After 84 years of nearly continuous production, Morgan has built its last steel-chassis car. All Morgan sports cars will now use the bonded-aluminum CX-Generation chassis introduced in March 2019.
The steel ladder-frame chassis was introduced in 1936 and has remained in production ever since, except for production stoppages during World War II and the coronavirus pandemic, Morgan said in a press release Tuesday.
The chassis was first used on the Morgan 4-4, so named because it was the British automaker's first model with both four cylinders and four wheels. Up to that point, all Morgan vehicles had been 3-wheelers (the company still makes a 3-wheeler).
While it underwent modifications over its lifetime, the same basic chassis underpinned most Morgan sports cars over the next eight decades, accommodating V-6 and V-8 engines, as well as rear seats. Prior to 2019, the only Morgan sports cars that didn't use this chassis were the Aero 8 and the second-generation Plus 8. Morgan figures that it has built 35,000 steel-chassis cars.
Morgan CX-Generation aluminum platform
Morgan's focus on tradition was likely as much a factor in keeping the steel chassis in production as any engineering advantages. The chassis uses front and rear leaf spring suspension, albeit with a sliding-pillar design that allows the hub to move vertically on a kingpin assembly. This prevents camber change during compression and rebound, increasing lateral grip, according to Morgan.
The last steel-chassis Morgan was a Plus 4 70th Edition, celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Plus 4 model. Limited to just 20 cars, the special edition features a gold-painted chassis with Platinum Metallic bodywork. The final car was purchased by a Morgan collector, according to the company.
Morgan will now build cars on the new aluminum CX-Generation chassis, which debuted with the Plus 6 at the 2019 Geneva motor show. The new chassis includes a 0.8-inch wheelbase stretch, and is also twice as rigid as the first-generation aluminum chassis used on the Aero 8, according to Morgan. The company has already shown a next-generation Plus 4 based on the CX-Generation chassis.
The demise of Morgan's steel chassis came shortly after the end of another British automotive institution. In June, the Bentley L-Series V-8 ended production after 61 years when the last Mulsanne sedan rolled off the assembly line.