Morgan – A British Success Story?

Morgan Runabout 1st made in 1909

From P. W. on the U.K. Desk

For those of you not familiar with “The Morgan” it is one of the oldest British car companies most famous for rebelling against the luxuries of modern motoring. In fact, the most common explanation for it’s popularity is nostalgia factor and the fact that it’s a “British” car company. In reality, not all current cars are over-engineered or excessively stylish so moving back to old ways isn’t exactly a real thing, and as of 2019 Morgan is owned by InvestIndustrial, who aren’t even British. Despite this, there is a six-month waiting list for these vehicles.

(This is not the time to go into the decline of the British motor industry, but it does seem a bit self-inflicted by the country and it might be drivers who suffer. Moving on…)

Morgan Supersport 1938

Morgan does have a long history though, all the way back to 1909, in some ways moving with the times but in most ways staying with the same, age-old methods. But for Morgan this formula seems to work.

The selling point was always to be small, lightweight and inexpensive. A great example is in the case of “The nuclear.” This small car attempted to fill the gap between motorcycles and cars, as cars at the time, were a bigger investment than they are now. While there has always been a market for a “semi-car” it usually came in the form of a kit car or a motorbike and sidecar. The Nuclear was a production model specific to this tiny niche market.

The Runabout cyclecar looks rather a novelty, but it’s worthwhile investigating. Despite being a three-wheeler, it has in its favor a V-twin engine and five speed transmission. The difficulty with the cyclecar is that it isn’t designed for long distance, especially with the ash wood frame rather than steel chassis.

1928 Roundabout Deluxe

The Runabout can’t be an easy car to market, it’s not exactly a company car or even a family car resembling as it does a tube on wheels. Morgan has sold it for several decades now, especially in the United States. Follow-ups include the 1911 Violette and 1914 La Vigne. The designs might be ancient but with an improved clutch and gears they are still being sold today. They are run by a twin engine.

The PlusFour hasn’t changed its “silhouette” (design) since the 1950s but it has added tech features. Even its name PlusFour conjures up another era. With a 65% increase in power and torque from the original model, and a top speed of 149 mph, it’s in keeping with the needs of today’s traffic.

Roadster at 76e international Motorshow Geneva 2006

Since you order these semi-custom vehicles before they’re made, you have a choice between manual and automatic (the automatic is eight speed and the manual is six speed). Another option is wire wheels or if you prefer alloy wheels in a number of finishes. Both have a digital info display.

Viewing a picture of these vehicles might make you think they’d take in a long time to start up but driving the 3-Wheeler for example is known as an immediate “get in and drive experience.” Exactly how it feels can only be realized by going throw the motions yourself, words can only say so much.

Maybe the Morgan makes a point about modern motoring being too sanitized, after all. There’s no reason why all automobiles have to be identikit versions of each other. Designers of vintage cars brought an aesthetic and feel to their work that most modern car companies don’t even try to replicate. There’s a reason why vintage cars are called vintage.

A Glance at Car Culture Past to Future

 

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Henry Ford

 

There is much debate about when the first car was introduced to the world. From the early 1800s all the way up until the 1900s, numerous designs were patented and produced throughout the world. However, it was not until the early 1900s when the first full-scale automobile assembly lines were introduced that production of the car really ramped up. The introduction of the car helped shape and growing world economies and also shifted cultural mindsets. With the increased production, there was an increase in the need for skilled labourers and with that came the reinvestment of wages into the economy. Never before did people of all walks of life have access to a means of transportation that could take them to even the most remote places of the world in a much more compressed length of time. The wealthy were no longer the only ones who could afford to shape the cultural patterns of their countries since these workers also became a substantial wedge of the market share.

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Car culture continued to grow over the years especially with the use of motorcycles and vehicles during World War I and II, but nothing screams quintessential car culture more than muscle cars. Interestingly enough, the need for speed developed early in the 1900s during prohibition times, but it wasn’t until 1949 that the first official muscle car, the Rocket 88, was debuted by Oldsmobile. It had a lightweight frame with a powerful V8 engine. After its introduction, the Rocket 88 became popular within the NASCAR world, which helped to elevate the muscle car amongst American car culture. By the mid-1950s, muscle cars had begun to dominate the market with American automakers Chrysler and Chevrolet contributing heavily. It was during this time that Chrysler first introduced the Hemi engine, which was a series of V8 engines that used a hemispherically shaped combustion chamber. It had advantages over the tradition reverse-flow cylinder combustion chambers and allowed muscle cars to reach much sought after speeds.

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With the increased desire in speed, there came a larger concern for safety and regulation. Car manufacturers became increasingly aware of the need for such things as safety harnesses, reinforced framework, door locks, and even airbags. Throughout the late 1950s and into the 60s, these safety features became more standardized on vehicles, but it was until the late 60s when the first seat belt law was introduced in America.

Technological advancements have continued to dominate the car industry as the years have gone by. Every year cars get more and more upgraded features that not only incorporate safety but are user-friendly and meant to make the drive a pleasant experience for all. Some interesting new developments include the introduction of ADAS windshield technology and the self-driving car. ADAs technology assists drivers through a network of sensors and direct connections to the vehicle while promoting safe driving. The self-driving car has always been somewhat of a fantasy, but car companies such as Tesla have pushed to make it a mainstay in the car industry. They already produce cars capable of full autonomy but have yet to implement all the capabilities at this time.

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However, car culture may be slowly coming to end outside of people’s personal hobbies. Studies have begun to show that the younger generations are moving away from buying and owning vehicles. With the introduction of companies like Uber and Lyft and the growing push for greener solutions, we may be seeing fewer vehicles on the road in the very near future.