20 Nov

The Morgan 3 Wheeler Is Dead, Long Live the Limited-Edition P101 (Automobile, 11/18/2020)

[What I find interesting (and somewhat scary) is that the MMC Factory Web Site shows only 3 models currently available – the M3W, the CX Plus 6 and the CX Plus 4. The announced CX Roadster and the CX 4/4 are not on the web site (I don’t know what the situation is with them) so with the M3W going away, the only cars left are the Plus 6 and Plus 4. Neither of which are likely to be coming to the US anytime soon. It makes one wonder what the dealers will sell and what’s in our future? Mark]

After a decade, the delightfully anachronistic Morgan 3 Wheeler will say its goodbyes. Morgan revived this classic form factor in 2011, which was last produced in 1952 and superseded by the long-lived 4/4 Roadster (and its derivatives). That project was known internally as P101, and so to celebrate the end of the current 3 Wheeler’s production run, the company’s whipped up a P101 limited edition model.

First, why is the 3 Wheeler ending production? For one, its V-twin engine, an X-Wedge unit produced by S&S, will have its type approval expire and it appears that it won’t be renewed. Without an engine supplier, Morgan will opt to cease production of the current iteration of the 3 Wheeler – a hint, perhaps, that a new 3 Wheeler with a different power plant might be in the future.

[The previously posted Drive article states an electric vehicle is coming?  Mark]

Now, let’s take a closer look at the limited-edition P101 model, which Morgan will limit to just 33 models. Its most prominent detail is a translucent tonneau over the passenger seat, giving the P101 a striking asymmetrical look. It has a slightly yellow hue, looking aged or perhaps like something fitted to a Golden Era race car. Adding to the asymmetry, one exhaust pipe features a white ceramic coating, the other black.

Other details are heritage-inspired, like the solid “Aero-disc” wheels and large Hella spotlights.  

[I concur, the disc wheels do look superb! Mark]

Several paint schemes are available, each celebrating a different retro theme: Belly Tank, Dazzleship, Aviator, and Race Car. It’s apparent what most are an homage to, but if you’re not familiar with World War I naval warfare, the “Dazzleship” graphics are a reference to “dazzle painting,” an early form of camouflage intended to make it difficult for enemy ships to accurately target the vessel. The treatment looked incredible—and so does the Dazzleship 3 Wheeler—although the camo’s effectiveness is debatable.

This special edition will be available in the U.S., as well as Europe, and pricing starts at £45,000 (roughly $59,500 at today’s exchange rates)in the U.K. Morgan says that “bespoke” 3 Wheelers will continue to be produced alongside the P101 editions until production ends. 

[I suspect all the dealers will have some allocation. Contact your favorite dealer if interested.  Mark]

19 Nov

Morgan Waves Goodbye to the V-Twin 3 Wheeler With Stunning P101 Edition (www.thedrive.com NOV 19, 2020)

[I deleted the photos from this article as they are the same as shown in the other article of the same topic and as posted to the MMC web site. If interested, view them there. Mark]

The 3 Wheeler will soon return in electric form, finally.

Having sold over 2,500 units since production began in 2012, The Morgan Motor Company is about to put an end to the S&S 2.0-liter V-twin-powered 3 Wheelers. However, before gearing up to produce its electric successors known so far as the EV3, Morgan will offer just 33 examples of 3 Wheeler P101s, which are celebratory special editions featuring several updated parts. These 3 Wheelers will be available in five ‘art pack’ variants, starting at £45,000 in the U.K.—the equivalent to roughly $60,000.

The Morgan Motor Company may have started out with conveniently tax-evading 3 Wheelers in 1911 following 1909’s Runabout prototype by HFS Morgan, yet the original line was discontinued after the last Ford-engined F-Series rolled out of the Malvern factory in 1952. The modern, American-engined 3 Wheeler’s story began in 2009 when Morgan engineers launched Project 101, the development program leading up to the 2011 production model. The Morgan 3 Wheeler has been mildly updated since to become a fan favorite, a unique toy, and the perfect tool to set transcontinental driving records with.

In 2021, production of the combustion-engined 3 Wheelers will come to an end with the 33 P101 editions, which all feature a single-leaf tonneau cover—first seen on Morgan’s EV3 concept in 2016—that is supposed to let everybody know that this is more of a hardcore single-seater compared to the regular 3 Wheeler grocery getters out there. Going very high-tech with composites indeed, like “on engine shrouds for 1970s race cars,” Morgan’s resin cover exhibits a natural translucent golden color.

