Automotive

Morgan goes back to the future once more with fifth-gen Aero 8

The new Gen 5 Morgan Aero 8 with the top down (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
The new Gen 5 Morgan Aero 8 with the top down (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
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The nose of the new Morgan Aero 8, shows off the traditional Morgan grill combines with new aero detailing (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
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The nose of the new Morgan Aero 8, shows off the traditional Morgan grill combines with new aero detailing (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
The rather fetching rear end of the Morgan Aero 8 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
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The rather fetching rear end of the Morgan Aero 8 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
The Morgan Aero 8 interior, very British (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
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The Morgan Aero 8 interior, very British (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
The front end of the Aero 8, modern alloy wheels and throw-back styling (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
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The front end of the Aero 8, modern alloy wheels and throw-back styling (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
Another shot of the Aero 8's rear section (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
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Another shot of the Aero 8's rear section (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
A more detailed shot of the Aero 8's rear detailing (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
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A more detailed shot of the Aero 8's rear detailing (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
The Morgan Aero 8 with removable hardtop in place (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
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The Morgan Aero 8 with removable hardtop in place (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
The rear end treatment shows attention to underbody airflow concerns (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
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The rear end treatment shows attention to underbody airflow concerns (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
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The Aero 8's swooping fenders blend modern and traditional design (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
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The Aero 8's swooping fenders blend modern and traditional design (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
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Head on, the Aero 8 does look slightly cross-eyed (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
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Head on, the Aero 8 does look slightly cross-eyed (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
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The new Gen 5 Morgan Aero 8 with the top down (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
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The new Gen 5 Morgan Aero 8 with the top down (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
With the top retracted, the Aero 8 looks as classic as a car can (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
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With the top retracted, the Aero 8 looks as classic as a car can (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
The Gen 5 Morgan Aero 8 looks good in silver (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
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The Gen 5 Morgan Aero 8 looks good in silver (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
The Gen 5 Aero 8, very classy in silver
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The Gen 5 Aero 8, very classy in silver
A right hand drive Morgan, about as traditional as you can get
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A right hand drive Morgan, about as traditional as you can get
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The interior of a Morgan Gen 5 Aero 8, lots of leather, wool carpet and Britishness
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The interior of a Morgan Gen 5 Aero 8, lots of leather, wool carpet and Britishness
An Aero 8 on the road
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An Aero 8 on the road
A Morgan Gen 5 Aero 8 on the road, but still cross-eyed
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A Morgan Gen 5 Aero 8 on the road, but still cross-eyed
The wonderfully proportioned curves of the Morgan Aero 8
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The wonderfully proportioned curves of the Morgan Aero 8
A glamor shot of a silver Aero 8
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A glamor shot of a silver Aero 8
Top down, at speed, two-lane road: A Morgan in its natural environment
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Top down, at speed, two-lane road: A Morgan in its natural environment
The rear of an Aero 8 as it accelerates away from you
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The rear of an Aero 8 as it accelerates away from you
Enjoying a country road in a Gen 5 Aero 8
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Enjoying a country road in a Gen 5 Aero 8
Heading out for a drive in a Morgan Aero 8, top down, of course
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Heading out for a drive in a Morgan Aero 8, top down, of course
The redesigned dash of the Gen 5
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The redesigned dash of the Gen 5
A Gen 5 Morgan with a very appropriate number plate
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A Gen 5 Morgan with a very appropriate number plate
Nicely turned out in leather, the seats of an Aero 8
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Nicely turned out in leather, the seats of an Aero 8
A close up shows Morgan's fine attention to detail
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A close up shows Morgan's fine attention to detail
The road always beckons when you own a car like a Morgan
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The road always beckons when you own a car like a Morgan
A Gen 5 on the road
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A Gen 5 on the road
The Aero 8 features a usable trunk, a rarity in the sportscar world
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The Aero 8 features a usable trunk, a rarity in the sportscar world
The nose of the Aero 8, the only awkward design element to be found on the car
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The nose of the Aero 8, the only awkward design element to be found on the car
In profile, the Morgan is as handsome and an Edwardian mansion
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In profile, the Morgan is as handsome and an Edwardian mansion
An Aero 8 with everything but the throttle open
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An Aero 8 with everything but the throttle open

