Morgan Motor Company stands proudly as one of Britain’s oldest and most staunchly traditional automobile manufacturers. Since producing their first three-wheeled cycle-car in 1910, Morgan has embodied an independent spirit that lives on to this day in their handcrafted, thoroughly unique sports cars. When Morgan finds a formula that works for them, they stick with it, and so do their customers. Such is their stubborn tenacity that it took until 1935 for them to produce their first four-wheeled vehicle, the 4/4 sports car. The “flat rad” cars went through 1953, when the now-iconic curved radiator grille was adopted, which remains in use some 65 years later. Since the earliest 4/4, Morgans share the common lineage of a steel ladder chassis, independent front suspension, and a 1930’s style body with ash framing. Even in the face of today’s strict safety and emissions standards, Morgan holds tight to their roots and traditional methods, representing the embodiment of England’s cottage industry.
With such a rich history of doing things their own way, it is big news whenever Morgan reveals something new and different. In 2001, Morgan shocked the public with the dramatic Aero 8 – a traditional Morgan totally reimagined for modern times. The steel ladder chassis was out, replaced with a high-tech bonded-aluminum tub, similar in principle to the Lotus Elise. Up to that point, Morgan’s most potent car was the Rover V8-powered Plus 8; however, the new Aero 8 took a quantum leap forward thanks to a BMW-sourced 4.4 liter, 32-valve V8 engine developing over 300 horsepower. The styling was by Matthew Humphries, a young designer who would later join the company as the first-ever head of styling. The look was unmistakably Morgan, updated for the 21st century. With limited resources, Morgan integrated components from other cars. The headlamps, for instance, were sourced from the VW New Beetle, which gave early examples a “crosseyed” appearance. From 2007-on, however, the Aero 8 Series 4 got a bit of corrective surgery courtesy of lamps from BMW’s Mini, as well as a bump in power in the form of a revised 4.4-liter V8 engine, making a healthy 362 horsepower.
Despite rattling the sensibilities of traditional Morgan enthusiasts, the Aero 8 manages to remain an unmistakable product of Malvern Link. It is a raw and visceral sports car that can be flogged hard, yet the refinement of the BMW running gear allows it to cruise around town in relative comfort. It stands proudly in the face of cars like the Porsche 911, with abundant character and a sense of pride in its quirkiness. As motoring journalist Chris Harris said of the Aero 8, “the world is a better place for cars like this.”
Muscular, sleek and unmistakably British, this Morgan Aero 8 America is a desirable 4th series car, presented in stunning condition. As one of just 80 cars produced in 2007, this rare America model benefits from styling and performance updates, wearing revised bumpers that are specially designed to meet Federal crash standards. In addition, the America is identified by special badging and more pronounced vents in front wings. Finished in stunning bright silver over a gray interior and blue hood, this Aero 8 is a fabulous example showing just over 20,000 miles from new. It is a fabulous example, with outstanding paintwork and detailing. The nose is covered with transparent protective film to prevent rock chips and bug stains, and the aluminum body panels are straight, with factory-appropriate alignment. Rolling stock consists of 18-inch Technomagnesio forged-alloy wheels with gunmetal centers and polished lips. The exquisitely finished lightweight wheels are wrapped with grippy Michelin Pilot Sport tires. Behind those wheels are massive AP-Racing disc brakes to help rein in all of that grunt.
The mix of modern and traditional continues inside, with a pair of supportive bucket seats trimmed in gray, diamond-quilted leather and piped in navy blue, with dark blue Wilton wool carpeting lining the floors. The interior is in excellent condition, befitting the mileage. Contrasting the traditional leather and wool is a carbon fiber instrument panel with a deep lacquer finish. Instruments feature attractive off-white faces, and the shift lever for the 6-speed manual gearbox falls readily to hand. The switchgear – sometimes weak point on cottage industry cars – has a satisfying quality thanks to Morgan’s raiding of BMW’s parts bin.
The 4.4-liter, four-cam V8 sounds distinctly un-Teutonic, barking through dual side-exit exhausts. Originally designed to haul around two tons of luxury sedan, the engine is free to flex its muscle in the 2,400 pound Morgan. It runs strong, and with low miles and regular care in the hands of its previous owner, it presents in clean and tidy order beneath the two-piece alloy bonnet. On the road, the Aero 8 is an absolute thrill. Docile when you want it to be, yet electrifying when you plant your right foot, this Morgan is a magnificent driver’s car. With the exuberant Aero 8, old-world craftsmanship meets new-world performance in a package that encapsulates the spirit of independence that makes Morgan cars so unique.