Video: While Lotus drift a Christmas tree round Hethel Morgan reveal their next car?
Two British sportscar icons look forward to the new year and new beginnings with two very different videos, out this week. Things have been a little quiet at Morgan and Lotus lately, but the message in the videos is that they are alive and well.
Hethel’s “Merry Driftmas” video delivers what it promises as an Evora 410 Sport (with a Christmas tree on its back…) blasts around the Lotus site in full sideways and smoky mode. It’s a fun reminder of driving pleasure, Lotus style, even if it does leave a great deal unsaid.
There’s nothing about the new owner, Chinese automotive giant Geely, the company that continues to do such a great job overseeing Volvo. Nothing about new boss Phil Popham, the ex-JLR man who took over from Jean-Marc Gales as Lotus CEO in the summer. There’s not a word about the ambitious (and overdue) plans to redevelop Hethel. And nothing at all about what we all want to know… the new Lotus cars coming.
Unless the classic Esprit trundling into shot in the video is an oblique clue as to what’s coming next? Could be. A new Lotus supercar in the Esprit mould along with the first Lotus SUV were the last new-model promises from Jean-Marc Gales before he left to head up Woodham Mortimer.
It is likely a new Esprit and an SUV are firmly on Popham’s agenda – along with the £2m, 1,000PS electric hypercar that has been keeping the internet rumour mill occupied of late. As the Geely group’s technology innovator why wouldn’t Lotus do such a car? Exciting times ahead for Lotus? You bet.
A couple of hundred miles west to Malvern Link and Morgan is being more up front about what’s coming next… while, like Lotus, taking the opportunity to remind us all why we love their cars in the first place. That job in the video is left to the firm’s test driver Keith Dalley who has driven every aluminium chassis Morgan V8 from the first to the last, 1,300 cars in total.
The V8 Morgan is no more, and the film marks that with Keith’s last journey through the hills in the final Plus 8 and Aero 8 models. Fine… but what we want to know is what the V8 models will be replaced by.
That, says the firm, will be a new ‘Wide Body’ sportscar built upon an all-new bonded aluminium fabricated platform that is twice as stiff as the old ally platform. It will have a powertrain never before installed in a Morgan and the car will be “the most dynamically capable production Morgan ever”. And we will see it in 2019.
Morgan’s video ends with the briefest glimpse of the new machine and a roar as the driver gives it a bootful. That’s no V8. Turbo V6? What do you think?
“We are excited to be launching the ‘Wide Body’ car in Morgan’s 110th year,” Morgan technology chief Graham Chapman said. “The 2019 launch of this car is the culmination of several years of unprecedented investment in design and engineering for Morgan. This has produced the most advanced development programme in Morgan’s history.”
As with Lotus, exciting times ahead and not before time either.