For the past 45 years, the Morgan Plus 8 has been a head turner. With its classic lines and brutal V8 engine, it’s been very popular – especially in the US market. Now, to celebrate 100 years of car making at Morgan’s works in Pickersleigh Road, Malvern, Worcestershire, the car maker is rolling out the Morgan Plus 8 Speedster – a limited edition, stripped back, road-legal racing version of the open-top two seater.
Since it was introduced in 1968, the Morgan 8 Plus has stood out. With its V8 engine, it’s famous for the sort of acceleration and performance you’d expect from a well-engineered small car with a very big engine, and its sales are credited with saving the Morgan company in the ‘60s.
The Morgan Plus 8 Speedster is the latest iteration of the Plus 8 that's been whittled down to the basics. It features an aluminum chassis and a sub-1,100 kg (2,400 lb) weight designed for road holding and a power-to-weight ratio that Morgan says rivals any vehicle in its class. It has the distinct, classic high grille and sweeping wings of the Morgan brand and, in keeping with the Morgan tradition, the Speedster comes with a long list of optional extras for personalization. There's also a choice of 12 standard colors along with blue graphic accents, xenon headlights with headlamp washers, a union jack bonnet badge, a 100 year Pickersleigh Road signed chassis plate and perhaps the smallest windshield we've ever seen (potential buyers might want to consider a set of goggles). And just to keep things aerodynamic, there aren’t even any door handles.
Under the long bonnet there’s a 367 bhp, 4.8-liter BMW V8 engine feeding into a 6-speed manual or ZF 6-speed automatic gearbox, which adds up to 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.2 seconds and a top speed limited to 148 mph (238 km/h). In the snug cockpit that are two leather seats available in black or tan with vertical pleated stitching, a leather rim Motolita wheel and an ambient lighting kit.
The Morgan Plus 8 Speedster is available in a very limited edition from June with delivery within a couple of months at a price of £69,995 (US$119,000).