19 Jul

Thrill on the Hill to Honour 50 years of the Plus 8 (www.automotiveworld.com July 18, 2018)

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the iconic Morgan Plus 8, Morgan Motor Company will play host to the UK’s largest gathering of Morgan cars at their annual Thrill on the Hill event, on 11th and 12th August.

[This looks to be good fun!  If you haven’t as yet been to one of the big MMC events in the UK, you should plan on it.  They are quite elaborate and well worth the effort.   Mark] 

Morgan owners and fans will come together across two days to enjoy an array of entertainment including a spectacular aerial display.  Marking 50 years of the Morgan Plus 8, there will be an impressive heritage lineup of this legendary model. Morgan have enlisted the help of their owners to put together a handpicked lineup of 50 Plus 8’s representing all eras of production.  Included within the lineup is;

  • ‘MMC 11’ The factory owned 1968 car that inspired the current 50th anniversary edition
  • ‘OUY 200E’ The first 1968 prototype Plus 8 that currently resides in San Francisco with Morgan Dealer, Bill Fink. This car is being brought over from the USA especially for the event.
  • ‘AB 16’ The original Plus 8 formerly owned by Peter Morgan
  • ‘J 9546’ The last ever original Plus 8 to be built, owned by Keith Ahlers
  • ‘Plus 8 50thThe first of the new Plus 8 50th special editions to be built, currently a factory owned vehicle

Festivities kick off on Saturday at the Malvern factory with live music from the UK’s most authentic soul band, Soul Traffic, who will be playing the biggest and best soul numbers from the 60s. The Rockabellas will also be serving up a mix of swinging big band hits from the bygone years and bespoke arrangements of modern pop songs.

The entertainment extends beyond Morgan motoring with pampering beauty treatments, classic barber service offering men’s grooming and traditional fairground rides for all. There will be delicious artisan food, the opportunity to earn some specialised crafts and even the opportunity to witness craftsmanship firsthand with a guided tour through the Morgan factory. A huge firework display will conclude the first day with a bang.

In amongst all of the other thrills that Morgan Motor Company have in store across the two days, fans will be delighted to be the at the forefront for official unveiling of not one but two new items of merchandise soon to be available.  [Now who will be the first in line?? Mark]

On Sunday, the action continues over at Prescott Hill Climb where visitors will be treated to a day of motorsport as 100s of Morgans take to the famous hill. Visitors will have the option to power around the course in their own Morgan or jump in the passenger seat of a factory car via pre-bookable timed runs. The lunchtime parade is an event highlight not to be missed as an entire squadron of Morgan machines take to the track for a full display before Richard Goodwin performs airplane stunts in his Pitts S2S muscle bi-plane.

After the excitement and success of last year’s inaugural Pickersleigh 3 run, Morgan are proud to be running it again. On Sunday 12th August the drive out of 3 Wheelers new and old will set off from the factory in Malvern, making the journey to awaiting crowds at Prescott Hill Climb. The Pickersleigh 3 is open to anyone with a Morgan 3 Wheeler and a valid Sunday ticket for Thrill on the Hill.

Steve Morris Managing Director of Morgan Motor Company, said: “We’re excited to announce the return of Thrill on the Hill for 2018. Our annual Summer events have continued to prove popular among owners and enthusiasts alike, and we expect this year to be better than ever as we welcome visitors from around the world to celebrate 50 years of the Morgan Plus 8.  I’m particularly excited that we are able to bring OUY 200E, the very first Plus 8, back to the UK from the USA specifically for the event.

18 Jul

TWI combines heritage with innovation for the Morgan Motor Company (www.cambridgenetwork.co.uk) July 17, 2018

[This is mostly a technical discussion about advanced manufacturing processes necessitated by the challenges faces with joining dissimilar metals, like those used by the MMC.  

For those of you that want the ‘CliffsNotes’ version the good news is that the Morgan Motor Company is now working with others, paid for by UK grants, on ways to improve joining dissimilar alloys, resulting in weight saving, strength gains and ultimately lower costs.   All good stuff!   

In my opinion, the MMC needs to keep up with evolving technologies, within reason, rather than become complacent in ‘old school’ ways.   Cheers, Mark]

Established in 1909, The Morgan Motor Company produces the longest-running production car in the world, the Morgan 4/4, which has been in production since 1936.

Famous for their heritage, the British manufacturer is rightly proud of their history of hand-built sports cars, but that doesn’t mean that they haven’t kept up with the times. Morgan collaborated with TWI in an Innovate UK project to further optimise the structural design of their vehicles, while reducing manufacturing costs.

