Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles [ENGINE REVVING] [MUSIC PLAYING] JF MUSIAL: What you're about to see is the most authentic, honest car factory in the world. Welcome to the Morgan Motor Company. Unlike other factory tours that take weeks of phone calls and emails just to orchestrate, Morgan is an open book. Every other car factory we've been to, we're always ushered past secret rooms that hold future designs and technology worth millions of dollars. This Malvern, England based workshop holds no secrets. All you'll find here are happy designers, craftsmen and women, the smell of wood, glue, leather. And did I say wood? So what do you need to know about this place? Well, this is the oldest car company in the world owned by a single family. Their designs, not much different from five decades ago. They produce a three-wheeled car called, well, the three wheeler. And simply put, this is just the coolest [BLEEP] place you'll ever visit as a car enthusiast. And what better person to give us a tour than a Morgan? A Mr. Charles Morgan. So, Charles, where are we right now? CHARLES MORGAN: Right, well, this is where it starts, really. This is the start of the Morgan assembly line. It all starts with the chassis, of course, that we actually import in from Birmingham, which is only about 30 miles north of us. But this is built for a [INAUDIBLE] shape to our designs, obviously. It's designed on a CAD [INAUDIBLE]. And as I said, it's cohesively bonded aluminium. You've got what is the same principle as the racing cars. In other words, what I'm saying is, the chassis does all the work. It provides all the stiffness. It provides all of the mounting points for the engine and the gear box and the power train. And we even, of course, fit the fuel tank. We fit all the electric wiring, which is neatly hidden inside the chassis. And you can actually start the car. You can drive it as a chassis. It's not actually driven. But we do run it. And of course we run it because we have a quality check that is demanded by BMW or by one of our engine suppliers. And that means you go through all the diagnostic checks on the engine. And what I quite like about that, doing it as a chassis, is that everything is visible. So if there are any leaks, or if there is any problems at all, it's all accessible to put right. And that's particularly pleasant if you're an electrical engineer, for example, because modern wiring [INAUDIBLE] are very, very complicated. What happens in this e-box, there's actually five computers, I think, in this car. This is actually the 4.8 liter BMW, which it's still a current engine, but they've built it especially for us. And the reason they do that is they've gone twin turbo 4.4 liter to keep the emissions down. But actually, the 4.8 in this car, because it only weighs, less than 2,000 pounds-- it's about 1,150 kilos. This car is ultra light. So actually, the emissions are very low anyway. So we didn't need to go to the complications of the twin turbos. But this is the diagnostic check equipment, so that allows us to run the engine up. -Are you sure that doesn't pick up any Nazi frequencies? [LAUGHTER] CHARLES MORGAN: It's an early mobile phone actually. I think one of the reasons why BMW quite like working with us, to be honest, is that most of their cars are still [INAUDIBLE]. And they tend to be a lot heavier than an aluminium car. So the engineers-- I'm not talking about the marketing people here, but the engineers quite enjoy seeing their product in our lightweight frame. Dr. Schmidt-- who's left unfortunately, I think he's gone to Ford-- but he was the head of engine power train at BMW. And he got out one of the earlier versions of this and said, at last, Charles, I can feel my engine. Because normally it's so quiet. [MUSIC PLAYING] JF MUSIAL: I wouldn't be able to do a full episode on the history of Morgan. It would just take too long. But here's what you need to know. The roots of the company come from HFS Morgan, with a basic vehicle formula-- Powerful motorcycle motors, light chassis, simple, resourceful, and fun. And for Malvern, where every road somehow leads up a mountain, that's especially useful. So let's start off with-- what is this thing? I've seen it before, but I have no idea what it is. JONATHAN WELLS: OK, well, this is our 2009 life car concept vehicle, really. And this was a car that featured a hydrogen fuel cell platform underneath it. So it's a completely zero emissions car. It was a great advertisement for the company, because people see a zero emissions car, and they go, wow, Morgan, a sports car maker is building something very environmentally friendly. But then you actually to get into Morgan and the brand, and it does a lot more. When you realize that all the materials in this car are locally sourced. And the factory itself isn't using big machinery, and it's hand crafting these vehicles. It's a low energy