Morgan Motor Company: A Brief History

Here at London Morgan, we are extremely proud of our origins. As the country’s leading recognised dealer of Morgan vehicles, we thought it only right to provide our customers with a brief overview of the past 110 years of Morgan Motor Company.
 
Few manufacturers can claim to have made such an impact on the overall stylistic development of an entire industry. We are in no doubt that Morgan has done exactly that for the motoring industry. With that in mind, allow us to take you on a whistle-stop tour of the company’s prestigious history.

 

The Origins

 
An image of one of the first prototypes by Morgan Motor Company
 

Founded in 1909 by H.S.F Morgan, the Morgan Motor Company and its brand have been constantly evolving ever since. As Britain’s oldest family-owned car manufacturer, the company is steeped in rich history, some of which we’re going to explore here. Overall, Morgan played a significant role in shaping the wider development of the British motoring industry, and London Morgan became an intrinsic part of that.

 

Morgan’s Three Wheeler

 
Picture of a classic three-wheeler Morgan car
 

The very first Morgan cars were almost unrecognisable from what most people know today. As with the vast majority of cars from the early 1900s, Morgan’s earliest models mostly featured three wheels. This trait wasn’t a given, though; when the company’s first garages were set up in 1905, a number of four-wheeled models were also displayed.
 
The three-wheeled design continued to represent Morgan’s most innovative work over the next decade. Up until the outbreak of war across Europe, the development of Morgan cars continued to gather momentum and bring with it a range of new designs. Many of these new designs initially featured a single seat, which did mean that few actually sold. That limitation was soon eradicated, however, and a two-seat version of the classic “runabout” featured in the window of Harrods. To date, this was the only time the shop would feature a car in its front window.
 
Morgan’s development continued to go from strength to strength until they were forced to temporarily halt production in 1914.

 

1919 and the Years of Peace

 
A sketch of the factory expansion by Morgan Motor Company in the 1920s
 

Following the announcement of peace on 11th November, 1918, Morgan Motor Company was among the first car manufacturer to resume production. Thanks to the simplicity of the design, it was far easier for the workers to pick up where they left off.
 
From then onwards, production expanded at a fair rate. The two existing workshops were extended just in time for the return home of many Morgan workers, but it would not be until the mid-1920s that the real growth and potential of the company became clear. In 1925, George Goodall became General Manager of Morgan motors and oversaw a significant expansion of the factories, increasing the number of workshop rows to 6.
 
Morgan had always seen success on the race track, but in 1930 those successes hit new heights. Mrs Gwenda Stewart broke the One Hour World Record in Montlhéry, clocking in at over 100mph. That decade also heralded the start of Morgan’s ambitions overseas. Following the expansion of the company’s factory and its many successes on the race track, Morgan cars began to increase in demand on foreign soil.

 

Morgan 4-4

 
A poster for the Morgan 4-4
 

The next ten years saw, once again, the state of Europe taking precedence over all else. Morgan Motors halted production during World War II. Before that, however, Morgan shifted its emphasis from their familiar three-wheeler vehicles to a new model: the Morgan 4-4. The car was an immediate success, and featured 4 wheels as well as 4 cylinders. Its design then inspired hundreds of Morgan models over the next 80 years, but more immediately led onto four-seater and Coupe designs.
 
By the 1960s, the Morgan Motor Company had moved swiftly on from the decade’s second global conflict and were racing into the final three decades of the 1900s with purpose. After winning the 24-hour endurance race at Le Mans at an average speed of 94mph, Morgan developed the Plus 4 Plus. This model resembles the closest we’ve spoken about so far to what we all consider a classic Morgan. The classic grill and glass fibre body combined to form an unmistakable shape.

 

The Plus Eight and Aero

 
An image of a modern-looking Morgan Aero
 

One of Morgan’s most iconic designs to date was the Plus Eight, which arrived at the end of the 60s. Again, it accelerated the speed at which Morgan modernised and brought yet more success on the race track. 1975 witnessed victory at the production sports championship, while the Morgan sports car championships began 12 years later and grew rapidly. The Plus Eight remains one of the most successful models to date and remained in production for 36 years.
 
As for the Aero models, these cars are unmistakably modern Morgans. The original Aero 8 was unveiled in Geneva in the year 2000, with the Aeromax and Roadster V6 following in ‘05 and ‘06 respectively. Both models were exceptionally slick both in terms of their appearance and performance, and paved the way for the most recent Morgan Motor Company productions.

 

The Centenary

 
Image of the celebrations for Morgan Motor Company's Centenary
 

As the perfect segue into our modern-day Morgans, the company celebrated its centenary in 2009. The new Aero Supersports model was released for social use, while racing enthusiasts were offered the Morgan GT3.
 
Thousands visited Malvern to celebrate Morgan’s 100th birthday and, to accommodate them, the Morgan Visitor Centre was set up at the main factory site. Images and artefacts from throughout the past 100 years were displayed in a fitting tribute to one of England’s most iconic and successful cars.

 

Find Out More

 

We’re always eager to discuss our rich history with anyone that might be interested. To find out more about our company and its many achievements, as well as its ongoing development, we would encourage you to come and visit the London Morgan showroom in South Kensington. We are also always happy to arrange a factory visit to our Malvern site; please contact us on 020 7244 7323 for further information and to arrange a visit.
 
Alternatively, you can fill out one of our contact forms and a member of the London Morgan team will get back to you. We hope to hear from you soon.