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Is that a unicorn? No, it’s something much rarer: a new Morgan Aero 8

It’s a rare day: Morgan Motors, Britain’s ye olde’st automaker, is releasing a new car the fifth generation 2015 Morgan Aero 8. Well, it’s mostly new … The big change is that the Aero 8 is going from hardtop to roadster.  Underneath, though, it’s appropriately a mix of old and new.

Held over from the previous generation of car is the BMW-sourced running gear, a 4.8-liter 367 stalwart Shetland pony-power V8, mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic. Though, let’s face it; the only people who are buying a Morgan with an automatic are fun-hating communists. This combination is good for a brisk — but not alarmingly fast — 4.5 second sprint to 60 mph.

Despite being able to power the Aero 8 past the odd Porsche Boxster, the engine isn’t really what the Morgan is about. Instead, it’s more about supplying a pleasant baritone howl to accompany vigorous cornering. To that end, the new Aero 8 keeps Morgan’s nod to modernity with an all aluminum construction, not to mention a revised chassis, all-new suspension, and key for tail out fun: a BMW-sourced limited-slip differential.

All of this is great, but to really understand the new Morgan Aero 8, you have to watch the video above. If you want a fun-to-drive sports car, there are lots available like that Boxster I mentioned or, in fact, the BMW’s from which Morgan has gotten most of its complicated bits. The Aero 8 is something more; it is a time paradox.

Old school coach-building and styling that Cary Grant and Errol Flynn would feel at home with is blended seamlessly with modern touches like LED lighting and the gorgeous clamshell boot (Brit-speak for ‘trunk’). The driver Morgan choose for its video is a great metaphor for this combination; he is dressed like it’s 1938, but you just know he has an iPhone in his pocket.

The result of all of this is that the Aero 8 is not a car for everyone. In fact, Americans will be hard pressed to lay their hands on one … period. For those who are looking to experience the elegance and joy of an earlier age without the hassles like cholera or being impaled on a finely crafted steering column, Morgan is there … and thank god and her royal highness for that.