Morgan Frame moves to a new architecture after 84 years

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Change comes slowly to some British automakers.

The original Land Rover, for instance, came out in 1948 and soldiered on with minimal changes until 2016. The first-generation Mini Cooper debuted in 1959 and hung around until 2000.

But one British automotive architecture is the granddaddy of them all: the steel ladder frame under the Morgan Plus 4 sports car.

The shape of the car changed a few times since the steel ladder frame was introduced in 1936, but the rugged frame remained true to the original design, featuring a leaf-spring rear suspension and an unusual sliding-pillar front suspension.

The setup ensures the tire tread stays flat on the road as the shocks compress and rebound.

Morgan last week built its last steel-framed sports car and shipped it to one of the company’s most loyal customers.

Morgan has switched to a lighter, stronger bonded-aluminum platform, an architecture introduced last year on the Plus 6.

Morgan says the 84-year production run of its original steel frame is a world record. The total number of cars built using that frame over those 84 years: 35,000.

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Saurabh Shukla

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