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The Petrolhead Corner

Morgan and Pininfarina are Ready for Leasurely Cruises with the Stellar Midsummer

British coachbuilding tradition meets unbridled Italian flair.

| By Robin Nooy | 4 min read |

Both Morgan and Pininfarina are household names when it comes to car design. The British firm is known for its hand-built retro-styled roadsters and three-wheeled playthings, while the Italian studio is arguably one of the best in the business of designing show-stopping and supremely elegant cars. Both share over 200 years of coachbuilding history and are responsible for some very beguiling cars, such as the Morgan Plus 4 Spiaggina on one end and the Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder on the other (to name just one!). The two firms have now teamed up to create the Midsummer, a genuine masterpiece in coachbuilding!

Founded in 1910, Morgan is known chiefly for its retro-styled design philosophy, standing the test of time in style and construction. The cars may look like something from decades ago, but modern coachbuilding techniques are incorporated wherever possible. However, most present-day Morgans still rely on ash wood frames to support the body, as the company is a master at woodworking. This devotion to tradition is very much part of the appeal of Morgan and its cars and most likely the reason the company is still in business today. About 850 vehicles roll out of the factory in Malvern Link, England.

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Pininfarina on the other hand, has always employed the philosophy of looking forward when it comes to car design and coachbuilding. The Italian firm, based in Cambiano, was founded by Battista “Pinin” Farina in 1930 and has an incredible resume. This includes cars like the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300, Ferrari Modulo, MGB GT, Lancia Aurelia and many others. Even today, the company continues to impress with cars like the one-off Ferrari P3/4 Pininfarina created for James Glickenhaus. As the company is closing in on its centennial anniversary, they have designed another stunner with Morgan.

The Midsummer is quintessentially ‘Morgan’ but has that delectable Italian touch. The Barchetta style is very specific to this project and exposes you to the elements because it doesn’t have a roof – no foldable soft-top, no retractable hard-top, nothing. It’s just you, your passenger, and nature in all its glory – sunshine, wind, and potentially, rain.

Nevertheless, the Midsummer is a stunning machine from every angle. The Morgan DNA holds up perfectly, with signature styling elements like the horse-shoe-shaped grill, the round headlights protruding from the wheel arches, and the long bonnet. The wheel arches flow downwards to make way for a pair of small doors, only to arch up over the rear wheels again and end in the swooping rear section. The whole body evokes the style of the 1930s and 1940s automotive design, just smoother.

Everywhere you look, details are there to be discovered. From the piano key-inspired louvres in front of the windshield to the hand-formed stainless steel lower sills surrounding the bottom edges of the exterior, it’s pure class. The volume of the front wings is concentric to the shape of the wheels, a delicate touch that is not easy to master (or see), yet it perfectly ties in the forged lightweight 19-inch with the rest. The rear section of the body is stretched out compared to cars like the Plus Four and Plus Six, and it all ends with a set of protruding tail lights and a pair of exhaust pipes sticking out underneath.

The Midsummer, however, is not just about the hand-built aluminium body but more about the woodworking expertise Morgan is known for. Over 400 individual layers of teak wood make up the wooden structure surrounding the cabin, connecting the front and rear sections of the body and making for a sleek profile. Each piece is made by hand, and the top of the dashboard and the top sections of the door feature more than 120 layers. The seats, door panels and other interior elements are finished in a lush burgundy-toned leather, although other colours will surely be an option.

Underneath the svelte exterior, you’ll find Morgan’s modern-day ‘CX’ bonded aluminium chassis. The six-cylinder turbocharged engine and the rest of the drivetrain come from BMW, so they will be reliable and buttery-smooth. Morgan doesn’t communicate how much power it produces, but the engine is also used in the Plus Six, which produces 335bhp. Given the low weight of around 1,000 kilos, the Midsummer should be no slouch! The only downside of this modern powertrain, visually at least, is the Drive Logic shifter for the 8-speed automatic transmission. It could have been redesigned into something more elegant, matching the style of the car better.

Morgan will build just 50 examples of the Midsummer, and as things go with such cars, each one will be individualized to meet the customer’s preferences. No price is known or communicated at the moment, and to be perfectly honest, it doesn’t matter how much they charge for this absolute beauty, as everything has been pre-sold. Nevertheless, I am excited that such unique and stunning coachbuilt cars are still being made. All I hope is that they get driven and shown to the public because they are bound to light up anyone’s day!

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Editorial Note: The images and information for this article are provided by and used with permission of the Morgan Motor Company unless stated otherwise.

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