Ah, Morgan. A company so steeped in anachronisms it makes a Lotus 7 look like the space shuttle. While other companies have been using materials like carbon fiber for years now, Morgan is still using wood as part of the chassis. Old in style and affectation they might be, but Morgans can haul the mail, and woe unto anyone who thinks otherwise. The next piece of evidence that Morgans are not to be underestimated has just debuted in Geneva in the form of the fifth-gen Morgan Aero 8.

Let's get the non-apocryphal, held up as rumor, actually true part out of the way right at the top. Morgan uses wood for the chassis. Actually, it's not the whole chassis, it's a sub-frame, and it's not just any wood, it's some rather nicely carved, kiln-dried ash, and it lies just south of the engine and outboard from the main frame rails. But yes, Morgan still uses wood to make its cars.

And why not? Its cars do work, and work quite well, thank you very much. Case in point being the new fifth-gen Aero 8. How does a car roughly the size and weight of a Mazda MX-5 motivated by a BMW-sourced 4.8 liter V8 cranking out 367 horsepower sound? Pair that with 370 lb.ft of torque, and you know this thing is going to accelerate like very few other cars on the road. Specifically, that's 0–62 mph (100 km/h) in a scant 4.5 seconds and it tops out at a heady 175 mph (282 km/h). Morgan didn't say if that top speed was with the top up or down, but if it was with the top dropped, then huzzah sirs! Transmission-wise Aero 8 buyers have the choice of either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission with paddle shift.

But what makes the Aero 8 so special? As the name implies, aerodynamics are actually addressed with this car, versus other Morgans. Other Moggy's (as they're affectionately called) have the aerodynamics of a set of car keys. The Aero 8 has a mostly attractive aluminum body that features such modern niceties as fully sculpted front fenders and a nicely rounded, Panoz-like rear end treatment. Morgan has even gone so far as fairing in the headlights to reduce drag and help with the overall aerodynamics. Yes, fairing in the headlights does make the Aero 8 look slightly cross-eyed, frankly, but wind tunnels don't lie.

Head on, the Aero 8 does look slightly cross-eyed (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
Head on, the Aero 8 does look slightly cross-eyed (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)

Speaking of that body, it's worth pointing out that it is hand-formed by a real human being, the old fashioned way – one body panel at a time, with careful use of body bucks, templates, calipers, and, most importantly, the human eye. Like the car itself, the process might be archaic, but it gets results.

Morgan says that the styling, featuring long, fast and with low shoulder lines and bodywork centering on the cabin, was meant to evoke impressions of classic open cars from the 1960s. The vehicle's occupants are also seated low, which allows for the sleek roofline and balanced vehicle proportions. The company even goes so far as to point out the resonance with Depression era Auburn Speedsters, saying that, "From above, the view echoes that of a boat deck, enhancing the sense of adventure and escapism."

On the inside, the latest Aero is all comfy-cozy as can be. There's real wood surrounds for the all-new dashboard arrangement (as if Morgan would use fake wood), textured box-woven carpets and fine leather trim to enhance the new interior. There are also such modern amenities as a new air conditioning system, an optional touch screen multimedia system and low slung carbon seats, while bespoke detailing options are also available.

The interior of a Morgan Gen 5 Aero 8, lots of leather, wool carpet and Britishness
The interior of a Morgan Gen 5 Aero 8, lots of leather, wool carpet and Britishness

"This project presented us with an opportunity to evaluate and capture exactly what defines Morgan as a class leader in hand-making luxury British sports cars," says Morgan Head of Design, Jonathan Wells. "Over the last 15 years the Aero Platform has successfully evolved both aesthetically and mechanically. Now on the 15th anniversary of the original iconic Aero Eight, it is incredibly exciting to have the chance to revisit the design with this knowledge in mind."

