Morgan Aero SuperSports on its hallowed home turf of the Malvern Hills.

Morgan’s Malvern Star a guiding light

Car: 2011 Morgan Aero SuperSports

Drive: Malvern Hills, England (50km)

Pix: Dawn Green


A fusion of swoopy, timeless curves and hunkered down, muscle-bound demeanour, Morgan’s Aero SuperSports sure makes a statement.

And now I’m about to add a big, bold exclamation mark with a prod on the throttle.

The resultant basso boom from the big, twin pipes exiting under each of the doors ensures every head within vicinity is focused on our idle up to the single petrol bowser that serves the Morgan Motor Co. 

A tour group, one of several each day that goes through this historic UK facility to see, first-hand, dreams being shaped and sculpted into timber and metal reality, stops in its tracks to watch the flagship of Morgan’s then-current fleet rumble by. Aroompa, aroompa, aroompa . . . 

Here, in rural Malvern Link, there are no hectares of under-roof, mass-production vehicle plant, instead a cluster of modest red-brick buildings of substantial vintage.

This is a very special place, where workers in cotton overalls go about their business with a sense of purpose and spring to their step, drill, torque wrench or wood planer in hand. 

As each car becomes a ‘roller’, it’s pushed by hand to the next stage of production.

Assembly starts in the chassis shop, and then it’s off to the sheet metal shop, body shop, wing department, wiring and trim shop, finishing off and testing.  

Every buyer is issued a vehicle build number and is welcome (make that encouraged) to come in and see their pride-and-joy literally take shape.

Imagine that happening anywhere else?

Penned by young designer Matt Humphries, the Targa-top SuperSports takes its style from the fabulous Aeromax coupe; the two sharing the same bonded aluminium chassis and lower bodywork.

Incredibly, Humphries designed the Aeromax while he was still a design student, before going on to be installed as Morgan’s head of design. 

Morgan Aero SuperSports on its hallowed home turf of the Malvern Hills.


The SuperSports is his first major project for Morgan.

It’s an exclusive beast. Originally Morgan planned a run of 200; ‘our’ drive car is about #100. 

As well as the aforementioned bonded aluminium chassis, developed largely through Morgan’s GT racing, the SuperSports boasts ‘superformed’ alloy body panels, a process that employs high air pressures to form heated aluminium into shape.

Little wonder, then, it gains a Weightwatchers’ tick of approval at a slim, trim 1185kg.

Under the long, rakish bonnet is BMW’s well-credentialed 4.8-litre V8, good for some 270kW and 490Nm.

While not huge numbers in the contemporary scheme of things, this endows the SuperSports with ultra-impressive power and torque-to-weight ratios.

Access and egress to the SuperSport’s snug but comfortable, two-seat cockpit calls for squeezing through a short door aperture, but once inside you’re rewarded with a welcoming aroma of quality leather trim and aura of largely-bespoke switchgear.  

Removing the Targa roof panels and packing them into supplied protective bags can take up to 10 minutes, and eats up most of the otherwise generous boot space, so we resist the temptation to go part-topless.

Time, after all, is of the essence as we need to return the car before the factory closes for the weekend so, juiced up, we head for the hills – Malvern Hills, that is.

At around-town speeds, the steering feels a touch heavy, the brakes a little wooden and clutch travel a tad long.

Still, at this tepid pace, the meaty throb of Bavarian V8 beating off the stone facades and a glimpse of the Lunar Grey Morgan reflected in shopfront windows is more than compensation. 

Then, with a ‘Welcome to Malvern Link’ sign distant in the rear vision mirror and the road climbing and contorting, it’s time to open ’er out.

With 4500rpm summoned and second gear plucked from the six-speed Getrag box, the SuperSports fairly launches towards a series of enticing esses. 

4 Designed by Matt Humphries his first major project at Morgan.
Designed by Matt Humphries’ , his first major project at Morgan.


There’s no electronic stability control to mask any potential handling discrepancies or spoil our fun.

The trade-off is, that with no such safety net, I’d better be switched on – just the way it should be. 

Our drive takes us north-west along the A449 to the tiny village of Powick, scene of conflict between the Royalists and Parliamentarians in the English Civil War – the Battle of Powick Bridge in 1642 and the Battle of Worcester nine years later. 