Car manufacturers are being challenged by progressively stricter emission regulations and an overall demand for higher fuel efficiency. One of the most immediate ways to achieve this is to decrease the weight of the vehicles by using lighter materials and optimising the structure of the car body. A smarter use of materials often means lowering raw material and assembly costs, especially when several parts can be consolidated to form an integral piece. Lightening a car may also improve handling, which is paramount to a sports car manufacturer such as Morgan.

Car bodies are made predominantly of stamped sheet metal. One of the solutions for maximising the structural performance of stamped parts is a tailor welded blank fabrication. Dissimilar materials can be joined in the same blank prior to stamping, tailoring local properties like strength, ductility or corrosion resistance. Sheet thickness can also be tailored according to the expected load path, saving unnecessary material.

Although steel laser welded blanks have been an established solution since the 90s, there has been a progressive integration of aluminium alloys in car bodies. However, aluminium tailor welded blanks are not as widely available in the market. Suppliers typically offer laser welded products in 5xxx or 6xxx series aluminium alloys. Using a fusion welding process to join aluminium blanks has inherent drawbacks like porosity formation (which can be minimised, but not completely avoided) and solidification cracking, especially when joining 6xxx. Solidification cracking in 6xxx series can be mitigated by using a filler material (typically from the 4xxx or 5xxx series), but will require a slower welding speed compared to autogenous welding, making this application less cost-effective. The alloy of the joint made with a filler wire has significantly inferior strength and formability. Using a filler will also cause what is known as an overfilled joint (i.e. a weld bead proud of the sheet surface).  By standing proud of the sheet surface, an overfilled joint negatively affects the stamping operation making the joint more likely to split. Furthermore, aluminium laser welded joints often lack ductility, limiting the complexity of the stamped parts. Furthermore, there are no current offers in the market for supplying blanks in higher strength aluminium series, namely 2xxx and 7xxx.

Funded by Innovate UK, project LightBlank’s aim was to develop and fully implement a UK-based supply chain to manufacture aluminium alloy friction stir tailor welded blanks formed by a new stamping process called Hot Form Quenching (HFQ). HFQ combines solution heat treatment, stamping, quenching and artificial ageing. Complex aluminium blanks can be stamped while restoring the parent material properties. Friction stir welding (FSW) avoids many of the problems associated with joining aluminium using traditional techniques. It can also promote superplastic behaviour of the joint, enabling more ambitious geometries to be stamped. The consortium included Impression Technologies Ltd, PAB Coventry Ltd, Imperial College of London, Bombardier Transportation, Bombardier Aerospace, Morgan Motor Company Manufacturing and TWI Ltd.

The FSW-HFQ procedure developed was used to manufacture a prototype cross-member of the Morgan Aero 8 sports car. Replacing the main element of the cross-member with a FSW-HFQ blank reduced the weight of the assembly by 32%. Additionally, the new optimised design incorporated eight parts (instead of eleven), five of which can be pressed by HFQ in the same operation. This contributed to a significant reduction of the manufacturing and assembly lead times. A preliminary economic assessment shows that cost of manufacturing the new assembly is 37% lower, assuming an annual batch of 1000 units.

Upon the successful completion of this project, a prototype was placed on permanent display at TWI’s headquarters in Cambridge following an official unveiling attended by representatives from Morgan.

 

10 Jul

Latest News – New Morgan Four Wheelers (https://justbritish.com/ – 4 July 2018)

A long-loved British sports car is finally returning to the US. Morgan Motor Company, in response to U.S. Morgan dealers unfulfilled demand for 4 wheeled Morgans and also the disappointing lack of progress in implementing the Replica Car Bill, is now addressing the issue proactively.

Last week Morgan Motor Company announced that they are prepared to manufacture a functional rolling chassis in both Roadster and Plus 4 variants, that can then be shipped to the US, using the specially constructed vehicle route to market.

It is fully appreciated that there has been a significant hiatus regarding supply of four-wheeled Morgan vehicles to the US. Additionally,  the proposed Replica Car Bill has stalled significantly during the last 2 years and is still without any clear steer on the outcome with regards to both timing and legislative requirements. We believe there is a huge pent-up demand for traditional Morgans in the U.S.

Morgan plans an initial build of 40 Roadsters and 40 Plus 4’s during the remainder of 2018.

Upon hearing the news in San Francisco, Bill Fink of Morgan Cars USA was too jubilant at the prospect of new cars to dwell about the low number of vehicles.

“We have long awaited the opportunity to provide our customers with classic Morgans again. After the days without new 4-wheeled cars started stretching into years, and all the time spent waiting for implementation of the Fast Act – this is a very happy turn of events.”

