PH Carpool: Morgan Aero 8
A chance meeting out in the PH Fleet Plus 8 introduced us to another Morgan-loving PHer...
Morgan Aero 8
I started off with a Capri 2.8i which my parents had and I took on. Then I had a TVR Chimaera, then a 5.0-litre one and a 4.5 and, in my opinion, the 4.5 was the best of the lot and nicely balanced. I've had a couple of E46 M3s too, plus various other stuff.
Why I bought it:
It was my 40th birthday, I had a good few years to think about it and I'd thought about getting another M3 but I thought, no, I'll have something really different. I guess the seed was sown at Le Mans in 2002 when I saw the DeWalt Aero 8 running there - an amazing sight with the flames coming from the side exhausts.
It tends to get through door handle cables quite nicely, those or a little plastic lug inside, but it's annoying because you have to reach outside to open it. It leaked through the heater when I got it and that was an expensive piece of kit.
I was told that was typical for an Aero of this age but that's sorted now. Oh, the other thing to be careful of is when you're on full lock especially on gravel - you can snap a bracket inside the light clusters because they're at a slight angle and it's really tight in there. That wasn't a cheap thing so I'm very careful now. What else? The roof is definitely an afterthought, but hey ho!
The individuality of it ... the way it drives ... the long bonnet with the narrow cabin. Lots of stuff! You really are quite snug and the view along the bonnet is fantastic. The speed is phenomenal as well, it's a really fast car and you just feel so special in it. You see people out in Maseratis or Astons and they look at the Morgan and I think they feel a little upstaged and don't want to look at it.
Value is the other thing - I didn't want to spend an absolute fortune and hopefully as the years go by I can have something else too. People love it too. Just the other day I went to get some fuel and a guy at the garage came up and said 'I've got to say that's stunning, that's absolutely stunning you must pinch yourself to say that's your car!' And that's nice when things like that happen! I love the rawness of it too, compared with the later ones.
It's a hard car to drive on a long journey and quite tiring. Certainly it's a boy's toy and, on your own it's fine and lots of fun, but I'm not sure it's the same for your passenger! It's a bit small and it gets very cramped if you're going away. It also gets quite hot in the cabin, especially in the summer but at least the air-conditioning works well!
It's not cheap to run. Each time you service it all the wings have to come off. When you do that you have to take the lights out and there are these little plastic lugs that fatigue and can snap off, meaning new lights. That's a pain, and little things like that are a niggle. But it's OK. I sometimes don't understand where they get the service costs from when you consider it's almost a standard BMW engine, but I think it's the other parts around it. I get it serviced at Richard Thorne's and there's a great rapport with them and they know the cars and their quirks.
Le Mans twice, Yorkshire, days out here and there in it. I took my wife to Claridge's for her birthday and we stayed overnight and that was a fantastic experience. We got smothered, people taking photos giving it the thumbs up. The valets got a bit mixed up with the fact it has a BMW key and couldn't figure out how to start it but the guy who brought it down the next morning seemed very natural with it and I asked how he was so familiar with them and apparently Gordon Ramsay has one too so he's got used to the quirks!
I wouldn't want to get rid of the Morgan ... If I get something else I did consider going back to an M3 again but I think I might have to look at 911s. I quite like the older ones and the other car I really do fancy is the old Mustang, a bit of a muscle car perhaps. I've been down to Bill Shepherd a couple of months back to look at the Shelby ... lots of options.
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