The son of a reverend, Henry Fredrick Stanley Morgan was the founder of the motor company bearing his surname back in 1905. What initially started off as a car garage and dealership later went on to become a full-fledged automobile manufacturer with the production of the first Morgan 3 Wheeler in 1910. This single-seater car was offered on sale with the choice of either a single-cylinder 4 HP or a V-twin 8 HP motorcycle motor, both of which were manufactured by the then leading motorcycle engine builder J A Prestwich. The concept was simple — lash a powerful motorcycle engine on to a lightweight chassis — and the resulting power-to-weight ratio was, as predicted, incredible for its time and brought in many motorsport accolades for the company.
Car sales jumped when a two-seater version was launched. The firm consequently grew too large for the original factory premises, and a plot of open farmland was bought in 1914. This Malvern Link site continues to function as the ‘works’ till date.
The two-speed gearbox gave way to a 3-cog affair in 1931 and for the first time, also incorporated a reverse gear. By this time, Matchless engines were being used in the Morgan 3 Wheelers. In 1933, the first F-type was introduced, powered by a Ford engine. The F-types went on to be one of the most popular three-wheelers to go into production. At the 1936 London and Paris motor shows, a new Morgan was unveiled. A departure from the 3-wheelers, this one had one extra hoop and was called the Morgan 4-4 in keeping with its four cylinder engine and four wheels.
Currently Morgan Motor Cars produce four wheelers like the Aero Supersports, Aero Coupe, Plus 8, Roadster, 4 Seater, Plus 4 and the 4/4, all on order. In 2011 — almost six decades since three-wheelers ceased production — a new one was introduced, bringing attention to the type of cars that made this firm famous. By the way, Morgan is perhaps the only ‘pure’ British carmaker of some size left.