2018 Photo Galleries
[These pictures are courtesy Pat and Ken Kreuzer. Thank You!!]
[These pictures are courtesy Pat and Ken Kreuzer. Thank You!!]
[This rumor is swirling. There are lots of press reports stating that Morgan and Aston Martin have negotiated some sort of deal related to the Vanquish. Perhaps we will hear something from the Geneva Show, where Morgan typically makes their announcements and new vehicle reveals. Mark]
We reported recently on the $26-million sale of Aston Martin’s intellectual property and design drawings for its departed Vanquish. Rumors abound about who the buyer was and while Automotive News had initially surmised that the Morgan Motor Company may have been involved, both Aston and Morgan were non-committal.
The reason Auto News is now practically convinced that it was indeed the 110-year-old British car manufacturer is that Morgan has just announced plans to build a new model with specs that practically mirror those of the outgoing Vanquish. Namely, a rear-wheel-drive, front-engined coupe built on a bonded and riveted aluminum chassis. [This is the Aero 8’s and Aero based, Plus 8’s current spec, and has been for years, so this isn’t the ‘smoking gun’, they seem to think it is.]
Aston Martin’s CEO Andy Palmer explained to Automotive News that he agreed to sell the Vanquish tooling as well as 18 months of Aston Martin Consulting services to help with the new car’s development.
He only did so after receiving reassurances about the way the future car would be executed. He also mentioned that the customer didn’t want the Vanquish connection named. And so, it remains, no official announcements have been made but we would be surprised if this were not the case.
Morgan currently offers three models to US customers, the quirky three-wheeler and the Plus 4 and Roadster 3.7 (which you need to source your own engines for). [Not exactly true. Morgan provides the engines and the dealers have them installed.] All three have long wait lists. But with this new high-performance flagship, due for release at some point in the mid-2020s, it could be the ideal vehicle to offer power-hungry American shoppers.
Aside from mentioning that the design would follow its traditional approach, details on the engine and other drivetrain components have not been revealed yet by Morgan. Whether it ends up using a version of the Aston’s 5.9-liter V12 or perhaps another BMW V8, we cannot wait for some more details in the coming months.
The 2018 Holiday Party was held 1 December, at the St Simons Island, GA, King and Prince Resort. The weather getting there and going home was great (well at least for us from Florida.) Top down both ways. The weather while we were there . . . well, not so good. It was overcast and cool (60s) and we had some showers and even a tornado warning! However, it didn’t really affect anything, so nobody really cared.
The majority of the attendees arrived on Friday. Some actually came in on Thursday and few more arrived on Saturday. Friday was spent checking into the hotel and getting situated before heading over the ‘Hospitality Suite.’ GatorMOG showed up with five Morgans in convoy. There were a few more Morgans that came individually. Other than these cars, most arrived via tin tops. There were a few that flew in.
Pat and Ken Kreuzer organized a dinner Friday night at one of the local restaurants, the Georgia Sea Grill, and it was superb! It started as a small group but grew to almost the entire MOGSouth crowd. The restaurant did an amazing job of accommodating so many.
The King and Prince gave us their Wesley Cottage for the Hospitality Suite.
The Wesley Cottage – Our Hospitality Suite (Photo Andrea Braunstein)
The Wesley Cottage was a complete out building, apart from the main hotel building. It provided us a superb spot for the hospitality room away from the rest of the hotel guests, so we could (and did) get loud without disturbing others. It was just about big enough for our gaggle and had a television, so we could all watch the conference football championship of choice (Alabama – Georgia, UCF – Memphis, Clemson – Pitt, Ohio State – Northwestern, etc.) It seemed as if everyone wanted a different game, so channel switching became the norm. I lost the bubble early on, and never really knew who was winning or who was losing or in some cases, who was even playing. Confusion seems to be the new normal for me these days. As they say, getting old is hell.
Chuck and Karen Bernath were our hosts and they did all the shopping for the Hospitality Suite. They had their big SUV and it came in very handy a good number of times. They brought up their own coolers, cork screws, and other necessary things making the Hospitality Suite operate quite smoothly. Chuck also collected money for the trolley and for the dinner.