The P101s also come with body-colored low-drag Aero disk wheels, 9-inch Hella spot lamps positioned way down to reduce turbulence around the suspension and wishbones, and alternated black and white ceramic-coated straight-cut exhausts to emphasize the asymmetric theme. Further details include torque markers on each front tire, a fly screen, additional louvers, exposed rivets, and P101 markings all around.

Additionally, Morgan’s four P101 art packs include:

The Belly Tank: Referencing liveries found on belly tank racers and “lakesters” that were inspirations for the 3 Wheeler initially, The Belly Tank graphic pack features a distressed effect in the vinyl.

The Dazzleship: The Dazzleship is the boldest of the art packs. Its striking black and white design is inspired by the graphic camouflage of period military vehicles.

The Aviator: Evoking a sense of aviation spirit, The Aviator graphic pack is an extension of similarly themed graphics currently offered on the 3 Wheeler. This art pack is inspired by nose art found on RAF planes in WWII.

The Race Car: Three-wheeled Morgan vehicles were competing in motorsport almost as soon as the first example was created. The Race Car graphic pack features stripes and roundels, paying homage to the liveries that adorned early Morgan race cars.

It’s all about those stickers, folks! Morgan says that all 33 production slots have already been allocated to Morgan dealerships in the U.K., Europe, and the United States, with production beginning immediately alongside the last bespoke 3 Wheelers in 2021.

As for the electric successor, Morgan first presented its EV3 at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, only to delay the project severely afterward, due to switching suppliers and restarting the development process while also dealing with financial difficulties. However, the all-electric new Morgan 3 Wheeler is eminent now and will join the line of BMW-powered new Morgans in 2022.

19 Nov

MORGAN LAUNCHES NEW LIMITED-EDITION 3 WHEELER P101 TO CELEBRATE END OF MODEL’S PRODUCTION (Morgan-Motors.CO.UK, Nov 19, 2020)

The Morgan Motor Company is marking the end of production of one of its most well-loved models, the 3 Wheeler, with the announcement of the P101 edition. The 3 Wheeler — which was introduced in its current form in 2011 — will cease production in 2021, once type approval on its S&S V-twin engine finishes.

P101 stands for Project 101, the internal name given to the project to revive the 3 Wheeler when development began more than a decade ago. Limited to just 33 examples, the P101 was conceived by Morgan’s in-house Design and Engineering departments to celebrate their original project, and its resulting model success throughout its production run.

The current 3 Wheeler has been one of the company’s most popular models of all time, more than 2,500  examples having been made since its launch in 2011. The 3 Wheeler is exported to all corners of the globe, and has received countless motoring accolades from across the industry. This recognition, the popularity of the car, and the numerous ‘stand out’ road trips undertaken by owners confirms that the spirit of adventure and individuality is alive and well, both at Morgan and within the wider automotive industry.

Characterised by a purposeful and utilitarian aesthetic, the P101 features a range of unique components and bespoke detailing, many of which have been inspired by the prominent design features of Morgan’s three wheeled models.

A striking single-leaf tonneau cover – first seen on Morgan’s EV3 concept in 2016 – has been deployed to exaggerate the asymmetrical theme, and is intended for single occupant use. The composite resin cover exhibits a natural translucent golden colour, not dissimilar to materials witnessed on engine shrouds for 1970s race cars.  The tonneau is lightweight, streamlined, and honest in both its design and manufacture.

The Aero-disc wheels – painted to match the main body colour –– provide a further streamlined visual and define the look of the P101, making it instantly recognisable as a unique model. The low-drag aero-disc wheels work together with low-slung Hella 9-inch spot lamps, positioned to reduce turbulence around the suspension and wishbones, whilst also giving the car a more forward-leaning aesthetic.

Adding to the asymmetry and split identity of the P101, alternated black and white ceramic coated exhausts contrast left to right of the model. Further detailed additions include torque markers on each front tyre, straight-cut exhausts, a fly screen, additional louvres, exposed rivet details, and unique P101 markings. Together, they evoke the sense of excitement felt around the company when the original prototypes were being developed.   

Each 3 Wheeler P101 is available in Deep Black or Satin White Silver paint, with appropriate decals to suit. Further to this, four P101 art packs will be available for customers to choose from, each with their own unique identifiers and vivid graphics:

The Belly Tank – Referencing liveries found on belly tank racers and ‘lakesters’ that were inspirations for the 3 Wheeler initially, The Belly Tank graphic pack features a distressed effect in the vinyl. 

