Tour the Morgan Motor Company’s Worcestershire factory

The Morgan Motor Company might seem timeless – or even dated – but underneath the handcrafted aluminium bodywork is a manufacturer with great skills and grand plans: we take a factory tour

Morgan Motor Company factory
The entrance to Morgan's showroom, store and factory experience
(Image credit: Morgan Motor Company)

The Morgan Motor Company has been located in Malvern Link, Worcestershire, for over a hundred years, nestled at the foot of the surprisingly steep hills of the same name. It was these same hills that the firm’s founder, Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan, used as a testing ground for his first cars. These were light, efficient three-wheelers, with an innate sporting quality, although many of the pre-war cars were affordable runabouts and tourers, not out-and-out sports cars.

Chassis in the Morgan Motor Company factory

The aluminium chassis are fitted with a bespoke ash frame

(Image credit: Morgan Motor Company)

The first Morgan 4/4 (four wheels and a four-cylinder engine) was released in 1939, followed by a refined and uprated Plus Four model in 1952. The iconic Plus Four was released in 1950, and by the early 1960s had gradually evolved into a familiar and enduring form. Over 70 years, with diversions into Plus Eights (powered by a V8) and numerous variations, this is the car that continues to define Morgan in the modern mind. 

Inside the Morgan Motor Company factory

Craftsman at work in Morgan Motor Company factory

Every aspect of each car is hand-made and unique

(Image credit: Morgan Motor Company)

Fast-forward to the present day and many of the company’s original brick workshops are still in existence, their floors worn uneven with activity. Some of the machinery looks distinctly antediluvian, with ancient presses, stampers and jigs abutting the more contemporary kit of car making.

Car body work inside Morgan Motor Company factory

Bodywork is fitted around the ash frame and chassis

(Image credit: Morgan Motor Company)

‘We have a very wasteless attitude to manufacturing,’ Morgan’s head of design, Jonathan Wells, as he conducts a whistlestop tour through the process, from bonded aluminium chassis (made elsewhere in the UK) through to handcrafted Lincolnshire ash frame, over which the aluminium bodywork is hammered and bent into shape.

Morgan Motor Company factory

Front wings ready for installation

(Image credit: Morgan Motor Company)

We’re here to sample the Plus Six, the top of the range Morgan that sits alongside the ‘entry level’ Plus Four and alongside the Morgan Super 3, the raw three-wheeler that leaves you open to the elements and is classified as a motorbike in the US market. After a visceral, rain-spattered blast in the latter, it’s time to get into the dry, leather-lined cabin of the Plus Six. So named for the six-cylinder turbo-charged BMW-supplied engine at its heart, the Plus Six is an impressive combination of two essential qualities of any sports car – light weight and raw power.

Craftsmen at work inside the Morgan Motor Company factory

Hand-stamping the vents on the bonnet

(Image credit: Morgan Motor Company)

At just 1,075kg, the rear-wheel drive Plus Six makes the most of its 335hp. With a heavy right foot, it’s easy to unseat this car, although the nicely weighted, ultra-direct steering helps you snap it back in line without too much drama. Even though it’s slightly longer and wider than its Plus Four sibling (in order to accommodate the larger engine), the Plus Six is still a tight fit for two, with space behind the front seats to stow bags as well as a boot-mounted luggage rack.

work in progress at the Morgan Motor Company factory

An ash frame under construction

(Image credit: Morgan Motor Company)

As a long-distance GT, it’s not ideal – long stretches of autoroute would swiftly become a little wearing. Instead, think of the Plus Six as a way to enhance any journey, especially with the lightweight canvas roof stowed, no particular deadline to meet and a suitably winding (dry) road ahead.

Craftsman builds car at Morgan Motor Company factory

Installing the front grille

(Image credit: Morgan Motor Company)

Morgan definitely has a diverse and eccentric customer base, people who are willing to wait between three to six months for a car, and who value the process of visiting the factory and seeing hammer on metal in person. Plus Four and Six blend old and new unlike no other car, and even apparent anachronisms like the ash frame have their place. As Wells points out, it helps make the platform incredibly flexible, and materials use is pared to a minimum.

Morgan Motor Company factory

A venerable jig for shaping the curve of the front wings

(Image credit: Morgan Motor Company)

In contrast, the Super 3 is the first time the company has ever worked without wood, but even here there’s an inseparable combination of design and engineering. Nothing is superfluous. ‘Every component serves many different functions,’ says Wells, ‘which in turn serves the aesthetic.’ He points to the cast aluminium brackets that hold the Super 3’s headlights as well as serve as the engine bracing structure.

Cars under construction at Morgan Motor Company factory

Super 3s come together in a separate part of the factory

(Image credit: Morgan Motor Company)

Inside, there’s military-grade weatherproof switchgear (the starter button is a missile release switch from the Tornado fighter jet), while the removable side storage panels feature a patented clip system that will hold everything from a GoPro to a suitcase. Shaping this car has been a labour of love for the company, and the Super 3 has found a ready audience of people willing to embrace its motorcycle-style attitude.

Colourful cars at Morgan Motor Company factory

A brace of Super 3s ready for delivery. Models with central headlights are US-spec – they comply with motorcycle regulations

(Image credit: Morgan Motor Company)

Things are changing at Morgan, albeit slowly. Wells is now the longest serving design chief at the company (although admittedly only its second), and in new Italian owner Investindustrial, it has the funding and ambition to do things a little differently. For decades, Morgan ploughed a solitary furrow, building bespoke cars for a select audience who prized individualism above all else.

Craftsman at work at Morgan Motor Company factory

Measuring up for the headlight mountings

(Image credit: Morgan Motor Company)

Electrification poses a massive challenge to such a small manufacturer, of course, as do the safety requirements of essential markets like the USA, and the ever-increasing need for ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance and Safety Systems) in new cars. The former is currently being explored, with prototypes like the recent Morgan XP-1 pointing convincingly towards a zero-emission future. The latter requires investment. Sure, there are loopholes, but the bottom line is that the sensor-festooned modern automobile with its lane-keeping assistance, emergency braking systems, and the like, seems completely at odds with the Morgan ethos to date. 

Morgan Motor Company factory

In some respects, Morgan is refreshingly at odds with the modern industry

(Image credit: Morgan Motor Company)

For Wells and his team, currently based on an industrial estate a short drive away from the main factory, alongside practically every other desk job the company requires, these are opportunities as well as challenges. We’re shown page upon page of sketches and pointers to what’s coming in the near future – all currently under wraps - as well as an exclusive preview of an upcoming collaboration, one that will advance the Morgan aesthetic and its standing in the wider design community.

Finished Morgan Plus Four and Plus Six on the road

The Morgan Plus Four and Plus Six

(Image credit: Morgan Motor Company)

The British motor industry was once awash with small manufacturing outfits like Morgan, each catering to a precise niche and ensuring that jobs, skills, and benefits flowed into their surrounding communities. Economics and efficiencies mean that cars can no longer made this way, so Morgan’s survival is something to be cherished. The good news is that all the things that made the company so distinctive in the past will help it progress into a successful future.

Morgan Plus Four and Plus Six with mountain sunset backdrop

The finished cars: Morgan Plus Four and Plus Six

(Image credit: Morgan Motor Company)

For more information, visit Morgan Motor Company,

Morgan Plus Four, Morgan Plus Six, Morgan Super 3

Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.