Chuck Bernath (Photo Andrea Braunstein)
We had plenty of food and drink, and then others brought in more and more goodies, local fudge and holiday cookies and fresh zucchini bread, etc. It was a good thing none of us were on a diet! I guess it’s really futile (or stupid!) to try to diet around the holidays! I won’t do it, again. We did have to make a wine run on Saturday as folks were quite particular about the wine they wanted to drink. On Saturday it was a beer and ice run. Good thing we were close to a Liquor store and well stocked gas station!
Most of us spent Saturday morning on the trolley tour. The trolley tour was in a covered trolley and the very light rain didn’t impact our ability to see the sights, take photographs or enjoy the tour guide’s banter. The Trolley Tour company we engaged, Colonial Trolley Tours, dedicated the entire day to MOGSouth. They provided several tours at differing times, picking us up and dropping us off right at the hotel’s front door. Those that participated in the tours were quite complimentary of the entire operation. The tour guide was knowledgeable, animated and quite entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed it all; however, we got so much information, it was like drinking from a fire hose, and much of what was mentioned, I have now forgotten.
Island Spirit (Photo Andrea Braunstein)
During and after the tour, there were periods of light rain, nothing too heavy. Some folks wandered about downtown Saturday afternoon, taking in the local crafts fair or other sites mentioned on the trolley tour, but I don’t think anyone really got wet. Folks found lunch on their own and made their way to the Hospitality Suite. Spending lots of time at the Hospitality Suite is getting to be the norm. This is where everyone is and everyone wants to see everyone else and chat. I guess this is what the club is all about.
More ‘Hospitality Suite’ prior to the Holiday Banquet. Then everyone left the Hospitality Suite to return to their rooms to don their Holiday finery in preparation for the banquet. We had a cash bar outside the banquet room and used this area for our silent auction. My apologies for the somewhat hectic nature of the silent auction. We had some folks mention a desire to donate some items to the club. Ok, we thought, we’ll have a silent auction for charity. It was a last minute thing and we didn’t solicit other donations but were simply overwhelmed by a huge quantity of things that were donated. Next time we will be better organized and better prepared and do this thing right (?) or at least we will be better organized. Perhaps we should make this a standard part of the Holiday Party? It is the only time we tend to travel to a MOGSouth event in a vehicle with sufficient space for added stuff.
The Holiday Banquet Room (Photo Andrea Braunstein)
The Mother Courage Award was presented during the Holiday banquet remarks. The 2018 awardee is Rich Fohl. Rich, unfortunately, wasn’t present to accept the award, however, we will get it to him in the next few weeks.
It was suggested that we survey the club on their preference for allowing previous winners of the Mother Courage award to be eligible to received it more than once. We tried a verbal vote during the dinner, but this was inconclusive. A suggestion was made to get the entire membership involved, so we decided to table this for now and include it in a more formal survey later on.
Also, it was suggested that those voting on the Mother Courage Awardee, i.e. the previous three awardees, should be allowed to rank order their votes (e.g. First choice, second choice, etc.) This would allow for a simpler selection of the awardee should the initial votes all select someone different, resulting in no obvious winner.
When the suggestion was made during the dinner, I said I didn’t think this had occurred before, but now thinking back on previous years, I seem remember that this situation did occur just once, and we simply asked for another choice from the voters which resolved that year’s voting. Ranking the choices, however, would eliminate the delays associated with a second vote, and the rankings could be used to more quickly determine an awardee. These suggestions will be included in a survey we send out later in the spring.
As has become tradition, Collette Clark provided a beautiful platter for the event hosts. And, Lee Gaskins gave us a few minutes of his experience with the fabled Morgan Plus 4 Super Sports. Then we all left the banquet room and headed back to the Hospitality Suite for more imbibement(?) and interaction with friends. A wonderful weekend and start to the Holidays. A Happy Holiday to you and yours from MOGSouth.
Let’s do it all again in 2019!!
[This is the latest schedule for the St Simons Island Holiday Party at the King and Prince Resort. Things can and do change so be flexible.
For those of you that haven’t attended a Holiday Party previously a dress code doesn’t really exist. Just wear whatever is comfy, festive and/or Morgan(ish)? Some come fancy, others . . . not so much.
