The first celebratory Morgan Plus 4 70th Anniversary models roll off the line at Pickersleigh Road.Continue reading
The all-new Morgan Plus Four has today been officially unveiled. Featuring a bonded aluminium platform and a 255 bhp turbocharged four-cylinder engine, it heralds a new dawn for the company.
The car replaces the Morgan Plus 4, a model that started production in 1950 and for most of the last 70 years has represented the firm’s core model. It is differentiated by the use of the word ‘Four’ in its name, replacing the numeral ‘4’ in the outgoing model.
The much-loved appearance of the model has remained virtually unchanged, but under the skin it’s a design revolution. In fact, 97% of its parts are all new. Gone is the steel ladder frame, and in its place sits the CX-Generation bonded aluminium platform, as used in the Morgan Plus Six. It brings with it not just reduced weight, but an exponential increase in rigidity, with a resultant dramatic improvement in the car’s handling. While the car’s wheelbase is shared with the Plus Six, the Plus Four is almost 8cm narrower, and its wings maintain the distinctive rounded profile associated with the model.
Power comes from BMW, in the from of its 2.0-litre TwinPower Turbo engine. Producing 255 bhp, 0-62 mph takes from just 4.8 seconds, while top speed is 149 mph. It puts the car’s performance on par with outgoing 3.7-litre V6 Morgan Roadster. For the first time, the model will be available with a choice of an automatic and manual gearboxes: an eight-speed auto with paddle shift, and a six-speed manual. CO2 emissions, meanwhile, are just 159 g/km for the automatic version and 165 g/km for the manual, 30% than those of the Roadster.
Interior comfort has been improved with increased cabin space, extra luggage room, and easier access. Never-seen features such as central locking, LED front and rear lights, and ABS are now included, while previously optional items including sun visors, door check straps and a mohair hood now come as standard. A subtle but seamlessly integrated Bluetooth stereo system is one of the many all-new options.
In the creation of the future, however, the past has played a crucial role. The car is still handbuilt by the master craftsmen and women at Morgan’s Malvern factory, uses the brand’s core materials of aluminium, ash wood, and leather, and thanks to its low weight – from just 1009 kg – retains the famous levels of driving involvement.
The launch took place at the Morgan factory in Malvern, UK. Following the outbreak of coronavirus, the Geneva motor show – where the car was due to be launched – was cancelled. But, in a plan typical of the brand’s can-do attitude, the show car was driven back from Geneva – a journey of more than 1000 miles – in a matter of days, in time for a reveal event at the factory.
The all-new Plus Four is on sale today, priced from £62,995 inc. VAT in the UK. Contact your nearest Dealer for more information or to book a test drive.
As production of Morgan’s steel chassis draws to a close, a special Plus 4 celebrates 70 years of Morgan’s most popular model.
In 1950, the first Morgan Plus 4 rolled off the production line at Pickersleigh Road. Over the next 70 years, it would develop through myriad iterations, but always prove a hit with buyers.
Now, production of the steel chassis – on which the Plus 4 has always been based – is to finish. It begs the question: how to celebrate not just seven decades of the Plus 4, but the ending of its time-honoured construction, too? Morgan’s design team has put pen to paper, and this result is this, the Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition.
For the first time in the company’s 111-year history, the chassis has been painted in gold, to highlight its significance. A celebration of 70 years is, of course, a platinum anniversary, so what’s more appropriate than Platinum Metallic paint? That’s complemented by satin dark grey wire wheels, a motorsport-inspired front valance, and exterior black pack including a black stone guard, A-pillars and sidescreens
Inside the car, the finest grade of leather has been sourced, while specially embroidered headrests differentiate the edition. A Ravenwood veneer dashboard, dark grey box weave carpets and satin black Mota-Lita steering wheel have been handpicked for the model, as well as a leather-trimmed steering cowl and door handles, heated ‘performance’ seats, footwell lighting. An exclusive commemorative Photographic Build Record, mohair hood cover, and sidescreen storage bags are also included with the car. To mark the cars out as some of the last steel-chassis Plus 4 models, each one features an individually numbered plaque.
The changes don’t end here, though. Under the bonnet, the model gains an engine map configured by Aero Racing, Morgan’s in-house motorsport specialists, raising power from 154bhp (115kW) to 180bhp (134kW), and taking its 0-62mph (0-100kph) acceleration time down to less than seven seconds. Alongside this, the cars are fitted with an Aero Racing sports exhaust, finished with a ceramic-black tail pipe, allowing the engine to truly sing.
