Searching for new engines in the 1960s, Morgan concluded a deal with Rover for supply of its all-aluminium 3.5-litre V8, thus creating a car that combined Vintage-era charm with Cobra-like ‘grunt’: the Plus 8. Morgan’s Plus 4 chassis, strengthened and extended, formed the basis of the new car, while the existing Moss four-speed gearbox was retained also. After a successful debut at the 1968 London Motor Show, production commenced at the rate of 15-or-so cars per month and continues to this day, although now with BMW power. While the traditionally styled Morgan’s brick-like aerodynamics restricted top speed to around 125mph (more than fast enough for most people driving an open car) the Rover V8’s 168bhp and 210lb/ft of torque made for supercar-league performance through the gears. Indeed, in its later 3.9-litre form, the Plus 8 proved quicker to 80mph than the contemporary Porsche 911 Turbo.
Its lengthy production run has seen the Plus 8 alter little in outward appearance, save for ever widening wheelarches accommodating fatter rubber, yet beneath the skin the changes have been innumerable. Better gearboxes, fuel injection, rack-and-pinion steering, improved corrosion protection and paint, telescopic rear dampers, air bags and the obligatory catalytic converter have all become part of the Plus 8 picture over the years, along, of course, with bigger engines to offset the inevitable increase in weight.
This later 1993 model was fitted from new with the more powerful 3.9 litre Rover V8, and interestingly was also specified with a lightweight aluminium body (rather than the standard steel offering) intended to improve overall performance of the car. Other optional extras included a mohair hood and tonneau cover, fog lamps, and special number plate mountings. A roller-bearing kingpin conversion and a special exhaust system are the only other noted deviations from factory specification. The Morgan has enjoyed long term ownership over the years, and has been maintained since 2010 by Brands Hatch Morgan. The only reason the car was sold by the previous owner was in order to make way for a new Morgan. The Plus 8 has enjoyed a repaint to freshen up the exterior, and in addition is offered with sundry invoices, a current MoT certificate, and a V5C registration document.
In many ways Plus 8s are the perfect classic; wonderful period looks, gutsy V8 motors and modern reliability. We are sure this excellent example, nicely finished in metallic grey with a matching grey leather interior, will prove to be a real treat for its lucky next owner.