Geneva 2012 : Genève aime Morgan

Andrew Elphick

The Morgan Plus-E - new tech meets classic design.

Charles Morgan is the figurehead of a quintessentially British concern – so when the protector of all things traditional from Malvern decides to continue en Français half way through his press statement, even the most down trodden hack pays attention. Though (as ever – you might argue) the Morgan stand looked no different since time immaterial, the key being what you couldn’t see. Pride of place on stand 6161 looked like a Morgan; however the only piece of wood anywhere near the new car formed the top of the enquiry desk.

You see, underpinning the Plus 8 is more than just a BMW V8. The old Ash frame has been ushered out and the aluminium underpinnings from the Aero 8 ushered in. So? Well under 1100kgs and 390bhp gives a power to weight ratio of over 350bhp/Tonne… Fearsome stuff, tamed slightly if you specify the six-speed automatique option. Charles Morgan proudly told the press that PH’s Chris Harris had likened it to a Cobra.

However, this coin has two sides, and If raw horsepower has you crying at the sans plomb pump, (or if your sensible head cites emissions as a bad thing) Malvern can help. As long as you’re near a socket. Working with Zytek, the Plus-E is the answer to anybody’s ‘wind in your Prius’ dreams. Sharing the new extruded aluminium/hand hewn coachwork combination of the Plus 8, minus a fuel tank, cooling system and engine, but gaining a 163bhp rated electric brush-less DC motor. So standard non-range extender hybrid fare – electric motor, five-speed gearbox, thyristor speed and load control, battery bank, charging point.

Hang on… Five-speed gearbox? Hmmm. AROnline quizzed all on Morgan, (and the Zytek engineers too) coming away, well, none the wiser. Lots of technical reasoning, from all concerned, and a more pleasurable driving experience is promised, but no obvious reason. Unless the chassis requires no modification if the motor is hung off a gearbox? When we legitimately know you will.

So far two cars have been completed, each bearing no technical relation to the existing LifeCar Morgan EV. With over 4000 hours of development build time, the Plus-E had only really turned its wheels so far as the car transporter. One to watch we think.

The last announcement we rather looked forward to: the 2012 Le Mans assault. Witnessing Morgan’s last Le Mans assault in 2004 with a traditional Aero 8 based car, this year the Morgan team marriage is slightly different – partnering hugely successful OAK Racing, running one LMP1 and two LMP2 Morgans.

In layman’s terms, three Morgan silhouettes underpinned with chassis of (Technoparc des 24 hours neighbour) Pescarolo. As French motorsport engineering provenance goes, Morgan has snared one of the best, OAK Racing being supremely competitive, but more important extremely reliable – 24 hours is a very long time…



  1. So much want right now. Yellow, electric… OMG.

    5 speed box, torque of an electric motor… methinks that this will give a class leading range.

  2. I wouldn’t want an electric one, but I would love to have a traditional version. They’re one of the few cars I would keep inside the house. Just gorgeous.

  3. @ Frankie the 75 nut “I’m I the only one that misses the wooden chassis ?”

    No, I like my Morgans to be made from trees too!

  4. Sorry to nitpick, but the caption seems to be slightly garbled. “Amour” is French for the noun “love”. If you meant to write “Geneva loves Morgan”, thats “Genève aime Morgan” in French.

  5. @ Steve Bailey. I’m all for modern tech, but surely old schoolness is why you got a Morgan? Make it modern underneath and you just have retro styling, no different to a Bini.

    @svenman and Andrew Elphick. “amour” is actually a verb. I think it works quite well, with the “or” sound being repeated…anyway who cares, this is AROnline, not Google Translate 😀

  6. @Frankie the 75 nut – March 11, 2012
    “@ Steve Bailey. I’m all for modern tech, but surely old schoolness is why you got a Morgan? Make it modern underneath and you just have retro styling, no different to a Bini.”

    Exactly! I like the fact that a Morgan has Cuprinol rather than underseal on its chassis.

    Have a look at their website where you can design your own car in any colour of the rainbow, and then sit there working out ways you could afford it (including selling kidneys etc). That’s what I do!

  7. @ Steve Bailey. Thanks for the link! Green for me with beige leather and green piping…

  8. @Svenman Géneve aime Morgan means Geneva likes Morgan, but they are much the same.
    @Frankie the BINI is different. That is just a hatchback with a grill which bares some resemblance to the original, and a retro speedo. I quite like them. Well, anything to keep Cowley going, eh.
    Morgans are thoroughly old-fashioned, and keep any signs of modernity well hidden. They aren’t in the same retro category as the BINI.

  9. @ H.Jones. I know they aren’t the same as the Bini…for now. What I’m saying is that if you take away the wood chassis, etc then all you are left with is an old fashioned body.
    And, yes, I’m all for British jobs.

  10. Confusingly, “aime” can mean to like or to love. (If you really love something you can say “J’adore”) You’ve got be careful…it can make for amusing/embarrassing mix ups.
    I’m not saying anybody is right or wrong here, just though I’d point that out/stick my oar in other people’s conversations. 😀

  11. Look I didn’t pay for four tanks of super unleaded and several over inflated hotel rooms for you lot to knock my estuary education! Next time it will be MOG IS GR8!

