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A Tribute To
Peter H.G. Morgan
1919 - 2003

     Malven, England (from The Telegraph News)Peter Morgan, who died on Monday aged 83, was chairman of his family's motor car company and involved in every detail of the marque's development for more than 50 years. Morgan is one of the world's oldest motor manufacturers and the oldest anywhere still controlled by the family which established it. Their custom-built sports cars attract a loyal following, and the waiting list for the 700 vehicles produced annually is currently more than a year. Peter Morgan expanded from the success of his father, H F S Morgan, who had built the company on the reputation of its three-wheelers, which combined light weight with power.

The timeless design of the cars was, even then, instrumental in their success. A Morgan three-wheeler won the French Cyclecar Grand Prix in 1913, and was still in production 26 years later; the Plus 4 chassis remained substantially unchanged between 1936 and 2000; and the Plus 8, Peter Morgan's great innovation of 1968, is still in production.

In 1990, television viewers were given an opportunity to see the company's philosophy in action, when Sir John Harvey-Jones devoted an episode of Troubleshooter to Morgan. Harvey-Jones was horrified by what he saw; interviewing the foreman of the chassis shop, who had been there 30 years, he said: "You must have seen a lot of changes in that time." "Not really, no," came the laconic reply.

Morgan ignored the guru's advice to double production and increase prices dramatically, preferring to keep the loyalty of those who loved the cars. Peter Morgan pointed out that not all of Sir John's ventures had been as successful as his time at ICI. He also maintained that it was a good job that he had kept to his policies - or the recession immediately afterwards would have affected the company badly. Viewers seemed to agree; orders increased dramatically as they sided with Morgan's, rather than Sir John's, opinion on how cars should be built.     Peter Henry Geoffrey Morgan was born on November 3 1919 at Chestnut Villa, which stood next to the company's Worcester Road factory. A party was held in the carpenters' shop to celebrate his arrival, and he, and his four older sisters, grew up with the factory workforce as part of their extended family. Young Peter was woken up as a boy by the sound of the steam engines (which ran the factory's lathes) being started each morning. He attended the Link School, Malvern, before going on to Oundle. Young Peter's first interest was in locomotives, rather than motor cars - though he had a tandem two-seater pedal car made at the works which, unusually for the firm at the time, was a four-wheeler. In 1935, the family moved to Cannon Hill, an Adam house near Maidenhead in Berkshire. Peter enjoyed Oundle, which promoted engineering and had a machine shop, carpentry lessons and even a foundry - "especially intriguing," Morgan thought. "I used to make little brass aeroplanes and things like that." At home he learnt to drive in the grounds of his parents' house, in the Ford-engined four-wheeled 4/4 prototype which his father had rejected, after deciding to use the Coventry-Climax engine. He longed for a three-wheeled twin, but his father refused; after Peter narrowly avoided toppling over in an F-type three-wheeler on holiday in Cornwall, the old man felt vindicated.



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More Information on Peter Morgan

Morgan West PM Slide Show

Memorial Services

A Salute from Emog

A Salute from Malvern

The outbreak of war altered his plans; he at first attempted to sign up for the Royal Navy, but after being rejected on account of his eyesight, joined the Royal Army Service Corps, working in the motor shop. From there he was posted to Freetown in Sierra Leone with the Royal West African Frontier Force, before taking over the Army workshops at Nairobi, where he stayed for the remainder of the war. He toyed with the idea of remaining after demob in 1946, but was persuaded by his father to return home. He joined the board at 9 a week, and was soon working as a draughtsman alongside his father. The break in production during the war years helped Peter in his adaptation to the four-wheeled market, and although the late 1940s and early 1950s were a tricky time for the company (one of the few periods in which it registered a loss), the export sales of sports cars held up fairly well. The first model which Peter Morgan was principally responsible for developing, the Plus 4, replaced the 1.5-litre engine with a 2-litre model. It raced successfully, and eventually won the 2-litre class at Le Mans in 1961. In 1968, Morgan launched the Plus 8, which was at the time the fastest car available for the money, and used the General Motors 8-cylinder engine later adopted by Rover. The model, which will remain in production until next year, became the longest-running car produced by the company. After his father's death in 1959, Morgan paid diligent attention to the export market, building strong support, particularly from America and Germany. Fifty per cent of the company's sales are now to overseas buyers. He continued to be optimistic about the firm, and took great pride in the win at Le Mans. "The other thing I'm very proud of," he said, "is that I've never had to make anybody redundant." Peter Morgan was a charming and courteous figure, extremely popular with all those he met. He remained active after his retirement from the day-to-day running of the firm in 1999; he enjoyed travel and collecting stamps, and ran a small-scale railway in his Worcestershire garden, which delighted his grandchildren. Three weeks ago, he drove up the Prescott Hill Climb - at some speed - in his V 8, licence plate AB 16. He remained Chairman of the Board, and continued to come into the office until only a week or so before his death. Morgan married, in 1939, Jane Christie. The marriage was dissolved in 1972; she died in July this year. He married secondly, in 1982, Heather Williams. She survives him together with his children from his first marriage; his daughters Sonia and Jill, who both serve as directors of the company, and his son, Charles, who now runs the firm Peter left school in 1936, but was at first unsure whether to go to university or engineering college. But, convinced of the value of practical training, he went to the Chelsea College of Automobile and Aero Engineering. He remained there from 1937 until 1940, and then worked briefly for the British Ermeto Corporation. He anticipated working for the family firm, but hoped first to join Rolls-Royce or Rover. By this time he was racing the family's cars at tracks such as Brooklands and Donington. (He later led the Morgan team to victory in the RAC Rallies in 1951/52.)

Southern California Morgan Sports Car Dealership new and used morgans for sale

Southern California Morgan Sports Car Dealership new and used morgans for sale