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  • [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.