Morgan to phase out steel chassis used since 1936
18 December 2019 - Autoblog
Current and new models move to CX-generation bonded aluminum chassis
HFS Morgan, the eponymous owner of the British motor company, began his commercial journey in 1908 by making a three-wheeler powered by V-twin motorcycle engines. He built his first four-wheeled vehicle in 1936 on a steel chassis, calling it the 4-4 because it had a four-cylinder engine and four wheels. That basic chassis setup is still in use today, but not for much longer. The automaker announced that beginning in 2020 it will phase out the steel platform that supports the current 4/4, Plus 4, and V6 Roadster. Taking its place will be the new-generation CX platform fashioned from bonded aluminum, which debuted on the Plus Six roadster at the Geneva Motor Show this year.
The CX architecture is Morgan's second foray into bonded aluminum, the tiny car company having used a bonded and riveted aluminum chassis for the Aero 8 and Plus 8 at the beginning of the millennium. The reasons for returning to the lightweight metal are the same now as they were in 2001, Morgan CEO Steve Morris saying, "We recognize a need for a more resolved core product that fits in with our customer's growing needs, as well as future legislative requirements."
A brand new chassis developed in-house and weighing just 214 pounds also represents an enormous investment for an automaker that built 850 cars in 2018, so expect to see the Morgan range expand with new models and new engines. Morgan has already said that future products will offer engines smaller than the BMW 3.0-liter inline-six in the Plus Six, and manual transmissions. It's thought that Morris' hint will mean the arrival of BMW's 2.0-liter four-cylinder under Morgan's long nose, and a six-speed manual gearbox.
One doesn't lets an 83-year-old member of the family retire without occasion, so we should expect at least one celebratory model set on the old steel framework in 2020. Next year will "bring about opportunity for us to mark the significance of the outgoing traditional steel chassis and its contribution to the marque," Morris said, and they "look forward to giving it a fitting send off."