05 Mar

Morgan Takes On Financial Partner – 5 March 2019

European Investment Group Investindustrial Acquire Morgan, 5 March 2019 – https://classiccarcuration.co.uk/

Morgan

Investindustrial has today announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Morgan Motor Company Ltd (“Morgan”), the iconic 110-year old British sports cars manufacturer.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed, and it is expected to complete in April 2019. The Morgan family will continue to act as stewards for the brand and retains a minority shareholding. Meanwhile, for the first time in its history, the management team and all employees will become shareholders in the business.

The investment is executed without financial debt, and Morgan will have a positive net cash position upon closing of the transaction. The investment in Morgan is made by a separate fund (with a different strategy) from Investindustrial V L.P. (whose investment subsidiaries hold a stake in Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings PLC).

Steve Morris, CEO, Morgan Motor Company, commented:

“The future is bright for Morgan. We are coming off the back of two record years. We have an all-new vehicle architecture and powertrain,
and have just launched the most dynamically capable Morgan yet, the exciting new Plus Six at the Geneva International Motor Show. Now we have the best possible owner and partner to take the business to the next level and develop Morgan’s global potential.”

Founded in 1909

Founded in 1909, Morgan continues to this day to hand-build premium sports cars with a classic design in its historic factory in Malvern, UK, which is visited by more than 30,000 enthusiasts each year. With revenues of £33.8 million and net profit of £3.2 million in 2018, the company sells around 700 cars per year including a portfolio of iconic car designs and a unique 3 Wheeler manufactured using three core elements: ash, aluminium and leather.

The Morgan brand is synonymous of quintessential British craftsmanship, elegance, performance and design. Morgan has a loyal and active owners’ community with more than 5,000 members and 50 clubs globally.

As part of the transaction, and as a sign of its long-term faith in the company and the wider British automotive sector, Investindustrial will support Morgan to accelerate new product development, after the launch today of the new Plus Six at the Geneva motor show, the first to adopt the company’s new CX-Generation architecture, increase global distribution and broaden customers’ experience with unique events, enabling Morgan to fulfil its global potential as an iconic maker of hand-built British sports cars. In supporting the company, Investindustrial will leverage its vast experience and track record in the automotive industry, developed through a number of successful investments over the last 30 years, such as Aston Martin and Ducati.

Dominic Riley, Chairman, Morgan Motor Company, commented:

“The past two years have been the most successful in our company’s 110-year history. However, to really fulfill Morgan’s full potential and secure our long-term future, both the family and management team, felt it was essential to bring in a strategic partner. A partner that shares our vision for Morgan and has the expertise, financial resources and track record of success in the automotive world, to make it happen. That partner is Investindustrial.”

Morgan will continue to focus on its niche classic segment within the automotive sector, with bespoke manufacturing, hand-built products, and the use of ash remaining central to its strategy. Investindustrial will work closely with current management and the wider Morgan family to make sure that future development of the business will be respectful of and remain true to the company’s unique heritage.

MAJORITY STAKE ACQUIRED IN ICONIC SPORTS CAR MANUFACTURER (5 Mar 2019, www.insidermedia.com/)

Majority stake acquired in iconic sports car manufacturer

A majority stake has been acquired in an iconic 110-year-old British sports car manufacturer.

Investindustrial has acquired the interest in Morgan Motor Company for an undisclosed fee. The deal is expected to complete in April.

The Morgan family will continue to act as stewards for the brand and retain a minority shareholding while the management team and all employees will have a share of the business.

The investment has been executed without financial debt, and Morgan will have a positive net cash position upon closing of the transaction.

The move has been made by a separate fund, with a different strategy, from Investindustrial VLP whose investment subsidiaries hold a stake in Aston Martin.

Founded in 1909, Morgan Motor Company hand-builds premium sports cars with a classic design in its historic factory in Malvern which is visited by more than 30,000 enthusiasts each year.