Immediately available models include the Morgan Plus 4 (base price MSRP $69,995) and the Roadster 3.7 (base price MSRP $79,995.)  Freight, options, taxes, and fees are additional.

With the suggestion that as few as 80 vehicles will be built to meet the demand, and factoring in the Morgan devotees on dealers’ wait lists, the available build dates will be filled quickly.

Contact the authorized dealers (MOGSouth Supporters are listed here) to voice your interest and get any questions answered.

 

03 Jul

1968 Morgan Plus 8 A racer or a concours queen? The new owner gets to decide (Sports Car Market -July 2018)

Plus 8 Chassis number: R7022

Searching for new engines in the 1960s, Morgan concluded a deal with Rover for supply of its all-aluminum 3.5-liter V8, thus creating a car — the Plus 8 — that combined vintage charm with Cobra-like grunt.

Morgan’s Plus 4 chassis, strengthened and extended, formed the basis of the new car, while the existing Moss 4-speed gearbox was retained.  After a successful debut at the 1968 London Motor Show, production commenced at about 15 cars per month and continues to this day, although they now have BMW power.

While the traditionally styled Morgan’s brick-like aerodynamics restricted top speed to around 125 mph (more than fast enough for most people driving an open car), the Rover V8’s 168 bhp and 210 ft-lb of torque made for supercar performance through the gears. Indeed, in its later 3.9-liter form, the Plus 8 proved quicker by 80 mph than the contemporary Porsche 911 Turbo.

This all-matching-numbers early Morgan Plus 8 is the 22nd example of this landmark V8-engined model to leave the factory.

It was supplied new in February 1969 to the Half Moon Garage in Yorkshire.  [The picture shows a RHD car.  Reduced Value in the US?   Many would say so, but I personally like them.  In my mind, it adds credibility to a British Sports car.  Mark] 

Benefiting from a six-year, six-figure, ground-up restoration undertaken in the USA from renowned marque specialist and concours-winner the late Robert Couch, the car must be one of the best of its kind currently available.

Robert Couch is famous as restorer of the historic Morgan TT Replica CAB 652, previously campaigned by Peter Morgan, which in 1980 was overall winner of the prestigious Chinetti Concours at Lime Rock.

Carried on a new chassis, the aluminum body benefits from an all-new timber framework. Restored for Morgan’s 75th anniversary, although it did not make it to the U.K. for the celebrations, this Plus 8 comes with concours awards testifying to the quality of the restoration.

Acquired from the estate of the late Stephen S. Lester, SCV 901G has been stored in a climate-controlled facility as part of an extensive private collection of vehicles where it has been looked upon as a work of art.

The Morgan recently got an update that was done over two years. The work included a brand-new race engine installed by JE Developments, a recognized specialist in the preparation of Rover V8 engines.  This engine breathes via SU carburetors to accommodate FIA regulations.

The other race engine built by Robert Couch had on tap a massive 288 bhp and 275 ft-lb of torque (documented) and is included in the sale.

Despite its greatly enhanced performance, this car is said to cope equally easily with town driving or touring, and must be one of the quickest road-going first generation Plus 8s around.

For a year of its time away, the Morgan was at Richard Thorne’s workshop being fitted with every new FIA update required for historic racing, hillclimbing, and rallying anywhere in the world (Period G1 1966–69, valid to December 31, 2026).

All the work was bespoke in order to avoid drilling the body or dashboard to accommodate cut-off switches. The new FIA roll bars (front and rear) were custom made to ensure a perfect fit, while the side-impact bars were taken down below the door line to make getting in and out as easy as normal.

All this was done at great expense in order to preserve Robert Couch’s original workmanship. Even the spare-wheel cover has no external screws securing it to the rear frame; it simply slides in from underneath, making it easy to remove in order to refit the rear bumper and spare wheel for rally events. The car comes complete with full weather equipment, spare wheel, boot rack and tonneau cover (made to fit the new roll bars).

This well-documented car comes with its original restoration bills and is described as perfect for all uses.

SCM Analysis

This car, Lot 64, sold for £61,980 ($86,390), including buyer’s premium, at Bonhams’ Goodwood Members’ Meeting sale near Chichester, U.K., on March 18, 2018.

This is a slightly strange one. It’s a concours-restored car got up as a racer, but it doesn’t appear to have raced.  [A stock car prepared as a competition car but without any competition provenance is, in my opinion, simply a ‘bitsa’.  I personally question the value (the seller did really well here!) and would prefer to buy a stock car.  Mark]

It was offered — but didn’t sell — at Bonhams’ pre-Christmas sale at Olympia, London, when the original Holley-carbed engine was displayed on a stand behind it, but it had better luck here.

