The Discontinuation of Morgan 4/4: Was It the Right Decision?


Free-will decisions and market principles

Are you always confident of your free-will decisions? MISTRA (Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart, 1990) has proved our ways of thinking and behaving are NOT genetically affected. The surrounding environment affects us much more. To be honest, I even doubt the existence of free will, though.

Let me ask one more question. Do you believe market principles are always correct? We ordinary people don’t always make rational decisions based on detailed and correct knowledge, just as the principles expect. Free-will decisions and market principles are two main grounds that neo-liberalism is based on. I don’t like neo-liberalism. It’s not because of such weak grounds but because it steals my favorite things, such as Morgan 4/4.

The unique heritage of Morgan

The legendary car debuted in 1936 and continued to be produced without changing the basic design for more than 80 years. Can you believe it? In 2019, an Italian investment firm announced to acquire Morgan. It was not a hostile takeover. The press release by Morgan said the investment firm would work closely with the current management to make sure that future development of the business will be respectful of and remain true to the company’s unique heritage. Coincidentally, soon after the acquisition, they decided to discontinue Morgan 4/4. Apparently, one of their heritages was lost.

Our craftsperson is filling glue in the screw holes on the backside of a dining table.

Giving up the techniques developed for more than 80 years

As some of you may know, the frame of Morgan 4/4 was partially made of ash wood to make car weight light. It’s easy to imagine how difficult it is to use wood for a car frame. Apparently, car frames must withstand a heavy load, heavier than furniture at least. Making matters worse, wood strength changes depending on the part, grain direction, density, knotted-or-not, etc. of wood. Their website says about woodworking “Traditional techniques passed down through many generations ensure the precision of each tenon joint and laminated curve.” Indeed, they still use the wood frame for other models, but I’m afraid the new Morgan may give up. In the near future, they may conclude the wood frame is just an outdated structure.

I know I may be just stuck in the past but can’t stop myself, feeling like it’s “today Morgan, tomorrow us, wooden furniture manufacturers.” As Morgan says, traditional techniques are not gained in a day. I think we should be careful about things we can never recover, at least.

Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.

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