Oddball: Morgan Aeromax
Throughout history there have been cases of great and not so great combinations of car manufacturers and nations. Citroen and Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Nissan – two combinations that saw different nations coming together to build a car, be it for better or for worse. Taking the best of one nation and the best of another can result in a great car – the Morgan Aeromax is one such vehicle.
Let’s start with the basics – the Malvern-based Morgan Motor Company has been in existence for over 100 years and though famed for its wooden framed sports cars and three-wheelers, both of which are put together with age-old craftsmanship, manual labour and tools made in the early part of the last century. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this well-established and traditional company doesn’t have an understanding and enjoyment from modern technology – far from it in fact.
The Morgan Aero 8 came on sale in 2001 and showcased a whole host of technologies which many didn’t think Morgan were capable of – how wrong they were. The chassis isn’t made from wood – in fact, it’s a state-of-the-art bonded aluminium structure, with aluminium body panels, fully independent suspension and at its heart, a 4.4-litre BMW V8.
This incredibly modern design combined brilliantly with the sophisticated BMW V8. It was later replaced with the larger 4.8-litre N62 – in the 1175kg Morgan the 367hp lump meant 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds (manual) or 4.1 seconds (auto).
Perhaps the real showpiece of the Aero 8 range was the Aeromax – the targa-topped coupe was based around the Aero 8 but most of the bodywork was new, including the exquisite split-screen rear end. Morgan initially built the car as a one off, but such was the reaction that 100 cars were made – the Aeromax was the ultimate expression of the beauty of British engineering along with an engine that showcased BMW’s mechanical knowhow. The ultimate marriage? It may well be.
Priced at £110,000, it certainly wasn’t cheap, but then, it shouldn’t be – just look at the thing. With that V8 supplying 370lb ft at 3600rpm the BMW lump suits it perfectly, enabling both the relaxed pace of a GT with the frantic pace of a full-on sports car. All wrapped in a body that is simply jaw-dropping. What’s not to like?
The Aero8 and Aeromax are no longer in production, having stopped in 2010. But that doesn’t mean you can no longer have that experience – Morgan have updated its designs for both the drop-top and coupe Aero models, both of which now have rear ends closely related to the Aeromax’s, along with plenty of other updated details. Under the double-sided folding bonnet you’ll still find that 4.8-litre BMW V8 too – it seems that this multi-national relationship is here to stay, and that’s certainly no bad thing.
Engine: BMW 4.8-litre N62 V8
Transmission: 6-speed manual or auto
How many: 100
What is it: limited run sports car