The Belly Tank

The Dazzleship – The Dazzleship – featured in the launch film and images – is the boldest of the art packs. Its striking black and white design is inspired by the graphic camouflage of period military vehicles.  

The Dazzleship

The Aviator – Evoking a sense of aviation spirit, The Aviator graphic pack is an extension of similar theme graphics offered on 3 wheelers.  Inspired by nose art found on RAF planes in WWII.

The Aviator

The Race Car – Three wheeled Morgan vehicles were competing in motorsport almost as soon as the first example was created. The Race Car graphic pack features stripes and roundels, and pays homage to the liveries which have adorned by early Morgan race cars.

The Race Car

The limited-edition P101 is priced from £45,000 plus local market taxes and on-the-road costs, and all 33 production slots have already been allocated to Morgan dealerships. Production of the model will begin immediately and continue alongside ‘bespoke’ 3 Wheelers during 2021.  

The importance of three wheelers in Morgan’s history cannot be underestimated. From the original Runabout built by HFS Morgan in 1909, through to the latest version in production today, thousands have been built in Morgan’s factory in Malvern, Worcestershire. Through various iterations, the original three wheelers were made until 1952, when the factory began exclusive production of four-wheeled cars until the launch of the 3 Wheeler in 2011. Details of a potential successor to the 3 Wheeler are yet to be announced, and while Morgan can confirm that the Morgan 3 Wheeler will return, there will be a break in production.

[More Images on MMC Web Site http://www.morgan-motors.co.uk ]

Steve Morris, Chairman & CEO, Morgan Motor Company, said: “Production of the most recent 3 Wheeler has been a thrilling and exciting chapter in Morgan’s history. The significance of the original Three Wheeler is undoubted, however the introduction of the ‘current’ 3 Wheeler in 2011 proved to Morgan, and the world, that fun cars still have a place and that the ‘why not’ attitude is sometimes best.

The P101 celebrates the raw and stripped back nature of the 3 Wheeler, and provides us with the perfect opportunity to draw an incredible chapter of Morgan’s history to a close. Once the 33 examples have been created, the opportunity for an exciting new chapter for three-wheeled Morgan vehicles begins.”

25 Oct

William Fink Memorial Service, Saturday, October 17, 2020, 12:00pm

[Folks, the Bill Fink Celebration of Life was posted on YouTube a few days ago. Simply click on the link below to watch it. Be advised, it is well over an hour long.

As many of you will remember, Bill was our honored guest at the MOGSouth 40th Anniversary Meet in Aiken, SC a few years ago. Should you want to advance the video to about the 31 minute and 20 second point, you will see and hear Tcherek’s comments. Also, at the 1 hour, 12 minute and 30 second spot, there is a clip of Bill in his shop with a two toned (cream body with burgundy wings) 4/4 in the background. I believe this was originally my 1981 4/4 before I picked it up. At least this is what Tcherek told me. Mark]

https://youtu.be/G050OhB3I1E

25 Aug

Used car buying guide: Morgan Aero 8

(https://www.autocar.co.uk/) 24 Aug 2020

First unwrapped in 2000, the Aero 8 was a modern(ish) take on Morgan’s tried-and-tested olde-worlde formula, and, despite its age, good examples can still be found

For all that the new Plus Six does to take Morgan belatedly into the 21st century, with its all-independent suspension, lightweight aluminium chassis and punchy turbocharged straight six, it doesn’t exactly advance the Malvern brand’s design language beyond, say, 1964.

That’s part of Morgan’s charm, of course, and its steadfast commitment to traditionalism is an integral component in its quiet but sustained success. So when the cross-eyed Aero 8 was unwrapped at the 2000 Geneva motor show, all bets were off.

Here was a genuine, up-to-date sports car, with a BMW V8 giving it a competitive 4.8sec 0-62mph time and promises of engaging dynamics, courtesy of new inboard shock absorbers, double-wishbone suspension and AP Racing performance brakes.

The modernisation didn’t stop there, either: niceties including air conditioning, cruise control and a heated windscreen placed the Aero 8 in another realm entirely to the brand’s existing models. Morgan being Morgan, of course, it was all still assembled around an ash wood frame, and the asymmetrical metal dashboard would look equally at home in the cockpit of a 1960s airliner. If it ain’t broke…

Just over 200 examples of this first-generation car were produced between 2000 and 2004, and they still pop up in the classifieds periodically. Its Series 2 successor, subtly restyled to comply with US safety standards and allow for a roomier cabin, packed a hefty power upgrade but was built for only a year in limited numbers, so most have been retired to private collections.

