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Morgan and Pininfarina present Midsummer, a celebration of coachbuilding and timeless style - Pininfarina
May 16, 2024

Morgan and Pininfarina present Midsummer, a celebration of coachbuilding and timeless style

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  • Category
    Comunicato Stampa
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    0 Minutes
  • Date
    May 16, 2024

Morgan and Pininfarina present Midsummer, a celebration of coachbuilding and timeless style

  • Midsummer celebrates more than two-centuries of combined coachbuilding experience between Morgan and Pininfarina.

  • Midsummer’s barchetta design celebrates an iconic European body style and demonstrates the flexibility of the timeless Morgan silhouette.

  • Exposed style and sensory character give Midsummer’s occupants a greater level of connection to machine and surroundings.

  • More than 400 individual layers of sustainably sourced teak are skilfully laminated together to create sculptured wooden structures which surround the cabin and create a distinctive shoulder line.

  • The panels for each hand-formed aluminium body take more than 250 hours to create

  • Designers and engineers from Morgan and Pininfarina worked intensely to create Midsummer, resulting in a final design that is both striking and unique.

  • Midsummer is limited to just 50 examples, all of which have been allocated to customers following a series of exclusive preview sessions.

  • Midsummer is adorned with the ‘Pininfarina Fuoriserie’ badge, an absolute first for a production car.

May 16, Malvern, UK – Morgan Motor Company and Pininfarina S.p.A. are delighted to present Midsummer, a celebration of coachbuilding by two of the longest-established coachbuilders in the world.

Created in recognition of the heyday of European barchetta designs, this special – limited to just 50 examples – represents the shared vision of Morgan and Pininfarina, who have collaborated to reinterpret and celebrate the timeless Morgan silhouette.

A Morgan special project, Midsummer demonstrates the flexibility of Morgan design whilst simultaneously showcasing the rare craft skill of the artisans who hand form every element of the distinctive body. Midsummer is based on Morgan’s latest CX-Generation Bonded Aluminium Platform and features a six-cylinder turbocharged engine and eight-speed automatic transmission.

Massimo Fumarola, Chief Executive Officer, Morgan Motor Company, said: “We are incredibly proud to present Midsummer, a limited-run special project that celebrates two centuries of coachbuilding and represents the embodiment of Morgan’s core values and the pinnacle of craft skills of its talented workforce.

“Midsummer is dedicated to enthusiastic individuals who will enjoy an unconventional, sensory, and analogue driving experience. By identifying and re-interpreting Morgan’s admired ideals, Midsummer turns our legacy into a charming, sophisticated, and timeless aesthetic.

“The success of Midsummer demonstrates what is possible through collaboration with like-minded individuals, and it has been both memorable and rewarding to work with Pininfarina to help bring this special project to life. Pininfarina, underpinned by an incredible legacy of coachbuilding and design, has introduced the latest design and visualisation expertise, as well as fresh ideas at a time when Morgan is on its own exciting journey.

"It has been a pleasure to welcome new and existing customers to see Midsummer ahead of the public reveal, and we have been overwhelmed by the positive reception achieved so far. This unique example of coachbuilding, which exists between art and design, goes to the heart of what Morgan does best. With two traditions, two cultures, and two hundred years of experience united by a deeply held belief in the principles of craftsmanship, that heart beats stronger than ever.”

Giuseppe Bonollo, SVP Sales & Marketing, Pininfarina, said: "Alongside Morgan, we take great pride in spearheading the Coachbuilding movement. This remarkable collaboration blends Morgan's 115-year coachbuilding philosophy with Pininfarina's nearly 95-year tradition of designing and crafting bespoke vehicles. The already unique legacy of the two car makers, once combined, produces an unparalleled result in our industry. Through the seamless synergy between our teams and the shared passion of both brands, a new masterpiece emerges, blending British heritage with the timeless Pininfarina design. The forthcoming Midsummer, adorned with the 'Pininfarina Fuoriserie' badge, an absolute first for a production car, is destined to attain cult status.”

A Coach-built Collaboration

The collaboration between Morgan and Pininfarina emerged from a wider desire for Morgan to create limited-run specials, based on its CX-Generation Bonded Aluminium Platform, that both celebrate and demonstrate the diversity of Morgan’s instantly recognisable design, whilst simultaneously evolving it. A shared history of coachbuilding and a joint passion for design, were united following a chance conversation between colleagues from Morgan and Pininfarina. Upon first meeting, it was evident that both companies had a desire to create unique sports cars. And from a ‘what if?’ moment, the project to create Midsummer was born.

