British car manufacturers Morgan Motor Company have a long history that starts at the beginning of the 20th century, in 1909 to be precise, when H.F.S. Morgan decided to make his own cars, in the little town of Malvern, Worcestershire. The only difference between Morgan and the other modern day car manufacturers is that Morgan cars are still hand built in small numbers just like they were a hundred years ago.
The early Morgan models had 2 seats and were either rolling on 3 or 4 wheels which did not exactly qualify them as cars, but rather as cyclecars. The company found a good spot on the market and decided to stick with it, at least for a while, when competition from the Aston Martin 7 and the Morris Minor began to stiffen.
Like many other manufacturers, Morgan found fame by entering its cars in races. The first race he won was in Amiens, France in 1913. Based on the car that took the checkered flag, Morgan built his first Grand Prix model from 1913 until 1926. This car would also provide the general lines for the company's best known models, the Aero, the Super Sports and Sports.
These cars had a front mounted engine that sat ahead of the front wheel axis and also had a steel tubing chassis. These would continue production until the Second World War when the company was forced to cease production. Only two departments remained open for repairs. Later, they became known as the V-Twin series due to their V engines.
In 1932 the F-series was started, again with the three-wheeled F-4, and later with the F-2 and F-Super which were all powered by an Ford Sidevalve engine which was also used in the Model Y. These cars would remain in production until 1952.
As far as four-wheeled cars go, Morgan's first attempt with this was the 4-4, first built in 1936. four-wheeled and three-wheeled cars were produced together also until 1952. An upgraded version of the 4-4 (upgraded as far as the engine goes) was the +4 that used the 2088 Standard Vanguard engine as its heart, whereas the standard 4-4 had a 1267cc engine. Later versions of the =4 model would be equipped with Triumph TR2 and TR4 engines (1954 – 1969), Fiat engines (1985 – 1988) and Rover engines (1988 – 2000).
When large 4 cylinder engines became scarce, Morgan began installing Rover V8 engines on its cars starting with 1968. These cars were dubbed +8s and retained the wood body that made Morgan products famous. Despite the lack of development, the company remained profitable throughout its existence. In fact, waiting lists have never gone under a year in length, with a period of whopping 10 years at its peak.
The only attempt at modernity was the 2000 model, the Aero 8, running on a BMW V8 engine. It brought tremendous power to a very cool and retro design. It's no wonder rich people from around the world rushed to sign up on the waiting list. The lightweight car had a steel frame, a wooden under structure and a aluminum “skin” on top of that. Because of that it got to 62 mph in just 4.5 seconds.
The entire image of the company is that of a classic model and the management, Peter and Charles Morgan, son and grandson of the founder, seem to have no intention of bringing 21st century technology under the morgan logo. Ok, maybe there is one exception: the Morgan LIFEcar, a concept of sports car that will run on fuel cell technology. The announcement was made in 2006 but we have yet to see this novelty in real life.