Jay Gatsby is going to flip when he hears this.
If you hate US government restrictions on imported vehicles, this news will make you happy. A new law called the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation” act (or FAST) passed this year. If you want to read the whole thing, then be our guest. The most important news is that a small exemption for low-volume manufacturers. The exemption affects vehicles that are “intended to resemble the body of another motor vehicle that was manufactured not less than 25 years before the manufacture of the replica vehicle.”
What does this have to do with plucky British car maker Morgan? Well, because Morgan has been building essentially the same models for many decades, it may be able to sell cars in the US again. Morgan already sells the 3 Wheeler (which qualifies as a motorcycle in the US) and now will attempt to bring its new 4/4 back to the states. Morgan has just launched an 80th anniversary edition of the 4/4, which certainly qualifies for the FAST Act's 25-year restriction. (What is it with the US and 25-year rules?) Morgan has sold cars in the US during its 106 year history but has not sold a model stateside since the Aero 8 was required to have smart airbags after 2008. There will still be some tricky emissions and compliance laws to meet, though.
Morgan's managing director Steve Morris told Car and Driver that, “We’ve got to sort out the compliance, but as we’re using the Mustang 3.7 and the 2.0-liter direct-injection engine, that should be doable—we just need to work out a cost effective solution, we’ve also got to sort out dealers and distribution.” If this plan works out, we could have new Morgan models in the US by the end of the year. Count us excited! This also makes us wonder what other cars can sneak in under this exemption. This may be the perfect opportunity for a manufacturer to rebuild heritage models from years past. Could you imagine buying a 2016 model year E30 M3!? Based on the exemption, that may be technically possible!