“I’m not suggesting we’d ever copy someone else’s iconic design. We don’t need to. We have coupés of our own, like that one [he indicates the company’s treasured Plus 4 Plus], to help us. And we won’t be constrained by purist classic forms, either. Their job is to inspire, not dictate. We’ll walk the line between old and new, as we’ve started to do with the EV3 electric three-wheeler.
“But I do believe future Morgans have a wonderful opportunity to become beautiful as they move forward. They should be all about proportions and perfectly executed detail, and that’ll make them unique.”
Wells cites two “very exciting” stand-alone products his designers are currently working up that will put all these principles into practice. “They’re both huge projects,” he says. “One is extra-special, from the aesthetic point of view.” The previous coupé conversation, and the obvious relish Wells puts into absent-mindedly drawing a rakish coupé as we talk (he also sketches in board meetings), makes me wonder if at least one of these new cars is going to be a large, low, classically styled fixed-head two-seater…
Wells arrived at Morgan full time about nine years ago, having done work experience at Morgan and TVR while studying for a degree in vehicle design at Huddersfield University, where he topped the course. He was hired in 2007 by his predecessor, Matt Humphries, who had arrived at Morgan from Coventry University three years earlier, having impressed then-managing director Charles Morgan with his student proposals for the Aero 8.
“My first job here was a six-week secondment that turned into five months’ work,” says Wells. “I worked on the first Morgan pedal car, a really cool project for a student because it was a full design job, built on a wooden frame with a panel-beaten body. The company eventually sold 250 of them, at £2500 each. Then I went back to college for my last year – and got the call from Matt to come back in 2008. I did bits and pieces, worked on the production Aeromax and the Aero Supersports and it gradually turned into a job. I never signed anything – and I still haven’t.”
Wells, whose grandfather designed key electrical components for Concorde, is the closest thing you’ll ever meet to a design ‘natural’. Like many kids, his early interest was in bicycles and motorbikes, which he drew non-stop. But he soon fell in love with the car design process, particularly the way clay and computer modelling could make sense of your ideas. “Sketches are just lines,” he says. “I found clay and computer modelling could convey much better what was in my head.”
Spend an afternoon with Wells, as I did, and you’ll be amazed at the sheer breadth of his work. Small wonder he feels he doesn’t get enough time for sketching. He talks marketing and customer relations. His team designs brochures, letterheads, logos, show stands, car badges and whatever else needs designing – as well as the cars. He acknowledges the versatility but denies it is anything special at Malvern Link.