Unlike previous Aero 8s, the new model will only come with a convertible folding top when it enters its limited production run in Q4 of this year. However, a hardtop will be available as an option, which, if you're going to drive it year round, makes tons of sense, given the winter weather its home country is notorious for. The former fixed hard top-only Aeros, the Aero SuperSport and Coupé, will cease production in April 2015. The Gen 5's convertible folding top is, get this, double-lined mohair. The only way this thing could be more British is if it kept tepid beer in a special compartment.

"Morgan cars are synonymous with open top motoring," emphasized Steve Morris, Morgan Managing Director. "We produce two-seater sports cars that are lightweight and exhilarating to drive. The new Aero 8 signifies a return to this formula within our flagship range of vehicles. The Aero 8 offers the perfect marriage of fine craftsmanship and performance technology, one that we believe is so important in today’s increasingly autonomous world."

And we are not going to disagree with Mr. Morris one iota. Even if you are not in the market for a car of this type, if you get a chance to drive one, do so. Its design and construction might be anachronistic, but its performance is eye opening to say the least.

A trailer showing the fifth-gen Aero 8 from concept to the road can be viewed below.

Source: Morgan

New Morgan Aero 8 Official Trailer 2015 [HD]

6 comments
Tom Lee Mullins
I think that car has real style. I like it.
Buellrider
Beautiful car and reminds me of a 1959 MGA.
Jay Finke
Kool.. but with a hood that long, one must take care when driving, as it makes for a huge blind spot.
Lewis M. Dickens III
How much British bullcrap must we put up with and all that uglyness and bespoke nonsense?
bergamot69
No! No! No! Morgans do not have, and NEVER have had, wood as part of the chassis! This is a myth that has been debunked over and over, and yet still lazy journalists who clearly lack sufficient knowledge to write about cars, continue to perpetuate. Ash wood is used structurally in places to support the body panels. Ash is strong, yet light, and can be bent into curves. It is very splinter-resistant when subject to impact. Not only do Morgan use it, but it was also used structurally for the rear bodywork on the Morris Minor Traveller- of which there are thousands still in existance in the UK- many in daily use. I think this Morgan is beautiful- especially as it has lost the peculiar 'cross-eyed' look of the original. It manages to perfectly meld the 'old school' charm of earlier Moggies without looking like a pastiche. To quote Lewis M, Dickens the third 'How much British bullcrap must we put up with and all that ugliness and bespoke nonsense?'. Anyone forcing you to buy, or even look at one, Mr. Dickens? These cars are so rare and made in such small numbers that it is possible to go months in the UK between sightings of a Morgan of any description (and I live within 30 miles of the factory). I very much doubt that one wil be troubling you on your side of the pond. If you don't 'get' what Morgans are about then they are not for you. But for those of us who do, we delight in this fine, idiosyncratic, and very British company- and all of it's beautifully crafted products.
Straw_Cat
@bergamot79: it's the ~chassis~ which is made of galvanized metal. The body frame is indeed made of laminated ash and plywood. You can watch the Discovery channel short video about the manufacturing process here: the video is under 5 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKoxN_D2MK0 New Morgans have long been unavailable in North America, asfaik, because of the cost of crash-testing these vehicles. Sigh. The new design is much more appealing than the 1939 Morgan I was offered back in '71... in pieces, for $2,000. That one was a 3-wheeler with some kind of rotary engine. I didn't think I could find anyone who knew how to restore the engine at that time.... However, one could possibly buy an old Morgan in the UK, have the factory restore it where needed ( they do that), dismantle it, and ship it to NA as 'antique automobile parts' in several small separate containers. Good luck on getting it reassembled and then registered here, though, unless you can convince the MOT it's an 'experimental vehicle....
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