My guess is that the new Plus 8 are showing the way into the future for the trads. I should not be to surprised if the bonded (and "chicken riveted") aluminum chassie also in a down scaled version will find its way into the 4/4, Plus 4 and Roadster range in a not to distant future. After checking out the Plus 8 platform from a very close distance at the factory visit (inkluding the suspension set-up) I have to say that i am a bit impressed. OK, safety and comfort might not be a trad-buyers first priority but if it was already built in into the construction I should find it as a bonus.
The problem with adopting a chassis like the Aero is cost...the Plus 8 was fine as all it uses is a very slightly modified Aero chassis, so no development costs. I can't see how Morgan could sell the likes of a 4/4 with a similar albeit narrower alloy bonded chassis and similar Aero suspension, at a reasonable price. I don't know what the margins are on the traditionals but the current ladder chassis and basic suspension must quite a low cost and I could imagine the price of a 4/4 rising by £10K- £15K and taking it into a completely unrealistic price bracket.
I love this subject…just have to share some reflexions:
My initial thinking was if the “traditional trad” was not longer possible to produce with its present technical solution (say, because of not fulfilling regulations in safety…and no quick-fixes were possible).
Then there is also a cost in NOT being able to produce and sell cars at all…. Then you must sow to be able to harvest –> probably major redesign (remember the quick fixes with gigantic bumbers on english cars exported to the US in the past
)! When I earlier mentioned the "scaling down" of the Plus 8 platform (or technical solution or whatever…”platform” in the car industry is a very wide and misused term) I did not think anything of the actual size of the finished car, more of re-using proven technical solutions.
The Plus 8 chassis/suspension is of course heavily over dimensioned for a 4/4 but a “lighter” bonded aluminium chassis should still work extremely well in my opinion. Suspension parts and geometry are expensive in small batches but why not use what’s on the market – yet again proven solutions, cheap spare parts, easy to service and maintain.
For me it is extremely early to already today say it is not possible due to cost/investments, lets say for instance the chassis ends up being 20% more expensive, but due to its construction 30% less work hour are needed in production (or at Morgan subcontractors). Some other cost might be saved in rust treatment,fittings…in the end also less (hopefully) warranty claims. All of which could be calculated into the total sum.
OK, I might sound optimistic about the future
and about the power of product development but: I am happy to spend my daily working days in a very creative area. It is very often that product development teams get their products “killed” very late in the pd-process (due to function, design, market, competition or very often the too high cost of the product). But after returning to their creative chambers these teams very often come back with a better and more refined product fulfilling or even exceeding all expectations and with maybe up to 10-40% less cost of the product. I am always so amazed when this happens (at least once a month).
That’s the reason why I am so positive about the future and the coming generations of the trad – whatever it consists of under it’s wonderful regulations fulfilling shapes…that I hope will look very much like today.
But until then, let's enjoy our steel framed beauties
/Tony, still a Mog-virgin, hope to have mine delivered beginning of May (rolled into the paintshop next week).