-house pattern cutters and seamstresses. It’s a long old process - there are at least 30 pairs of hands involved in the production of each car. The finished product is something to behold.
“If you’re driving a Morgan, people let you out in traffic, you get the thumbs up - regardless of age people want to talk to you about the car,” says Barrell, smiling. And now you know why: each Morgan car is a one off, handmade ode to British craftsmanship. So, why not head down to Malvern to see what all the fuss is about?