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Morgan Launches New Plus Four with Aluminum and Ash Construction

Morgan Launches New Plus Four with Aluminum and Ash Construction

August 2020

Yes, you read that right. Morgan, the iconic British sports car company, has introduced its 2021 Plus Four, featuring aluminum and ash wood construction. Bonded aluminum makes up the new state-of-the- art chassis, replacing the prior steel ladder frame - in use for 84 years! For the rest of the body, the new car sticks with Morgan's trademark combination of hand-formed aluminum bodywork over a semi-structural wooden frame made from ash. The company debuted its CX-Generation bonded aluminum platform in March 2019, which now underpins all four-wheeled models.

Morgan Motor Company

A new bonded aluminum chassis (front) replaces the steel design (rear) of the previous Morgan

The Morgan features aluminum and ash construction now used on all four-wheeled models replacing the old steel version.

"The CX-Generation aluminum platform represents a significant undertaking for a small company like Morgan," noted Steve Morris, Morgan chief executive. "We recognize a need for a more resolved core product that fits in with our customer's growing needs, as well as future legislative requirements. 

"The advanced engineering encompassed within the new platform is a vital underpinning for the next generation of Morgan sports cars, and further demonstrates the exciting blend of craftsmanship and technology that makes Morgan cars unique.

The move to the bonded aluminum chassis yielded an improvement of "several hundred percent," in torsional rigidity (hence ride and handling) as compared to the prior steel chassis. In addition, there was significant weight reduction, with the new chassis weighing just over 200 pounds, helping to yield a 2,233 pound dry weight for the Morgan.

That light weight, combined with the 255 HP BMW turbo-four engine, moves the Plus Four from 0 to 62 mph (100 kph) in just under 5 seconds with the automatic transmission, and just over 5 seconds with the 6-speed manual. The new Plus Four delivers a very different driving experience than its predecessor as well. One automotive writer noted that driving the last Plus 4 and the new Plus Four back to back, "felt a little like comparing medieval medicine to modern surgery."

A portion of the new bonded aluminum chassis. Note the extrusions.

Aluminum and ash frame construction

So now that you want one, can you get one? The good news is that Morgan plans on selling several hundred a year in the U.S., taking advantage of legislation that allows such low volume vehicles to be imported as replicas.

Morgan was founded in 1910 by Henry Morgan and produces approximately 850 cars per year, all hand assembled.

To see the construction of the ash frame: https://youtu.be/p4c9i250pc4

To see Morgan's send off to the steel chassis: https://youtu.be/5q2Q-IQPMlE

Photos Credits
Photo #1: Vehicle Dynamics International; https://www.vehicledynamicsinternational.com/news/oem-news/morgan-switches-from-steel-chassis-to-cx-generation-aluminium-platform.html
Photo #2, 3, 4: Hagerty/Ronan Glon; https://www.hagerty.com/media/news/morgans-new-cx-platform/