Lots of events — but not all of them

The car’s condition is beyond reproach, with several neat (though unnecessary for a racer) touches.  It could easily be raced.  Competition car sales history tells us that it’s always cheaper to buy someone else’s hard graft rather than build your own, but you’d have to accept that it would rapidly acquire some patina as some of the shine got knocked off.  [People are attracted to ‘shiney’ things . . . Mark]

But here’s the thing: It’s got FIA papers, but it’s Period G1 (1966– 1969) while most prestige events run to Period F (pre-1966) or have an even earlier cut-off of pre-1963.

As our subject car was built in 1968, circuit racing opportunities will not include such events as the Goodwood Revival. Perhaps its most obvious home is in the Historic Sports Car Club’s Historic Road Sports series, for road-legal cars manufactured up to 1970, with only mild modifications allowed. This series offers extra points for those cars driven to the races.

This car can take part in tour/race competitions such as Tour Britannia and Tour Auto, and it would do well in events such as the Manx Classic — a three-legged hillclimb competition whose classic category has a 1968 cut-off date.

This car is eligible for historic rallies, too. One brave soul once ran a Morgan in a British Historic Rally Championship when it was a mix of tarmac and forest events. He found that he had to rebuild the car after every thrash — and a sliding-pillar, ash-framed Morgan on rough gravel really is only for masochists. Discouraging competition use, however, this car was in super, near concours condition. I noted unnaturally shiny paint — although slightly

A big price for a terrific car

A Moss-box Plus 8 (made up to mid-1972, when the Rover 4-speed was adopted) would usually sell for about £30k ($42k) [I guess this has to be UK prices.  In my opinion, I would think a LHD Moss Box Plus 8, in the US,  should be valued at $55-60K.  Mark], perhaps a little more in this concours condition.

John Eales of JE Developments is “the man” as far as the Rover/ Buick aluminum V8 is concerned, so the currently installed FIA-legal race motor, making about 250 bhp, is the best there is.

These engines cost less than you’d think at £12k ($17k). The competition fuel cell, bespoke roll cage, Sparco harnesses and plumbed-in extinguisher probably cost up to $10k to add, but you never get your money back on “lifed” items like this, so technically this car’s value is something under $60k.

At Olympia, you can see how the seller might have arrived at the $113k to $140k estimate by adding up everything spent, but it was unsold at a reported top bid of $93,642.

The estimate for the second attempt, at Goodwood, was revised down to $85k to $100k. It hammered slightly behind that, but at a price approaching twice that of a standard early (narrow-bodied, as they got wider in tub and wings after 1976) road car.

Interestingly, a similar car, chassis 7259, also rebuilt on a new chassis and ash frame and race prepared to the same specs with a John Eales motor, sold at Race Retro the month before for £57,380/$80,250, having previously been privately advertised for £69k ($96k). This car was not as cosmetically sharp as our subject car.

As a 1970, that one becomes eligible for HSCC ’70s Road Sports, though it also qualifies for HRS, being the same type as “our” car.

And that spare motor that might have made up the difference or at least added back some of the missing dollars?  Well, it doesn’t have the value you might suppose — even though it’s the item that supports the catalog claim of “matching numbers.”

The car would be matching numbers if you reinstalled the spare engine, but there are several reasons why you wouldn’t.

Eales inspected the spare engine and told me it’s an early (weak) block, almost standard except for a mild cam, that Holley carb and a different set of pistons.  Eales said he’d be amazed if it made 230 bhp. That’s before a bolt got dropped into it, damaging a piston and one of the heads.  Eales estimates its value as £500–£1,000 ($700–$1,400) tops, as with the casting damage it’s not even an ideal candidate for rebuild.

A racer or concours queen

Even though the sums don’t quite add up, in light of the sale of the identical-spec blue car, we’ll have to call it correctly valued this time, and it would appear, also judging by the blue car, that knocking off some of the shine by racing it won’t hurt its value too much, so there’s an added bonus for the new owner.  Meanwhile, the old engine will make a stylish doorstop. ♦ (Introductory description courtesy of Bonhams.)