With revenues of £33.8m and net profit of £3.2m 2018, the company sells about 700 cars per year including a portfolio of iconic car designs and a unique three-wheeler manufactured using three core elements: ash, aluminium and leather.

As part of the transaction Investindustrial will support Morgan to accelerate new product development, after the launch of the new Plus Six at the Geneva motor show today – the first to adopt the company’s new CX-Generation architecture, increase global distribution and broaden customers’ experience with unique events.

Dominic Riley, chairman at Morgan Motor Company, said: “The past two years have been the most successful in our company’s 110-year history.

“However, to really fulfil Morgan’s full potential and secure our long-term future, both the family and management team, felt it was essential to bring in a strategic partner.

“A partner that shares our vision for Morgan and has the expertise, financial resources and track record of success in the automotive world, to make it happen. That partner is Investindustrial.”

Jill Price, Peter Morgan’s daughter and longest serving Morgan family director, added: “Having very carefully considered all options for the future success of Morgan, the family concluded that this new ownership structure and Investindustrial, have the pedigree and resources to secure the long-term future of Morgan.

“It was important for the family to retain a shareholding, and we are delighted that our loyal management team and workforce will now also have a share in the business going forward.”

Andrea C. Bonomi, Investindustrial’s chairman of the Industrial Advisory Board, said: “Morgan is one of the most famous names in the automotive world. Morgan’s handmade British sports cars are true icons of the industry.

“We have followed the company and seen its progress for some time and see significant potential for Morgan to develop internationally whilst retaining its hand-built heritage, which is at the heart of the Morgan Motor Company.

“We share with the Morgan family the belief that British engineering and brands are unique and have an important place in the world.”

Steve Morris, chief executive at Morgan Motor Company, said: “The future is bright for Morgan. We are coming off the back of two record years.

“We have an all-new vehicle architecture and powertrain, and have just launched the most dynamically capable Morgan yet, the exciting new Plus Six at the Geneva International Motor Show.

“Now we have the best possible owner and partner to take the business to the next level and develop Morgan’s global potential.”

05 Mar

2019 – New Plus 6 Announced at Geneva

[Here it is! The new Morgan we have been waiting for. As predicted it has BMW power, but a lot of other things are new. Although it looks like a typical classic, there are a number of significant changes. A new, modern, aluminum chassis, and a host features specifically addressing creature comforts, and area typically ignored by Morgan. I have just been studying the pictures and can see loads of new features. If you want more, google Morgan Car Geneva and read the various reports. When and if we will see the car in the US is still TBD. Cheers, Mark]

Introducing the all-new Morgan Plus Six (MMC Press Release)

In its landmark 110th year in business, the Morgan Motor Company is excited to introduce the next generation of Morgan sports car, debuted today at the Geneva International Motor Show. The all-new Morgan Plus Six is, without exception, the most dynamically capable Morgan ever produced. Further extending Morgan’s unique blend of craftsmanship and technology, the Plus Six celebrates Morgan’s timeless design, underpinning it with the newly introduced CX-Generation aluminium bonded platform and the latest BMW powertrain.

An expanding in-house Research and Development team, a growing list of strategic technical partners and an extensive testing programme ensure the Plus Six is the most thoroughly developed Morgan product to date.  

The Plus Six represents several firsts for Morgan, most notably the first time the company has utilised a turbocharged engine. The BMW 2019 B58 TwinPower Turbo inline 6-cylinder engine is a latest generation BMW powertrain and Morgan has worked alongside BMW to fine-tune the performance capabilities of the Plus Six.

A closer look at the iconic Morgan silhouette gives a number of clues to just how radically different the Plus Six is to any other Morgan model before it. Subtle vents provide a hint of the raw power and performance that underpin the beautiful flowing lines of the exterior. Make no mistake, whilst familiarly Morgan, almost every part of the Plus Six has been refined or redesigned, with less than one percent of the 4,000 parts being shared across other Morgan models.

