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Morgan's new models


They include the fourth series in the Aero 8 this year, three models in the Classic range which is expected to resume next year, development of a fuel cell prototype LIFECar and the resumption of four-seater production in 2011.

The Aero 8 now comes with a 4.8 litre BMW V8 engine replacing the previous 4.4 litre unit. Power is up 25kW to 270kW and torque is up 40Nm to 490Nm.

It costs $255,000 and for the first time on a Morgan, automatic transmission is an option for an extra $9000.

Morgan Cars Australia managing director Chris van Wyk said the Aero 8 only recently became available here.

"It's taken me four years to get the Austalian compliance for them," van Wyk explained.

Features of the Series 4 include new airconditioning with tunnel-mounted outlets, a repositioned handbrake, larger front air intake, new heat outlets on the front guards and a larger boot due to a relocated fuel tank.

It weighs only 1445kg thanks to its aluminium chassis and boyd which helps it achieve a 0-100km/h sprint in less than 4.5 seconds, and 10.8 litres per 100km. CO2 emissions are 260g/km.

Aero 8 comes standard with a carbon fibre boot lid, 6-pot AP Racing 348 mm ventilated disc brakes at the front, tyre pressure monitoring, cruise control and a bespoke leather and wood trim interior.

While there are 19 standard Morgan colours from which to choose, the Morgan factory will also paint a car in any automotive colour, including two-tone, for an extra $2200.

There is also a choice of wool carpet colours, four versions of wood trim, an aluminium or graphite fascia and a selection of colours for the double-layer mohair soft top.

Van Wyk said they were taking orders now for the Aero 8 and already had seven people put down a $1000 deposit.

"Morgan owners are the most homogenous group of people I've ever come across: heterosexual male baby boomers and they all buy the cars with cash," he said.

"It's all discretionary spending for them.

"The only problem is they are not in a hurry because they have several other cars. They buy when they are ready."

The Classic models, due next year, are expected to include the Roadster, Plus 4 and 4/4 Sport.

Van Wyk said pricing and specification was not yet known.

"Who knows where the currency will be and what Australian Government taxes may change?" he said.

"However, in principle, the 2007 price positioning will be retained as far as possible."

When Australian supply ceased in 2007, the Ford-powered Classic range consisted of the Roadster three-litre V6 at $145 000, two-litre Plus 4 at $117,000 and 1.8-litre 4/4 at $99,000.

Van Wyk said a waiting list had already been established for the Classics.

He said there was also demand here for the four-seaters, available in Europe in Plus 4 and Roadster versions.

"Due to ADR requirements, Morgan four-seaters have not been able to be sold in Australia as new cars for about two decades," he said.

"Indications are that production may resume in 2011."

Meanwhile, a fuel cell prototype LIFECar is being developed in an alliance with Cranfield University.

"The factory realised they were at risk because this heterosexual baby boomer market was getting older and would not be around much longer," van Wyk said.

"All Morgan's history has been about lightweight, fuel-efficient cars for their performance so they are environmentally sound.

"So why not build on that environmental heritage by bringing a zero emissions car to the market?

"I don't know when, but hopefully in the next two or three years.

"I wanted it here for the Sydney Motor Show, but it was in development testing so they are serious about it."

Morgan sold only three cars last year and two the year before in strong economic conditions.

"Unfortunately we had a supply problem with Morgan," he explained.

However, van Wyk was upbeat about selling six this year, despite harsher financial times.

Morgan Motor Company is organising a series of centenary celebrations in England in July and August and van Wyk expected a contingent of Australian owners to attend with their cars.

 

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