The Trad chassis is a simple, strong frame. It’s very much a case of: ‘If it ain’t broke.’ It’s been doing the job well for 80 years, so why change it. We caught up with Richard Tipping, who’s been working on the chassis assembly line for 40 years.
“Actually, not much has changed at all since I started,” Richard explained. “The chassis used to be galvanised, but it now has a special coating, which is why it’s now black. Other than that, it’s remained a similar job.”
Richard started by making sure all the nuts and bolts are in place. On the chassis, in pink pen, are a few important facts. LHD, for left hand drive – we could guess that one, but also a P on the rear…
“Oh, that’s if a customer wants pictures of the car throughout production – that used to be my job back in the day. It was all on film cameras then and I would spend my lunch and breaks taking pictures. I’ve got stacks of photos still at home and it helped me fund my kids through school.”
Richard works swiftly, with a skill honed over his four decades in this department. All the parts he needs are clearly labelled in a plastic box. “It’s very efficient,” Richard stated. “We’ve been doing it so long that it’s become streamlined.”
Once the pedal box is fitted, and the handbrake, Richard starts to bend the brake cables to shape. Incredibly, he does most of this by hand. Occasionally Richard will use a vice to hold one end, then approximates the shapes he needs.
“I can’t get it exactly right, so it usually takes a bit of tweaking once on the car,” Richard told us. However, to our eyes he gets them all bang on. He proceeds to secure all the cables with an air gun and moves onto the engine.
At the end of the Chassis Shop the engines are lined up and Richard cranes one over. A much easier and simpler job than fitting the V8s, the four- cylinders slot straight in. Richard makes some tweaks to the positioning before securing the rubber mounts.
After 40 years, unfortunately Morgan will lose Richard’s skills early next year. “Yes,” Richard laughs, “Retirement is coming up.” That said, he won’t be leaving the brand completely. “It’s going to give me a chance to work on my own Morgan – I’ve been meaning to get a new engine in it for years. Now I can finally finish it.”
Well there you go, you can take the man out of Morgan, but you can’t take Morgan out of the man…. these cars get under your skin!