Last week, the department store announced a collaboration with another tweedy British icon, the Morgan Motor Company, one that will bring the first examples of the Morgan EV3 roadster — unveiled in June 2015 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed — to British roads.
The EV3, if you hadn't guessed, is the electric version of Morgan's cheeky 3 Wheeler roadster, which in its standard form is powered by a petrol-swilling V-twin engine from US-based motor-maker S&S. The EV3, claims Morgan, boasts a top speed of 90mph or a cruising range of 120-ish miles on a charge (pick one; you can't have both). Selfridges will offer a scant 19 examples of the UK 1909 Edition, available for order at its stores and online.
The US-based department store Neiman Marcus knows this play quite well. The company has included special-edition cars in its annual Christmas Book on and off since 1968, when it offered 'His' and 'Hers' Jaguars — for him, a $5,559 E-Type coupé (nice), and for her, a $5,975 coat made of actual Jaguar (naughty). In the years since — particularly since 1995, when the catalogue featured a Brosnan Blue BMW Z3 roadster — buyer competition for the Neiman cars has escalated dramatically. One hundred examples of the Z3 sold out in six hours; in 2004, the Christmas Book's Cadillac XLR roadster disappeared in only 14 minutes; and in 2010, catalogue shoppers scooped up 100 examples of the Neiman Marcus Chevrolet Camaro convertible in a fairly stunning 90 seconds.
To its great credit, Selfridges' partnership with Morgan seems a bit more substantial than Neiman's greedy-grab strategy, as it neatly links the parallel stories of the department store and the carmaker. Selfridges opened its doors in 1909; Morgan produced its first car in 1909. Boom. And the special-edition car itself is a rather exquisite piece of kit, with grey-painted solid wheels and luscious diamond-stitched leather on the seats. The UK 1909 Edition comes only in gloss black, brightened by bits of bronze, including the dashboard switches and the front wheel hubs.
Naturally, Selfridge & Co has created a passel of Anglo-goodies intended to complement its special Morgan — '09' of them, in fact. The list includes a bespoke trunk from British leathercrafter Globe-Trotter, steampunk driving goggles by eyewear-maker Linda Farrow, a belted jacket from outerwear-maker Belstaff, a jaunty scarf by the London fashion house Alexander McQueen, and 007-approved driving gloves by Dents.
No surprise, the Selfridges UK 1909 Edition Morgan won't be had cheaply. It's priced at a high-voltage £52,500 (about $69,000), which is almost exactly double the starting price for a non-Selfridges, petrol-powered 3 Wheeler. (Morgan has yet to announce pricing for the series-production EV3, and that's probably a good thing.)
The Selfridges Morgan is set to make its official debut on 1 September during the Salon Privé Concours d'Elegance at Blenheim Palace. Then, on 1 October, the car and its designer accessory pack lands in the department store's Birmingham location.