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Morgan's Plus Four CX-T is an off-road adventure machine with a face from the '30s

It's an improbable idea, but somehow Morgan's design team managed to build it with help from Dakar legends Rally Raid.

Big clouds of dust, engine screaming and wheels on lock in a Morgan? Sounds like a good time!

It's probably fair to say that when most of us think of a purpose-built off-road vehicle, we don't generally think of a Morgan. After all, Morgans are quaint little British sports cars that look fresh out of the 1930s, neither of which would typically be conducive to off-road use. Except that now there's a Morgan called the Plus Four CX-T and still quaint and still British, but now it's ready to leave the pavement behind.

The CX-T, which Morgan debuted on Thursday, is based on the Plus Four model, which is itself based on Morgan's new bonded aluminum chassis architecture dubbed CX (because the company is 110 years old and Roman numerals are a thing?). Its Plus 4 parentage means it's packing a BMW-sourced 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that is mated to a manual transmission.

OK, so where does the CX-T start to differ from the model on which it's based? To start, the suspension is completely different. It uses control arms from the Morgan Plus Six, which changes the suspension's geometry to aid wheel articulation. It also uses off-road-focused dampers from EXE-TC with internal bump stops to help control the ride. The Morgan's wheel arches have been changed, too, to allow for more tire travel.

Now playing: Watch this: Morgan Plus Four CX-T is ready to tackle tough terrain

Next, there is a great big skid plate at the front and additional cooling vents on the nose. The engine breathes -- believe it or not -- through the right-side pannier bag, which conceals an exceptionally dust-resistant air filter. The left-side pannier holds some of the vehicle's recovery gear. The other major off-road change insisted upon by Morgan's technical partner for the project, Rally Raid, is an electronically locking rear differential from BMW's xDrive cars that can be set to open, 40% lock or fully lock locked.

Other exterior changes include an exo-cage that helps house the vehicle's tool kit, spare tires, storage cases and sand boards. Below the cage sits a removable hardtop. Like other Plus Fours, the side windows are removable, and there are provisions on the exo-cage to attach them when they're not in use. Also mounted to the cage are four spot lamps with bespoke leather covers.

Inside, it's mostly standard Morgan Plus Four aside from some custom pouches for food and documents. There is also a rally-style map light and the dash-mounted switches for the differential.

Morgan is planning on building eight CX-T models -- this initial car and seven customer cars -- each with a starting price of the equivalent of around $237,000. It plans to have all eight vehicles completed before the end of 2021.