Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The Morgan Centenary Roadster 100 Register Visits the Morgan Factory in Malvern, Worcs.

Contrary to some popular opinion, the Morgan Centenary Roadster 100 Register is not a Club. We are only a group of Morgan Owners of the Same Car Model who have agreed to have their car details added to a list. 

Heading for Malvern we made a comfort stop in The Cotswolds.

However, founder David Harris, Philip Loring, Dr Peter Jackson and myself are keen that we provide one or two opportunities each year for Register Members to gather together for a social occasion. 

This weekend was one such of those occasions when a group of 7 cars made the journey to the Morgan Car Factory in Malvern and a few of us also stayed over in the Famous 'Morgan Owners' stooping place, The Abbey Hotel in the centre of Malvern. 

Our trip was planned to begin with a Buffet Lunch at noon on Monday in the Morgan Factories purpose built Visitors Center, which also contains a Presentation Theatre, a Morgan Museum and a Shop where Morgan Merchandise may be purchased. We had the opportunity to travel up the night before but on the day of the visit the weather was awful with heavy rain for most of the day.

We have just arrive and the car is unloaded ready to be parked at the Abbey Hotel. At this point I had not realised that the people watching me unload the car from their seats in the Dining Room,  were also Morgan Owners. 

When we arrived at the Abbey Hotel on Sunday evening, we discovered a large group of Morgan Owners from the Morgan Car Club in the Zeeland Region of Holland were also staying in the hotel. Needless to say the car park was almost full of Morgans.

 An early Morgan Aero 8

 The Roadster 100 of our friends also staying on Sunday.

One of the new Morgan Three Wheelers. 

 The Dutch Rally Plaque

 A recent Morgan 4/4 Sports 
 8 of the 18 Morgans from Holland

 Some of the rest.

I parked our Mog under the Drive through Entrance to the Function Suite where it would be dry.

Overlooking the car park is the magnificent Cathedral.

After eating a hearty breakfast we made our way to the Morgan Factory Visitors Centre to wait for the others of our group to arrive there. A Buffet Lunch has been arranged for us by David.

In the Entrance Foyer and one of the Check In Desks. 

The Plaque there commemorating the recent visit of Prince Charles below. 

 On the wall is this photo of Peter Morgan driving his +8 outside the front door of the first factory building. Everyone wants there car photographed here to follow Peters lead.

 The Presentation Theatre waiting for the next group of visitors to arrive and a line of the Morgan Three Wheeler Peddle Cars

In the Cafe area, Ann & Linda wait for our coffees while R100 Register Founder, David Harris talks to the famous Dixon Smith, a Past Chairman of the Morgan Sports Car Club, explaining why he will not now be our guide on our factory tour later today. 

Two Tables have been reserved for our group with these impressive notices prepared by the Visitors Centre Ladies.

One corner of the Morgan Merchandise Shop.

 Everyone in our group has arrive for our Buffet Lunch. Our Lunch is over and we are ready to set of across the site to commence out factory visit. Parked outside of the Visitors Centre is one of the new limited edition of 50 Brooklands Roadsters ready to give a demonstration drive.

 Our Group pauses so that Martyn Webb, Morgan Archivist and our Factory Tour Guide today, can give some instructions about staying together and not wandering off of the Red Areas when in the factory.
 Looking Back at the Entrance to the Visitors Centre

 As we walk across the site we pass our groups parking area with Davids new Roadster next to the Green Goddess. We are a group of 4 Centenary Roadster 100's,  2 members with Replacement Roadster Models and a Guest with a +4. Behind us are parked the Regio Zeeland Rally Group from Holland. 

 As we arrive near to the factory buildings we see the first of many new cars waiting for delivery.

More instructions as Martyn describes our route around the various factory sheds.

 On entering the first and oldest of the Factory buildings we were introduced to the historical sequence of Morgan Car Models through some unique cars stored there. The notice boards are covered in visitors letters and new print articles.

