Don Booker MBE reveals a £120,000 cracker
It is amazing what stimulates interest in motoring and, in particular, a car.
Often I have said the passion has gone out of motoring in the modern age, but then I come across fascinating happenings that make me think again.
A woman I know called at the Morgan factory at Malvern Link to buy her husband a birthday present. It was a vintage bonnet strap for his car costing £80.
She eventually bought a car, the new Aeromax, costing £135,000.
Professional footballers are attracted to sporty and glamorous cars that cost quite a bit but, as yet, none have been tempted to buy a car like the beautiful and wonderful machine featured here; a £120,000 Morgan Aero 8 five series.
If you see this car on the roads of South Yorkshire it will be one of only 200 hand-built. This car also stems from a factory visit when the owner was in Worcestershire and called at the factory which now has a visitor centre. He fell in love with the marque and over the years bought two classic Plus 4s before taking a fancy to this rare Aero 8.
This model was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2000 and was a dramatic change from Morgan’s traditional hand-built classic range.
Morgan have never built their own engines and power in this one comes from a BMW V8 which develops 367bhp, moves from 0 to 60mph in 4.5 seconds and can reach £170mph. Combined consumption is 23mpg and locally it falls to 16mpg. There is a six-speed gearbox with paddle operation similar to a Formula One car.
Changes may be dramatic, but at first glance it is truly from the Morgan stable. Sweeping wings and set headlights stamp the Malvern trade mark.
What is dramatic about this Morgan is the fact that it has a boot which can accommodate the mohair hood when wind-in-the-hair motoring is desired. In the past it has been a suitcase and leather straps on a special rack on the spare wheel that has carried one’s bits and pieces. One was lucky if it was intact at a journey’s end.
The fascia is metal with wood trims and is ‘to die for’. The only other items of wood are door trims, and the options list is Morgan’s biggest-ever; but the car can be made to meet your desires and these include air-conditioning so the car is more usable in warm climates – in the UK we usually get protection from an umbrella.
Making the Aero 8 gave Morgan an opportunity to make a perfect marriage of fine craftsmanship and performance technology. “That’s important in today’s increasingly autonomous world,” said Steve Morris, Morgan managing director.
The Aero 8 has a body, hand-shaped, of aluminium. There are fewer wood shavings on the factory floor, but the heart of the workforce still belongs to whichever model is resting on the trestle.