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Thanks Morgan, for unexpectedly making my day!

Thanks Morgan, for unexpectedly making my day!

by Danielle Thompson (August 2021)

THE thought filled me with dread as the press release pinged into my inbox. Morgan is launching an off-roader.  

Finally, the chaps in Malvern have caved into market demand and treaded the same path that Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Aston Martin, Jaguar and Bentley – and just about every other automotive outfit previously defined only by their lithe grand tourers and svelte saloons – have already gone down.

Even the horrendously evocative subheading, “The Morgan built for overland adventure,” made it sound as though the company behind some of Britain’s coolest two-seaters was about to sell out and launch a sports utility vehicle. A BMW X3 with the Plus 8’s headlights. 

How wrong I was. 

In fact, I think just about the only thing I got right before clocking the Plus Four CX-T is that, to give Worcestershire’s best-known carmaker credit, it’s genuinely “a Morgan like you’ve never seen before” - but it’s also about as far from, say, the Porsche Macan as I am from outperforming Tom Daley at the next Olympics.

It is a Morgan with raised suspension, chunky tyres, a protected underbody to stop rocks clobbering its components and waterproof luggage cases, so think of it as more of a rival for the Ariel Nomad (like it needed one).  

Morgan’s crack team of engineers have also given a lot of the hard work over to a company called Rally Raid UK, which is better known for its work setting up the bonkers off-road supercars that take part in the Dakar rallies.

They’ve given it a protective exoskeleton, which will not only keep you and the car in shape should you roll it down a Saharan sand dune, but also means you can use it to carry around mountain bikes, should you fancy it.

The final bit of not-terribly-Morgan kit comes from another of its regular collaborators – an up ‘n’ coming carmaker called BMW, who you may have heard of – which have provided a trick electronic differential with selectable modes, depending on what sort of terrain you’re on. 

You might think this is all a bit off-piste for a small sports car firm, but in fact it’s going right back to its roots – some  Champion  readers with  very  long memories might recall that in the 1950s Morgans were a force to be reckoned with, notching up class wins in the RAC International Rally.

So a Plus Four designed with rough terrain in mind isn’t actually that different to some of the company’s classic models. 

In fact, the only real problem with the Plus 4 CX-T isn’t how wonderfully niche it is, or even its £170,000 asking price – is that it’s only planning to make eight of them.

Either way, I’m glad it exists – and that if you are in the market for an exposed, noisy, hand-built, off-road sports car, and I know it’s a thriving part of the market that for some reason most companies strangely seem to ignore, that there’s now a genuine choice for consumers. 

Thank you, Morgan, for unexpectedly making my day.  

 David Simister is the editor of Classic Car Weekly 



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