The closest the Aero 8 came to receiving what you might call a facelift was in 2005, when the Series 3 was launched with Mini headlights in place of the previous New Beetle items, giving it a more conventionally styled visage without compromising on its retro appeal.

Mechanicals were left largely untouched until the roadster entered its final form in 2007 with 362bhp from a 4.8-litre V8 that BMW kindly continued producing on a limited basis for Morgan after retiring it from its own line-up. An automatic gearbox was also made available for the first time, featuring an optional Sport mode and offering improved straight-line performance over the six-speed manual unit.

The Morgan Aero 8 has pace and kerbside status in spades, but it’s very pricey.

Later variants include the ultra-exclusive, boat-tailed AeroMax coupé and its Targa-topped Supersports sibling, the traditionally styled Plus 8 and, more recently, the Series 5 – a revived, subtly updated version of the Aero 8, produced from 2016 to 2018. The austentacious Aero GT acted as the car’s swansong, and was made in very limited numbers.

Happily, because improvements and tweaks made to the supercar over its 18-year life cycle were so subtle, choosing which version to go for is simply a matter of deciding your budget: prices for early cars begin at £40,000 (plus shipping costs if you opt to import), but you can expect to pay above £120,000 for low-mileage Series 5 cars and special editions.

How to get one in your garage

An expert’s view

Melvyn Rutter, Melvyn Rutter Ltd: “It’s a very finite market, and not that many come up for sale, because people tend to like them and drive them. Initially, there was a huge rush and Morgan couldn’t make enough. It was only the really determined who stuck with it and waited; they weren’t impulsive buyers. Like the 3 Wheeler, there were people who had never really thought about a Morgan before, and we got new people into the fold.”

Buyer beware…

Engine: The side-exit sports exhaust is a highly prized option, giving post-2004 cars a bassy growl. Both BMW-derived V8 engines are characteristically durable, but stick to their servicing schedules and shell out for genuine parts.

Body: Series 1 and 2 cars are known to suffer leaky roofs, so keep them garaged. Wooden element of the chassis means crash repairs and restoration work is a specialist job best undertaken by a Morgan dealer. Body panels, especially the bootlid, evolved over the years, so research before replacing them. Low front splitter is prone to stone chips.

Gearbox: Don’t be put off by a noisy manual gearbox. The Aero 8 features far less soundproofing than a contemporary BMW, so a degree of crunchiness and whirring is par for the course. Installing a quick-shift gearstick helps to eliminate some of the clunkiness.

Electrics: Exposed indicator wires can come disconnected, so check under the front wings if they’re playing up, and later Beetle headlights have a tendency to let water in and become misted. Series 1 cars suffered from a sticking starter motor, especially after long periods of non-use. Fit a conditioner to keep specialist gel battery in working order. Power-steering pump is a weak spot, but replacements are easily found.

Interior: Later interiors are more modern but still prone to wear if not maintained properly. Popular modifications include an aluminum steering boss and a Mota Lite steering wheel, while an upgraded stereo is a wise investment.

Also worth knowing

The manufacturer offers a full maintenance and restoration service at its Pickersleigh Road headquarters, with a fixed price servicing structure.

27 Jul

Thoroughly modern Morgan: the beloved Plus Four gets a revamp (Financial Times)

The relaunched classic boasts old-school beauty – and breathtaking speed

When jovial business guru the late John Harvey-Jones visited the Morgan Motor Company in 1990 for the BBC’s Troubleshooter show, he declared the firm “almost automatically doomed” due to its outmoded manufacturing and inability to edge production beyond a quaint nine-and-a-half vehicles per week. The waiting list, often 10 years long, that sometimes resulted in would-be owners being laid to rest long before their cars emerged from the factory really would have to be addressed…

Thirty years later, production has soared to a heady 15-plus cars per week (for contrast, Toyota builds more than 13,000 per day on average) and Harvey-Jones’s recommendation to modernise has finally manifested in the most radical leap forward: a redesign of the resolutely retro Plus Four. It’s a key model in the marque’s offering that has remained largely untouched since its introduction in, er, 1950.