A completely redesigned cabin celebrates the natural materials used within Morgan craftsmanship, as well as offering greater levels of personalisation than ever before. The new cockpit is more driver focussed and encompasses appropriately introduced technology, whilst also allowing customers more leg room and increased stowage space.

The Plus Six is one of the cleanest vehicles within the Morgan range. The introduction of the new powertrain has led to a CO2 figure of 170g/km and a combined MPG figure of 38.2mpg. The achievement of a more fuel-efficient vehicle allows the Plus Six to compete in key European markets, which have previously proven prohibitive for high-performance Morgans due to tax reasons in recent years. 

The Plus Six goes on sale today, and is priced from £77,995 inc. VAT in the UK.

CX-Generation Architecture

The all-new CX-Generation bonded aluminium platform is a leap forward in terms of the engineering that underpins Morgan’s most dynamically capable model. Weighing less than 100 kilograms, the all-new platform benefits from a 100% increase in torsional rigidity. 

The key engineering attributes of the CX-Generation platform not only aid performance for the Plus Six, but also offer several important driver benefits including 200mm increased leg room and 31% increase in stowage space.

First Editions

The ‘first edition’ Emerald and ‘first edition’ Moonstone Morgan Plus Six models represent the diverse array of specification options that are available on Morgan’s latest model. Each of the 50 first Plus Six models will be built in ‘first edition’ specification and are available to order now.

Reimagined Interior

The Plus Six features an all new, more driver focussed and refined cockpit. A reimagined interior offers greater levels of personalisation than any Morgan previously, whilst cleverly incorporating technology throughout. A display screen is neatly positioned within the driver’s field of vision, subtly embedded into the dashboard with an unlimited level of wood and colour combinations. Sculpted doors incorporate all new puddle lighting, central locking mechanisms and hidden speakers.

The Morgan Plus Six comes with Supra power (www.topgear.com)

Old looks, but an entirely new Morgan with turbo power from BMW (and Toyota)

Meet the Plus Six, an almost entirely brand new Morgan. Which looks – perhaps reassuringly – just like an old Morgan. Believe it or not, a mere four components have been carried across from previous models, and they’re the round metallic stoppers for the centrally hinged bonnet. Everything else has been replaced or completely redesigned.

What those stoppers protect is the big news. Morgan had already told us the Plus 8 was surrendering its V8, and its change in name is a ginormous clue to what lies beneath, namely a 3.0-litre straight-six turbo engine producing 335bhp and 369lb ft.

If that sounds like a familiar set-up, well it is; the engine comes across almost wholesale from the BMW Z4 and, indeed, the Toyota Supra. The car of the moment. The Plus Six gets its own calibration and exhaust tune, mind, and with a mere 1,075kg to move around, achieves a stocky 166mph top speed and 4.2secs. More modern aerodynamics would likely improve both figures…

That turbo six drives the rear wheels, but despite this being Morgan’s first ever turbocharged car, via no safety systems whatsoever. There’s not a jot of traction or stability control, ABS being the only sop to that entirely modern attitude of ‘not wanting to crash’.

But this is where news story number two comes in: the Plus Six is based upon an entirely new aluminium and ash architecture that should futureproof Morgan’s next range of high-end sports cars. The so-called ‘CX’ platform may host an entirely familiar looking car to begin with, but expect considerably more radical Morgans to follow. Hybrids, EVs, active safety systems, even a degree of self-driving… this new age of Morgan will be able to adapt to whatever its maker (or legislation) sees fit.

So while future Morgans can be malleable to changes in safety rules, the Plus Six channels all of that turbo power through no filters whatsoever. There’s only an eight-speed ZF automatic for now, with fixed plastic paddles behind the wheel and the same central gear selector as all the BMWs (and the Toyota) the drivetrain is shared with. A manual may follow in due course.

There’s a choice of comfort, sport and sport plus drive modes, though they operate only on gearbox and throttle reactions. There’s no adaptive damping or suchlike, but again, it’s something future models may get. If you’re worried, then the new platform is twice as strong as the one it replaces with inevitable benefits to handling prowess.

