Stunning Morgan Midsummer revealed

There are probably easier jobs in the automotive industry than conjuring up a special edition Morgan. The unmistakable aesthetic is a big part of why the brand is so beloved; stray too far from it and you risk alienating devoted fans. However, if you change too little, your limited edition collectible may struggle to justify the premium. And that’s before a company like Pininfarina is even involved; Of course they want to have their say, otherwise there is little point in working together. But they can’t overdo it. The last thing anyone wants is a clash of cultures on four wheels. What everyone is looking for is the best of both worlds.

Hopefully we can all agree that the new Morgan Midsummer achieves that. It is immediately recognizable as a Malvern product, but at the same time a completely different prospect: the angle of the aft deck, the profile and, yes, the teak wood, certainly ensure that. This car exists to celebrate all that is good about coachbuilding, with craftsmen and designers from both brands taking trusted running gear – in this case the Plus Six – and draping a sensational look over it. Inspiration came from everywhere, including Riva speedboats, classic Lancias designed by Pininfarina and of course the Morgan catalogue. After seeing the Midsummer in the metal (and wood), it really is as breathtaking as it looks in the photos.

The name might actually be a good place to start, as this is the first Morgan in history that isn’t a Plus this, an Aero that, or something that celebrates three wheels. That in itself is significant. There’s more than just a roofless roadster, which will also be at its best in June and July, as there’s a Midsummer Hill close to Pickersleigh Road; way back when it was used as a test route for some very early Mogs. Probably still. This sums up much of the appeal: it’s coachbuilding, a tradition almost as old as the car industry itself, but for the 21st century, with Morgan’s CX aluminum architecture underneath.

With a lot of wood on it. The teak is impossible to avoid when drinking in midsummer and should therefore be mentioned as a priority. What would be very difficult to explain without images is actually beautiful; where the deck of something like a Rolls-Royce can look a bit OTT, here it complements the whole barchetta (‘little boat’, remember) vibe perfectly. This being Morgan, the woodwork will account for a large portion of the construction hours (the goal is to build one per week for the next twelve months). Where it previously remained hidden, Pininfarina proposed that such an important part of heritage should be celebrated and exhibited. The exposed teak around the cabin consists of hundreds of hand-selected, sustainably sourced teak layers no more than 0.6mm thick, which are then laminated together so they can be sculpted. More layers also means more durability for the exposed areas. Every Midsummer there are nine teak sections (a total of 83 square meters of material!) and over 30 hours of work; the dashboard tops consist of 126 layers each.

Pull your eyes away from the wood and it’s easy to appreciate the almost hot rod effect of midsummer. Although the numbers are identical to a Plus Six, the new design makes it look wider and meaner – but also more beautiful – than any Morgan in recent memory. (The panels require a total of 250 hours of work.) There are obvious aspects to this, such as the new wheel design and the dramatically shallower rear end, but also some wonderfully subtle details: the headlights have been moved further inwards and the front arches have been redesigned. to emphasize the width; the wings are not as steep for a smooth profile; and the taillights actually sort of nestle into the trunk instead of standing proud. Morgan’s design team talks about reducing visual noise, and where the Morgan stereotype might still be too much chrome and wire wheels, this feels very clean, yet with a magnetic presence. Encouragingly, we can expect Midsummer signals to be used in future series production cars as well.

It apparently didn’t take long for a decision to be made between the two parties on the design of the wheels, with the modern and retro vibe once again very cleverly captured; Lighter than a Plus Six rim, they also use a thicker profile of Michelin Pilot Sport 5 to fill in the reworked arches and enhance the old-school roadster feel to great effect. Details, see – not just the wood.

As for Pininfarina’s external inputs, it’s worth highlighting the ‘piano keys’ – the black hand-formed aluminum vents inspired by old Lancia designs – as well as the badging. While we are used to ‘Pininfarina Design’ on some cars, the Midsummer features ‘Pininfarina Fuoriserie’ – the very first time this has been used. It means ‘out of series’ and reflects Morgan’s status as a partnership. It’s not an all-Pininfarina project, but it’s not all Morgan either; the nice new decals are a nice touch.

Although the midsummer chassis is known from the Plus Six – 340 hp BMW inline six-cylinder, with eight-speed automatic transmission – the omission of any roof means a weight saving: the target dry weight is only 1,000 kg. The new Morgan will also be fitted with Nitron dampers, which should address some of the donor car’s occasional quirkiness. The promise is a “raw and visceral driving experience synonymous with Morgan sports cars.” For those who do not want to wear a helmet everywhere, there will be a sturdier windshield and a Schedoni suitcase set is also on the options list. There will be no other extras available for Midsummer, although the 50 customers will of course have the freedom to choose the paint and furnishings they wish. Don’t be surprised if a few emerge in this beautiful pearl white.

Inside, the Midsummer’s origins are quite clear, and the fact that the ubiquitous BMW gear knob survives is a shame. That said, once again it’s the details that really take the feel to the next level. For example, there are new dials that are said to be a nightmare to work with modern ECUs – or “require a complete electronic re-evaluation,” in press reports – but worth it for the classic font and off-white color. The steering wheel has also changed, clumsier than usual and with a forged aluminum center – making it look noticeably more expensive.

What’s so exciting about the Midsummer, even when it’s stationary, is that the longer you look, the more there is to enjoy. Hopefully these Morgans will be used and driven, but if ever a car could be appreciated merely as a static object, this is it. There is also nothing superfluous; the piano keys help draw air from the hood, the soft new look is more aerodynamic and the front vents all benefit airflow. It’s not design for design’s sake, which should always be a concern when two brands work together and want their influence to be made clear. From our position, Midsummer is the perfect fusion of what Morgan and Pininfarina are good at. It will take place later this summer at Festival of Speed, and we urge you to go and check it out; the photos, as beautiful as they are, don’t quite do it justice. You are guaranteed to be at the Morgan stand longer than expected.

With all 50 Midsummers already spoken for, production will begin later this year and continue until 2025. Commenting on the new car, Morgan’s CEO Massimo Fumarola said: “We are incredibly proud to present Midsummer, a special limited edition project celebrating two centuries of coachbuilding and represents the embodiment of Morgan’s core values ​​and the pinnacle of craftsmanship of its talented staff.

“Midsummer is aimed at enthusiasts who enjoy an unconventional, sensory and analogue driving experience. By identifying and reinterpreting Morgan’s admired ideals, Midsummer transforms our legacy into a charming, sophisticated and timeless aesthetic.” A year – or even just a few months – will certainly seem like a long time to wait for the lucky 50. And the future Morgans inspired by it can’t come soon enough.

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