Morgan Plus Four: From £62,995 (manual) or £64,995 (automatic)
The Plus Four’s minimal cockpit © Morgan Motor Company

Arriving at the ramshackle brick buildings in Pickersleigh Road, Malvern Link, Worcestershire – Morgan’s home since 1914 – I am pleased to see that things still look much the same as ever. The timber store is well stocked with blocks of ash for making the wooden framework to which bodywork and vintage-style running boards are attached; part-finished cars are still being pushed by hand from one build process to another; and there isn’t a robot in sight.

But when it comes to the finished product, Morgan has modernised – and then some. Instead of the steel chassis that formed the basis of the original Plus Four, the new car sports a “CX-Generation” platform made from bonded aluminium, at the front of which sits a two-litre BMW TwinPower Turbo engine tuned to produce a useful 255hp.

The optional luggage rack, an essential extra © Morgan Motor Company

The combination of new underpinnings and lightweight aluminium panels set around the signature ash frame make for a weight of a gossamer 1,009kg in the automatic model, giving the car a power-to-weight ratio of 253hp per ton – which makes for true 21st-century sports-car performance (0-62mph in 4.8s and a top speed of 149mph).

Until recently, the Morgan line-up comprised several four-wheel models with similar looks, plus the more aggressively styled Aero Eight and the quirky Three Wheeler that harks back to the brand’s origins as a maker of lightweight “cyclecars”.  Now the range has been distilled to comprise the Three Wheeler, Plus Four and Plus Six (an ultra high-performance model also on the CX-Generation platform but with a six-cylinder BMW engine), with the Plus Four set to become the most popular model.

Morgan Plus Four © Morgan Motor Company

Outside and in, it looks similar to the old car, with the same slightly fiddly manually folding roof, low-cut doors and a cockpit that, while easier to get into, still demands a fair deal of flexibility. Once ingress is achieved, there’s miles of legroom and a comfortingly low-tech dashboard with just the basics: speedo, rev counter, start button and one knob each to control a blower and heater (nothing too precise – just cold, warm or warmer). The flat windscreen is just the same too – so long and narrow that it requires three short wipers to cover its area. The sound system, however, has had an upgrade, with Bluetooth connectivity and some quality speakers for music streaming.

But it’s only in driving the Plus Four that the difference from its predecessor becomes readily apparent. The rigidity of the aluminium platform completely eliminates all of the old model’s shakes and rattles and, combined with up-to-date suspension and braking systems, it’s far smoother, sharper and more relaxing at both low and higher speeds. When the occasion demands, it really is blisteringly, cartoonishly quick…

The two-litre BMW turbo engine © Morgan Motor Company

And with the waiting list now down to six months, you can even have one delivered in the same lifetime.

While Harvey-Jones might not be too pleased that annual production numbers are only just hovering around the figures he was hoping to see 30 years ago, he would not be sad that Morgan has moved away from its original remit of 1909 to produce cars for everyday motoring (its first model was called the Runabout): the car I drove, with extras including special paint, box weave carpet, sports exhaust and luggage rack (an essential) carried a price tag of £74,949.  

And with the waiting list now down to six months, you can even have one delivered in the same lifetime.

08 Jul

Morgan Bids Farewell To 84-Year-Old Steel Chassis As Production Comes To An End (Carscoops.com, 7 July 2020)

This week marks a historic moment for Morgan Motor Company, as the boutique sports car manufacturer has made its last-ever steel chassis.

Introduced in 1936, the steel chassis has been produced continuously ever since, making it the longest-ever running production car architecture. But even a company as traditional as Morgan must keep up with the times, which is why the UK-based firm switched to the CX-Generation bonded aluminum platform last year.

All its current four-wheeled models are underpinned by the modern architecture. Nevertheless, Morgan still had some pending orders for steel chassis cars and this week the last of them was built, putting an end to an 84-year tradition.

Company founder HFS Morgan aboard an unfinished Morgan 4-4, the brand’s first car to feature the steel ladder chassis

Morgan’s steel ladder chassis debuted in 1936 in the Morgan 4-4, the brand’s first car to have four cylinders and four wheels; up until that point, the company had only sold three wheelers.

With many alterations and improvements, the steel chassis went on to underpin a variety of models over the years, including the Plus 4, Plus 4 Plus, first-generation Plus 8, 4 Seater, V6 Roadster, and the 4-4’s eventual successor, the 4/4. Actually, every four-wheeled Morgan produced before 2019 has used a variation of the steel chassis, with two exceptions: the Aero range and the second-generation Plus 8.

The chassis’ famous design elements include its combination of sliding pillar front and leaf spring rear suspension, a setup used by very few other car manufacturers. In total, Morgan has made 35,000 four-wheeled cars with a steel chassis, and they were delivered in 65 countries around the world, with many of these models still being used today.

