Monday, February 27, 2012

Morgan - The Car That Hasn't Changed for 100 Years

Some things never change would be a good way describe Morgan Motor Company. For almost 100 years the Morgan remains a made to order motor car, built on an ash frame to the specifications of the individual owner. The Morgan Motor Company can also claim honors as the worlds oldest privately owned motor car manufacturer. Unless you're a Morgan aficionado, most folks couldn't tell a 1940's Morgan 4/4 from one just off the show room floor. Morgan has retained its distinct styling over the decades and unless you get a look at the engine or the instrument panel, it's hard to tell the old from the new.
On December 26th 1910, Morgan entered the London to Exeter and back Reliability Trial and as a result, won a gold medal and favorable press coverage. This was the first of thousands of awards and races the Morgan was to win. These successes took Morgan's sales to their highest point by the time the World War I broke out in 1914,.
Despite the fact that part of the factory had to be converted to produce shells and other munitions for the war effort, limited production of Morgans were able to continue through out the war. Many three wheeler manufacturers weren't so lucky and closed production for good. There were approximately twenty three manufacturers in 1913 which fell to seven by 1917.
After the war, most auto manufacturers were unable to switch to full production for nearly a year due to the lack of materials. H.F.S.Morgan got his factory back into full production right away using wood and aluminum to build his cars, and had record sales and profits in the two years following.
In 1936 the government announced that it was going to abolish the Road Fund Tax, which did away with the three wheeler's tax advantage. That year Morgan Motor Company introduced their first four wheeled car called the 4/4, for the four cylinders and four wheels. The 4/4 model Morgan is still in production today, looking very similar to the way it looked back then.
But just as Morgan had to change in 1936 to stay alive, they once again accepted change and unveiled the hydrogen-powered LIFECar at the Geneva Motor Show. It still has the traditional Morgan silhouette with a long hood, rounded rear glass and upright tail, but providing the power now is a fuel cell and electric motor system. The concept, according to Morgan, "takes a fresh look at transport, offering as revolutionary an approach to personal freedom as did the brilliant Morgan Three Wheeler introduced by HFS Morgan nearly 100 years ago."

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