manufacture. The car is very lightweight. You've got all these other fantastic environmentally friendly accreditations that they're adding to it. So although it is a zero emissions vehicle, every Morgan is actually very environmentally friendly. They have a long life span. They're kept for a long period of time. So, it was just a testament to the way in which we build cars considerably. JF MUSIAL: I think the one thing that we all notice when we first come in here is the smell. CHARLES MORGAN: Yes, this is the wood shop. This is very unusual to find a wood shop like this in a car factory. You'll find veneers in a luxury car factory, but you won't find guys putting together solid hard wood that's this grand. Obviously these are the back presses. When you laminate some wood-- this is really heavy-- ah, I can't pick it up. But when you laminate wood, obviously you put the grain in the different directions, and then you bond them together. And of course, you want to take all the air out of it that you can to stop the air bubbles in the glue, so that creates a bonded laminate. And that's a very strong component. And of course, it's got a lot of spring in it. And it seems to last forever. That's partly why we use wood. We also use wood, to be honest, because it's environmentally correct. Because it encourages people to plant forestry. And it's the young trees that clean the air. So it's our, if you'd like, bit of greenness too. But we're actually using wood in sustainable forestries that's being kept going by people who use wood. But I suppose the other thing is it gives us a unique proposition. And these days, basically, there's so much competition in the car industry, we want to maintain something that's very Morgan. Something that's very different. And as you said, the smell's very nice, too. The 1950s. Plus Morgan plus four coupe. And we've got it here just to show that we can actually build the cars and keep the cars going on the road. For instance, Morgan probably has got about 30,000 or 40,000 cars around the world. And they do say that a Morgan never dies. The wood-- it's not in brilliant condition, is it? But the fact is that you can replace it. So basically, what people tend to do with Morgans, is that they re-chassis them. They re-body them. And they keep them going with components, which again, is very, very good from the environmental point of view. Because ideally, what you want to do is produce a product that generation after generation, like a watch, is going to want to keep going. That's very much part of our philosophy. Now, one person definitely is responsible for a chassis and for a wood frame. So if you like that, that gives the ownership to the operator. And he signs it off. He could actually sign it. Sometimes they do. They sign it. But I think it's very important to recognize that a car is a combination. It's not one person that build the whole car, but it's a combination of different people who actually are really skilled in their own particular area. The wood's ash. It's English. It grows fairly straight. Comes from England or Europe. Not America. It's faster growing in America, but it's a slow grow here. What's good about it is the grade. You don't tend to get too many knots in it, and so you can use a lot of it. And it grows fairly straight, whereas oak tends to go in lots of different directions. But it's the same material as a handle of a cricket bat, for instance. It absorbs shock really well. In the old days, in the Italian factories, they have this thing called Superleggera, and that was the aluminum body. And then you added some tubular steel frame underneath. And in a sense, this is exactly the same. This is the structure underneath the aluminum body of the three wheeler. Under this, of course, is a big tubular chassis. Yeah, but this if you like, is just a way of keeping the aluminum taut and acting as a little bit of a cushion between the chassis and the body. The problem with Superleggera, of course, is that it was steel against aluminum. So of course the aluminum reacts with the steel and corrodes. We don't have that problem with the wood. So to an extent, this is Morgan Superleggera. Without the problems. When you actually treat the wood, and obviously this is to a certain extent, how much work you want to put in. A bit like a favorite pair of shoes. They tend to get better with age. JF MUSIAL: Yeah. CHARLES MORGAN: And so will wood. And it will look better and better and better the more you rub it and polish it. This is obviously [INAUDIBLE]. So I prefer this style of luxury interior to veneers. Veneers are an acquired taste, really. Veneered cigar boxes and all that kind of thing. This is more honest, I think. Proper real wood. And of course, what you get here is you get the same thing, where you get every bit of wood slightly different. So you've got a very personal product out of wood. These jigs are slightly fascinating.