 Here Martyn is introducing us to the history of the unique Morgan Plus 4 Plus of 1963. Morgan only made 26 of this fibreglass bodied model as it did not sell well. 
This car is even more unique as it is number 27 built recently from an extra body found lurking in a shed somewhere. It carries Peter Morgans original 869 KAB registration and colour that his own +4+ carried when it won a first class award in the Exeter Trials 

 A poor photo of one of the trays of model cars.

Three Aero 8's on show - 1 original road car, 1 Le Mans & 1 GT3 class racing cars.

Shed 2 which used to be the always full despatch bay is now a store. the front part currently contained 2013 Nordkapp Rally Three Wheeler and Charles Morgan's Aeromax. 

Our party arriving in the Chassis Building Shed where both Aero and Traditional chassis are built. One man builds complete rolling chassis complete with its engine and drive train. 

This chassis is for one of the new Traditional style Plus 8 with BMW 4.2 V8 engine. 

Two Plus 4 Chassis in build. Note the wooden trestles. 

Adding the Rear Leaf Springs and Dampers to the Rear Axle unit.

A close up of the latest version of the Rear Damper support plate which was the subject of the last Blog below. Note that much thicker steel is being used now reflecting that Morgan MC have responded to news of past failures.

Always of interest to Morgan Owners, the Sliding Pillar Front Suspension & Disc Brake unit. Note the Top End Phosphor Bronze Bush in the top - The reason Regular Greasing is an absolute must every 500 to 1000 miles, depending on who you listen to.

This Retro Fit ' Brake Reaction Support Rod ', designed to improve handling, was spotted on a car in for repair.

 Next we moved into the Body Panel Forming workshop where these highly skilled workers form sheets of aluminium, by hand, around the Ash Wood Frames, which they first fix to the steel chassis.

 A line of almost completed bodies getting ready to go to the Paining Shop.

 At the beginning of this process the Doors are fitted to the frame as are the front and rear aluminium panels.

 Here the side paneals are being trimmrd and hammer formed around the wood frame.

The next workshop to be visited is out of sequence but where the Ash Frames are assembled from the many pieces of precision cut and milled Ash Wood Parts. 
To control the supply of these mairead small pieces, MMC have introduced a Japanese invented Kanban (message board) system of which this is an example below. 
Three Part Kanban contain the product information on the left side, a photo in the centre and the batch and re order level quantities on the right, including a location instruction for the delivery person to follow. 
When there are only 10 sets left they place an order with the Wood Shop next door for the next batch of twenty to be made 'Just In Time' before they are all used.  

A Kanban Card.

Martyn Webb describes the process of adhesive lamination used to form the Rear Wheel Arches in these very old but perfect molds. 

 Cut and Milled Ash Frame Parts in storage racks in the workshop.

 The Extremely Labour Intensive Process of Smoothing and Polishing  

 The Inverted Wooden Frame of the New Three Wheeler Body

 Applying the Wooden Frame of an Aero Super Sport to the Aluminum Frame.

 An Inverted Traditional Body Shell in its forming jig.

Martyn explains the process of adhesive lamination for the Three Wheeler Body Parts using Vacuum Bags. 

Our next port of call was the Paint Shop. Here all of the removable Wings, Bonnets and Cowl are painted separate from the Body Shell. In the photo below we can see a pair of Bonnets being undercoated. The car in front is in for some warranty work.

 A Body stripped of its removable parts

Once Painted, Cars are moved over to the Trim Shop where the Final Assembly takes place and the Leather Trim, Seats and Hood are added. In the background and on the mezzanine floor the Sewing Machinists work.
 Cars in various stages of completion.

 A Plus 4 waiting to be fitted out.

 The completed Sliding Pillar Front Suspension

 The Roadster with its 3.7ltr Mustang Engine

 Another Plus 4 with part of its Leather Trim added.

Wheels off again ready to have the Wings attached.

A Plus 4 ready to go out for its Road Test.

The last workshop to visit is the Three Wheeler Production. Here the Body Tubs are formed on the Wooden Frames by a sub contractor as are most of the other parts.

 A Chassis Assembly nearing the point where the Body Shell is added. 

 Almost Completed.