Midsummer’s striking design is the result of intense collaboration. Countless hours were dedicated to the exploration of each brand, taking time to educate on the philosophy and story underpinning each company. This exploration included understanding the heritage, capabilities, home, and future intent of each company during numerous reciprocal visits. The result is a model that remains true to the principles of Morgan, yet one that previews key elements of future Morgan design language, mixed with the flair and purity of Pininfarina design.

An exposure to the elements, a closeness to your surroundings and a raw connection to your machine are all qualities that have defined Morgan cars for generations. Midsummer pushes these to the extreme thanks to its barchetta design, chosen specifically for this purpose. From its high-quality materials to its visceral driving character, Midsummer delivers a sensory experience that is unsurpassed.

Eccentric Elegance

Midsummer’s presence is most evident in the rear three-quarter angle. From this angle, the proportion, new surfacing, and shoulder line are most apparent. Midsummer’s delicate yet exaggerated proportions imbue an eccentric elegance, reminiscent of iconic Pininfarina designs and evocative of an era of late 30s and early 40s automotive design. New surfacing, particularly noticeable on the front and rear wings, gives a subtle preview of the evolving Morgan design language. Midsummer also introduces a shoulder line to the instantly recognisable side profile of a Morgan, made possible by the introduction of exposed wooden structures and required as one of the defining elements of a barchetta style.

Moving to the side profile, the existing Morgan wing shape is apparent yet introduces subtly manipulated lines. Changes to the wings have been informed by aerodynamic requirements, most notable in the ‘lift’ in front of both the front and rear wheels, the steeper lines of which help to keep turbulent air away from the panel. The aerodynamic optimisation has leveraged the unique competences of Pininfarina in this field. Featured on the above-mentioned panel is the positioning of the Pininfarina Fuoriserie badge (See page 7). The front of the wings and the nose are unique to Midsummer, their volume is concentric to the shape of the wheels, respecting a key design philosophy of simple primal geometry, yet differentiating it from other Morgan models.

The lightweight forged 19-inch wheel has been designed exclusively for Midsummer. Weighing just 10 kilograms – a reduction of more than three kilograms from the weight of the equivalent 19-inch Plus Six wheel – is achieved thanks to extensive finite element analysis and electing to forge rather than cast the wheel. Despite being lightweight, the wheel exudes a sense of solidity.

A new Michelin Pilot Sport 5 tyre offers an increased profile and has been selected due to its dynamic consistency and feedback. An increased proportion of tyre to wheel rim ratio introduces a more period aesthetic, one that will be reflected on future Morgan flagship models.  

Hand-formed stainless steel lower sills give conclusion to the wings, providing a sense of volume and providing an ‘undercut’. This feature is inspired by early Pininfarina designs, whilst its stainless-steel finish allows the vehicle to take on the colour of its environment, integrating with its surroundings.

From the front, Morgan’s new signature headlight units – finished with silver inserts – flank the horseshoe grille which features a half-moon shape at the top of the stone guard. This half-moon shape, whilst a key design feature, also helps to direct air flow within the grille aperture. Small vertical vents sit at either side of the horseshoe grille, these further aid air flow and cooling.

A longer rear tail is designed to accentuate the elegance of the car. This treatment is reminiscent of iconic Pininfarina designs, evocative of an era of late 1930s and early 1940s forms. New rear lights sit within half-chamfered light pods.

The view from the cockpit of a Morgan is distinctive. A long bonnet leading your eyes to the wing tops gives a clear indication of where the front wheels are – a key hallmark of a Morgan - allowing driver’s to confidently guide the car through corners with accuracy and flow. Midsummer continues this attribute, yet with some subtle differences. Pininfarina has reinterpreted the iconic louvres that are stamped lengthways into each bonnet with a series of ‘piano keys’. These piano keys are hand formed and positioned widthways along the scuttle section of each bonnet, delicately dancing along the surface of the aluminium. Beyond their beauty, the piano keys also play a functional role in allowing air to exit from the engine compartment.

New analogue dials have been designed exclusively for Midsummer. Handmade in the UK, the dials are finished in an off-white colour to suit the overall softness and warmth of the vehicle. The introduction of new analogue dials has required a full electronic re-evaluation. The steering wheel has been re-sculpted and features a solid forged aluminium centre. In addition, Midsummer also benefits from a enhanced Sennheiser audio system with new dashboard controls.

