The 1990s Morgan GT Car
The familiar Morgan ladder type chassis had seen a service of more than 60 years by the mid 1990s. It had effectively started in the F-type three-wheelers and with relatively little modification carried on until the Plus 8 was powered by a 3.9 litre fuel injected engine. Time had come to think ahead, as the chassis would not have an eternal life.
As early as 1992 Charles Morgan deciced to construct a new chassis, but this happened behind closed doors. The familiar steel was replaced by aluminium honeycomb.
CIBA-Geigy in Cambridge were experienced in this field and they supplied the material and were responsible for the cutting and bonding. It took until 1995 to finish the car. Originally the car had been equipped with a 3.5 litre engine, but during the process the engine was enlarged to 5 litres, still a (developed) Rover block, though.
It was intended to produce a series of these cars, in order to homologate it, but the GT2 car just remained a one-off.
In true Morgan tradition, important modifications had to be tried out in competition events first. Were it the trials that served as severe tests for the three-wheelers, in later years the races had been adopted as such.
Stresses put on a racing car in long distance events are great, so any failures were more than likely to come to the fore here.
During 1995 the car had not proved very successful, but for 1996 new staff member Chris Lawrence made a number of modifications to the car, in order to have it perform better during the full season.
The results are shown below:
|Paul Ricard||03.03.1996 ||Bill Wykeham/ Charles Morgan ||2:18, 49th||28th, out of 33 |
|Monza||24.03.1996 ||Bill Wykeham/ Charles Morgan ||2:08 ||retired|
|Jarama||12/13.04.1996 ||Bill Wykeham/ Charles Morgan ||1:46.7 ||DNS |
|Snetterton||Bill Wykeham||1:15.6||Test Day |
|Silverstone||12.05.1996 ||Bill Wykeham/ Charles Morgan ||2:047, 52th ||Car run into |
|Nürburgring||30.06.1996 ||Bill Wykeham/ Charles Morgan ||1:55 ||27th overall, 18 GT2 |
|Anderstorp||14.07.1996 ||Bill Wykeham/ Charles Morgan ||1:42.5 ||Retired |
|Brands Hatch||08.09.1996 ||Bill Wykeham/ Joel Wykeham/ Steve Lawrence||1:33.6 ||18th overall, 12th in class |
|Spa||22.09.1996 ||Bill Wykeham/ Charles Morgan ||2:37.5||25th overall, 14th in class |
The picture on the right shows the car during its last race in 1996, the Spa-Francorchamps 4 Hours Race on 22 September. This picturewas taken by Daniel Dalien and comes from the collection of the Morgan Motor Company.
This was a relatively successful race for the car, as Charles Morgan and Bill Wykeham managed to bring it to the finish and ended 25th overall and 14th in their class. Only the race at Brands Hatch gave a better performance.
For 1997 Chris Lawrence had different plans and this car did not fit into them, so the car had to go. A new owner was sought and found and in February 1997 the car left the Morgan premises for good.
In February 1997 the original GT2 was ready to leave the premises of the Morgan Motor Company forgood. The highly prepared 5 litre engine had been removed and replaced by a more mundane example.
The new happy owner of this unique beast was Adrian van der Kroft, who raced it himself a couple of times in the late 1990s. By April 2010 he decided that the time had come to find a new owner for the car and it was offered through Richard Thorne at a healthy GBP 70,000. At the time of writing a new owner still has to be found.