Morgan To Unveil Aero 8 (US Edition)
NEWS ON RADIO
Morgan Aero Eight - US version
It will be unveiled during the Pebble Beach Concours
and the Monterey Historic race meeting in California
13th August, 2006
The Morgan Motor Company is fast approaching its 100 birthday in 2009. As the oldest family owned car manufacturer in the world, Morganís strategy is to remain an independent car manufacturer offering something different. Throughout its history Morgan has always stuck to its principle of simple lightweight coachbuilt construction to ensure a high power to weight ratio. This generates not just performance but also economy and low environmental impact.
Their aim is to make Morgan's heritage relevant to the modern world. They prove the cars in motor racing and homologate them to the latest safety standards. New power train technology allows every Morgan to achieve emission standards that exceed current legislation. Every new Morgan is a fusion of natural materials together with the latest electronic technology to ensure practical functionality. Every Morgan sports car is a combination of old and new Ė the very best of both worlds.
The Morgan Motor Companyís latest model, the Morgan Aero Eight, was unveiled as a concept at the Geneva Motorshow on 2nd March, 2000. The production car, complete with European Whole Vehicle Approval, entered the marketplace in 2002 and 450 vehicles has so far delivered $40 million (USD) worth of car sales.
During Morganís development project to gain European Approvals, it was decided that the additional work needed to enter the American market could not be undertaken within the initial scope of the development. Once production had begun in Europe and the company received a return on its investment, the development department would continue to work on a world car suitable for European and US markets.
The objective was to take a proven sales success, meet the strict American type approval regulations and launch the car at the LA Motor Show and at the New York Show in April. The additional volumes of US sales would enable the company to cost effectively manufacture the vehicle for a worldwide market.
The key success of the company in 2006 has been to develop a car that exceeds European and US safety and emission standards but still has the style and performance of the great coachbuilt grand touring cars of the 1930's. The Morgan Aero Eight is also a nimble car to drive as it is some 20% lighter than its competitors.
Preparing for technology
Morgan has invested heavily in European Approvals. Morgan is the only independent small volume manufacturer to hold these approvals, which allows the continued export ratios of around 70% of production. For the USA they have had to comply with extra requirements involving significant testing, development and product modifications. The key areas for the Morgan Aero Eight development for the USA are:
Safety testing and development
Driver and passenger air bag installation is a market requirement for the US and now most European vehicles are fitted with airbags. Morgan has incorporated 2 stage electronic deployment for 2006 in the development. Load limiters in the seat belts sense the weight of the occupant and are timed to work in the most effective way with the airbag deployment. This work was undertaken with Siemens who have the testing accreditation for the US market. The project required approximately 10 - 12 full car crash tests. An additional car was produced and tested to prevent a "misfire". This involves driving over curbs, ramps and gulleys to ensure the airbag trigger system does not operate.
In addition to the air bag developments and associated crash testing, there are a number of other US legislative requirements. Side Impact testing in the USA represents the impact of larger vehicles than the test assumes in Europe. The US rear impact tests determine "fuel tank integrity" and were completed at the Motor Industry Research Association.
BMW N62 V8 Engine
The V8 engine currently fitted to the Morgan Aero Eight meets Euro 5 as well as Californian emission standards (LEV 11 LEV). The control systems within the computer operate the complex "fuel-tank monitoring system" which measures the emission of fuel vapour. The new engine testing and certification has been undertaken by BMW in their Munich facilities, as well as in Death Valley in the USA.
Further Emission testing
Additional test have to be made for the US emission regulations. Unlike the tail pipe tests, these are based around hydro-carbon emissions. A sophisticated test is undertaken over a 3 day period measuring the carís output of hydrocarbons whilst stationary. All vehicles produce these from plastics and paints, as well as fuel tanks and pipes etc. The maximum allowance is just 1g/24 hours. Onboard Vapour Recovery measures the amount of fuel vapour emitted during re-fuelling and is tested within very strict guidelines.
The first European customers purchased the Aero 8 for its purity of performance. Its lack of ABS and traction control could be sold as a virtue. For the American market this purity needed to be combined with added levels of safety in extreme weather conditions and Morgan therefore developed the car with ABS (Anti Lock Brakes). This system was developed with their partners Bosch. The ABS had to be calibrated in a hot climate, then tested over winter on snow and ice and revalidated in hot weather again. This programme allows Morgan to include Electronic Brake Distribution (ie the split front to rear) and Drag Torque Control, a system which prevents de-stabilisation of the car whilst slowing down violently through the gears.
For the American market a number of additional improvements were required. For example:
Cast aluminium suspension uprights locate 6 pot front brake callipers and 4 pot rear brake callipers and wheel speed sensors. ABS ensures some of the shortest stopping distances in the supercar class
Electronic Speed Sensitive Power Steering allows effective car parking and safe high speed cornering
Wider wheels and tyres were fitted for better traction
Cruise Control allows a driver to operate within legal limits
On Board Tyre Pressure Monitoring adds security at high speeds
Xenon Headlights with Wash Facility add extra confidence to night driving
The cockpit was widened
The seats widened to incorporate more adjustability
Central locking to aid security
A larger boot to accommodate a full set of golf clubs
Improved NVH achieved with softer seals and automatic window drop
A more powerful air conditioning system controls cockpit climate
A new hood system which is easier to operate
All of these elements have been developed in conjunction with their suppliers. The major projects have been undertaken by BMW, Siemens and Bosch.
They are particularly proud that the all up weight of the car including all the safety elements and creature comforts is still only 1,134 kilogrammes, a figure that is at least 20% lighter than any competitor with a similar specification.
Preparing for Production
Over the last 5 years, the factory has seen a large investment in its facilities. New working methods and material developments have meant a reduction in hours taken to build each car from 346 hours to 236 hours. This has enabled Morgan to increase production from 10 to a regular 13 cars per week, and up to an occasional 14.
The Aero 8 production shop incorporates a state of the art water based paint facility, which has a capacity for 15 vehicles per week. This is on top of the 12 - 13 car per week capacity from the existing facility.
A major feature of the Morgan Aero Eight is the bonded alloy chassis. This incorporates new lightweight technology, specifically the use of specialist coated aluminium and bonding/curing techniques as introduced on the new Jaguars and Aston Martins following Morganís lead with this AIV technology. There will be a rolling chassis on display to illustrate the class leading lightweight platform.
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