|2010 Morgan Aero SuperSports
|Tune Up Cost:
|Chassis Number Location:
|Plate on right side of engine compartment
|Engine Number Location:
|Between cylinder heads, under throttle body
|Morgan Sports Car Club
|2012–19 Morgan Plus 8, 2000–03 BMW Z8, 2012 Fisker Karma Sunset
This car, Lot 223, sold for $247,500, including buyer’s premium, at RM Sotheby’s Online Only: Open Roads auction on March 25, 2021.
The Morgan Aero SuperSports is the ultimate development of the original Aero 8 model line, produced from 2000 to ’16. The Aero 8 marked a bold departure for Morgan Motor Company. Its prior output had comprised mostly a single model in varying strengths and flavors, though under the skin, development of the four-wheelers had been continuous since 1935.
A new era
Conceived at a time when Charles Morgan, grandson of the company founder, was still nominally in charge, the Aero 8’s construction was straight from racing tradition. Much of the development was done by Morgan hero Chris Lawrence, who won the 2-liter class at Le Mans with the original Plus 4 Super Sports racer in 1962 and was instrumental in the company’s 2004 return to the 24-hour race.
As well as the bold new styling, the Series 1 Aero 8 represented Morgan’s first move away from a live axle and sliding-pillar front suspension. Instead, proper independent suspension was used in the form of wishbones at all four corners. Power came from BMW’s 4.4-liter M62 V8 and matching 6-speed gearbox.
In 2005, the AeroMax debuted at the Geneva Motor Show. It was originally intended as a one-off for a wealthy client, but ultimately, 100 examples were built from 2008–09, based on the 4.8-liter Series 4. Incredibly, the design was created by 21-year-old Coventry University graduate Matthew Humphries. He had submitted sketches to Morgan, and the company not only took him on but made his fantasies real. Can you imagine that happening at any other carmaker?
The Aero SuperSports followed in 2009 as an open-roof version of the AeroMax, debuting at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este to celebrate 100 years of Morgan. The two removable roof panels were storable in the trunk, which this time had a conventional opening lid. Later, approximately 40 Aero Coupe models were made with a fixed roof.
Unusual, even for a Morgan
The Aero SuperSports looks like a custom car, and that’s practically what it is. Created by hand in tiny numbers by a team of skilled craftsmen in Malvern, U.K., where Morgans have been built since 1912, its unique style could only have happened at a highly “individual” car maker with a short chain of command.
Parts-bin availability meant the headlights on the first Aero 8 models were from the Volkswagen New Beetle, and even though Mini headlights had been adopted by the SuperSports’ debut, the front retains a slight air of Plymouth Prowler. The LED taillights are off the shelf too: They’re from the Lancia Thesis, a large sedan built from 2002–09 that never came to the U.K. or the U.S.
The rear is pure Barris/Jeffries-era “Kustom,” and wouldn’t look out of place in wild metalflake paint. You wonder if this is what Bill Mitchell really wanted for the boattail Riviera, and you can even spot a slight hint of plastic-bumpered C3 Corvette about the tail if you squint hard.
Other beautiful details abound, from the polished-wood dash top on down. Even the exhaust tips are engraved “Aero Racing.”
Under those poured-mercury looks, it’s incredible to learn that this Morgan still has an ash body frame in traditional manner. Under that it’s much more modern, being assembled from welded, glued and riveted aluminum extrusions, with some honeycomb construction in evidence. The rivets are there mostly to hold everything in place while the glue sets.
“Basically, it’s a big Lotus Elise, if you like, though not made by Lotus,” says Morgan enthusiast, dealer and former racer Richard Thorne.
Thorne says he’s never had or heard of any problems with the BMW-sourced engine or gearbox, though owners should beware of seals on the targa top that can squeak and leak a bit.
Well sold, for today
With production now ended, build numbers are finite and a few sales have been plotted, so we can take a guess at where the numbers are going. “It’s not difficult to get over £100k ($138k) for a regular car, and the specials are more,” says Thorne. “The AeroMax is currently £130k ($180k)-plus, and they’re going to be quarter-million-pound ($350k) cars — they’re super GT cars for touring.”
With that in mind, it appears that this virtually as-new car, physically located in Waxahachie, TX, though wearing Santa Monica dealer plates from MorganWest, has rather preceded the predicted inflation in values. I think we can put that down to a few factors. Limited production numbers mean these are rare — and scarce in the U.S. That this is a left-hand-drive automatic makes it even more appealing in the U.S. market.
Perhaps sprinkle all that with a bit of almost-post-COVID-19 enthusiasm and it’s a good price for the seller today. If Thorne’s prediction is right, however, the successful bidder might have bought well. ♦
(Introductory description courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.)