Jonathan Wells, Morgan Head of Design, said: “As the design team creating the Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition, our aim was to create a classic look, yet one that exudes the significance of what it represents. A mix of premium tones, high-quality materials, and exquisite details reflect the essence of the venerable Morgan Plus 4, and provide a fitting tribute to the steel chassis that has formed its backbone since it was launched in 1950.”
Just 20 cars will be built, priced at £60,995 inc. VAT in the UK, however, deposits have already been taken on every car. A small number of late-production Plus 4 and Roadster models remain in the Morgan Dealer Network, and Morgan recommends that those interested in purchasing one contact their nearest Dealer at their earliest convenience.
Anglesey lies off the north west coast of Wales. On a cold, wet and windy November night, it may not be the first choice of destination for many. But if you were at the island’s eponymous race circuit on the weekend of Remembrance Day, you might understand the draw…
From up on the spectator bank – where on a clear day the views stretch across the Menai straight and on to the imposing mountains of Snowdonia – LED lights pierce the darkness. The air is filled with the sound of buzzing four-cylinder engines and screeching tyres. As cars pass you, rooster tails of spray are kicked up into the air, illuminated red by tail lights, like the glow from an afterburner of a jet fighter taking off from the adjacent RAF Valley.
This is Mission Motorsport’s Race of Remembrance, and taking part in this incredible event is Morgan’s way of honouring the work of the British armed forces, commemorating the fallen, and bringing brighter futures to those returning to civvy street.
James Cameron, the man behind the event, explained its concept: “Mission Motorsport is a Remembrance service with a race attached. It helps people who are leaving the forces, particularly those who are wounded, injured or sick, to find new futures and support their families.
“The automotive industry needs quality people, and the military has these people in abundance. When they leave the forces, some go off like a rocket and are great successes, but if we allow some to become underemployed, or unemployed, or under a bridge and homeless, or a suicide statistic, then we as a country are falling short. At the event today we have more than 30 beneficiaries, all meeting their individual recovery goals. They’re here to have their horizons broadened and be uplifted.
“It’s absolutely fantastic to have Morgan here. It’s contributing to the variety, and the cars just fit perfectly in this race. They’re so distinctive, very evocative, and very British.”
Morgan had two teams entered. Aero Racing One was a four-car relay team driven by Craig Hamilton-Smith, Tony Hirst, Jon and son Tom Richards, and Phill Thomas. Driving a mix of Plus 4 models, they finished an impressive 18th, from 44 starters.
Paul Voakes and Ian Payne shared Voakes’ Plus 4 Clubsport in Aero Racing Two, taking the chequered flag in 25th position. In the 12 hours of racing, they completed 313 laps, a remarkable 657 miles of flat-out racing, with no major mechanical issues. It’s a testament to the inherent reliability of the highly developed Clubsport machine.
These results are all the more impressive when the calibre of the competition is taken into account. Drivers such as Dario and Marino Franchitti, as well as British Touring Car aces Rob Austin and Tom Ingram, all took part.
“Yesterday I did a 1 hour 15 minute session in the night, in the brutal wind and rain,” said Hirst. The 2019 Morgan Challenge champion added: “It’s about being pragmatic; it’s not a 20-minute sprint. It’s a balance of being fast and competitive but also looking after the car and keeping out of trouble.”
For Phill Thomas, the race had a very special significance. “My son served in the submarine service and he’s no longer with us. I carry the logo of the submarine service on the car. That’s why my wife and I come up. And to have fun as well.”
“I’m ex-services so the race is very important to me,” added Voakes. “I think the Morgan Motor Company being involved with it is absolutely fantastic.”
“This year we came equipped with LED light bars and tinted the mirrors so the drivers didn’t get glare from the cars behind,” explained Mark Evans, manager of Aero Racing. “The Morgan factory had a big collection for charity which I presented to Mission Motorsport on Friday. It’s all about having fun and enjoying the day, although in the heat of battle the drivers may not see it like that…”
Renowned journalist Richard Meaden was also competing in the event. He summed up: “It’s an unusual place to race, the weather’s always all over the place, and the format is brilliant. It’s just great fun. And to see people from the armed forces realise they have a relevance and something to offer is an amazing thing. Emotionally it’s quite challenging – you meet people and you’re blown away by their stories. I didn’t expect to see Morgan cars racing, but they’re quick. You underestimate them at your peril.”
Morgan would like to thank Mission Motorsport, the volunteer mechanics from UWRacing at the University of Wolverhampton and all who attended the race.