British automaker’s longstanding chassis will finally get a chance to rest

After more than 70 years of serving as the skeleton of Morgan models, the British automaker’s long-running steel chassis finally has an expiration date. But before that day comes, Morgan is giving the chassis a proper send-off by launching the Plus 4 70th Edition.

Yes, Morgan is celebrating the life and times of its steel chassis by taking the special edition route. The move isn’t uncommon these days among automakers — Bentley just announced the Mulsanne 6.75 Edition to celebrate the Mulsanne’s impending retirement — but Morgan’s decision to pay tribute to its decades-old steel chassis does have strong emotional ties to it, in part because of how long it was used by the automaker.

The Morgan Plus 4 70th Edition is limited to just 20 units with each unit priced at £60,995 or just a tick under $80,000 based on current exchange rates. Unfortunately for those who are looking to buy one, all 20 units are already accounted for.

  • 2020 Morgan Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    182
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    7 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    118 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

What is the Morgan Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition?

2020 Morgan Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition Exterior
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The Morgan Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition is a special edition model created by Morgan to celebrate the end of production of what is, without question, the oldest car chassis in the world.

Morgan’s steel chassis has been in use since 1936 and it still sits as the skeleton of modern Morgan models like the 4/4, Plus 4, and V6 Roadster. Well, Morgan’s finally adapting to modern times because the company is finally retiring its old steel chassis in favor of the brand-spankin’ new CX-generation aluminum platform.

2020 Morgan Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition
- image 880784

That change naturally didn’t come easy, and as nostalgia goes, Morgan is giving its steel chassis a proper send-off by dedicating a special edition Model Plus 4, called the 70th Anniversary Edition.

What’s Replacing the Old Steel Chassis?

2020 Morgan Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition
- image 880785

Morgan operates differently from most automakers, and it’s not just because it builds retro cars.

The British automaker has used the same version of the same chassis for almost 100 years, but like all things old in the business, there comes a time when you just have to move on and adapt to the times.

And so, the old steel chassis that has become a staple among Morgan models for almost a century will soon be replaced by the new CX-Generation aluminum platform.

The CX-Generation aluminum platform represents a huge undertaking by Morgan. Company CEO Steve Morris made that clear during the company’s expansion announcement back in December 2019. Compared to the aluminum chassis that Morgan used for a period of time on the Aero 8 and the second-generation Plus 8, the CX-Generation platform is said to be twice as rigid as the aforementioned aluminum chassis. Just as important, it also weighs just 97 kilos, which converts to around 213 pounds. That’s lightweight in every sense of the term.

Morgan hasn’t divulged details on what models will eventually sit on the platform, but the company did say that the platform can accommodate the BMW-sourced 3.0-liter inline-six engine from the new Plus Six and whatever smaller engines the automaker ends up using in its other models. Whatever the case is, the new CX-Generation aluminum platform will have huge shoes to fill if it’s going to live up to the effectiveness and all-around longevity of the chassis that it’s replacing.

What Makes the Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition Stand Out Compared to Other Plus 4s?

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Not everyone’s into the retro looks of the Morgan Plus 4. That’s understandable. The automaker is a niche brand; it doesn’t appeal to a lot of people the same way traditional automakers do. All of this is old hat; we understand this.

Still, it’s hard not to appreciate Morgan for what it is and what it aims to do. The Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition is proof of that.

The special edition Plus 4 came to life because Morgan wanted to properly honor a steel chassis that it has used for 83 years.

Imagine that. Sure, it’s undergone different iterations for the sake of safety and modernity, but for the most part, the steel chassis has remained an integral part of Morgan vehicles since 1936 up to today. But that’s changing now with the arrival of the new CX-generation aluminum platform and with that, Morgan is saying goodbye to its old chassis by rolling out a special edition Plus 4 model that’s dressed to the nines in bright Platinum Metallic. Contrasting black accents are also part of the exterior design of the special edition Plus 4, as is a front clip that’s inspired largely by Morgan’s own motorsport history.

2014 Morgan Plus 4 Interior
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The Plus 4’s old-school-styled wire wheels also benefit from a dark satin gray look. As unique as all these touches make the Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition look, none qualify as the visual highlight of the special edition Plus 4. That distinction belongs, naturally, to the steel chassis, which is finished in gold to commemorate its role in shaping Morgan models for the last 80-odd years.

