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Morgan styling could be modernised, says design boss

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British car maker’s styling direction will move from the 1940s to the 1960s, keeping distance with the present

Morgan is famous for building roadsters that look like time capsules from the 1940s, but its stylists don’t feel constrained by its vast heritage. The company is open to the idea of moving its design language forward.

“We have always believed that Morgan‘s design library is incredibly flexible and in no way constrained by the nostalgic influences that we deploy in our cars,” head of design Jonathan Wells told Autocar.

He cited the members of the Aero range, which put a more contemporary spin on Morgan’s design approach, and the stillborn electric EV3 as examples. Both stretched the boundaries of the company’s visual identity but neither looked out of place in its line-up, because they retained a high degree of purity.

“Every part of a Morgan should communicate its function and be there for a reason,” Wells said.

Morgan will follow these strict guidelines as it creates newer-looking cars, which Autocar understands is a process already under way as the British firm mulls designs for forthcoming models.

“Instead of moving so drastically from the 1940s and the 1950s to the 2020s and the 2030s, we’re sort of migrating into the 1960s and the 1970s and maintaining that distance [with the present],” Wells affirmed. “We’re trying to do so in a way that we don’t generate a pastiche but maintain that authenticity and function.”

Although he stopped short of revealing precisely what the company has in the pipeline, or when it will expand its range, Wells did tell us that the process of designing a car like the recently revealed all-new Plus Four starts by carefully studying the era to which it’s a tribute. Simply copying and pasting an existing design wouldn’t cut it.

“We try to imagine what these designers were inspired by,” said Wells. “For example, the understanding of aerodynamics in the 1950s was very different than the understanding of aerodynamics today and, as a result, that was influencing the shape of those cars. We also try to understand the manufacturing techniques at the time and the cultural influences, which could be anything from interior design to fashion, and try to replicate that. We find it really exciting.”

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