The first production Morgan Aero 8 was completed last week and, to mark the occasion, Steven Ward recalls his interview company bosses Steve Morris and Jonathan Wells at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year.
Launched as a concept at Geneva in March 2015, the first Morgan Aero 8 has just been completed at the factory in Malvern Link. It marks a realignment of the Aero concept from supercar to sports car. This change in direction seems to have hit the spot – that famous Morgan waiting list is back.
At Geneva, Steve Morris’ pitch was refreshingly honest and wholly purposeful. It had none of the queasy acting that other Managing Director’s attempt, but without quite the character that Charles Morgan used to exude. You sense that this level of presentation isn’t Steve’s natural forte, but crucially every word that Steve said was passionately delivered and entirely believable. Remember that…
He started off by reminding the crowd, ‘that Morgan has been in business for 106 years and is still and uniquely family-owned’. Then, he said: ‘fifteen years ago at Geneva, we gave you the Aero 8. Now, here again, we are giving you the latest incarnation of that model. All of Morgan’s knowledge and success learned during that time has gone into this latest car.’
In engineering he informed us, ‘this is the lightest production V8 car in the world. The revised chassis is between 30-40 per cent stiffer in torsion. The car now features anti-roll bars on a fully-revised suspension set-up which was developed in-house, (which also liberates space under the bonnet I was later told). The rear differential is new for a smoother take-up and more refinement.’
Despite all of the world’s big motorcar and sports car manufacturers being present in the Geneva Salon, Steve stated that ‘Morgan offers the most personalised service in the motor industry.’ Now that’s a statement. All of this, with a final announcement of an astonishingly low purchase price of sub-£66,000+ taxes, left the crowd thoroughly impressed. Indeed, those present responded by applauding loudly and for some time.
It certainly doesn’t tread a conventional path – this will be a wonderfully bespoke sports car experience. You look at the beautifully-finished wood running throughout and sub-woofer area under the hood and you think how, on earth, could you make this car any more luxurious? The art of giving more for less is clearly flourishing in Malvern. What’s more, the boot of production cars will be even deeper than the boot on the show car, adding practically to the purposeful design.
Talk did move to ‘Infortainment’ but, quite honestly, who’d want that blighting an interior this gorgeous? Well, some do, so a revised dash has been designed with this in mind. So how much has all this cost the company in terms of R&D?
As a concept, this car was designed to straddle the Traditional Range and the +8 and existing Aero 8 range. It was designed to offer the traditional appeal of hand built design, yet with a touch of decadence as the styling reference for that aforementioned woodwork stems from classic yacht deck designs. Power remains courtesy of the BMW V8 and nobody can argue with that excellence.
As a production car, there’s nothing quite like it.