Charles Morgan gets a lot of well intending "designs for new
cars" from youngsters on his desk. Most of these don't progress further than the
drawing table of these youngsters themselves. However, there was one exception!
One day his eye was caught by a design from a local (Malvern) youngster, called
Matthew Humphries. The car was a Coupé with retro looks, meant for an Aero 8
chassis. A meeting between Matthew and Charles arranged and work started on a
1/4 scale clay model.
At about that time Prince Eric I. Sturdza of the Swiss
Barings Bank jumped in. He had become a Morgan addict when purchasing an Aero 8
at the 2000 Geneva Motor Show and several Morgans had joined his fleet since. He
wanted Morgan to build a one-off coupé for him. Also he became enthusiastic for
Matthew's design, so work continued.
Within 4 months after seeing the sketches, the car was
ready for its test runs! On the 2005 Geneva Motor Show, the new car, called the
Aeromax (Max after Charles Morgan's son, of whom Eric Sturdza had become
godfather) was launched to the press at that year's Geneva Motor Show. The car
in question is the one shown on the right. At that time it was meant to be and
remain a one-off.
Time decided otherwise, however. Morgan owners expressed their
interest in the car and the idea arose to make the Aeromax into a limited
edition car, in order to celebrate Morgan's Centenary. Eric Sturdza backed this
idea, so work started on pre-production prototypes.
These and the production cars were distinct from the
original Sturdza car, as many parts were exchangeable with "ordinary" Aero 8s.
For instance, if you took a door panel off an Aeromax and replaced it with one
from an Aero 8, it would fit straight away.
Solely one hundred Aeromaxes were intended to be built. Prospective
buyers had to pay an advance of GBP 25,000, in order to qualify for a place in
the row. These hundred places were filled more easily than expected and in the
end there even was a "spare list" of people who wanted one, but had come too
late to join the queue.
A large proportion of the Aeromaxes was painted in darker
colours, like grey, anthracite, black or similar.Yet, there also were distinguished cars like the Burgundy
one shown here. There even were some rather eccentric ones, as for instance
very light blue, very light green and a flashy orange.
The apple green Aeromax is one of the last European cars
to be built. One cannot deny that its owner has a liking for his/her car to
stand out in every possible way!
Along with the last European cars, a batch of long awaited
extra cars for the American market were (almost) ready for delivery. At least our
American Morgan brethren don't have to cross the Atlantic to see one! One of these cars is shown on the right.
Sadly, the use of these cars for these is limited, as the
Aeromax did not pass all USA tests. As a result, it will be "show only", which
means a very limited mileage per year. An alternative to escape this a little
bit, is to run it on trade plates. The Aeromax is a beautiful car, which is a certain
collectors' item for the future!
Some cars already had bad accidents and rebuilding them is
not easy. Beware when you are offered one with accident damage!
The Aeromax also served to illustrate the catalogue issued to promote the Aero Bang Morgan Watch, in conjunction with the Swiss high-quality watch manufacturer Hublot.
The picture below was the centre piece of the cataloque in question.