28 Jun

New Component Morgan Cars – Standard or Base Specifications

[Folks according to my simple mind these specifications are the base specifications for the cars being targeted for the US Market.  The dealers can better answer questions about what can be modified and what cannot.  I suspect you can add options to these base specifications as you desire.   Costs for these added options are available from the dealers and will increase the price of the cars, as previously published.  These specifications have been provided by MorganWest’s Dennis Glavis.  Thanks Dennis!!  Cheers, Mark]

To assist with your order process, please find below the standard specification of the +4 and Roadster models-

PAINT – choice from 6 solid paint colours – SPORT BLACK, SPORT BLUE, SPORT GREEN, SPORT DOVE GREY, SPORT IVORY, SPORT RED

LEATHER – choice from YARWOOD BLACK, or YARWOOD HONEY (TAN)

HOOD – BLACK PVC ‘EASY-UP / 20 SECOND’ HOOD WITH MATCHING BLACK PVC SIDESCREENS

CARPETS – BLACK

DASHBOARD – painted in body colour

SEATS – sports recliners

WHEELS

– (+4) – wires, painted grey, 6” rims, no spare wheel

– (Roadster) – alloys, painted grey, 6” rims, with spare wheel

 

 

22 Jun

New Morgans Coming to North America !

The Morgan Motor Company has just invited ALL North American Morgan Dealers to participate in a Component Car Program.

Morgan Plus 4s and 3.7L Roasters will be delivered to the US (without engine and transmission) where these driveline components will be then be installed.

Each Dealer’s Participation level and build slot availability may be different and each US State has different vehicle registration laws, taxes, etc.

Contact those Morgan Dealers of interest for specifics on costs, options, availability and to register your interest in a new Morgan.

Click Here for the Morgan Dealers supporting MOGSouth.

31 May

Morgan Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition review: farewell to Britain’s giant-killing, V8-powered siege engine (31 May 2018 – www.telegraph.co.uk)

Morgan is best-known for its traditionalism, but a car like this holds its own against modern sports models CREDIT: JAY WILLIAMS

To say they are all sold out is a bit of a misnomer. Morgan dealers buy their stock, so these Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition specials are definitely still around. In fact at the time of writing there’s one being advertised on the Car & Classic website for £134,500.

That’s something of a cheek considering the last production Plus 8 model was a mere £85,461, but specials like this always seem to sell well. And given the phenomenal affection for this giant-killing British brute, the final 50 cars in the Plus 8 line are guaranteed to find homes swiftly.

A delightful car that can be as hairy as you like, and more, discovers Andrew English CREDIT: JAY WILLIAMS

Available in French blue as a roadster, or in British racing green as a fully-trimmed road car, the roadster, while a deal less practical, is much the better looking. Is this the first aero-screened version of the Aero 8? Who knew it would look so fabulous? Details are crucial with this car and they haven’t always been the most tidily done, but here care has been taken, which means the builders’ screws holding the dashboard in place shriek “never do this again” even louder.

The rest of the cabin is mainly well finished and attractive, though the seats, while accommodating, are hard on the lower spine. It’s a wide cockpit, with large sills but little space for luggage. Don’t make the mistake of putting your wallet on the sill or it will slide off and disappear, never to be seen again.

The roar of the V8 and that long, long nose might one day be a thing of the past  CREDIT: JAY WILLIAMS

The big BMW M60 mill starts with a mild boom and clanks as it idles. The six-speed manual has a heavy shift, but it slots cleanly and it suits the car. There’s virtually no need of a transmission, however, as the Plus 8 will pull from walking pace in top gear. Performance is immediate and electrifying. From low down the rev range the Plus 8 monsters up the road as fast as you want and occasionally faster than that.

Its speed is limited to 155mph but the 0-62mph time is quoted at 4.5sec; we’ve not confirmed this but every reason to believe it. Those 245/40/18 rear Yokohamas will readily spin up on a dry road, so don’t even think of what it’s like in the wet.

We tested the newest car back-to-back with the very oldest, ‘MMC11’ CREDIT: JAY WILLIAMS

While the aluminium honeycomb chassis is fundamentally sound, the ride quality on this big 1.2-tonne car is by turns bouncy over big bumps and shuddering over small ones. Admittedly these were roads on which the original MMC II was in the air for part of the time, so there has been progress, but the new Plus 8 isn’t a patch on a modern saloon.

Steering feedback and weighting has been an issue with the Aero 8 and its descendents and there’s clearly been work done for this final edition Plus 8. The weighting is more consistent over the whole steering movement and there’s no longer the slightly terrifying vagueness as you turn into a corner. That said, the speedy ratio of the rack and pinion means the nose can feel darty at speed, especially on a bumpy road, where this car does a good impression of a runaway minecart.

Unmistakably a Morgan, the Plus 8 has outlived most cars by decades CREDIT: JAY WILLIAMS

With limited ground clearance and suspension movement, a Plus 8 is never going to be on terms with a modern sports saloon, and for its type the chassis is dependable and grippy, but the feeling that you are flying by the seat of your pants is a bit too real for such a powerful car.

In the end a car like this Anniversary is about its details and for the most part, they’re really well done, with wheels that echo MMC IIs, a lovely set of driving lamps and that rich paint quality. And if the price seems high, don’t forget that the post 2012 Aero 8 based models all seem to hold their value well.

