Distinctive British-made Morgan AeroMax is an excellent buy – if you can find one
Truly radical, limited-edition, hand-built sports cars with near-bulletproof mechanicals, genuinely exciting performance and at least a touch of practicality don’t come along often – and British ones even less so. Which is why anyone with £100,000 should consider a Morgan AeroMax.
The hard-top grand touring version of the Aero 8 roadster was originally a one-off for Prince Eric Sturdza, president of the Swiss branch of Barings Bank and a major Morgan fan. He wanted a high-performance two-seater with decent luggage capacity and continent-crossing ability – and that’s what Morgan gave him, complete with ‘gullwing’ boot openings and a special load platform to hold custom-built Schedoni luggage.
But no sooner had the AeroMax concept been revealed in 2007 than the world and his wife suddenly realised that they, too, wanted such a machine. So, with the Prince’s blessing, Morgan built a strictly limited run of 100 examples between 2008 and 2009 – leaving most of the world still wanting.
For £110,000 (£47,500 more than the roofless Aero 8) buyers got an all-aluminium coupe weighing 1180kg and powered by the 362bhp, 4.8-litre BMW V8 more commonly found in the twice-as-heavy E70 X5. Most cars had six-speed automatic transmissions, with a handful getting six-speed manual gearboxes. And of the 100 made, only 19 were right-hand drive.
Inevitably, the edition sold out swiftly, mainly to people rich enough to buy such a car on a whim to add to a collection – meaning that those that appear for sale are invariably low-mileage examples. Rowan Atkinson was among the original owners, as was Richard Hammond, who subsequently sold his AeroMax to Australian ex-MotoGP racer Chris Vermeulen (who also decided to part with it earlier this year).
In 2012, Morgan announced the non-limited Aero SuperSports, with a removeable aluminium roof panel and a price tag of £126,900. This was followed last year by the Aero Coupe. Similar, but the original AeroMax is still the one to go for…
Morgan Aero Coupe - For around the same money you can have a brand-new Aero Coupe, which evolved from the SuperSports but doesn’t have the looks or cachet of the AeroMax.
Bentley Continental GT Supersports - Racier, stripped-out, high-performance version of the Conti GT. Cheaper, more refined, more comfortable and quicker than the AeroMax – but common by comparison.
Wiesmann GT - Less radical looking, but similar in concept. Twin-turbo engine nears 200mph – but for nearly €200,000.
Words: Simon de Burton/evo Magazine