Skip advert
Advertisement

Inside Morgan - behind the scenes in the real British sports car company - Inside Morgan - the builder, the trimmer

evo looks into one of Britain's best-loved car makers - and discovers it's far more than the anachronism it seems

The builder

Nick Butler handles details and sub-assembly in the wood shop. And at the moment, he’s handling one of the most recognisable shapes in the whole Morgan factory: The curved wooden elements that form the shape of the rear wings on Morgan’s classic range.

Each has just spent the last two hours in one of Morgan’s oldest pieces of equipment. The hard wooden moulds have been on the same desk since 1952, and bear the scars of decades of hammer marks, glue stains and solvents.

Advertisement - Article continues below

‘The glue should go off in 45 minutes’, explains Nick – but like many processes at the factory, builders on the shop floor have their own idea of what works and what doesn’t. And they’ve discovered that the glue takes a lot longer to set than the glue manufacturer claims.

Each shape is formed from three pieces of quarter-inch ash ply. Nick glues them together, then arm-wrestles them into the half-century old wooden mould, and tightens the bolts. Once it’s extracted, the panels are cut to shape, planed and added to the rest of the parts being created around the workshop.

If all goes to plan, anyway. ‘Sometimes they snap’, occasionally in spectacular fashion, explains Nick. The highly-tensioned wooden parts ‘fly all around the workshop’, he says as he gestures their potential trajectories.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Nick is one of several people we speak to who loves the cars as much as they love their job. So is there a Morgan fund in Nick’s future? ‘Not yet… though once my girls have flown the nest I might be tempted. I’d love a new Aero 8…’

The trimmer

Morgan’s trim shop couldn’t be more different from the bustle and noise of the main production line.  The room is bathed in sunlight from large skylights in the roof, and hammers, planes and chisels make way for needles, thread and patinated sewing machines.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Ben Jones is seated at one such machine, sewing up a tonneau cover for one of Morgan’s German dealers. An employee here for twelve years, the upholsterer describes his role as ‘a bit of everything’ – as well as trimming customer cars coming through the workshop, he’s also responsible for trim in development vehicles and concepts.

‘I did the interior on SP1, the new Aero 8 unveiled at Geneva… the Aeromax was the first one I worked on around seven years ago, and I went to Geneva with that car too.’

Before Morgan, Ben undertook an engineering apprenticeship, designing injection moulding tools. He then began working for a trim shop, learning skills that would serve him well when a position came up at Morgan.

Surrounded by a spectrum of leather clippings, we talk trim colour choices – and the unusual selections of some customers. ‘I’ve not despised anything as such, but some have been a bit questionable… we did a car for one of our dealers, a pink car with a totally pink interior. Italian customers often go for white leather interiors too, which I can’t imagine ages well!’

Regardless of the colour being sewn, Ben echoes a sentiment we saw over and over again among Morgan’s staff. ‘I love working here’.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Porsche 718 Spyder RS on the Col de Turini – car pictures of the week
Porsche 718 Spyder RS – front
Features

Porsche 718 Spyder RS on the Col de Turini – car pictures of the week

We take Porsche’s 718 Spyder RS on an epic Alpine road trip in the latest issue of evo – here are some of our favourite shots
14 Apr 2024
Secret BMWs – a look behind the scenes at Munich's unseen models
Secret BMWs
Features

Secret BMWs – a look behind the scenes at Munich's unseen models

For every BMW model that reaches the showroom, there are numerous prototypes and concepts that have existed only behind the scenes – until now
13 Apr 2024
The new Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is set for a reveal this summer
C8 Corvette Z06 teaser
News

The new Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is set for a reveal this summer

The track-focused C8 Corvette ZR1 is set to be the most potent variant yet, and a reveal is finally on the horizon
11 Apr 2024
Morgan Plus Four receives chassis and design tweaks for 2024
2024 Morgan Plus Four
News

Morgan Plus Four receives chassis and design tweaks for 2024

The Plus Four has been given updates across the board for 2024, but it retains its trademark design
10 Apr 2024
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

UK speeding fines 2024 – what are the latest penalties for drivers?
Speeding fines header
Advice

UK speeding fines 2024 – what are the latest penalties for drivers?

Here's everything you need to know about speeding fines in the UK and other possible motoring-related offences
18 Apr 2024
Used car deals of the week
Main used car deals
Advice

Used car deals of the week

In this week's used car deals, we've sourced everything from a Kia Stinger GT S to a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
18 Apr 2024
Kia Stinger GT S Fast Fleet test – 12,000 miles in the V6 sports saloon
evo Fast Fleet Kia Stinger GT S
Long term tests

Kia Stinger GT S Fast Fleet test – 12,000 miles in the V6 sports saloon

After covering 12,000 miles on the Fast Fleet, did the Kia Stinger GT S convince us that it’s a credible alternative to its European rivals?
15 Apr 2024