Don’t forget to bring cash (or Check) for the Trolley ($20 per person) and for the Banquet Dinner ($41 per person). Oh, and $25 for 2019 MOGSouth Dues. (And, please keep these as all separate payments so we don’t get too mixed up.) Cheers, Mark]
Friday – 30 November 2018
Saturday – 1 December 2018
Sunday – 2 December 2018
[This Morgan is a good one!! It has all the right bits and David’s cars are always exquisite. Don’t procrastinate if interested!! Mark]
This RHD Morgan was treated to a comprehensive ground-up restoration completed in 2009. Chassis #B1247, restored as an all aluminum car [save cowl and scuttle] as per factory records.
Cover and featured Morgan in May 2011 issue of Hemmings Sports and Exotic Cars magazine as well as April 2012 calendar [full article available at www.hemmings.com archives]
Reluctant sale dictated by advancing age, too small a garage plus inability to drive two cars at once and uninterested sons. Asking $40,000 or ono. For further information or to arrange a visit, contact David Crandall at 978-223-5081 or email@example.com. Serious inquiries only please.
Types of Drill Bits: Materials and Finishes
The materials from which bits are manufactured and the finishes applied to them play a significant role in the life and performance of the bit. Common materials and finishes:
Drill Bit Construction
For a typical drill bit, the angle of the point helps determine what type of material the bit can drill. Flatter points — such as those with 135-degree angles — are suited for drilling into harder material. They may require a pilot hole to keep the bit from wandering. Bits with steeper points — such as those with 118-degree angles — are suited for softer material. They stay on center better and produce cleaner entry and exit holes. Bits with split-point tips improve drilling accuracy by keeping the bit from wandering when you begin to drill.
Bit size reflects the diameter of the body. Some projects call for specific drill bit sizes, but a bit set that includes sizes from 1/16-inch to 1/4-inch will handle many jobs around the home and workshop. You can add larger bits – 5/16-inch, 3/8-inch, 7/16-inch and 1/2-inch bits if you need them.
The chuck on a hand drill or drill press secures a drill bit to the tool along the bit’s shank. A smaller drill for work around the house typically has a 3/8-inch chuck. More powerful drills for heavier applications have a larger, 1/2-inch chuck. Drill presses also have larger chucks — 1/2-inch or 5/8-inch, for example. The bit shank size must not exceed the chuck size of the drill. A larger bit may have a reduced shank — a shank with a smaller diameter than the body of the bit — allowing you to use it with smaller chucks.
Twist Drill Bit – A twist bit is the most common type of drill bit for home use. It works for general-purpose drilling in wood, plastic and light metal.
Brad-Point Drill Bit – A brad-point bit is designed for boring into wood. The brad at the center of the bit tip helps position the bit precisely for accurate drilling and produces a clean exit point in the work piece. The flutes — grooves that wrap around the bit and channel away chips and dust — are extra-wide to remove more material.Auger Drill Bit – An auger bit, another type of wood-boring bit, has a screw tip that starts the hole and pulls the bit through the work piece. These bits can be as long as 18 inches. As with the brad-point bit, large flutes help remove chips and dust. An auger bit with a hollow center provides even more chip removal, one with a solid center is stronger and more rigid.Self-Feed Drill Bit – A self-feed bit bores through wood. Like the auger bit, a screw at the tip helps position the bit and draws it through the work piece. However, this bit is more compact. It doesn’t have the standard flutes of a twist bit, so you need to pull the bit back periodically to clear away chips and dust.
Installer Drill Bit – An installer bit is a specialized twist bit designed for installing wiring. The bit can be up to 18 inches long and drills through wood, plaster and some masonry.
Once you drill through the wall, floor or other surface, you insert a wire into the small hole in the bit and use the bit to draw it back through the hole you bored.
Spade Bit – A spade bit, also known as a paddle bit, bores large-diameter holes — up to 1-1/2 inches in diameter — in wood. It has a flattened blade with a sharp point that helps position and steady the bit. Some spade bits have points at the two edges that help create a neater hole and exit point.
Forstner Drill Bit – A Forstner bit bores smooth, clean holes in wood. You can use it to create flat-bottomed holes — such as for receiving dowels. The design also allows you to overlap holes. A point helps you to position the bit precisely on the workpiece. Pull the bit out regularly to clear away chips and dust as you work. A hand-held drill may not always give you the force or control you need to use a Forstner bit, so a drill press is a better option for some applications.