It may look old, but we’re promised this thing really is all new

The Plus Six has had three years of development work, much of it alongside BMW, and is without doubt the most thoroughly honed Morgan ever, with hot and cold testing overseas and lapping at Idiada in Spain.

“We worked very closely with BMW,” says Morgan’s design boss, Jonathan Wells. “Their engineers were very excited by the fact the engine isn’t concealed behind layers of sound deadening and interfering tech, and it’s very much a visceral engineering activity.”

That new platform also halves the production time compared to a Plus 8, down from eight to four weeks, and thus should double the wide-bodied Morgan’s sales, from 150 to 300 a year. The company is famed for its almost infinite bespoke options, though, and reckons the Plus Six will be more customisable than ever thanks to the new seat and trim options freed up by a bigger, more flexible interior.

It’s actually pretty familiar inside. The dials are as simple as before and the interior doesn’t suddenly submit to an endlessly connected world; driving a Morgan will remain an antidote to all of that, but there is a new LCD trip computer so you can see how close to its claimed 38mpg you’re getting. The biggest change is an additional 200mm of legroom that should open up Morgan ownership to a hitherto unsatisfied tall audience.

“The first thing we packaged was the people, then we put the components around them,” says Wells. “It’s a completely new approach to how we develop cars with much more flexibility.”

Yep, it may look old, but we’re promised this thing really is all new, and the clues are there as soon as you prod beneath the surface. The doors stay open and don’t jam your leg. There’s remote central locking and automatic headlights. There’s puddle lighting, for heaven’s sake…

Order books are open now, with the Plus Six starting at £77,995. Considerably more than the BMWs and Toyotas its engine is shared with, but much less than the £120,000 those final Plus 8s sold for. The two cars you see here are the now de rigueur Launch Editions, which cost £89,995, come in a fixed spec and include the removable hard top that’ll be optional on regular Sixes.

Overseas, the price difference will be yet more stark thanks to the smaller engine’s cleaner CO2 emissions. In some European markets they’ll drops the car’s registration tax from as much as 60,000 euros to around 10,000 euros. Yikes.

“We recognise the classic Morgan has remained very popular for us and we still see a lot of mileage in the running board design,” concludes Wells. “We think it’ll appeal to current Morgan owners but also turn the heads of people who haven’t considered them before.

“We’re taking a really long look down the road at the moment – what does a 2030 Morgan look like? – which is great for us designers. We have a very robust product plan looking forward.”

 
29 Jan

British sports car maker Morgan profits rev up as it prepares to launch new models (Daily Mail (UK) 29 Jan 2019)

[There is lots of speculation about the new power plant. Some say an inline 6 cylinder from BMW (like this report) while others see an I-6 as a direct competitor of the current V6 Roadster. I guess it is possible that they might go to a Supercharged or Turbocharged engine. I guess we will find out soon enough. Mark]

British sports car maker Morgan announced record results as it prepares to launch a range of vehicles in its 110th year.

The Malvern-based family-owned firm, which employs 204 staff, said profits jumped to £3.6million last year from £2million 12 months earlier.

Output dropped from 750 to 681 cars as the firm said goodbye to the thirsty V8 engine and the Aero 8 and Plus 8 models which use it.

On a roll: Malvern-based family-owned firm Morgan, which employs 204 staff, said profits jumped to £3.6m last year from £2m 12 months earlier

Morgan is expected to launch a more frugal but sportier replacement at this spring’s Geneva Motor Show. 

Output last year dropped from 750 to 681 cars as the firm said goodbye to the outgoing thirsty V8 engine and the Aero 8 and Plus 8 models which use it, and prepare instead for the launch of less thirsty but even sportier replacements. 

This will be a new wide-bodied Morgan sports car with a new flexible aluminium chassis – which the firm has spent £7 million developing – plus an expected leaner, meaner six-cylinder petrol engine from BMW, which bosses believe will together create ’the most dynamically capable production Morgan ever’.