I don’t call myself a fan of Morgan, but I do appreciate quality craftsmanship when I see it. That’s evident every time you step inside a Morgan model, especially a Plus 4. It comes as no surprise then that Morgan dressed the interior of the Plus 4 with the same eye for quality as it does with all of its models. The interior is swathed in leather and the specially embroidered headrests add an exclusive touch to the area.

The Ravenwood dashboard is a sight to behold, and when you throw in the special dark gray carpeting and the hand-picked steering wheel, you’re looking at an interior that’s been dressed for the part.

The Morgan Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition looks like a car that’s from out of its time. It’s classy, elegant, and most importantly, it imbibes everything that’s special about Morgan. It’s not for everyone, sure, but even if you count yourselves in that group, you can’t deny that Plus 4 70th Anniversary has ’stunning’ written all over it.

How Many Morgan Plus 4 70th Anniversary Editions will be built?

2020 Morgan Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition
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In keeping with the Morgan Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition’s status, the British automaker plans to build only 20 units of the special edition model.

That’s a low production number, even for the standards of Morgan. Perhaps Morgan is keeping the number low because it wants to uphold the uniqueness of the steel-framed Morgans before they become things of the past. Perhaps Morgan just wants to keep the numbers down to maintain the special edition’s exclusivity. Either way, acquiring one is going to be impossible, not just because of the low production volume, but because all 20 units are already accounted for. That’s right. If you want to get your hands on a Morgan Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition, you’re going to have convince the 20 prospective owners to give up their spot to purchase the £60,995 Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition.

Considering the car’s rarity and the likelihood of the special edition model turning into a collector’s piece in the future, you’re going to have an easier time explaining to your significant others that an $80,000 special edition Morgan is a worthy investment.

Does the Morgan Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition Have Any Performance Upgrades?

2020 Morgan Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition Exterior
- image 880781

Believe it or not, but the Morgan Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition does come with performance upgrades. They’re not much in the context of what we’re used to in the industry, but upgrades are upgrades, no matter how incremental they may be.

The Morgan Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition is still powered by the same Ford-sourced 2.0-liter inline-four cylinder engine that produces 154 horsepower.

It’s decent power for a standard Plus 4, but if you’re going to roll out a special edition Plus 4 that looks as stunning as the 70th Anniversary Edition, you don’t just settle for aesthetic improvements to the vehicle.

You could also give its four-cylinder engine a slight tune, and that’s exactly what Morgan did. In the process, the automaker was able to extract an extra 28 horsepower out of the Ford-sourced mill, bringing the total output to a more impressive 182 ponies. To complement the engine upgrade, Morgan also added an Aero Racing sports exhaust with a ceramic black tailpipe, completing the work on the Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition. All told, Morgan claims that the special edition Plus 4 is capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in less than seven seconds. That’s a tad better than the standard Plus 4, which can cover the same ground in a little over seconds. Top speed, on the other hand, remains at around 118 mph.

2020 Morgan Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition specifications
Engine 2.0-liter inline-four cylinder
Horsepower 182 HP
0 to 60 mph < 7 seconds
Top Speed 118 mph

Final Thoughts

2020 Morgan Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition Exterior
- image 880782

Morgan is one of those automakers that fascinate me. I don’t have access to its models, but I have gotten a chance to drive a Plus 4 in the past and while it’s not the most dynamic car to drive, it’s still a lot of fun to get behind the wheel. There’s nothing like driving into town in a car like the Plus 4. The stares you get will make you feel like a Hollywood A-lister, even if you’re far from one.

In any event, the Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition is a fitting send-off to what is arguably one of the toughest and most durable platforms in the auto industry.

It’s hard to believe that Morgan has used different versions of the same steel platform for over 80 years, but sometimes, the truth is stranger than fiction.

What I can tell you, though, is that Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition is a special edition done right. It’s not too bombastic that it completely ruins the essence of its own exclusivity. But it’s not too bland either that it doesn’t fit the mold of a special edition model. The exclusive touches are just right, and there’s something poetic about painting the steel platform gold specifically for this special edition model. That’s as fitting a send-off as you can give to what really is a chassis.

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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