Hole Saw – A hole saw drills large holes — such as for installing door hardware or creating a pass-through for wiring. A hole saw creates a plug of waste material; a cut-out in the side of the saw cylinder allows you to push it out. Typically, a hole saw attaches to an arbor or mandrel which includes a shank. The arbor also holds a pilot bit for centering and steadying the cutting blade. Some smaller hole saws have a built-in shank and don’t use a pilot bit.
A bi-metal hole saw cuts through wood and metal. A hole saw with a carbide edge works on heavier materials such as ceramic tile and masonry. A hole saw with a diamond edge also works on tile and masonry, but cuts faster than carbide models.
Countersink Drill Bit – A countersink bit — also called a screw pilot bit — is a specialty bit for drilling in wood. In a single action, the bit can drill pilot, counter sink and counter bore holes, allowing you to countersink a fastener and install a plug over the fastener head.
Plug Cutter – A plug cutter bores holes in wood, creating wood plugs for use in concealing recessed fasteners.
Step Drill Bit – A step bit is designed primarily for drilling in thin — up to 1/4 inch — metal, but will work with wood. The stepped design allows you to use a single bit to drill holes with different diameters. Often the diameter of each step is etched into the bit. You can also use this type of bit to deburr holes, clearing away waste material.
Tile Drill Bit – A tile bit uses a carbide tip to drill into some types of tile while reducing the chance of chips and cracks. Check the packaging to determine the tile it can drill.
Masonry Drill Bit – A masonry bit drills into tough materials such as concrete, brick and other masonry. Some work with a standard corded or cordless rotary drill, but those designed for use with a rotary hammer or hammer drill can bore into masonry more effectively. The hammering action of the tool drives the carbide tip into the material while the rotating action channels away debris along the flutes.
Other Bit Options – In addition to more common drill bits, there are other options and accessories:
[This one is just out. Seems accurate and makes me just a bit anxious. Cheers, Mark]
[These pictures are courtesy Pat and Ken Kreuzer. Thank You!!]
[This is a collection of pictures taken during the 2018 GatorMOG Mid Atlantic Road Trip. There were lots of pictures taken but they cannot all be loaded on the web. The ones uploaded are attributed to a participant on the trip, with their initials embedded in the picture title, e.g. ALB is Andrea Braunstein, RF is Rick Frazee, and RG is Ron Gricius. There is a textual report of the Road Trip posted under Club News and Events. Thanks for all the support. Cheers, Mark]
[Photos with ‘alb’ were taken by Andrea Braunstein, ‘mnb’ were taken by Mark Braunstein and there is one taken by Alan Rae with his name in the title. Enjoy!]
[Pictures from the 2017 MOGSouth Fall Meet!! They were graciously provided by Gary and Judy Heck, Brian and Rosie Miller and someone else whom I cannot recall (Sorry!) The titles of the pictures include the photographer, if known. Mark]
Hilton Head Island Concours! A large Morgan three wheeler class and Harry Gambill’s exquisite 1951 Morgan Plus 4 Drop Head Coupe on the lawn. I actually think Morgan stole the show!!
The run up to the show, for me anyway, was all about the three wheelers. I got a call from Peter Olson in Atlanta telling me the Hilton Head Island Concours wants a Morgan Three Wheeler Class for the Concours. Wow!! Putting together a class for HHI was a big deal.
And I wasn’t alone. It seemed that the entire Morgan Three Wheeler community in North America was energized. We had tremendous interest, even from the West Coast of the US and Canada when the word got out we were forming a class. There were a good number of folks highly interested in being part of this event; but, unfortunately, we had to limit participation to only 10 cars. And this was more than HHI had actually wanted (they initially asked for just 5 cars).
This necessitated the selection of cars that were of sufficient quality to meet the high standards of the Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance and as broad a spectrum as possible of cars that would allow us to tell the Morgan Three Wheeler story appropriately. Some may argue we could have chosen attendees differently; however, in the end these cars, unique cars in some way or previous award winners, were selected.
