So, a bit of background first. I’ve written about cars for 30 years and never, ever driven a Morgan. What an admission. The problem was that the Morgan press office used to consist of a chap in a tweed jacket, eating a bacon sandwich and only answering the phone if the golf course was busy.
It was impossible to get a test car. Bristol used to be the same. If the PR jonny there thought you didn’t wear brogues and a tie, well, you’re not welcome in the club. Go and drive something bling, like a Bentley.
And so it was that yesterday I turned up at the factory in Malvern, where they have been building cars from wood and metal since 1908. The ‘factory’ is actually a rather ramshackle collection of single storey sheds that looks like a school. One that should have been demolished long before the Germans even had a chance to blitz them.
They now have a proper PR guy too and he’s more enthusiastic than a fox in a hen house. Brilliant. We did a factory tour together. I met a man who has been with the company since 1961 – that’s before the Beatles had their first hit.
I fell in love with the place.
About three hours later he handed me the keys to a spanking new Morgan Plus 8. I pressed the start button and frightened some children taking selfies in front of the bonnet. Within ten miles I realised what I’d been missing all these years. The ones spent in a draft free, climate-controlled cabin, fully anaethetised from the driving experience.
I don’t actually give a stuff where the Morgan is made but I like the fact it is truly British, owned by a British family who know the names of all their employees and use Gingham tablecloths in the canteen.
Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the car. Sorry if you’ve just bought a 911 but you just went for the sensible choice and perhaps forgot what driving a sports car is all about…