After half a century this seems a fitting tribute to the Plus 8, but one can’t help wondering why we’re waving goodbye.

Morgan Plus 8 50th Anniversary specifications

TESTED 4,799cc, BMW V8 naturally-aspirated with six-speed manual transmission. Rear-wheel drive via a BMW limited-slip differential.

PRICE/ON SALE from £129,000 to £131,208. As tested: £131,208. Limited to 50 units, nearly sold out.

POWER/TORQUE 367bhp @ 6,100rpm, 370 lb ft @ 3,400rpm

TOP SPEED 155mph

ACCELERATION 0-62mph in 4.5sec

FUEL ECONOMY 23mpg/16mpg (EU Combined/Urban

CO2 EMISSIONS 282g/km

VED BAND M £2,070 first year, £140 thereafter.

[For those that are interested, the VED Band is part of the UK’s new tax scheme.   According to Autoexpress.co.uk the VED Band, or vehicle exercise duty, is a tax band based on the new cars CO2 emissions.  All cares are grouped in bands and the tax is paid when the car is first sold. Then the car pays a lower tax each year of ownership.   Sort of like our gas guzzlers taxes, etc.  Cheers, Mark] 

“If you buy a new car, the car’s price isn’t just what the manufacturer expects you to pay for it, as there are additional costs included. There’s VAT charged at 20 per cent for starters, and there’s a registration fee – for the number plates and getting the V5C from the DVLA – and any delivery charges that the dealer will also add. Plus, there’s road tax, which is sometimes known as showroom tax for new cars, but is officially called Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), as it hasn’t been used to pay for road maintenance for many years.   VED for the first year of a car’s registration is calculated differently to the rest of its life.”  (Autoexpress.co.uk)

 

20 May

AR Motorsport’s latest offering is the Morgan Plus 4 Club Sport

Motorsport at all levels is prevalent throughout Morgan’s rich history. Since the inception of the Morgan car in 1909, 3 and 4 wheeled examples have been used in trialling, rallies, circuit racing, sprints and hill climbs to name but a few motorsport disciplines. From trialling 3 Wheelers to victories at the Le Mans 24 Hour endurance race, Morgan cars have been competing in motorsport around the world for over 100 years.

Morgan’s motorsport division, AR Motorsport, is a dedicated part of the Morgan Motor Company, and produce a range of race prepared vehicles, road and race performance parts as well as accessories for new and old Morgan cars. Working as a division within the company, their expertise and knowledge is second to none.

AR Motorsport’s latest offering is the Morgan Plus 4 Club Sport. Following on from other race and road models including the Plus 4 SuperSports, Plus 4 BabyDoll, ARV6 and AR Plus 4, the Club Sport is specifically designed for those looking to make a start in Morgan motorsport.

+4 CLUB SPORT – 2018 Morgan Plus 4 GDI 2.0
The Club Sport differs from a standard road car with:
Engine:
– Re-mapped ECU and sports exhaust system producing 180 BHP at the flywheel
– Oil cooler
Suspension:
– Panhard rod
– Four externally adjustable shock absorbers
Brakes:
– Competition front pads
– Race brake fluid
– Brake bias valve
Wheels:
– 4 x 6.5” x 15” bolt on
alloys with no spare wheel
Tyres:
– 195/55×15 Toyo R888R E marked road/track tyres
Body:
– Lightweight style with no interior trim or carpet
– Interior surfaces of body and door are aluminium covered
– Rubber floor mats
– Body colour painted dashboard
– Standard heater remains
– Removable spare wheel cover
– Post type centre rear view mirror
Weather equipment:
– Quick release traditional style windscreen with electric heating
– Black PVC hood
– Black PVC side screens
– Driver side aero screen.
Safety equipment:
– 1x Tillet FIA race seat and brackets
– 6 point race harness
– Fire extinguisher kit (manually operated)
– Battery cut off switch
– Rear FIA rain light
– Front towing straps
– Rear towing straps
– Set of bonnet pins
– Pair of race roundels
– Safety sticker kit
– Rear roll bar and integral belt bar
– Removable side intrusion bars
– Suede 14” racing steering wheel
– Inertia bypass switch.
Optional extras:
– Quick release steering wheel boss
– Spare wheel and tyre
– Front undertray
– Round door mirrors
– Additional Tillett passenger race seat and harnesses
– Electric fire extinguisher

Oh, I almost forgot . . . £48,994 INC VAT + OTR.  See the MMC Web Site www.Morgan-Motor.co.uk for more.

