Morgan Aero 8 2001–2009

The first all-new offering from Morgan since 1936, the Aero 8 combined modern mechanicals and advanced construction with traditional looks. Its structure was based on a bonded and riveted aluminum chassis tub, attached to a wood frame for the body. In 2008–09 a hundred of a closed coupé version, the AeroMax, were built, and in 2010 the Aero SuperSports, with lift-off roof sections, replaced the original drophead Aero 8.

Morgan Aero 8 2001-2009
Morgan Aero 8 2001-2009

When Morgan announced the Aero 8 in 2000, the shock was considerable. The cars of the small family-run British company had been largely unchanged since the 1930s. They had a separate chassis, a body with a wooden frame, and board-hard suspension, independent only at the front.

Logo Morgan cars company
Logo Morgan cars company

From three wheels to four

H.F.S. Morgan unveiled his first car in 1910-a three-wheeler with a single rear wheel. “Trikes” were made until 1952, but in 1936 Morgan introduced a four-wheel sports car, the 4/4. The firm is currently run by the grandson of “HFS.”

The Aero 8, developed from a Morgan racing car, changed all that. The aluminum panels on the body were heat-formed rather than painstakingly shaped by hand. But the lightweight aluminum tub was only the start; underneath was supple, racing-type, all-independent suspension with inboard springs and dampers, and the steering was power-assisted.

ModelMorgan Aero 8, 2001–09
AssemblyMalvern, UK
ProductionApprox. 1,000
ConstructionAluminum hull; ash body frame
Engine4,398 cc/4,799 cc, dohc V8
Power output286–367 bhp at 6,300 rpm (4.8 liter)
TransmissionSix-speed manual; optional automatic
SuspensionIndependent by inboard coil
BrakesFour-wheel discs
Maximum speed150–170 mph (241–274 km/h)
Morgan Aero 8 2001-2009 Specifications

The car also featured electric windows in place of a regular Morgan’s lift-off sliding sidescreens. At launch, the price was twice that of the cheapest traditional models still in production.

The cross-eyed look

The Aero 8 front is dominated by its headlights. The original model, as seen here (fig.4), used Volkswagen “New Beetle” units. However, their inward-pointing position gave the car a cross-eyed look that was widely criticized. From 2006 new headlights from a BMW Mini were used. Another prominent feature, the traditional Morgan radiator grille, is a dummy. Air is fed to the engine through the splitter below the license plate.

The exterior

The Aero 8 was styled by company managing director Charles Morgan. An updating of traditional Morgan lines, the body features a “splitter” in the front apron-a shaped spoiler that aids stability at speed. The apron also incorporates the air intake for the radiator. At the rear, the opening trunk-a first for Morgan-has a lip forming an aerofoil. The aerodynamics are a considerable improvement on those of earlier Morgans.

Morgan Aero 8 2001-2009 exterior
Morgan Aero 8 2001-2009 exterior
  1. Traditional Morgan logo
  2. Aero name first used on Morgan three-wheeler
  3. Front indicators built into lower wing
  4. Inward pointing headlights
  5. Towing eye (early cars only)
  6. Main grille is dummy
  7. Louvers on hood top
  8. Internally-adjustable mirror
  9. 18-in alloy wheels have run-flat tires
  10. Round rear lights recall those of earlier models
  11. Hood has heated glass window
  12. Filler cap same as on traditional Morgans
  13. Rear light pod has an elegant curve
  14. Trunk spoiler helps Aero achieve a drag coefficient of 0.39
Morgan Aero 8 2001-2009 exterior 2
Morgan Aero 8 2001-2009 exterior 2

The interior

The well-equipped interior marks a departure from traditional Morgan style. It has an engine-turned aluminum dashboard in place of the wood, leather, or simulated leather that was previously used. A modern echo of past practice is the beautifully crafted wooden dashboard top rail. On all but the last cars the handbrake is fly-off: Pull back and press the top to lock, pull back again and it disengages.

Morgan Aero 8 2001-2009 interior
Morgan Aero 8 2001-2009 interior
  1. Steering column and its controls come from the BMW 7-series
  2. Custom switches add quality feel
  3. Chrome gear knob is a non-standard feature
  4. Pouch pocket
  5. Chrome interior light on the left side of the front seats
  6. Seats have good side support

Under the hood

The BMW V8 engine is a state-of-the-art, all-aluminum unit with two camshafts per bank of cylinders, and four valves per cylinder. The original 4,398 cc engine develops a power output of 286 bhp, with a maximum torque of 324 lb ft at 3,600 rpm. It gives the Morgan a top speed of over 150 mph (241 km/h), with a 0-60 mph time of under 5 seconds. Power was upgraded to 330 bhp for 2004 and the engine enlarged to 4,799 cc in 2007.

Morgan Aero 8 2001-2009 under the hood
Morgan Aero 8 2001-2009 under the hood
  1. Battery located under the hood
  2. The powerful V8 engine is a tight fit within the Aero 8’s aluminum structure
  3. Wiper motor is exposed to view
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