Classic Car of the Month - Morgan Plus 8
19 April, 2016
With a rich history dating back to 1968, the Morgan Plus 8 was an instantly popular car - and is still in demand by collectors and car owners today. With its slender body and distinctively characteristic hood, the Plus 8 is an elegant, classy car and one that fully deserves the mantel of our Car of the Month.
The Morgan Motor Company is one of the most distinctively British car manufacturers and this comes across in almost all areas of the cars beautiful design. The limited edition run of Speedster models in 2014 just goes to prove that some cars never go out of fashion.
History of the Morgan Plus 8
In 1966 Morgan were faced with the prospect of decreasing availability of the large four-cylinder engines, which had been used prominently in their popular Morgan Plus 4. In order to combat this they decided to incorporate the Rover V8 engine which had recently become available. Development was led by Maurice Owen who was taken on board as an engineer, specifically for the project.
In 1968 the Morgan Plus 8 was unveiled to the public at the 1968 Earls Court Motor Show and was an instant success. By improving on the car's engine but keeping a similar size to the Plus 4, the Plus 8 was able to able to achieve extraordinary acceleration for the time. For several years it even held the record of being the fastest accelerating UK production car.
This speed was built upon in 1975 when 19 Morgan Plus 8 Sports Lightweight models were sold, to compete in club racing. Though the car went through a number of changes in design through the years, including a 5-speed gearbox upgrade in 1977, the central design of the car remained similar to its original conception.
About the Morgan Plus 8
The Morgan Plus 8 used a modified chassis from the Plus 4, but with extra developments to allow for the installation of the new V8 engine. Once it was installed in the completed chassis, the engines were identifiable by two small bonnet bulges.
Another aspect carried over from the Plus 4 was the Moss gearbox, the inclusion of which caused the chassis to have to be altered further throughout its development. In 1976 the chassis was widened to accomodate large tires which could handle the engine's increased power. The car’s now iconic design is often associated with Peter Morgan, who passed away in 2003, and was the owner-chairman behind its design. Many of the models were convertibles, although there are a small number of vehicles which also included a roof.
Later models of the car included 5 and then 6-speed gearboxes. In 1983, the company offered an EFI version of the car using a Bosch L-Jetronic based system. According to some publications at the time the additional power from this, paired with the car’s low weight, enabled a Plus 8 to beat a Porsche up to 90 mph!
The Morgan Plus 8 has been updated consistently from its original inception, and can even be purchased, handmade, from the Morgan factory to this day. However, the level of demand and nature of building the cars means there is a very hefty waiting time. The beautiful design of the car, both on the inside and outside, means it is still a massively sought after vehicle, for both new drivers and classic collectors alike.
What are your thoughts on the Morgan Plus 8? We’d love to hear what you have to say. Tweet us at @Footman_James