Today marks 100 years since the birth of Peter Morgan. Son of the company’s founder, HFS, Peter worked for Morgan for more than half a century, leading the company as chairman for most of that time, before his passing in 2003. A natural engineer and modest man, he was adored by all who were fortunate enough to know him. We look back on some of his most defining moments…
Peter became famous for his appearance on the BBC TV programme Troubleshooter, in 1989. In the series, boss of chemical firm ICI, Sir John Harvey Jones, would visit companies and suggest improvements. Peter, along with his son Charles, rejected Jones’ advice to modernise and increase production. Morgan continued to thrive, while ICI ultimately failed. It was an insight into Peter’s determined nature, and it’s in a large part his respect for tradition that has made the company what it is today.
Earlier in his career, he had been approached by Rover, which had tried to buy Morgan. He rejected the offer, but managed to turn the situation around to his advantage. He agreed a deal to purchase Rover’s new aluminium V8 engine, which was fitted to the Morgan Plus 8.
Behind the wheel
Not only was Peter a successful businessman, but a talented racing driver, too. In 1938, he raced a 1122cc Coventry Climax 4/4 at Brooklands, averaging an incredible 81mph. The same year, he won the 10hp closed class in the RAC International Rally and, following WWII, won the team prize and came second overall in the 1951 event.
A man of the people
Despite shying away from attention, Peter treated all his customers and employees in a way that earned him great respect.
In 2000, a customer enquired about the Aero 8, three months before it was due to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. Chris Lawrence, the project lead, decided to lend it to him for the weekend. When Peter discovered this on the Monday morning, he immediately went to visit the customer and find out his thoughts.
Peter would give up his time to come to Morgan owners’ club events on a Sunday afternoon and present the prizes. In fact, on one occasion even took part in the driving event himself in his own personal Morgan Plus 8.
It’s thanks to Peter’s steady hand on the tiller through turbulent times, as well as his push for sales in export markets, that Morgan has continued to this day, 110 years since it was founded. But, more than the admiration he earned in the industry, it’ll be his warm personality for which he’ll never be forgotten.