Engineering

Morgan bids farewell to the steel chassis after 84 years of service

Morgan has said goodbye to the traditional steel chassis as the automaker prepares to enter a new design and engineering era.

Photo courtesy of Morgan Motor Company

The production line on Pickersleigh Road will never be the same. The Morgan Motor Company has rolled the last steel chassis off the line after 84 years of service. It's been a good run and the future is bright.

Morgan introduced its chassis in 1936, a full four years before The Blitz and one year before Neville Chamberlain became Prime Minister. The chassis has been produced continually ever since (with the exception of factory closures during World War II and the coronavirus pandemic), giving it notoriety as the longest-ever running production car architecture.

Steel Chassis Morgan Motor Company The last steel chassis under assembly at Morgan's shop.Photo courtesy of Morgan Motor Company

The steel ladder chassis initially appeared on Morgan's first four-wheeled vehicle, the 4-4. The 4-4 was the first Morgan to have four wheels. Since the company's founding in 1909, all Morgans had been three-wheelers.

It has underpinned iconic models from the British automaker including the Plus 4, Plus 8, and V6 Roadster. Every four-wheeled model Morgan produced before 2019, with the exception of the Aero range and second-generation Plus 8, has used a variation of the steel chassis. In total, 35,000 four-wheeled Morgan cars with a steel chassis have been made. Many have been exported to 65 countries around the world.

The final steel chassis car, a Plus 4 70th Edition, is going to a good home. It has been purchased by a long-time Morgan enthusiast and owner of other historically significant Morgan models including the famous Le Mans-winning Plus 4, TOK 258.

The chassis's design elements include a combination of sliding pillar front and leaf spring rear suspension, a unique setup compared to what other automakers use. In this configuration, the hub and wheel assembly moves vertically, on a kingpin fixed rigidly at its top and bottom ensuring that there is no wheel camber change during compression or rebound, maximizing lateral cornering grip.

Steel Chassis Morgan Motor Company Morgan's new CX-generation platform sits next to a steel chassis.Photo courtesy of Morgan Motor Company

Going forward, the company's new CX-Generation bonded aluminum platform will underpin all four-wheeled models. The CX-Generation platform already underpins the new Morgan Plus Four.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Canoosa Events is organizing luxury multi-day road rallies.

Photo by leekris/Getty Images

Canossa Events, a European luxury automotive touring provider, expanded to North America last year. This year, the company is launching several private, small group excursions on the East and West Coast of the U.S.

Beginning this autumn, guests of the tours will indulge in picturesque drives, one-of-a-kind gastronomy experiences, and luxury accommodations all curated with an eye toward beauty, elegance, taste and personalized service.

Highway 1 near Big Sur California's Highway 1 is a world famous grand touring destination. Photo by Getty Images

"We have longed to bring Canossa's version of la dolce vita to North America," says Canossa's Founder, Luigi Orlandini. "And in this current climate, we have the opportunity to deliver our experiences to our fans who are unable to leave North America. With Canossa Events North America, we will safely celebrate the freedom to drive, indulge in culinary delights, and soak in the beautiful sceneries among old and new friends."

The white glove service extends to the entire event and includes strict safety and social distancing guileless to "deliver a carefree and pleasant experience for guests".

Canossa Events North America is currently accepting reservations for its Fall Rallye New England, and will soon announce additional excursions, including:

  • Grand Tour of California - This excursion will highlight the coastal byways, wine country and farm-to-fork culture of California's Central Coast.
  • Rallye of Enchantment - Attendees will xplore some of America's most iconic landscapes of New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona and Utah.

The Fall Rallye lasts four days and three nights. It's limited to 25 cars and comes with a $9,900 price tag that is based on double occupancy. The event includes nights at New England's heralded Cliff House Maine hotel.

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Jeep has begun teasing its newest three-row SUVs.

Photo courtesy of Instagram

The Jeep Grand Wagoneer. It's wood-paneled sides, cavernous interior, go-anywhere capability. It was the bee's knees. Now those vintage models are a collector's item. Soon, it will be reborn.

A new teaser from Jeep simply states, "Grand" and the definition "magnificent or striking in appearance, size, or style". While AutomotiveMap is pretty sure that the teaser is for the return of the Grand Wagoneer, Jeep also has a redo of the Grand Cherokee and a few other things in its sights. Perhaps this is a BOGO (or three or four) teaser.

A Jeep product presentation for investors earlier this year detailed the forthcoming model rollout, including modifications to the plan due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It states that a new three-row Jeep E-Segment model is coming in the first quarter of 2021. Separately it lists the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer as coming in the second quarter of 2021 followed by the next-generation Grand Cherokee.

All the models are scheduled to have some level of electrification (product plans say PHEV, which would be on-par with the new PHEV Compass, Renegade, and Wrangler offerings) as well as an advanced level of autonomy (don't expect anything too revolutionary here) and connectivity.

The new Wagoneer full-size SUV that Jeep is debuting is expected to compete directly with the Chevrolet Suburban. The Suburban was redesigned for the 2021 model year and, in addition to a bevy of tech updates, the model has significantly expanded its third-row legroom.

Product plants show that the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are different vehicles. Not much is known for sure about the two models, but rumors are rampant. One that seems to have sticking power is that the Grand Wagoneer will have finer appointments than the Wagoneer, which could be designed to be more off-road-ready.

The Grand Cherokee is going to be a two-row SUV built on the same platform as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

The most mysterious model is the three-row E-Segment model that Jeep has said is coming. E-Segment models are typically large, showy flagships - sometimes large cars, but other times wagons. Jeep has also said that an electrified version of the Wrangler is on the way. Does A +B = C? Only time will tell.

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