It’s just typical Blighty… unseasonably warm weather the previous few weeks gave way to days and days of rain, just when we had planned to deliver Jon his new Oil & Gasoline® 1931 Sheepskin Flying Jacket. The plan was to shoot a few promo shots of our piece of Scottish craftsmanship, alongside one of sublime English craftsmanship in the form of Jon’s jaw-droppingly beautiful, Morgan Aero 8 GT.
Eventually, we gambled on a day that looked the least likely to be wet and I headed off on the two hour drive down to Worcester, UK. The day may have started in the rain, but it ended with a profound love for a brand that, to be frank, I hadn’t really given much thought to before.
A Modern British Classic
The Morgan Aero 8 GT is no shrinking violet and definitely isn’t for those who like to keep a low profile when they drive. As it turns out, it’s the perfect sports car for Jon…
I pulled up in the tatty Oil & Gasoline® project truck to a large Victorian house and greeted Jon at the door, complete with his styled ‘tash, Union Jack shod living room, and the odd quirky accessory. It soon became clear that this guy was a near eccentric Englishman with a great taste in cars… McLaren SLR, Aston Martin, Morgan 3-Wheeler, Morgan Aero 8, and the Morgan Aero 8 GT – a much more aggressive and focused version of the Aero. He’s adamant he’s not a collector, but it’s certainly heading that way!
“The NA V8 of the GT sounds incredible…”
As I sat chatting to his lovely wife Fay, Jon got ready and prepared the car. As he started it up the most sublime, deep rumble filled the air and echoed down the street. The NA V8 of the GT sounds incredible through its street legal double-twin exhausts… each pair exit under the driving and passenger door respectively.
Jon’s green and gold GT is a well known car, having appeared in several magazines. Limited to a run of just eight examples, his was the last made and each could be painted and finished according to the owners request. The colour scheme Jon chose is based on the Morgan GT3 race car and to be honest, even our pictures can’t do it justice, it’s even more beautiful in person – the green and gold really pops when the sun hits it.
Jon put on his 1931 Flying Jacket – which looked great next to the Morgan and fitted him like a glove – and jumped into the drivers seat while I gingerly got in the passenger seat.
The nose is long and the car is low, with a wide sill to clear before you climb into the seat and find yourself in a fairly small cockpit, which proved quite a squeeze with the camera gear, my wide shoulders, and admittedly slightly overweight torso. But, surprisingly, the long bonnet seemed to shrink and you can see where the front of the car ends quite easily. The carbon fibre seats are also incredibly comfortable, so it’s little wonder he’s taken the GT across Europe.
The inside is beautifully crafted with its ash wood finish, leather trim, and Jon’s choice of a flick-switch controls in the centre dash rather than modern digital ones. There’s everything you need and nothing more, which is perfect for a car like this.
“…it felt more like a gokart than it had any right to be…”
As we worked our way out of Worcester, I was surprised at how comfortable and compliant the ride of the GT was, it took ripples and bumps that shake the O&G truck to pieces in its stride. And, as we got out onto the country roads, the handling was as flat as you like and pin-point perfect… it felt more like a gokart than it had any right to be, could carry high corner speeds at ease and brake just as well, thanks to its impressively light 1180kg dry weight, AP Racing brakes, and manually adjustable dampers.
Then there’s the engine…
Free of turbos or a supercharger, the naturally aspirated V8 is a 4.8-litre N62 BMW engine. Producing 367bhp and 370lb ft, it’ll hit 0-60 in around 4.5 seconds and carry on all the way to 170mph. It’s incredibly soulful, with a pure sound right next to your head from the side-exit exhausts, and pulls with ease in any gear from low down in the revs. Get it flying and there’s a constant surge from idle to the red line. Some have said it needs another 100bhp to put it above the standard Aero, but from the passenger seat, it felt like it had more than enough for this type of car, you can use every single horsepower without ending up in a hedge thanks to the GT’s agility.
We soon arrived at the photoshoot destination up on the hills, and the Aero 8 GT looked right at home in the English countryside. As did Jon in his new 1931 Sheepskin Flying Jacket.
The 1931 Sheepskin Flying Jacket
We’re kicking off with our 1931 Sheepksin Flying Jacket as part of a pre-launch, before introducing other high-quality products from July onward. We’re a small team and the highest quality for all our products is the priority. It makes sense for us to do it in this way- we can release one product at a time knowing that it’s the very best it can be.
The 1931, so called because it’s based on the original 1931 Irvin jacket worn by the RAF, is handmade in Scotland for Oil & Gasoline® and it ranks right up there at the top in terms of quality. Only one person makes each jacket, to measure. They’re not off-the-peg, low quality, generic items… they’re for the most demanding connoisseur.
The sheepskin comes from North America and, as per American law, comes from animals destined for the meat industry rather than ones bred for their skins. It’s also an environmentally friendly and sustainable material, there’s no plastic here. Various wool lengths are available, so you can have a multi-season 15mm jacket like Jon’s, or go up to 22mm which will keep you warm while flying.
“… it was one of the best sausage rolls I’ve ever tasted.”Steve thinking with his stomach again
Morgan Factory Visit
Jon is obviously a regular at Morgan, he watched his car being built at every stage and got to know the guys putting his car together very well, they even signed the inside of the GT’s bonnet. So, when he suggested we head to the factory at Malvern for some additional photos and also have a quick tour, I jumped at the chance!
Once we’d arrived, we headed into the museum/tour cafe and Jon treated me to a sausage roll… it was one of the best sausage rolls I’ve ever tasted. Made locally, it’s worth a trip to the factory for that alone. If any Morgan guys are reading this, please send us some!
“I’ve been converted to the Morgan way…”
Plates empty, Jon took me on the tour of the factory. From the construction of the ash wood frames – contrary to the myth, Morgan’s actually have a z-section steel chassis with a wooden frame on top – to the beating of aluminium panels, it proved to be an amazing experience to witness traditional craftsmanship being kept alive, as well as seeing the direction the company is taking. The future is bright.
Another treat was seeing the cars in the museum, some of which I’d never even heard of before, and Jon’s passion and enthusiasm certainly rubbed off on me… I’ve been converted to the Morgan way, thanks Jon!
The Morgan factory has recently been tidied up and following the sale of a significant stake to Italian company Investindustrial, the future is looking very bright for the firm thanks to an incoming flood of cash, which is great to hear.
The factory tour is well worth the trip and you can also experience a spin in a Morgan yourself, follow the link below for more details;