Chairman Dominic Riley said that as part of a five-year strategy the business had increased the gross margin on its cars from 25 per cent to 35 per cent, making it more efficient and profitable.

Morgan exports 70 per cent of its production to around 50 countries.

Riley said they were taking prudent precautions to stockpile and store sufficient engines to see them through any short-term Brexit hiccup.

He said: ‘We’ve been trading with Europe for 110 years. 

‘So we’re very adaptable, nimble and flexible. We’re taking sensible measures.’ 

26 Jan

New Morgan ‘Wide Body’ Sports Car Caught Testing (Autocar – 25 Jan 2019)

Morgan’s 110-year anniversary model uses all-new aluminium platform and ditches V8 engine

Morgan is set to launch an all-new sports car this year, and the first shots of prototypes testing have emerged. 

As expected, the model’s design is a familiar adaptation of the 1930s-inspired look that Morgans have carried for decades, set to evolve further with a new range-topping model in 2020. But under the skin there’s substantial developments.

The new model, known internally as the ‘Wide Body’, will make use of an all-new and lighter bonded aluminium platform.  The company also says the new car will feature “a powertrain never before installed in a Morgan”.

This year marks the 50th – and final – year of the Malvern-based maker fitting V8 engines to its cars. The final examples of the Aero 8 and Plus 8, fitted with BMW’s N62 V8, will be kept for Morgan’s heritage fleet. It is thought that a downsized, forced-induction six-cylinder engine will be used for an upcoming flagship model, due in the early 2020s – and this could be the powertrain used for next year’s car.

Morgan claims the sports car is positioned above the Roadster, Plus 4 and 4/4 in performance terms, but is “not designed to be a direct replacement for the outging Plus 8 and Aero 8”. Those models will be replaced in the next few years by the new flagship.

The new car’s chassis is said to be twice as stiff as the aluminium chassis used in previous flagship Morgans, which together with the new engine “will result in the most dynamically capable production Morgan ever”, according to the firm.

Graham Chapman, Morgan’s technology director, says next year’s launch “is the culmination of several years of unprecedented development in design and engineering for Morgan. This has produced the most advanced development programme in Morgan’s history, the results of which we cannot wait to share with our customers worldwide”. 

04 Dec

Aston Martin Vanquish IP Mystery Buyer Found? Hint: the suspect is also English – 4/12/18 (autonews.com)

[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.

 

31 Oct

Morgan to Reinvent Itself with High-Performance Sports Car (www.autocar.co.uk)

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] 

All-new two-seat coupé and roadster are under way to take Morgan into the future

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.

30 Oct

Morgan Working on All-New Model (www.pistonheads.com)

October 30, 2018

Electric-ready aluminium architecture and 150mph-plus performance set to characterise new era for Morgan.

Morgan may have recently announced that development of its electric three-wheel EV3, has been indefinitely halted, but the manufacturer does have more up its sleeve than special editions and bicycles.  That’s if reports in Autocar are to be believed, at any rate, the publication claiming that a 30 strong design and engineering team is currently working on an all-new model.

Touted to be released in the mid-2020s, the hand-made two-door, two-seater is predicted to initially be powered by a turbocharged six-cylinder motor producing 350hp-plus. Additional body styles – including a convertible – and powertrains – including electrified variants – are expected to follow, though all will be based on the same new front-engined, rear-wheel drive platform currently being developed.

We won’t have to wait quite as long to see that platform as we will to get a glimpse of the rest of the car, though; the chassis is set for its debut in a more recognisable Morgan next year as part of the marque’s 110th anniversary celebrations.

Despite its historic grounding and traditional techniques Morgan, like any manufacturer, will need to take steps to future-proof itself in the face of a rapidly changing industry. The incredible success of the Aero GT and 50th Anniversary V8 has seen revenue has rise by 19 per cent to £36 million in the past year, leaving the company in as strong a position as ever to take the significant step of creating a brand-new base upon which future models can be constructed.

