Classic Drive: Morgan Aero 8

5 Oct 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Classic Drive: Morgan Aero 8

Morgan Aero 8

Classic Drive: Morgan Aero 8

Published on Friday, 17 February 2012 00:00

The Aero 8, Charles Morgan’s vision of a Morgan for the 21st century, aimed to blend tradition and performance. Forget tradition…

Words and pics: Steve Wilson

A rocket-ship lands in your garden, and the astronaut steps out clad in a sheepskin-lined Irving jacket and flying goggles. That’s the Morgan Aero 8.

Like all classic cars, this one was essentially the fruit of a single vision, that of Charles Morgan, grandson of the Malvern Link firm’s founder, HFS Morgan. And it has been a controversial one ever since its launch.

Morgan Aero 8

Opinion was and remains fiercely divided on the Aero 8’s long, low and wide looks; the flowing design seems to evoke Yankee sportsters from the Twenties and Thirties, Duesenbergs and Auburn Straight Eights, and beyond even that, to have looked hard at one of the all-time greats, Bugatti’s Type 57.

Hugh Reader is a relaxed and friendly guy, and evidently also a patient one. He had ordered a Plus 8 back in 1995, but the little factory at the time had its notorious five year waiting list, though this has subsequently dropped, as production edged up from 10 to perhaps 14 cars a week. Hugh however said that, partly due to the cost of Morgans, the wait had suited him, as it did many others.

Meanwhile he had been enjoying a Lotus Elise but when he attended the Motor Show in 2000, he saw the new Aero 8 and was sufficiently smitten to change his order. The car, which cost roughly twice as much as the one he’d originally ordered, was duly delivered in Jan 2003. These are bespoke vehicles, and Hugh is pleased with his choice of metallic maroon paint, which does suit the Aero 8’s blend of tradition and flamboyance.

The Morgan has not been mothballed since, having covered over 26,000 miles. While he’s had big fun exploiting the Aero’s V8 engine – the same BMW 4398cc, 280 bhp lump found in the Bavarian 5 and 7-Series – Hugh says that the car’s real forte is longer journeys. “I used to work in South Wales, and there are some great roads up towards the Brecons,” he says. “I once drove from Bracknell to Bangor on a late June evening, and the A-roads after Telford were really something. And you don’t feel tired at the end of a long journey.” This assessment of the Aero 8 as a fast tourer rather than a balls-out sports car chimes with press opinion of the Morgan, which found both the engine and handling ragged at the edges when really pressed on track, but quick, responsive and comfortable on long real-world roads.

To read the complete test see the April 2012 issue of Classic Car Mart – available here

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Morgan Aero 8
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