As we actually got closer to the date of the HHI Concours, we lost a car due to mechanical gremlins, the 1927 Grand Prix. The problems could have been rectified with sufficient time, but . . . (Bob and Janet Barclay did come down from Ontario, Canada to join us though, so that was superb.)
It was a shame, nonetheless, and just as we were resolved to this reality, we thought we would lose the 1930 Anzani SS, as well. John and Debbie Stanley had family issues that precluded their attendance. But Rick Frazee kept the loss of the Anzani from happening by doing yeoman’s duty and, not only prepared the Stanley’s car for the show, but trailered it to Hilton Head Island in his own trailer along with his own 1936 Super Sports. (And, certainly, his efforts on the show field presenting the two cars was highly commendable.)
For me it was the start of another Morgan adventure!! Just back from Safety Harbor in Tampa, FL, we loaded the trailer with the 1934 MX4 SS. And, just to make things interesting I have new tow vehicle, a Ford F-150 Pickup Truck. (No longer a Yuppie with an SUV, but now a Bubba with a Pickup Truck!) Getting to this point really wasn’t easy.
The 1934 Super Sports has had its share of mechanical challenges over the last year. I first had the flywheel lose its taper and then the electric starter, and its hand ‘crafted’ mount went awry. This led to a ring gear replacement. The cobbled together intake manifold was replaced, along with two different-sized stub axle bolts. One new stub axle with bolt had to be made. Then it was a broken cam follower. We welded it back together but bought new ones from the MTWC just in case. Now it is all good, I hope!! We started it and Rick Frazee ran it around the block a week or so before the show.
The Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance is a very big deal. A very prestigious show with a tradition of excellence and high quality. I had no thoughts of winning anything, but I certainly didn’t want to be embarrassed, hence I cleaned, best I could. The week before the show, all I did was clean. Well, I tried anyway. I used a great number of my ‘omnipotent’ jams and jellies in my attempt to clean this car. My efforts were pretty much in vain, however. None of my other Morgans ‘oozes’ (as in any sort of fluid, e.g. gas, oil, water, grease, etc.) as much as this car. Just the short drive from the trailer to the show field will negate everything I had done to clean the car prior to the show.
We drove up to HHI from Florida on Friday, 2 November. A number of other folks were already there or drove up on Friday as well. There were a few, though, who got there on Saturday, 3 November. Just having a group of Morgan three (and four) wheeler owners together is always great fun. Therefore, we put together a beer call, noggin, dinner at a local restaurant on Saturday when the majority of people would be there. Everyone who was there had a great time. We even had the folks that were there to support the folks with cars. Lots of folks. Good stories, baby pictures, good beer and good times. This is what this Morgan stuff is all about!
The Hilton Head show also had a vintage aircraft/car display that was held on Saturday. We had two three wheelers (the Beers’ and the Childress’) that were part of this display and their cars were paired with vintage aircraft and displayed on the airfield during the day on Saturday.
All the other cars found their way to the show field either late Saturday or early Sunday morning. Having a dedicated Morgan Three Wheeler Class is very special occurrence, as evidenced by the large crowd and substantial interest we attracted.
The designated Morgan Three Wheeler Class display area was tight though. Made so by some inconsiderate MG owner who parked his car right in the middle of where the Morgans were supposed to go on Saturday night and did not come to move his car until 10 minutes before the show was supposed to start. We had to work around this issue and, since we were a large class already, we were parked quite close together. This worried us some when we thought about the crowd. In the end, it didn’t matter and made for a great display. The cars being close together invited comparisons. We had a huge crowd of onlookers and folks quite amazed by the odd, if not archaic, technology.
The Morgans Three Wheelers on the Show Field
The judges came, studied each car, asked questions, taking their time. The primary judge was no other than automotive author, Ken Gross, who owned a Morgan Three Wheeler in the 1970s. Ken was very knowledgeable and quite inquisitive. Ken’s articles have appeared in Road & Track, GQ, Special Interest Automobiles, Automobile Quarterly, Automobile, Playboy, Hemmings – over 40 different publications and he has been directly involved with 6 major automotive museums. We couldn’t have asked for a better judge.