The lightweight aluminium architecture in question will be comparable to the Aero’s in terms of weight and dimensions, but is said to be twice as stiff.  This will not only provide additional flexibility in terms of accommodating occupants more comfortably within the vehicle, but also when it comes to housing the hybrid gubbins associated with the expected electrified iterations of the car.

Obviously, the chassis and powertrain aren’t the only considerations for the Malvern-based manufacturer, with styling also vital to the success of the brand.  To that end, Head of Design Jon Wells states that his task is, “to take the charm of classic motoring and make it relevant, so that it can be respected and desired as a good piece of modern design.”  To do so he’ll draw on elements of the Plus 4 Plus, Aero and Aeromax, as well as the 3 Wheeler, stating that a short front overhang, round headlights and a driver located behind the car’s centre line are among his priorities.

Despite Managing Director Steve Morris’s claim that the new flagship shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for the recently discontinued Aero, its retirement from the range undoubtedly leaves room for a successor.  With a 4.5-second 0-60 time and a top speed in excess of 150mph projected, and pricing expected to be similar to that of Aston Martin’s latest Vantage, we’re certainly excited to see what form that car takes.

 

 

30 Oct

Morgan EV3 Development Halted (www.pistonheads.com)

Oct 10, 2018

British firm wants to “bolster” its EV team before integrating electric technology into the 3 Wheeler.

Development of the all-electric Morgan EV3 has been halted due to contractual disagreements with powertrain supplier, Frazer Nash. Morgan said that although it “remains committed to an electric future,” it has shelved the EV3 project until it gains “more EV know-how inside [its] Malvern headquarters”, suggesting more of the development could be brought in-house.

You’ll remember that the British firm’s first electric model was previewed in a concept back in 2015 before being evolved to prototype level the following year, along with a promise that a run of 19 cars would be produced in late 2018. But the company had expected Frazer Nash’s supply of hardware to be simply integrated and quickly turned moved to “turn key” level.

Managing director Steve Morris told Autocar that “our current EV powertrain supplier is no longer able to fulfil the project within the terms of the contract”, but no further explanation has been provided for the decision.

Meanwhile Frazer-Nash Energy Systems’ managing director, Noamaan Siddiqui, agreed that the deal had failed “for a number of contractual reasons”, but said that prototypes his company had built were “very promising”.  Part of the firm was recently liquidated, but, according to Companies House, it continues to operate with several new projects.

We therefore live in hope that a little more work will bring this cool open-air electric experience to market. Due with an expected 120-mile range, the EV3 mixes the latest electric technology with retro design and details. Until the project picks up pace again and sales eventually begin, though, we’ll just have to make do with the pulsing, loud and oh-so-characterful V-twin motor version.  Poor us…

 

 

25 Oct

Morgan Motor Company Announces ‘110 ANNIVERSARY’ Models

Morgan Motor Company introduces a range of ‘110 Anniversary’ models ahead of their 110th anniversary in 2019.

Each ‘110 Anniversary’ model will carry unique celebratory badging, signifying its importance as a 110 edition vehicle 2019 marks 110 years of the Morgan Motor Company, a landmark milestone for the Malvern based company, which remains privately owned by the Morgan family.

The ‘110 Anniversary’ models have been introduced in preparation for the anniversary year. Each edition will be available with a specially selected range of options, included at no extra cost to the customer.

The current Morgan range includes the 4/4, Plus 4, Roadster and 3 Wheeler.

The Morgan Motor Company is excited to announce the first in a number of celebrations for its 110th anniversary year in 2019, which will see a series of ‘110 Anniversary’ models added to the line-up.

Each of the ‘110 Anniversary’ models benefit from unique badging,  denoting their significance as 110th year models, as well as an extensive list of specially selected performance and styling options included at no extra cost.