Cheers,
Mark

10 May

Morgan profits up as it races into new era (www.financialtimes.com – May 2018)

UK sports car maker thrives despite changes in technology in automobile industry

Profits at Morgan Motor Company hit record highs last year after the luxury British sports car maker raised prices and made preparations for a future producing electric vehicles.

With its wooden frames and decades-old hand-crafted manufacturing techniques, the specialist group is thriving despite larger global rivals inserting more technology into their vehicles.

Operating profit climbed to £3m last year — the highest in the company’s history — compared with £1.6m in 2016 and £792,000 a year earlier.

Car sales rose from 707 to 751, with revenues climbing 18 per cent to £35.6m, another record.

As part of its efforts to adapt, the group has doubled research spending over the past two years, and will launch its first electric car — a battery driven three-wheeler that uses technology from Metrocab partner company Frazer Nash — at the end of this year.

It is a sign that one of Britain’s oldest carmakers, which only relatively recently ceased taking delivery of whole trees at its site to use for the wooden frame of its models, is meeting the big changes in the auto industry head on.

“These are not investments that are forced on us, we are being proactive because we need to keep the brand relevant,” said chairman Dominic Riley.

Its R&D team has risen from 13 in 2015 to 22 last year, and the company is in the process of expanding the research offices.

Profits have trebled in three years amid a drive to diversify its customer base beyond older men and bring the brand within reach of younger driving enthusiasts — those seeking a visceral experience of driving open-top cars untempered by technology such as traction control or power steering.

The company is also grappling with its place in the new world of cars.

With the industry investing in electric technology and self-driving systems to adapt to changing demands, Morgan wants to keep its heritage of making classic-looking vehicles.

“As a small company, we can’t afford to do everything ourselves,” said Mr Riley, who joined two years ago.

Morgan has partnerships to buy its eight-cylinder engines from BMW and other engines from Ford, outsourcing powertrains so that it can focus on the coach-building that has been its heritage for the last 109 years.

Of its profits, about £200,000 was paid as a dividend to the Morgan family that wholly own the business, but the vast majority was reinvested into the company.

There is no better way of driving sales than putting bums on seats Dominic Riley, Chairman

In its 10-acre factory site outside Malvern in Worcestershire, new technologies, such as a 3D printer for niche components, nestle among more traditional forms of manufacturing.

These include wood frames held together with glue in moulds that have been used since managing director Steve Morris joined the business on the factory floor 35 years ago.

“The look of the cars has remained the same, but under the skin a lot has changed,” Mr Morris said, during a tour the factory.

Automatic gearboxes, once a curiosity for its owners, are becoming more common, while the need for more electronics and computing in the engines it buys in is seeing the company try to hire electronics engineers.

Large parts of the cars are still wooden, from the dashboards that are made from a single piece of wood, to the frames of the cars that sit on blended aluminium bases.

Each one takes between 13 and 22 days of continuous man hours, which means in reality between five and 10 weeks from a customer’s order to delivery — with an average waiting time of about six months.

Many customers come to see their cars being produced at the factory, and since re-purchasing the site during the year — it had been sold and leased back 11 years earlier to pay for the launch of the Aero car — Morgan has opened a museum and visitor centre at the factory.

Mr Riley and Mr Morris have been working over the past two years to diversify its revenues and appeal to new customers.

It has launched a parts business, allowing owners of older vehicle to have their cars fully re-fitted, that accounts for about 10 per cent of revenues.

The group has also moved into offering leased cars and pay-monthly PCP offers, the payment means that dominates car purchases in Britain and makes vehicles more affordable to customers who cannot pay up front with cash.

£3m Operating profit last year — the highest in the company’s history

Additionally, Morgan is exploring short-term rentals that will allow motorists to hire a vehicle for a weekend away, or a wedding, and has teamed up with several luxury hotels to offer its vehicles to residents.

“There is no better way of driving sales than putting bums on seats,” said Mr Riley.

Aside from its engines and some of the parts, almost everything on or in the car comes from inside the factory — something that will partly insulate the company after Britain leaves the EU, even though it still buys engines in euros.

About a third of its sales are in Europe, with another third at home and the final third in the rest of the world. It sells cars in 26 countries, but costs continue to constrain the company’s ability to expand.

But its size, while a weakness in investment, also offer nimbleness that allows the company to pivot quickly if it needs to.

“We are extremely adaptable,” said Mr Riley. “If in 100 years everything is electric, Morgan will still be there.”

26 Apr

Where does Morgan go after the V8?

If you have driven on the M25 near Heathrow recently you will have seen the latest big car company advertising billboard. It’s a massive double-sided digital screen, 62 feet wide and visible to all 12 lanes of M25 traffic.

