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…