Dynamically, Midsummer continues the raw and visceral driving experience that is synonymous with Morgan sports cars. This experience is accentuated thanks to Midsummer’s barchetta style, which ensures occupants are at one with their surroundings and forced to remain present in the moment. Midsummer has a target dry weight of just 1,000kg. Adjustable Nitron dampers, tuned and manufactured specifically for Midsummer, further enhance dynamic capability.

Jonathan Wells, Chief Design Officer, Morgan Motor Company, said: “Midsummer demonstrates the flexibility of the Morgan silhouette, presenting a vehicle that is striking in its appearance and unmistakably a Morgan. A celebration of coachbuilding that combines the expertise, story and creativity of both Morgan and Pininfarina in delivering a seamless balance of tradition and progression.

“Morgan proudly practices the art of coachbuilding; uniting art, engineering, and craft to deliver story-rich experiences in everything we do. Midsummer has allowed us to celebrate these values through collaboration with another likeminded creator. Following a series of enjoyable conversations, visits to one another’s studios, and during time spent driving Morgan cars around the Malvern Hills together, the Pininfarina team and our own designers quickly began drafting initial concepts.

“It was energising to witness the way in which our creative teams worked together. Collaboration throughout all stages of the development was complemented initially by Pininfarina’s incredible immersive digital design technology and later by Morgan’s inherent understanding of coach-building lightweight sports cars.  This extended design resource, healthy creative collaboration and seamless digital-to-physical evaluation enabled us to go from ‘conversation to concept’ in less than one year.

“Midsummer – whilst also being Morgan’s first exterior-form collaboration – represents a significant milestone in our product design history. Our product portfolio offers an intriguing diversity; from the elegance of Plus Four and Six to the adventurous Super 3 and CX-T. As we look towards broader visual experimentation across our model range – it has been an enriching experience to collaborate with Pininfarina, who’s teams have challenged our thinking and introduced new ideas in line with our design journey.”

“I am most pleased with the rear three-quarter proportions and how the car sits thanks to obsessive attention-to-detail to refine the wheel-to-body relationship. The introduction of the elegant dropping shoulder line is accentuated by an eccentric swept tail, fuller bodied aesthetic is complemented by intelligent surfacing detail, and carefully defined creases control highlights as they move across the gently crowned surfaces. Midsummer establishes design foundations to build upon for future Morgan models.”

Felix Kilbertus, Chief Creative Officer, Pininfarina, said: “The design of the Midsummer is the product of an immersive journey between two brands, building on the essence of Morgan's DNA, encompassing its centenary heritage, company culture and a remarkable community of passionate devotees. This endeavour was also a rare and unique opportunity to investigate our own past with the fresh eyes of a new generation of designers, and to rediscover our company’s very origins in coachbuilding. While Pininfarina’s spirit of constantly looking forward is most manifest in the aerodynamic solutions directing airflow over the cabin or in the functional ventilation elements, the innate sculptural sensitivity of the Italian tradition shapes the low and essential silhouette, producing a beautifully surfaced and sensationally proportioned roadster, celebrating the ideal of light-hearted motoring.

“Complementing and learning from each other, the two teams engaged collaboratively across all stages, from an inspirational “what if..?” in an English ‘Pub’ to colour and material discussions over Italian coffee - and many more encounters in between. Refining all aspects of design, a fully digital development phase based on Pininfarina’s extensive expertise in VR/AR modelling and visualisation blended seamlessly with the art and craft of truly hand-built automobiles.” 

Visible Wood

One of the most impactful elements of Midsummer is its use of wood on the exterior of the body. Whilst wood is commonplace within Morgan sports cars, its role has remained exclusively within the body frame of each vehicle, acting as a ‘buck’ for aluminium body panels to be hand-formed over. This use means it has always been hidden from view.

Midsummer’s barchetta style provided an opportunity to utilise wood to create a shoulder line, accentuating the perimeter of the cockpit and visibly showcasing the skill of Morgan’s craftspeople. This application pays homage to Morgan’s long-established relationship with wood, a key desire expressed by Pininfarina at the earliest stages of the project.

Taking inspiration from marine applications, beautifully sculpted wooden structures surround the cabin and create the necessary shoulder line. Hand formed using high-quality and durable teak, hundreds of individual layers of wood are delicately laminated together to complete each section. Selected with meticulous attention-to-detail, each layer of teak is no more than 0.6mm thick.