Now that’s what you call exposure. And the car in the picture? The latest hi-tech BMW or futuristic Audi perhaps? No. As the slogan makes clear – “Hand-made in Britain since 1909” – this is as retro as motoring gets…
It is the Morgan Motor Company’s first-ever billboard ad campaign in the capital; there is another huge display on the M4 between Chiswick and Hammersmith. Why? For managing director Steve Morris it’s about taking the Morgan message to a new audience.

Morgan seems to be on a bit of a roll right now. In February this year, the family-owned firm announced record growth of 19 per cent, employment at the Malvern Link works at its highest-ever level, exports up and improving margins for a £2m pre-tax profit in 2017.

To celebrate it went out and bought a London bus: the No 159 to Islington Green, and the last-but-one Routemaster to be taken out of service in 2005. Once converted into “event space”, it will be all aboard for hospitality, Morgan-style, at a range of events this year. And yes, of course, it is due to be on duty “Over the Road” at the Goodwood Revival in September.

The connection between this bus and Morgan? The Routemaster first went into service in 1968 which was the year the Morgan Plus 8 was launched. Like the No 159, the rip-roaring sports car has decades of faithful service behind it on road and track – it has been Morgan’s flagship, icon and breadwinner – but it too has now been pensioned off as the supply of BMW 4.8-litre V8s ends. The last bent-eight Morgans checked out in style at the Geneva Motor Show in March with special farewell editions of both the Plus 8 and the Aero GT.

Once the 50 Plus 8 50th Anniversary models and the eight Aero GT specials have sold out (which they virtually have, says the company), Morgan will be down to just its Classic range – 4/4, Plus 4 and Roadster – the Three-wheeler in petrol vee-twin form and, due in production by the end of 2018, the battery-powered EV3.

The Classic models are popular and the Roadster should be in line for a boost after 2018 updates that include – shock horror! – a coil-sprung multilink rear end to replace the cart-sprung live axle. But the V8s were the money-spinners (the final models are selling for around £140,000), while it is still only the Three-wheeler that is exported to the US, the Classic range stymied by its lack of airbags and signature sloping back end – it looks great but is said to fall short in the crash tests.

V8-less, it could be said that Morgan might be in a bit of a hole, despite the upbeat mood. The firm is certainly at a crossroads; question is, which direction will it take for the new audience it is carefully grooming?
Morgan marketing chief Toby Blythe might have just lost a third of his range but he is staying positive – and looking across the pond. The long-awaited changes to US low-volume exemption rules will, if approved, grant safety and emissions concessions for cars that are imported in small numbers.

GRR found out more about where Morgan is going next when we caught up with Toby Blythe recently…

Just how important is the US market to Morgan?
After 109 years it should be one of our biggest markets. We have 13 franchise partners in the US selling about 70 Three-wheelers a year, and they are crying out for the Classic four-wheelers. As soon as the exemption goes through it will open up a 500-cars-a-year market for us.
How are you getting your message across to the US administration?
I would like to offer President Trump an open invitation to visit us in Malvern Link, have the factory tour, drive some cars and experience first-hand the most iconic British sports car. We would explain that we are a small eco manufacturer that wants to support the US businesses that work with us.

It’s too late now to sell the V8 models in the US but what about their replacements?
Right now there is no direct replacement for the Aero and the Plus 8’s future in the Morgan line-up hasn’t been decided either way. We are working 3-4 years ahead on new product and have an ever-growing research and development department. It’s not just about the past 109 years, we are preparing ourselves for the next 109 years.
What engine will replace the BMW V8?
We are not expecting to make an announcement on that in 2018.

Would it be important to have a British engine? What about the JLR supercharged V8?
It’s more about finding the right power unit for the model rather than where it comes from. In terms of Britishness, we don’t need to worry about that. Everything else is British and hand-made in Malvern. There is no dilution of Britishness using different engines and never has been. The JLR V8? That would be good, 575hp. But it’s a matter of finding the right partner to supply engines for the life of the product. You know, we have never manufactured our own engines…

Would any new Plus 8 have to have a V8?
No, I wouldn’t think so. Historically the name has been synonymous with a V8 but it doesn’t have to be, as others’ naming strategies have shown.

You are about to have one electric model, what about a battery-powered or hybrid Plus 8?
People like electric cars. We are looking at all kinds of possibilities for the future.

How well is your partnership with (electric and range-extender specialists) Frazer-Nash Research working?
It’s brilliant. As new powertrain partner, they have helped us with the EV Three-wheeler which has come on leaps and bounds in terms of range and packaging. There is still some work to do but it will be on sale by the end of the year.