  12. Gentlemen, I think we’re letting our enthusiasm run away with us. Wooden Chassis? Goodness me, they went out with the Ark. Morgan was famed for it’s Z pattern steel chassis, but renowned for the Ash framing to it’s bodywork.

  13. #15 @Andrew Elphick – Well said pal. this is AROnline NOT pedants corner! Some people just get too carried away with nitpicking and miss the point, this is a British firm adding value to foreign components, yes it’s “quirky” but let’s face facts Morgan have lasted a damn sight longer than most other UK car makers so who gives a f*** how they build them as long as people want to buy them!! BTW… Ash frsming is probably more eco-friendly than all the rare earth metals that go in to producing the “green” cars of the future, wood is probably one of the most sustainable and renewable products on the market today.

  14. I’m so glad they used the retro body style over the cross eyed modern Morgan. Their trike is brilliant too, and currently I think they are on a roll. Serious car nut Jay Leno is a massive Morgan fan, and quite frankly I wish I could afford one. I don’t give a brass fart how they are made, they are just right. May the Malvern hills keep producing such bonkers cars I say!

  15. #19 Have just read an article on the 3 wheeler & want one rather badly. Only problem is that I’m in Australia, so the quoted converted price of AU$45k is more likely to be AU$80k, even if they decide to homologate it. A price of $50k depreciated to $30k over a few years is something I could see doing in a few years as a toy, but…

    I may have to move back to the UK when I retire & buy a cottage with a good-sized garage so I can afford a Morgan (3 or 4 wheels) for blats, a Mini for everyday & a Land Rover 90 for bad weather.

  16. There’s as much ash in a new Plus 8 or even an Aero Supersports or whatever as there is in a classic Morgan. The frames to which the alloy body panels are hung are still made of it.
    What has changed is the undercarriage – bendy steel ladder frame morphed into bonded aluminium tub. Given the state of British roads these days not a moment too soon I’d say. ;o)

    Oh, and if electric cars are going to go anywhere, they will need transmissions with multiple ratios to become more efficient. Just like when internal combustion engined motoring was in its infancy, at first EV makers are/were using a whopping big motor to provide decent acceleration without a transmission, but it will be both quicker off the mark AND more efficient at a high speed cruise with a gearbox…

  17. Deliciously ironic that Morgan is still alive, and Sir John Harvey-Jones is dead.

    His exact words were “all this will disappear” – if I remember that episode of Troubleshooter correctly.

  18. I am surprised by the lack of knowledge on this esteemed website. As mentioned by others. Morgans have NEVER had an ash chassis. However the body frame has always been made from ash. A frame is not a chassis. Keep up! Next we will have people referring to Robin Reliants, that the Rover 75 is just a rebodied 5 series etc etc. AAARRRRRRRRRRRHHHHHHHHHH

  19. I went and looked at the Morgan pricelist, and whilst the Plus 8 is, naturally, quite scary – as someone who would really like a Jaguar XJ, it’s an alternative – but what I was really interested in was the 4/4. Equally hand-made, the 1600cc Morgan does 115mph, 0-60 in 8 seconds, and 55mpg best. It costs about £31K.

    Which is comparable with a BMW Z4 or Mercedes SLK.

    Admittedly you can’t contract hire a Morgan for pennies like you can an SLK currently, but for a buyer, for a spend of money… who needs 140mph? The Morgan’s a car which will depreciate at a much lower rate, is truly hand made, and at that money, in my opinion, a much, much better spend.

    Obviously Morgan can’t make enough of them to meet the demand the Z and SLK feed, but I’m seriously considering taking the money I’d spend on a contract hire car, running my 15 year old SLK for 5 years, and ordering a 4/4 as soon as I’m in a position to do so. Rather than my unimpressive to anyone, depreciating like a stone brand new XJ, I could have a brand-new Morgan and an appropriate boring car. This idea appeals immensely to me.

  20. “however the only piece of wood anywhere near the new car formed the top of the enquiry desk”. Not correct!!!

  21. I suppose the people confusing the Morgan as having a “wooden chassis” are just really confusing the terminology.

    These days most cars are Monocoques, in which case the whole body shell is referred to as the ‘chassis’. However Morgans are built with a a separate chassis frame to which the body is attached, it’s the same way 4x4s, buses and trucks are built. This Chassis frame is indeed made from metal, however the frame to which the metal body skins are formed around is made from ash.

  22. Used to have a 1996 4/4 in the same gallo fly yellow. Great car except that I was sold an hire car from the Morgan dealer (without being told)and the Zetec engine had to be rebuilt. Miss it dearly. Did 20k miles in 2 years.

  23. I went on a visit to the Morgan factory with uni late last year and came away wanting a Morgan so much it hurt. Simple yet technologically advanced, traditional yet modern, lightweight and partially sustainable – what’s not to like?

    Now, as a treehugging petrolhead, there’s an EV Morgan for me to coo over. That would go nicely with the 4/4 and the 3-wheeler – in my dreams….

    If you get the chance, have a pop down to Great Malvern for a factory visit (book first, though). I can heartily recommend it.

  24. I mustn’t. I’d be handing over a deposit for my primrose yellow and black with grey interior within seconds 🙁

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