Pat and Ken Kreuzer, MOGSouth members from Summerville, SC came by on Sunday to see what all the Morgan fuss was about. We also had help of Elliot Balo and his lovely wife, Jennifer. Elliot is a rare bird these days. He is young. Well, certainly in comparison to the rest of us! And, in a day and age where the younger among us have no interest in the messy business of mechanical things, Elliot is very passionate about vintage Morgan three wheelers. When he heard we were showing cars at Hilton Head, he jumped on the opportunity to come see the cars and offered to assist in any way possible. Well, he got his opportunity, and even got a Morgan Three Wheeler driving lesson, thanks to Bob Barclay. He took to it like a duck to water. Oh, did I mention it was during our Sunday afternoon rain?
In addition to the Hilton Head Island Concours d’ Elegance trophies presented (First in Class, and two Palmetto Awards), there was a special Morgan Three Wheeler award presented, the Graeme Addie Morgan ‘Innovation Award.’ We thought we would be doing the Special Award presentation, however, the HHI Concours judges actually selected the winner of this very special award and that took the burden off of us. It is so very hard, for me anyway, to make decisions like this when all the cars were exceptional, superbly prepared and all represented by good Morgan friends.
The Best in Class Winner, Steve Beer J.A.P. SS (Photo Courtesy of Andrea Braunstein (ALB))
Palmetto Award Winner, Dave Childress F Super (Photo Courtesy of ALB)
Palmetto Award Winner, Gene Spainhour F4 (Photo Courtesy of ALB)
Special Award Winner, Mark Braunstein MX4 SS (Photo Courtesy of ALB)
But, it wasn’t all about 3 Wheelers. Harry’s 1951 Plus 4 DHC took Best in Class, and deservedly so. The car was absolutely stellar!
Harry Gambill’s 1951 DHC Best in Class Winner (Photo Courtesy of ALB)
The only downside to the whole weekend was the rain late Sunday afternoon. It hurried the awards presentations along (which actually was good thing) but loading the cars was a bit of challenge. Everything and everyone was soaked.
We stayed the night in Hilton Head, leaving the drive home for Monday. And there was nothing hurried about Monday. We went to breakfast with friends, Sam and Rick Frazee and Alan and MaryAnn Rae. Alan and MaryAnn Rae, who own a lovely green roadster came as spectators rather than exhibitors and, being Canadians, had site seeing to do while the rest of us just headed for home.
Well, anyway we got home with almost no issues or drama. Really nothing significant. No rain, no mechanical problems, nada. The way I like it. The only scary bit was my new truck. This is just about the first real trip I have made pulling the trailer with it and it has some new-fangled odds and ends for trailering. So, in the midst of the run down I-95, I was starting to yawn. Andrea is texting to Sam Frazee to find a truck stop. Perhaps a cup of coffee.
Then, a loud beep, and a dash message “Trailer Disconnected!” Yikes! Where did it go? I frantically looked in my mirrors – nope it is still there, a big white thing. It’s all I can see! Then another loud beep, and “Trailer Status – Normal!” Well, I was awake now but I think my heart stopped. We soon pulled off I-95 and I checked. All good. Must have been a Morgan gremlin!
I have yet to fully unload the car and the trailer. I looked at it briefly when we arrived, and everything was a bit of a shambles, and damp, just like it went in. I was a bit too tired to tackle unloading yesterday. That is today’s activity. I was more prepared for a few large glasses of wine and an early bed time.
Oh, well this Morgan adventure had to end, so it’s back to the daily drudge, at least for a little while. The MOGSouth Holiday Party is just a few weeks away and I am looking forward to seeing everyone again!
Now to get that trailer unloaded!
[Be sure to see the Photo Gallery with more great pictures from the 2018 Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance. Click the Link Below. Mark]
30 October 2018
[This article seems to have a few more specifics that help clarify the reported new offering. Things I picked out include (1) coupé and roadster, with gasoline or electric drive, (2) in house design (3) bonded aluminum chassis, similar to Aero 8, (4) standard front engine, rear drive, (5) forced induction (turbo or supercharged?) and manual or automatic transmission, (6) traditional bodied application this coming soon (2019) (a new I-6 turbo Roadster perhaps?) and (7) chassis looks to be long enough to handle an inline 6 cylinder engine. See picture. Cheers, Mark]
Jon Wells (left) is leading the design team on the new car
Morgan is working on an all-new high-performance sports car flagship that will both reinforce its reputation for classic design and move it on a couple of decades, notionally into the Jaguar E-Type era.
