Meet the first Morgan with Windows. No, not extra weather protection. This is Windows as in Microsoft…
The 106-year-old company, still family-owned, if not family-run any more, has blended ash-frame with a touch of mainframe for its new 170mph Aero 8, one of the British stars at the Geneva Motor Show.
The optional ‘infotainment’ system comes complete with a touch-screen built into the dash and offering a full range of electronic functions – including, as Morgan MD Steve Morris tells GRR, the ability to take selfies as you bowl along with the wind in your hair!
And the new Aero 8 is first and foremost a convertible – that new rear-end is almost a boat-tail! – although also one that is available with a newly designed hard-top. The BMW 4.8-litre V8-powered two-seater hasn’t replaced the Aero 8 SuperSports (targa) and Aero 8 Coupe yet but it will from April when the new car becomes the sole Aero 8 available – and at a base price quite a bit lower than the outgoing models.
And if you think you may have seen those elegant rear lights before, you may well be right… Steve reveals all to Road & Racing.
What’s the point of the new Aero 8?
It fills the gap we had in the Aero range for a true convertible. Morgan cars are synonymous with open-top motoring and this is a natural progression from the coupe and targa models. It’s the future of the Aero range, a car that goes back to Morgan’s roots.
How new a car is it?
New aluminium platform, all-new suspension with anti-roll bars for the first time, completely revised rear-end styling with clamshell boot opening, all-new interior and new materials, and lots of new options available like carbon seats. We have been working on this for the past eight months. It is our biggest product investment since the Aero SuperSport.
How is the driving experience different?
The new platform is a lot more torsionally stiff and it’s also more stable at speed thanks to the new body’s better aerodynamics. It rolls less in corners but the ride is still very compliant. Overall it’s more responsive and sharper handling but also it’s the most refined Aero we have ever made.
What was the brief for the designer?
To make a true Morgan convertible, with a look influenced by classic open sports cars from the 1960s. The restyled rear end, with the rear-opening clamshell boot, is something very new and different. The car also had to be able to convert to a coupe with the optional hard-top. The bit I love most about the top is the E-type-like lip above the rear screen. That’s a really nice detail.
And what about those rear lights? Whose parts bin are they from?
They are from a Lancia Thesis.
What’s the price?
We have priced it very keenly at £79,500 in the UK. The outgoing coupe was £100,000 and SuperSport £125,000.
And the reaction to it at the Geneva show?
Very positive indeed and we have taken lots of orders so it’s going well.
How’s the future for Morgan looking?
We had a fantastic fourth quarter last year and there’s been a strong start to 2015. We have now got the aluminium range (Aero 8) set for the next 18 months and the classic range set for the next 12 months, with changes that will keep the DNA but make the cars more user friendly. We are looking at six months waiting list on almost the whole of the Morgan range.
The famous Morgan waiting list is back eh?
Well we don’t want to turn people off by making them wait two years, but a waiting list is a really important message for us. With the new Aero 8 there are so many combinations of options and trim that every car built will be a one-off. Our customers will always want to have a car built to their personal vision rather than just taking any car that’s available.
And lastly Steve, SUVs are hot at Geneva this year. When can we expect a Morgan SUV?
Oh no, there’s too much on the table for us to worry about that. We’ll leave that to the big boys. It’s not for us.