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Morgan Plus Eight

Morgan Plus Eight Published: 23rd May 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Morgan Plus Eight
Morgan Plus Eight
Morgan Plus Eight
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Morgan’s Plus 8 is still an all time great plus good ones are becoming highly valued

WHY IT’S A WINNER


Morgan’s Plus 8 is one of the most instantly recognisable classics you can buy, on account of the fact that it’s been on sale forever and it looks quite unlike anything else around. However, while it looks as though there has been little change in almost 50 years of production, there are major differences between the earliest and latest ones. What hasn’t changed is the hand-built nature of the car along with its charm – and of course the unique driving experience of a thundering V8 in a vintage car that’s modern where it’s needed.

HISTORY

1968 Best known for its four-cylinder traditional sportsters, Morgan did a bold thing in the late 1960s by slotting in the evergreen Rover V8 unit to create the Plus 8. The first featured a 3528cc 160bhp Rover V8, mated to a Moss four-speed gearbox without synchromesh on first gear.

1972 To make driving easier, an all-synchro gearbox from the P6 3500S was fitted while the bodyshell was widened by two inches, to a welcome 59 for more cockpit space.

1976 The engine was donated by the SD1, complete with a slick five-speed gearbox; there was now 155bhp on offer.

1977 The bodyshell was widened further to 62 inches and in 1977 another inch was added to the Plus 8’s girth. In this same year, alloy panels became optional across the range.

1981 The Plus 8’s carbs had been replaced by electronic fuel injection as early as 1984 and as a result liberated a stonking 190bhp and a modern, diesel-like 220lbft of torque.

1990 Things got even wilder with the arrival of Rover’s enlarged 3946cc lump for the Plus 8 – giving up to 235lbft of torque. The Plus 8 soldiered on until 2003, when it was finally canned because of emissions regulations.

DRIVING

Most Morgans are exhilarating to drive because they offer a pretty antiquated driving experience that makes an MGB or Triumph almost civilised and dainty by comparison! Even very recent examples have nothing in the way of active safety features – that is, things to stop you being involved in a crash. A limited-slip diff is as much as you can expect and where higherpowered models are concerned, that means plenty of thrills but in the wrong hands can be a handful.

The muscular V8 can take a lot of taming on wet roads thanks to its crude suspension and no driver aids and to be honest, even powerful four-cylinder cars can also prove to be a handful. But that said, if you like a classic that’s vintage in looks and feel (especially the ride and refinement) but modern made then you’re mature enough for a Morgan. Actually, they are quite useable and the (non Plus 8) four-seater versions family sized but don’t expect creature comforts in the back!

BEST MODELS

Even the experts admit that early pre-’72 cars with their heavy gearbox can be hard work to drive and for the die hards only; the 1976 upgrade with the SD1 five-speeder is worth having. Really, there are no best or worst buys as the Morgan was fundamentally the same but the later the car the better made they became with better kit.

Don’t overlook one of the other models that aren’t V8-powered as they provide the same driving experience and character and more than ample performance; the Fiat Twin Cam models are especially liked, for example.

PRICES

Perhaps the biggest difference in the Morgan world between now and any time up to five years ago is the balance between supply and demand. While waiting lists used to be somewhere around seven years, you can now have your brand new Morgan delivered in 12 months or so, but this lack of long waiting lists doesn’t seem to have made much difference to the used market and you still need to spend £10,000 to buy a 4/4 worth owning.

The general rule of thumb is that the newer the car, the more it’s worth. The Plus 8 is the most valuable, followed by the Plus Four, with the 4/4 the least valuable – and so good value. A decent Plus 8 will still attract upwards of £14,000 and even a fuel-injected 4/4 commands nearly £20,000 Early Plus 8s change hands for well in excess of £30,000 – that’s when they come up for sale.

VERDICT

It may be one of the most antiquated post-war cars around, but thanks to the continued existence of Morgan, they remain one of the easiest classics to keep on the road. It’s well worth paying for a Morgan expert to cast their eye over any potential purchase so you start off on the right foot and enjoy Morgan motoring as it’s meant to be.

FIVE TOP FAULTS

1. WOOD Morgan is ash framed. Post ‘86 safest bet, because the wood was treated, otherwise it was exposed to the elements

2. DOORS Play in the door hinge post is not just irksome, it’s actually structural and costly to fix; say £1000 per side

3. BESPOKE Handbuilt, so body parts will only be supplied for an approximate fit and need expert fettling to make it an exact one

4. ENGINES Rover V8 generally okay; short journeys and lack of oil changes sludge up oil ways and knock out the camshaft. Head gaskets known to let go, too

5 RUNNING GEAR Odd front suspension needs regular lubrication, rear springs settle with age, standard brakes merely adequate

 



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