Despite sustaining damage, both bridge and village church stand defiantly nearly four centuries on.

We then head right and south down the B4224 and the B4211 to Upton Upon Severn. War was waged here, too.

Back to the drive . . .

The road tightens, a dab of the awkwardly-placed middle pedal settles the Morgan and arrests some of the speed.

With just the tiniest of steering increments called for, we surge through a succession of left/right/left/right bends with a barrage of bass and no hint of body roll. 

Mighty mechanical grip notwithstanding, I take it as a statement that this is a car that loves to be steered on the throttle.

Morgan claims a 0-100 km/h time of 4.5 seconds for the (optional) manual SuperSports (0.3 sec adrift of the standard six-speed ZF auto), a figure which feels conservative behind the wheel. 

The brakes (six-pot AP units at the front, two-pot rear), which had seemed a tad firm and lifeless at low speed, develop a tireless bite when used with conviction.

Ditto the steering – the quicker and harder you go, the better calibrated its weighting and ability to speak your language.

Ride quality is taut, but not disagreeably so. 

3 Timeless lines.
Timeless lines.


Heading west along the A4104, the road up Severn vale winds across to the 340m Herefordshire Beacon, offering views at every turn.

To the south survive earthworks of the British Camp, one of the most impressive Stone Age forts remaining in the UK.

Here, legend has it, Caratacus made his last stand against the reach of Rome. 

We follow the A449 to Ledbury, birthplace of Poet laureate John Masefield who described it as a ‘little town of ancient grace’.

Who are we to argue? Look no further than the high street, where the impressive timber-framed, 17th-century Market Hall stands with purpose. 

It’s among sterling company that comprises the three-storied Feathers Hotel, timber-framed houses of stucco and brick and Masefield’s birth house reposing in the narrow, cobblestone Church Lane harking back to the 16th century.  

Leaving Ledbury, we point north on the A4214 towards Bosbury.

Here, in the days before mechanisation, hop pickers from the Midlands and Wales would descend in force for the early-autumn harvest. 

The A4220, A4103 and A4219 lead us to Great Malvern, centre of hydrotherapy throughout the Victorian and Edwardian times, and famous far-and-wide for its bottled spring water.

All too soon, our leave pass runs out and it’s time to head back into Malvern Link to return the SuperSports to Morgan’s amiable and accommodating contact Mark Ledington, who came in on his day off to look after us. 

We had to fight off an avalanche of temptation not to, of course.

This is one car where you do not want to hand the keys back.

2 Scenic as well as engaging drive.
Scenic, as well as engaging, drive.


Just My Cup of Tea

Llanrwst in north-west Wales is not remotely near our drive, but it well deserves a mention. Or, more specifically, one of its greatest drawcards — Tu Hwnt i’r Bont — does. 

Like me, you may not be able to get your tongue around that, but it translates into ‘beyond the bridge’.

Here is where you will find the cosiest, most atmospheric, olde-worlde eatery imaginable.

Built in 1480, the ivy-covered stone building is actually considerably older than the adjacent Inigo Jones bridge.

It has a varied and chequered past, at one time pressed into service as the local courthouse from where the most serious offenders faced being taken to Tan y Craig in Llanrwst to be hanged outside the old jail. 

In the 1900s, the National Trust acquired Tu Hwnt i’r Bont to lease out.

The original leaseholder set about creating traditional Welsh tea rooms.

Now, more than 50 years later, the recipe for the scones remains faithful and continues to be a closely-guarded secret, so it’s said.

Speaking from experience, the fare of the food and intrinsic charm is such that you don’t need a secondary reason to call in on Tu Hwnt i’r Bont, but let it be said that Betws-y-Coed – at the epicentre of a web of great Welsh driving roads – is just an 8km schlep away down the A470.


2011 Morgan Aero SuperSports

Basic price: $A375,000

Engine: 4.8-litre DOHC 32v V8

Power: 270kW @ 6300 rpm

Torque: 490Nm @ 3900 rpm

Transmission: 6-spd manual

Weight: 1185kg

Drive: Rear-wheel

0-100km/h: 4.5 secs


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