Four-wheel Morgan sports cars are coming back to North America after 15 years away. The British firm expects its first Plus 4 cars to hit dealerships in January 2023, with the more powerful Plus 6 following six months behind.
The turnaround is thanks to the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act, which was introduced in 2015, but which only began to take effect in 2021. Most obviously it helps the low volume replica car industry by exempting from most federal standards cars that are designed to resemble cars built at least 25 years previously, and whose annual production doesn’t top 5,000. But since Morgan’s cars look very similar to how they did when Roosevelt was in the big chair, it’s pretty useful for the Brit sports car brand, too.
Morgans have been intermittently available in the U.S. during the marque’s 113-year history, but no fully-built four-wheeled cars have been sold in North America since the swoopy, cross-eyed Aero 8 lost its smart airbag exemption in 2008.
Some Morgan four-wheelers have still found their way across the Atlantic in the last 15 years, but only through a slightly complicated process that involved shipping engine-less cars across from the UK and then fitting them with a federalized engine once on U.S. soil. Basically you had to really want one to make it work.
Related: New Morgan Plus Four Revealed With New Chassis And BMW Turbo Engine
The brand has had a small presence in the U.S. thanks to the success of the 3 Wheeler, which was resurrected in 2010 and was able to side-step car safety legislation by having, as the name implies, only three wheels. That vehicle went out of production last year, but the all new 3 Wheeler, which gets a brand new aluminum chassis and swaps a motorcycle V-twin for a Ford inline three-cylinder car engine, should be on sale in the U.S. before the end of 2022.
First of the four-wheelers to arrive in North America is the Plus Four, which was introduced in other markets in 2020 and is powered by a BMW B48 2.0-liter turbocharged four mated to a choice of six-speed manual transmission. That will be followed six months later by the Plus 6, which uses a BMW B58 3.0-liter inline six. Morgan already uses those engines in its European cars but North American cars are required to use powertrains specifically homologated for that region.
While its current four-wheel cars might look similar enough to its historic models to qualify for the low-volume exemption, they are radically different under the skin. Both are built around an aluminum chassis, Morgan having retired its traditional steel chassis in 2020. Fear not, purists; they still feature a classic ash frame onto which the body panels are mounted.
Morgan has yet to release prices for North America, but a Plus 4 currently costs from £64,995 ($79,100) in the UK, and a Plus 6, from £84,995 ($103,400). The new 3 Wheeler will cost a confirmed $54,000 plus destination and local taxes. That’s not beer money, but the coming re-expansion into the U.S. market has also required Morgan to recruit new dealers, one of which currently sells Ferraris in Colorado, and we can imagine one or two well-heeled Ferrari buyers having their heads turned by a 3-Wheeler, Plus Four or Plus Six, and adding a Morgan to the shopping basket.