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For Morgan, it is historically right; to the rest of the world, a CX-T could be oh-so-wrong

IAIN ROBERTSON 

Sadly, Iain isn’t too well at the moment, so I’ve picked one of his articles that I think you’ll enjoy.

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Morgan-CX-T

British hand-built specialist, Morgan Motor Cars, possesses a history steeped in off-road trials, states Iain Robertson, which should endorse its beefed-up entry to the crossover segment of the new car scene, even with a hefty price tag and limited numbers.

No. You are neither dreaming, nor experiencing a nightmare. Built in conjunction with Rally Raid UK, another specialist carmaker, partly as a demonstration of extreme confidence in the new aluminium platform that underpins the latest Plus Four model but also as a means of highlighting an important facet of Morgan’s brand history, the Plus Four CX-T is a purpose-developed variation on a theme, to which overland adventure becomes a second nature consideration.

To be frank, I am unsure of whether to rail vociferously against it, to offer up some form of sympathy, or to praise it wholeheartedly for daring to be different, when nobody except perhaps a few members of Morgan’s design team had even contemplated its existence. Firstly, the sobering prospect of being confronted by one of the eight-off invoices being prepared for the end of this year does highlight that traditional Morgan value-for-money has been poured out of the same window as baby’s bathwater…from £170,000 (Jeezus H Christ!).

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Morgan-CX-T

Even with a projected build run of just eight CX-Ts, the specifications of which might differ significantly from what you are about to absorb (hence the ‘from’, in relation to its price tag), it is one hell of a steep cost. Yet, from a carmaker familiar with bespoke additions and alterations to what might be termed ‘factory specification’, while the word ‘bargain’ is unlikely to enter a CX-T customer’s vocabulary, perhaps a Loreal ‘worth it’ may discover some purchase.

As mentioned earlier, Morgan has a long history in trialling, the off-road, all-terrain endurance events that test both man and machine to their most extreme limits. As early as 1911, Morgan sports cars were competing and winning in that type of competition around the UK. It was a tremendous way for a low volume carmaker to test the integrity of its products and claiming a few trophies en-route was not a bad way to fill the glass showcase at the factory, while impressing potential customers.

Trialling is where the ‘T’ in this new form, the Plus Four CX-T, comes from. It is essentially the spirit of adventure that is intrinsic to Morgan’s long and illustrious history, along with the innumerable voyages that have been undertaken by Morgan customers all over the world since, that have inspired the new model. The CX part of the name references the versatile CX-Generation bonded aluminium platform, which underpins not only Morgan’s Plus Four but also its most recent Plus Six models.

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Morgan-CX-T

According to Jonathan Wells, Morgan’s Head of Design: “The project was unrestrained and born entirely from a desire to create an exciting British adventure vehicle. For me, it is a complete package: possessing historical integrity, legitimate capability and a brand-new adventure-led aesthetic.” To be brutally frank, I cannot argue with any single element of that statement.

In slightly more detail, the extreme capability of the CX-T comes from a huge array of aftermarket modifications and upgrades, which include EXE-TC coilover suspension assemblies, sturdier Plus Six suspension arms, bespoke bushes and the fitment of off-road tyres that give the close-coupled two-seater a drive-over obstacle clearance of 230mm, along with a level of durability to match the physical attributes, while a three-mode locking rear axle differential maximises traction on almost any type of surface.

Intended for travelling a fair distance off the beaten track, a bolt-on rear equipment rack, which incorporates a protective exoskeleton, houses an array of stowage solutions. It can be further adapted to carry leisure equipment such as bikes and surf boards, to compliment the lifestyle activities of the owner…to whom West Africa’s Skeleton Coast is assuredly a future destination (personally, I would try Essaouira first, or instead). Less obvious is the five-piece underbody protection system and the fully bespoke exhaust system that features a rear side-exit, which improves the CX-T’s rather important departure angle.

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Morgan-CX-T

The car’s suspension, as already mentioned, is produced by rally-raid specialist EXE-TC. The Plus Six wishbones have been strengthened by additional plating and are wide enough to cater for the extra travel required to meet off-road targets. Naturally, the wheel arch apertures have also been much modified to allow for deeper compression and clearance around the chunkier rally-type, multi-surface tyres, which means that both stability and mechanical traction are as uncompromised as they can be. Other under-body protection includes an engine sump-guard, rear chassis guard and undertray that also resists damage from rocks that might clash with the mid-section beneath the car.

Beneath the composite hardtop, which has been designed to slot neatly around the internal and external roll-cages and features a useful space on top to stow the side screens, when not in use, the cockpit has been judiciously remodelled. A flexible maplight, pencil and notebook holder has been integrated to the dashboard, while a bespoke mounting track provides secure storage for mobilephones and other devices. A First Aid kit is stowed within the roll-cage, between the seats, while an insulated cool bag and document-holder are located within the front passenger footwell.

A special rack is fitted at the rear of the CX-T to house a pair of strong, weatherproof Pelican luggage cases, a Zarges toolbox, a pair of Rotopax 11.0-litre fluid containers, two spare wheel/tyre assemblies and, for the truly adventurous, additional equipment such as sand mats and towropes that are mounted on the car’s exterior, to be within easy reach, should they be required. Very few aspects have been forgotten, or ignored, in the creation of car No.1, after all, Morgan wants to sell you a comprehensive package in a car that is best suited to both driver and co-driver being less than six feet tall, after all, there are some limits.

Conclusion:        I would not worry too much; Morgan is not about to enter the realms of the SUV. However, as it has delivered race-prepared machines in the past, a rally alternative (well, eight-off anyway) seems mildly logical.

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Morgan-CX-T