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Morgan Motor Company

The Morgan Motor Company is a British motor car manufacturer. The company was founded in 1909 by H.F.S. Morgan and was run by him until 1959. Peter Morgan, son of H.F.S., ran the company until a few years before his death in 2003. Morgan is based in Malvern Link, an area of Malvern, Worcestershire and employs 163 people. All the cars are assembled by hand. The waiting list for a car is approximately one to two years, although it has been as high as 10 years in the past.

Morgan produced 640 cars in 2007.

Early cars - three-wheelers and 4-4s

The early cars were two seat or four seat three-wheelers, and are therefore considered to be cyclecars. 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.

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-cylinder and twin-cylinder 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.

Morgan built his cars' reputation by entering them in competitions. One of his racing cars won 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, Super Sports, 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)

Beginning in 1932, a new series of Morgan three-wheelers began with the F-4. The F-4, and its later siblings the F-2 and the F-Super, used a pressed-steel chassis and the four-cylinder Ford Sidevalve engine that was used in the Model Y. Production of the Ford-engined three-wheelers would continue until 1952.

4-4

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

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). +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 Ford 4 cylinder.

+4+

A version of the +4, designated the +4+, was made from 1964 to 1967 with a contemporary fiberglass 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.

Morgan 4/4

The 4-4 was replaced by the 4/4 in 1955. The 4/4 now uses the +8 chassis and a Ford engine.

Morgan +8

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 3.9L (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 . Thus powered, the car could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds. Many enthusiasts work on the engine, exhaust, carburettors or EFI systems and improve this figure.

Roadster

In 2004, Morgan came out with a trad model to replace the departing Plus 8. The new model, named the "Roadster" is powered by a Ford UK Mondeo V6 producing . In 2007, the Mondeo engine was replaced by a US version of the same engine in the Roadster II.

Availability to the United States

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 US 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 V-8 engine for use in the Range Rover SUV sold in the U.S., Morgan was able to use the same engine for a fully US compliant stock Morgan from 1992 to 1996, and again from 1998 to 2004.In 2005, the engine was replaced with the US version of another traditionally-shaped model (with a V6) called the Roadster.

In 2002, Morgan centralized 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 NHTSA was refused, and the importation of classic Morgans ceased.

In 2005, the new Morgan Aero 8 model (vers. 2 and 3) received a 3 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 US dealers that it plans to re-apply for US certification for some model at as yet an undetermined date in the future.

Morgan Aero 8

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 half the weight of the BMW, is even faster than the Plus 8, delivering what Autoweek magazine termed supercar performance. The newest Aero 8 (Ser. IV) puts out 367HP @6100 rpm giving it a top speed of over 170 mph. Due to the Aero 8's light weight it can do 0-62 in 4.5 seconds.

Morgan AeroMax

The Morgan Aeromax is a coupe variation of the Aero 8. Production was limited to 100 cars, each costing £110,000. Customers have included Richard Hammond, Rowan Atkinson and Paul O'Grady.

General characteristics

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".

Morgan LIFEcar

In October 2006 Morgan announced it would produce a fuel cell based sports car called the LIFEcar and based on the Aero 8 as an experiment. It is being built in collaboration with the UK Department for Trade and Industry (DTI), fuel cell maker QinetiQ, BOC, and OScar, and educational institutions. Morgan will present the car in 2-3 years time. This car has been designed and styled by a new Morgan designer, Matthew Humpheries, and has excited much interest. The Company confirmed in June 2008 that it has no immediate plans to advance the LIFEcar to a production prototype.

Models

Gallery

References

External links

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