In addition to performance and styling options, a new range of standard colours has also been introduced. In addition to the ‘Sport Range’ of colours, there is now a ‘Classic Range’ and ‘Metallic Range’, which includes a selection of colours chosen by Morgan Design.  These colours reflect some of the most popular Morgan colours throughout the company’s history, as well as some personal favourites hand-picked by Morgan’s design team.

A mix of performance and visual enhancements are also offered with each ‘110 Anniversary’ model. A front valance, rear exit sports exhaust and leather bonnet strap stand out as the more purposeful and race inspired options for Plus 4 and Roadster.

Interior trim and detail enhancements include a leather or wood rimmed Moto-Lita steering wheel, performance seats, a mohair hood pack and any choice of Yarwood leather, also available across Plus 4 and Roadster. In addition, customers will also have the option to have the ‘110 Anniversary’ logo embroidered on their headrest in matching or contrasting stitch-work, further signifying the special nature of their new Morgan. All of these options are available at no extra cost.

As well as the Plus 4 and Roadster, the 3 Wheeler also receives a selection of interior and exterior ‘110 Anniversary’ options at no extra cost. For the interior, quilted leather stitching, centre split seats, storage pockets and a mohair tonneau cover are now all included.

Stand out exterior options for the 3 Wheeler comprise any solid colour from the newly introduced colour ranges, black roll hoops, black exhaust heat shields and a body coloured engine cowl.

The announcement of the ‘110 Anniversary’ model changes for 2019 is the first in a series of announcements Morgan will make in their 110th year, their most significant milestone since the 2009 centenary.

“It is an immense pleasure and an honour to lead the Morgan Motor Company as we approach such a significant milestone in our history. We are delighted to be thriving as a privately owned, British, family owned automotive manufacturer, and in our 110th year of business are stronger than ever. Milestones such as a 110th anniversary offer everyone associated with the brand an opportunity for reflection, as well as an opportunity for us to offer even more to our customers. The ‘110 Edition’ vehicles are the beginning of our celebrations, and we look forward to making further exciting announcements throughout 2019.”

Steve Morris, Managing Director, Morgan Motor Company

110 ANNIVERSARY NO COST OPTIONS FOR 3 WHEELER INCLUDE:

  • 110 Anniversary Bonnet Badges
  • Any colour from the Morgan Sport or Classic Range
  • Body Coloured Engine Cowl
  • Mohair Tonneau
  • Black Roll Hoops
  • Black Exhaust Heat Shields
  • Quilted Leather Stitching
  • Leather Storage Pockets
  • Centre Split Leather Seats
  • 110 Anniversary Bonnet Badges
  • Any colour from the Morgan Sport or Classic Range
  • Front Valance – Babydoll Style
  • Mohair Hood Pack
  • Choice of any Yarwood Leather
  • Contrasting Stitching
  • Embroidered Headrests – Morgan or 110 Anniversary logo
  • Coloured piping – Seats and carpets
  • Aero Racing: Chrome Interior Mirror
  • Aero Racing: Leather Bonnet Strap With Chrome Buckle
  • Aero Racing: Choice of Two Moto-Lita Steering Wheels
  • Aero Racing: Rear Exit Sports Exhaust System (Cat Back)
  • 110 Anniversary Bonnet Badges
  • Any colour from the Morgan Sport or Classic Range
  • Front Valance – Babydoll Style
  • Mohair Hood Pack
  • Choice of any Yarwood Leather
  • Performance Seats
  • Contrasting Stitching
  • Embroidered Headrests – Morgan or 110 Anniversary logo
  • Coloured piping – Seats and carpets
  • Aero Racing: Chrome Interior Mirror
  • Aero Racing: Leather Bonnet Strap With Chrome Buckle
  • Aero Racing: Choice of Two Moto-Lita Steering Wheels
  • Aero Racing: Rear Exit Sports Exhaust System
27 Sep

Analog adrenaline: taking the Morgan Plus 4 for a drive (https://news.abs-cbn.com/ancx/drive – 9/27/18)

Driving aids are overrated, so we take the vintage-inspired Morgan Plus 4 for an exciting drive, free of computer control.