Assembly of the last Morgan to feature the steel ladder chassis, the Plus 4 70th Edition

The final steel chassis car is a Morgan Plus 4 70th Edition, purchased by a loyal Morgan customer who also owns the famous Le Mans-winning Plus 4 ‘TOK 258’. The Plus 4 70th Edition marks 70 years of production of the Plus 4, which began in 1950. It is limited to a run of just 20 individually numbered examples, all of which feature a gold-painted chassis, Platinum Metallic paintwork, and a host of other upgrades.

The all-new Morgan Plus Four, launched in March 2020, has switched to the new bonded aluminum CX-Generation platform. It remains to be seen if it will last as long as its predecessor…

MMC Video https://youtu.be/5q2Q-IQPMlE

13 Jun

The Very British Morgan Revamps the Plus Four

(13 June 2020 / https://www.barrons.com/)

Don’t let the old world styling fool you—the 2021 Morgan Plus Four offers serious performance.Morgan photo

The Morgan Motor Company is  a fascinating remnant of a once-thriving British car industry. Morgan was founded in 1909 by H.F.S. Morgan, whose first product was the delightfully wacky Morgan Three Wheeler, a car that the company put back into production in 2011 after 50 years away. Morgan has sold more than 2,000 of the model since then, and it also showed an electric version, the EV3, in 2016. 

That’s the kind of sports car company Morgan is. Its approach is the very opposite taken by the American automakers in the 1950s and ’60s. The Yanks changed styling every year, but left the mundane mechanicals exactly the same. The Morgans then as now, are constantly evolving mechanically, but wear bodywork that’s basically prewar, right down to the ash wood framing. 

Morgan owners are very loyal. Waits of six months or so are normal. Electrical engineer Gerry Willburn is membership director of the Morgan Plus Four club of Southern California, and owns three of the cars, from 1946, 1956, and 1975. His Morgan ownership goes back to 1959, when the family bought a Plus Four Drophead Coupe. Willburn says Morgans are “living antiques.” He adds, “I can’t imagine not owning one.”

Morgans are built in Malvern, England, a spa town in Worcestershire, where the company was founded all those years ago. Some 800 to 900 are sold globally in a good year, and revenue was £33.8 million in 2018.

But Morgan hopes to up the ante to a heady 1,400 annual sales with the launch of the new version of the Plus Four, as a 2021 model. The car was launched in Britain last March with a price of £62,995 ($78,798), but while the American market is very important to the company, there’s no U.S. release date or pricing yet. The name denotes a four-cylinder engine, but not the Triumph power plants of old—instead there’s a two-liter, 255-horsepower BMW turbo, connected to a modern six-speed manual transmission. The car may still look like something P.G. Wodehouse Bertie Wooster would zip around in, but it can reach 62 miles per hour in 4.8 seconds and get near 150 miles per hour. 

The leather and wood ambience is very British.Morgan photo

The new Plus Four shares a new aluminum platform (dubbed CX) with the six-cylinder Plus Six announced at the Geneva Motor Show in 2019. That one also has BMW power, and produces a mighty 335 horsepower. The Plus Four was supposed to debut at the same event this year, but Covid meant that the show didn’t happen. 

Fairly sacrilegious for a Plus Four Morgan buyer is the choice of an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission (with manual shifting capability). The auto is, in fact, the only choice in the Plus Six. The axiom used to be that automatics slowed cars down, but the technology has gotten so much better. In the Morgan’s case, it’s the manual that compromises performance, in part because of added weight.

Owning one of these cars still involves some old-world compromises. There’s Bluetooth stereo connectivity, but the top is manual and securing it involves pop fasteners. The car has side curtains instead of roll-up or power windows. There’s no airbag, traction, or stability control, but ABS brakes are a feature. 

The 1950s British sports car was very popular with American buyers, so much so that England became a leading automotive trading partner. But quality problems were rife, the industry was crippled with strikes, and the company’s Lucas electrical systems were dubbed “the Prince of Darkness.” By the time the Mazda Miata (modeled on the very English Lotus Elan) came along in 1989, the British industry was moribund. But Morgan was keeping its candle lit. 

Morgan was the last family-owned carmaker in Britain, with the fourth generation involved, but in 2019, a majority stake was sold to the Italian financial group InvestIndustrial. Don’t expect the cars to start looking like Fiats, though. The brand’s whole appeal is the traditional British history and legacy.