The new car, which will be made in both coupé and roadster forms , follows several years of research into what a traditionally minded 109-year-old car company should do next, without threatening its successful classic model range. It is being created in-house by design and engineering teams that now total around 30 people as a result of recent, well-targeted investment.
The new hand-made flagship’s first iteration is understood to be a two-door, two-seat coupé that should appear in the mid-2020s, estimated to be priced near the level of an Aston Martin V8 Vantage. It will use a new architecture with the classic Morgan front-engine, rear-drive layout and continue the marque’s tradition for compact dimensions and light weight, while utilising the latest in chassis and powertrain engineering.
Morgan bosses are coy about revealing the new car’s performance and power, not least because it will have several different powertrains, including electrified variants, over its life. Early versions are likely to use a downsized, forced-induction six-cylinder petrol engine producing 350bhp-plus, driving through either a manual six-speed or paddle-shift automatic gearbox .
Performance is likely to be close to Plus 8 levels, which means a top speed of 150mph-plus and 0-60mph acceleration in the 4.5sec bracket.
The new car’s key structural element will be its new-era bonded and riveted box-section chassis in aluminium , created specifically for versatility in multiple applications.
This chassis, under final development now in Morgan’s workshops, will have its first production application next year in a model that uses the brand’s current classic architecture , to be launched as part of Morgan’s forthcoming 110th-anniversary celebrations.
Previous premium-level Morgans also used a bespoke aluminium chassis, but that design was created in 2000 and has been much modified since to meet current legislation. Morgan believes the new design can provide the right basis for its pricier models for the next decade, and probably beyond.
Morgan managing director Steve Morris said the new flagship shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for the Aero or Plus 8 models, recently discontinued after Morgan’s supply contract for normally aspirated 4.8-litre BMW V8s ended. Rather, it is an early result of several years’ study into how the company should shape its future.
The new chassis is the first tangible sign of this, said Morris. It is very similar in weight and dimensions to the Aero’s outgoing structure but twice as stiff. It can also provide comfortable driving for both bigger and smaller people than existing Morgans, hence its internal description as “the wide-bodied car”.
It can also cope with the predicted demands of electrification, which might, for example, require the car to carry sizeable traction batteries and provide space in its centre-rear chassis for electric drive motors.
Design head Jon Wells said shaping the new Morgan requires integrating traditional Morgan values into a new look that moves forward in era.
One model in Morgan’s design history that faced a similar challenge is the Plus 4 Plus of 1962, a coupé that set out to modernise Morgan and is widely admired today for its beauty. Only 26 copies were sold, mainly because the company’s marketing people (at the time dealing with enormous demand for their roadsters) unrealistically priced it alongside the then-new Jaguar E-Type.
The Plus 4 Plus was “neither classic nor modern”, said Wells, but made the bold move of ditching Morgan’s tradition for running boards.
Wells believes Morgan’s design palette is wider than most people think, aided by elements of the Plus 4 Plus, the Aero and Aeromax, and the recently revitalised 3 Wheeler.
Among desirable Morgan design traits, he lists a short front overhang, a longer rear overhang with a low rear deck [this seems backwards, shouldn’t we see a long front with short back?] , round headlights, the driver located behind the car’s centre line, a rounded ‘mouth’, elegant front wings whose highest point is over the car’s front wheels and, above all, a look of coachbuilt authenticity, enhanced by great care with surfacing and positioning of shutlines.
“Our task is to take the charm of classic motoring and make it relevant,” Wells said, “so that it can be respected and desired as a good piece of modern design.”
Morgan has great timing:
Morgan’s decision to take time over launching a new range of flagship models looks extremely wise, given that it has just had its best car-selling year in 109 years.
In today’s uncertain conditions, it must be reassuring to be selling models whose appeal is a given, and which face no head-to-head rivals. If it keeps making the classics, the Malvern company is almost bound to stay healthy. This is also a nice moment for a new flagship. The outgoing Aero leaves a gap ready to be filled by something different. Design head Jon Wells knows the brand and its customers well and is at the height of his powers. Those of us who know and love Morgan have often wondered how this unique brand can progress. Over the next few years, we’re going to find out.