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First Look: Morgan and Pininfarina Teamed up on a New Limited-Edition Roadster. Here’s What We Know.



It has taken the venerable British sports-car maker Morgan (also known for its three-wheel models) 115 years to collaborate with another company on the exterior design of one of its idiosyncratic vehicles, but its first joint effort is with a partner almost as old, and with arguably an even richer legacy.

The new Morgan Midsummer has been created with the fabled Italian design house Pininfarina, established 94 years ago and perhaps best known for its work with Ferrari. The new car encapsulates the best qualities of its two parents. Its “barchetta” body style (which translates as “little boat”) evokes cloudless summer holidays on the Italian Riviera, and has traditionally been applied to low-volume, two-seat sports cars with no roof at all and wind deflectors rather than full windscreens. Light, beautiful, but hugely impractical, they were often a highly discretionary purchase for summer by motoring cognoscenti who had plenty of other options when it rained.

The Pininfarina-designed Morgan Midsummer roadster.

Nick Dimbleby, courtesy of Morgan Motor Company

If the Italians have brought the visual inspiration and glamour to the Midsummer, the Brits have brought the engineering and coachbuilding skills. The new car shares its bonded aluminum chassis with the Morgan Plus Six, but the lack of a roof and other changes, including the use of lightweight forged wheels, have cut around 330 pounds from the Plus Six’s already svelte weight. This brings the Midsummer in below 2,200 pounds to the assumed benefit of performance and handling. The new vehicle uses the same 335 bhp, turbocharged six-cylinder BMW engine as the Plus Six, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration figures have not been released, but the Midsummer is claimed to improve on the Plus Six’s time of 4.2 seconds from zero to 62 mph.

The wooden panels which encircle and run through the Midsummer’s cabin are one of the vehicle’s most striking features. They are hand-formed from over 400 layers of teak, each no more than 0.6 mm thick, and make subtle reference to Morgan’s traditional body construction, which used wooden bucks, hidden from view, to support the exterior panels.

The cockpit inside a Pininfarina-designed Morgan Midsummer roadster.

Encircling the cockpit are hand-formed wooden panels comprising more than 400 layers of teak.

Nick Dimbleby, courtesy of Morgan Motor Company

But there are some other, more subtle design tricks at work here which make Midsummer one of the most instantly covetable cars Morgan has ever produced. The stunning wheels are more closely and concentrically enclosed by the arches, lending the car a more planted and purposeful stance. The longer tail adds elegance. The lower sills are made of mirror-polished stainless steel, lightening the Midsummer’s visual mass as it reflects the surface below. And instead of the “designed by Pininfarina” badge, which graces the flanks of some of the most desirable Ferraris, the Midsummer gets the much rarer “Fuoriserie” badge reserved for very low-volume, “out-of-series” versions of already highly distinctive sports cars. It’s the first time Pininfarina has applied it to a production model.

The Pininfarina-designed Morgan Midsummer.

Weighing less than 2,200 pounds, the Midsummer is powered by a 335 bhp, turbocharged six-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Nick Dimbleby, courtesy of Morgan Motor Company

If you want a Midsummer, you’re already too late. Only 50 examples will be made, and they sold out during secret previews to the top customers of both Morgan and Pininfarina. The price hasn’t been officially revealed but will likely start from around $215,000, with every buyer expected to add considerable personalization—and cost—to their cars. Fitted luggage, exterior luggage racks, and larger removable windscreens have all been requested by customers who intend to take their cars on extended road trips. One individual has even requested that the entire car body be mirror-finished.

Speaking exclusively to Robb Report, Jonathan Wells, chief design officer at Morgan, said it wasn’t an easy decision to limit the Midsummer to 50 examples. “Because the cars require so much handcrafting, we can only build one-and-a-half or two cars a week, and we want to be able to satisfy our customers within a respectable timeframe,” he says.

The Pininfarina-designed Morgan Midsummer.

The Morgan Midsummer will be limited to only 50 examples.

Nick Dimbleby, courtesy of Morgan Motor Company

Yet despite the rarity of the design partnership it represents, the Midsummer is not an outlier when it comes to Morgan’s overall automotive approach. “Every car we build is built for a client, and every Morgan is different, so this is really an extension of what we do anyway,” says Wells. “The difference might be anything from a simple emblem on a headrest through to a bespoke-body coupe. We are open to all of that, and after the success of this collaboration, I would certainly be interested in doing more.”

Click here for more photos of the Pininfarina-designed Morgan Midsummer.

The limited-edition Morgan Midsummer roadster.

Nick Dimbleby, courtesy of Morgan Motor Company

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