Each vehicle will feature nine individually crafted teak sections, taking more than 30 hours to skilfully create, and utilising 83m2 of sustainably sourced teak. Most notable are the dashboard tops, which feature 126 layers of teak each, and the door top sections which feature 120 layers each. Using multiple layers as opposed to a single piece of wood, adds strength and durability, necessary for exposed elements.

The exposed wooden sections are not just a testament of craftsmanship, a celebration of materials, and a marvel of design, they also reiterate the elevated engineering approach emerging from Morgan.

21st Century Coachbuilding

Midsummer takes Morgan’s unique blend of time-honoured craftsmanship and appropriate modern technology to even greater heights. Not just within the vehicle itself, but in the way it has been engineered and the methods which will produce every one of the 50 examples. To pursue such a striking design has required engineering innovation to overcome challenges and create solutions, many of which are unseen but vital. Whilst Morgan and Pininfarina worked together to design Midsummer, Morgan led on the engineering due its unique production methods.

Throughout the development of Midsummer, Morgan’s master craftsmen – often alongside their production line responsibilities – worked in lockstep with the company’s engineering teams. Working in this manner is unique to Morgan. Examples of this include the latest computer aided design (CAD) software being informed by the skill and experience of one of Morgan’s carpenters with experience in cabinet making or maritime applications. Striking this delicate balance is not without challenge.

The number of hand-formed elements of Midsummer is higher than other Morgan models and features greater complexity. The hand-beaten aluminium body panels take more than 250 hours to produce. As such, each vehicle will take longer to progress through Morgan’s Pickersleigh Road factory when production commences in the third quarter of 2024.

Matt Hole, Chief Technical Officer, Morgan Motor Company, said: “Midsummer embodies Morgan's 21st century coachbuilding philosophy and showcases the talent and capability of our engineering and production teams. To achieve such a striking design has required immense craft skill, blended with industry leading technology, that surpasses that of any previous Morgan.

“Achieving a balance between craft and technology, ensuring both are enhancing the other and not detracting, is what has helped to make Midsummer so special. We have witnessed first-hand during the development process, instances where the skill of the artisan is informing the latest Computer Aided Design software, and vice versa. There is an honesty to this process which we believe is reflected in the finished product.

“Morgan is continuing to elevate the quality, perception, and integrity of its vehicles, Midsummer is a testament to this evolution. I believe this project has raised the bar for Morgan, and in doing so will help to elevate the integrity of all future Morgan models.”

Midsummer, the name

The inspiration behind the name Midsummer is two-fold. Most prominently, the term Midsummer indicates the height of the summer, a celebration of the season which provides optimal weather conditions to experience an open-top barchetta. Observing the mid-point of the season is a practice that dates to the neolithic era, a time in the calendar providing the central point to which an abundance of traditions have emerged.

As ancient as the solstice tradition is its geographical namesake, Midsummer Hill, which forms part of the Malvern Hills – a sprawling hill range that is woven into the very fabric of Morgan. It is from the summits of these hills that  – looking in a westward direction – you can see the hamlet of Moreton Jeffries, birthplace of HFS Morgan in 1881. Looking east is Malvern College, where the first Morgan car was invented. And of course, Pickersleigh Road, the historic home of Morgan since 1914.

Pininfarina Fuoriserie

The application of the Pininfarina Fuoriserie emblem is significant. Situated on the side of the vehicle, positioned just behind the front wheels, this specific mark is an immediate demonstration of Midsummer’s unique status.

Typically, vehicles designed by Pininfarina will feature the ‘Design by Pininfarina’ emblem. Due to the unique nature of Midsummer, and the collaborative approach that has contributed to its existence, Pininfarina selected the ‘Fuoriserie’ brand mark. Meaning ‘out of series’ Fuoriserie’s application to Midsummer represents its first application to a production car in Pininfarina’s history, and denotes the nature of the vehicle which has been produced ‘out of series’.

Limited Run

Just 50 Midsummer will be produced, all of which have been sold to customers during a series of exclusive preview sessions. Remaining close to the project, every customer will benefit from individual consultation with Morgan’s designers to help tailor their Midsummer. These creative discussions will help to turn each customer’s vision into reality, ensuring every Midsummer is a true one-off. Production begins in 2024, Morgan’s 115th year, and will conclude during 2025. Prospective customers for Morgan special projects are invited to submit their proposal to Morgan. Midsummer’s first public debut is anticipated at the 2024 Goodwood Festival of Speed, held in July.