When completed all cars are brought to this final inspection area where the whole car is checked and the paintwork is examined in these bright lights. This area is a recent introduction (last 2 years) into the factory inspection processes.

 A selection of available Touch Up Paints and Chemical Cleaners.

Three Wheeler Bodies being prepared in the Inspection Area.

 A Three Wheeler Body having its Windscreens Fitted before being manually carried to the Assembly Shop.

A New Plus 8 just back from its Road Teat, in need of a good clean.

 A Order Delivery Docket in the Windscreen.

The Factory Tour was over so we made our way back to the Visitor Centre and the Museum where we said our farewell to Martin Webb who had another tour to take. On the way I was able to get another shot of our cars plus an extra visitor under cover.

David & Peter deep in discussion 

This Centenary Roadster 100 was the Star of the Morgan Motor Company presentation at the Cheltenham Celebrations and used in the various Adverts and the Calendar.

 At Cheltenham in 2009 ( sporting the original MMC Plate )

Associate Member, Mike taking a shot of his new 3.7ltr Roadster still sporting the Registers Car Badge.

Back in the Visitors Centre we get to pass through the Museum which is Martyn Webbs domain. Here we can view special cars and artifacts from the companies History and Heritage,

 A lovely painting across three of the factory's workshops 

 This new feature is a perfect replica of Peter Morgan's Office laid out as it was the day he was last there.

 The Prototype of the Morgan Hydrogen Fuel Cell 'Life Car'

The Company's History on a Loop Video is always popular. 

 A Beautiful F Type Three Wheeler.

The final stop on the Tour is a visit to the Shop where I spotted this line up of Model Morgans.

The beautiful model of Le Mans 1962 Class Winner, Number 29 TOK 258 with a photo of it in the background.

A few of us were staying overnight after the visit so Ann & I took a walk around town before Dinner.

 Great Malvern Priory ( The Church of St Mary & St Michael ) is next door to our Abbey Hotel.

 This old Carved Tree Trunk of a Girl with Sea Lion is in the Park 

 The Lake and Foot Bridge.

 The Malvern Hills appear through a gap in the buildings.

 It is that time of year when the Fungi appear.

 This elegant building seems to me to be wasted as Council Offices.

Looking along one of Great Malvern's roads leading towards Worcester with the Vale of Evsham in the distance

 As we approach the Hotel again a group of our Dutch friends passed by. My camera reset is too slow to catch them all.

 The Museum Building where the Peter Morgan Memorial Statue will eventually be located on the right.

 The Priory above the shops.

 At the top of the town is the road to Worcester which follows the curve of the Malvern Hills.

 In the small Memorial Park re laid to celebrate the Queens Jubilee is the Memorial Statue

 From the same location is the Abbey Hotel & Priory against the Vale of Evesham backdrop.

Looking across the Valet towards Broadway in the Cotswolds.

 They Fight in Flight

 The Malvern Hills look on.

 The History of The Rose Bank Gardens.

 One of Great Malvern's Iconic Gas Lamps, still running on gas.

 The Abbey Hotel.

 The Abbey Gardens Fountain.

 The View of the Malvern Hills from our Bedroom Window.

 Visit Over! We Pack The Green Goddess and take the Iconic Morgan Shot. 

 Then for the Close Up Shot, he appears from backstage and just would not move!!

 It was time to leave Malvern as the Mog heads down Abbey Road for the last time, this trip as we head for a Lunch and Shopping stop in Broadway.

 We arrived at Broadway to be greeted by a country town view of passing Horses.

 The famous Lygon Arms Hotel

The Main Road through Broadway.

 This beautiful Town Centre Manor House is just waiting to be photographed.

The Town Map of Broadway.

From Broadway we had to take a diversion on the route home due to a temporary Road Closure. Our new route would take us over the downs to Burford and onto Oxford. Sadly I can offer no photos along the route as I am forbidden to take my usual shots in transit when Mrs L. is in the passenger seat.

I hope that you have enjoyed the photos. I do hope that some of our Morgan Owner friends from Regio Zeeland in the Netherlands also find the Blog to see some of their cars in action in Malvern.


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