[With all the fervor about the new ‘component’ cars being brought in by dealers it is hard not to loose sight of the other way to get a newer Morgan into the US legally, the 25 Year Old car law.  We already have two Plus 8s (1990 and 1989) and one  Plus 4 (1994) registered right here in Florida.  I am being challenged by new power trains and new technologies every day.  What is that they say about ‘old dogs and new tricks’??  Cheers, Mark]

Real driving excitement is endangered. Many modern vehicles prohibit reckless abandon with the help of safety systems like motor-driven power steering, traction control, stability control, and ABS. In sportier vehicles, features like launch control, corner brake control, and torque vectoring compensate for all the fun that’s been taken away by safety imperatives—though always under the watchful eyes of the on-board computer.

Yet, this illusion of control is no substitute for the connectedness and dash of unpredictability that old cars, bereft of modern safety systems, used to provide. Pure, unadulterated driving fun may be harder to find these days, but it’s far from extinct. One vehicle where it resides quite comfortably in is the Morgan Plus 4.

The Morgan Motor Company, Ltd. was founded by Henry Frederick Stanley “HFS” Morgan in 1909. The railway worker left his job and designed and built a car for his own use. That very company continues to operate to this day, closely adhering to the founder’s ideals. Far from typical automotive companies that produced vehicles to reach production targets, Morgan pursued craftsmanship and performance in creating his vehicles.

As a result, his first vehicle, a three-wheeler powered by a V-twin engine, offered little more than personal mobility and lower road tax, since it was classified as a motorcycle. In spite of competition from small cars like the Austin 7 and the original Morris Minor, the company soldiered on, eventually introducing the Plus 4, a four-cylinder, four-wheeled vehicle in 1952. Morgan took its time introducing variants and new models in the years that followed, launching the retro-futuristic Aero in 2000 and the reincarnation of the Three-Wheeler in 2011. Nevertheless, the low production numbers allowed the company to focus on quality, craftsmanship, and excitement that the vehicles continue to be known for today.

The beauty about Morgans is they’re built only after a customer has placed an order. This includes choosing from 40,000 possible colors and a dizzying array of upholstery and other options. Only then is the Morgan built, not by assembly line, but part by part. Wooden forms are stenciled, sawed, shaped, and joined to make parts of the car. Aluminum sheets are not stamped but hammered and molded over the wooden frames. Chassis are not moved by conveyor belt but rolled along on dollies. Vehicles are spray-painted by hand, not by a robot. Each component is fitted by hand, inspected and fixed if necessary. Finally, each vehicle is individually road tested to ensure they are worthy of being called a Morgan. In essence, Morgans are still constructed in the same way vehicles were built at the turn of the century.

That fully manual process manifests itself in several parts of the car: the way the leather belt over the hood is frayed along its length, the beautiful welding marks along the windshield frame that are flattened but not erased, the imperfection in the stitching of the seats, letting you know it passed through caring hands.

As for the drive, the Morgan is not perfect either, but it’s also uncensored. No traction control, ABS, or stability to save you from mistakes. This vehicle is not for the uninitiated. The throttle response is instant, with its precious burble resonated, not muted, by the muffler. The steering is slow, taking some turns to conquer a 90-degree turn. Yet it’s also this effort that helps you appreciate how hard cornering is. Or you can always let the back end come out and do more of the work for you. The transmission is short and crisp. After all, it’s sourced from a Mazda Miata. The ride is harsh, but nonetheless planted, giving better feedback on how slippery or sticky the road surface is. And, of course, there will be a lot of wind coming into the cabin, just to let you know how fast you’re going.

All told, the Morgan is uncomfortable, twitchy, and a little bit scary. It’s clearly not an everyday car. But the few days you take it out, preferably on a twisty mountain road, will be the most exhilarating drives of your life. Driving excitement may be endangered but, quite appropriately, it takes a dinosaur like the Morgan Plus 4 to remind us why this freedom has become such a rare and exclusive treasure.