British boutique car maker Morgan will bring the 18-year production of its Aero 8 sports car to an end in 2018 – but not before it unleashes the maddest example of the two-seater we’ve ever seen.
Called the Aero GT, it will be a limited run of just eight models, all of which will be tailored to the customer’s request, powered by a blisteringly potent V8 engine and capable of 170mph at full pelt.
Costing a hefty £144,000, it’s no small fee to pay for a car designed to look like it was from a forgotten era – not that you have the opportunity to buy one, with all examples already sold.
Tally ho! This is Morgan’s final-edition Aero 8 GT, which signals the end for a model that’s been available since 2000
The British marque, operating out of Malvern in Worcestershire, first introduced us to the Aero 8 back in 2000 and has since attracted a variety of high-profile customers, not to mention petrolheads Richard Hammond and Rowan Atkinson as well as everyone’s favourite dog lover, Paul O’Grady.
But the 108-year-old motor manufacturer has decided time is up for its ‘old boy’ sports cars, and wants it to sign off with a bang.
The Aero GT – revealed this week at the Geneva Motor Show – will certainly fulfill that remit.
With a BMW-derived naturally aspirated 4.8-litre V8 engine producing 367bhp, it will have explosive acceleration.
From rest, Morgan says it will thrust to 62mph before your stopwatch hits 5 seconds and will gallop on to a top speed of 170mph. Not bad for a car based on a decades-old design.
But it’s not the power department that makes this the most extreme examples of the retro two seater.
Instead, the Morgan crew has put all its efforts into making it look like the most bonkers vehicle it has produced yet – that’s saying something for a brand that also sells a three-wheeled open-top car with a Harley-Davidson engine up front.
Morgan craftsmen raided the leftovers bin for the brand’s GT3 race car to produce the most extreme Aero 8 yet
Powered by a whaling 4.8-litre naturally aspirated BMW V8 motor, it sounds just as good as it looks
MORGAN AERO GT: WILL IT FIT IN MY GARAGE?
Price: £120,000 before taxes (£144,00 including VAT)
Engine: BMW 4799CC V8
Gearbox: BMW 6-speed manual
Max Power: 270kw (367/bhp)
Max Torque: 490Nm (370 lb/ft)
0–62mph: 4.5 seconds
Top Speed: 170mph (273kph)
Power to weight: 315 bhp / tonne
Urban mpg: 16 mpg (18.2l /100km)
Extra urban: 32 mpg (8.7l /100km)
Combined: 23 mpg (12.11 /100km)
Co2: 282 g/km
Dry weight: 1,180kg
Fuel tank size: 55 litres
Chassis: Aluminium bonded / rivetted
To get the desired appearance, the developers have raided the spare parts bin of Morgan’s 2009 GT3 racer and thrown just about every wing, spoiler and air duct at the eight special editions.
This fully road legal modern classic now gets a huge rear diffuser and a pair of canard fins on the nose to help wedge it into the tarmac. The expert craftsmen have also punctured extra vents into the body panels to reduce air pressure.
Each piece of wonderfully molded bodywork is hand crafted and assembled in the UK.
Underneath, contrary to other Morgans on sale with wooden underpinnings, the GT retains the Aero 8’s aluminum chassis and also gets fully adjustable suspension – not so old hat, is it?
And buyers won’t have to fear the British weather, as each one comes with an optional hard-top roof panel made from lightweight carbon fibre.
The Morgan Aero 8 first debuted at the Geneva Motor Show some 18 years ago – the same location where the new Aero GT was revealed this week
Some 7 months after the model debuted in Switzerland, UK petrol heads got a first chance to see it at the NEC Show in Birmingham in 2000
When it launched, it was priced from just over £50,000 – that’s almost a third of the cost of the end-of-production GT model
Steve Morris, Morgan’s managing director, said: ‘The Aero 8 has been a stalwart of Morgan production for almost 20 years, it offers an exceptional driving experience and unrivalled looks, further enhanced in Aero GT guise.
‘Every Morgan is built to an exacting specification and is bespoke to each customer; their personality is displayed in every detail.
‘Owners invest a great deal of emotion in choosing and tailoring their own perfect specification, this investment is rewarded at the first drive of their unique and exhilarating vehicle. The Aero GT is the ultimate ensemble of this formula.’
Just 8 examples will be made, all customised to the request of the buyer. And 8 deposits have already been taken, Morgan says
One of the main new features is this enormous rear difusser, designed to improve downforce
The hand-made bodywork has been punctured with extra vents into the body panels to reduce air pressure
MORE CARS FROM THE 2018 GENEVA MOTOR SHOW
Jon Wells, design lead on the car, added: ‘The Aero range has always offered Morgan the platform to explore the boundaries of mechanical and styling design and I am delighted the family has allowed one of our wildest ideas to become a reality.’
Being a final-run model and built to a bonkers specification, it’s not going to come cheap.
The eight examples ring in at £120,000 before taxes, which means £144,000 for British buyers having to pay VAT – that’s almost £50,000 more than the regular Aero 8 price.
And it wasn’t the only final-edition model Morgan showed this week…
Morgan also unveiled a final-run Plus 8 model, called the 50th Anniversary Edition.
Using the same engine fitted to the Aero GT, it features a number of styling details intended to hark back to the original prototype that first showed its grille in 1968.
That includes five-stud wheels and leather-sealed wing panels – a real blast from the past.
This is Morgan’s Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition, of which just 50 will be made to signal the end of the model’s production
It uses the same V8 engine as fitted to the Aero GT, though it has been limited to a top speed of just 155mph
You might not want to test it flat out, though – with barely any windows, the driver is likely to end up with a mouthful on bugs on a British summer’s afternoon
With no roof and barely any windows, bar a couple of dinky screens that will ultimately result in drivers getting a mouthful of insects each time they drive it on a hot summer’s day, it weighs in at 80kg less than the Aero GT.
That said, it takes the same 4.5 seconds to hit 62mph and has a reduced top speed of just 155mph.
Only 50 models will be made priced from £107,500 with some already promised to Morgan fans.
With two of its most iconic cars nearing their fruition, Morgan will look to concentrate efforts on the Electric Morgan EV3 due on roads later this year with a promised 120-mile range.
CARS & MOTORING: ON TEST