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Morgan: AERO 8 - Chassis development and aerodynamics

Morgan, one of the British special car companies

[Aero-Frontpage] [Chassis]  [Engine]

The Aero 8 development team, headed by Charles Morgan and technical director Chris Lawrence, set out to evolve the traditional Morgan lines into an aerodynamic shape that would bring class-beating performance and excellent ride and handling characteristics.

In addition to styling development, the GT2's prototype chassis required further development to provide the excellent torsional stiffness required for a production vehicle.

Photos: Morgan

Morgan Aero 8 build up

Jim Randle and the resources of Birmingham University were involved in the development of the initial aluminium lightweight tub that has been subsequently perfected through rigorous testing and development.

Morgan Factory inner

Selection of high quality, lightweight and technologically advanced components and materials was a priority throughout the entire development project. The Aero 8 uses the latest aluminium material produced by Alcan at its modern plant at Nachterstedt in Germany. It is the first car in Europe to be produced using this innovative material, which has been specifically designed by Alcan for use in vehicle manufacture, and is the world’s first all aluminium coachbuilt car.

Sections of the aluminium are bonded using a high performance Gurrit Essex adhesive and riveted with Bollhoff rivets for secondary strength to form a chassis that gives exceptional torsional stiffness and has passed the required European Whole Vehicle Type Approval crash tests. The engine cradle is made from aluminium extrusions designed to combine strength and durability with outstanding crash test performance. The design also allows for easy maintenance. Further use of aluminium in extrusions for suspension and braking systems means that the Aero 8 weighs in at around 1000kgs.

The Aero 8’s provocative curves have been designed in-house at Morgan using CATIA CAD software and making extensive use of the full-size wind tunnel at MIRA to develop an aerodynamic shape.

The result of the comprehensive wind tunnel testing is a drag coefficient of 0.39, a 40 per cent improvement over the current Morgan Plus Eight. The smooth shape combined with a completely flat undertray and discreet Venturi tunnel at the rear of the car creates aerodynamics that generate negative lift at the front and rear axles and give excellent road holding. During testing the Aero 8 pulled 1G lateral acceleration on standard road tyres.

The innovative packaging of the Aero 8's independent suspension, developed from the GT2 car’s race proven system, allows for long transverse wishbones. The rigid chassis and stiff suspension mounting points, combined with long suspension arms, means the car's suspension geometry remains accurate over a long period of travel, eliminating the need for anti-roll bars.


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