Morgan Aero SuperSports – Click above to view the video after the jump

Who better to introduce Jay Leno to the new Morgan Aero SuperSports than company founder Harry Morgan's grandson, Charles Morgan? He stops by the garage to show Jay this latest limited edition, built to celebrate Morgan's 100 years of existence as a cottage builder of lightweight flyers. This Aero SuperSports happens to be a prototype, but it still knocks Jay's socks off.

Powered by a sweet-sounding 380-horsepower version of BMW's 4.8-liter V8, the 2,475-pound Morgan is a bit quicker than the 1932 Morgan Three-Wheeler that resides in Jay's personal collection. It's also got quite a few more safety and luxury amenities, although the trunk is just big enough for the targa roof panels or "one sport coat and a pair of slacks," as Jay puts it. The Aero SuperSports is basically a targa-topped version of the Morgan Aeromax that debuted in 2008.

When Jay takes it out for a spin he seems impressed with the performance and build quality, and points out that at $150,000-$160,000, it ain't cheap, but for a hand-built car with this level of performance you'd pay a whole lot more if it was wearing an Italian badge. If nothing else it's a great throwback to a different era of motoring, and as the last independent British automaker, Morgan has a wonderful family business heritage with mainly second-, third- and fourth-generation employees cranking out the 800 or so units they build per annum.

We saw this car up in Monterey last August and agree with Jay that less is more when it comes to sportscars. Low weight really pays dividends for performance and economy. At 60 mph the six-speed automatic transmission is turning at just 1,700 RPM, which equates to about 30 miles per gallon. Of course, it would probably be hard to keep it at a constant 60 with an exhaust note like that snarling just below your left buttcheek. Follow the jump to see the video for yourself.



Related GalleryMonterey 2009: Morgan Aero SuperSports

[Source: Jay Leno's Garage]