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Morgan Roadster

Morgan Roadster Published: 11th Jan 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Morgan Roadster
Morgan Roadster
Morgan Roadster
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Losing two lungs doesn’t make this easier driving alternative to the Plus 8 any less desirable and it’s the better buy for many

Having celebrated its 50th in style, downgrading from a V8 to a V6 sounds like a retrograde step for many dyed-in-the-wool Morgan lovers, yet the Jaguarpowered Roadster is no second stringer to the Plus 8 even though power comes from a Ford-sourced 3.0-litre V6, taken from the acclaimed Mondeo ST220.

Yet when one of the UK’s most respected Morgan dealers hails the V6 Roadster “the best car that Morgan has ever produced, maybe not the model built in the largest numbers, but for all-round usability it’s right up there at the top” then you realise that (engine) size isn’t everything. Plus 8s have always been a bit hard core (especially early models) where as the V6 Roadster is far friendlier and yet just as satisfying.

With a much more modern engine than the evergreen Rover V8, don’t forget that the rest of the car was usefully upgraded at the same time making this Morgan far easier to own and drive and the ideal big-engined, Morgan to those new to the marque. Plus 8s are legendary but the V6 Roadster has rarity on its side and this will become an advantage over time. In fact, the V6 Roadster is already enjoying a following.

Dates to remember

2004

Replacing the legendary Plus 8, the Roadster displaced the old school Rover V8 for a quad cam 3-litre Jaguar V6, itself derived from an earlier Ford design albeit tuned for 223bhp and 206lbft at 4900rpm as opposed to 225lbft at 3500rpm for the V8. Externally the car looks much the same and the bulk of the hardware are Plus8 carry overs but unlike the earlier Plus 8, it’s also available as a four-seater.

2004/5

A special lightweight version is offered, down from 940kg to 850kg plus power is upped to 248bhp.

2007

Engine update.

2011

New (Mustang) 3.7-litre V6 Duratec ‘Cyclone’ fitted to become the Roadster 3.7 with 280bhp complete with six-speed transmission. Car remains part of the range.

Buying advice

Much the same advice given to the Plus 8 equally applies to the newer V6 Roadster although chassis rust and wood rot should not concern you unless the car has been seriously neglected. Roadsters were built using Morgan’s newer construction techniques, which means Superform aluminium wings, a stainless steel bulkhead and valances plus a galvanised chassis. As a result, your only major concern should be whether or not there’s any damage, from driving or parking indiscretions present.

It’s best to buy from an accredited Morgan dealer who have the best stock and can advise on the right spec. Drive a few to set a reliable datum; mileages should be moderate as they are not daily drivers. The Ford/Jaguar V6 is more durable than the Jag V8, for instance so apart from electronic glitches, all should be okay. It’s still a Morgan underneath though which means a quirky if effective suspension set up with its sliding pillar front suspension. Check for wear as well as sagging rear springs plus see whether the car has been uprated for track day work as such hard use takes its toll on the dampers and brakes.

What makes this classic so special to drive and own in 2019?

The Roadster does a pretty good job of replacing the Plus 8. Yes the Jag V6 doesn’t have the V8’s torque, but it’s still a rapid roadster: 0-60mph in just 5.4 seconds, 50-70mph in top in just 6.2 seconds and can get to the ton from a standing start in all of 14.5 seconds – fast enough? Because the smaller engine is more ‘peaky’ with the torque produced higher up the rev range, it’s a different driving experience to the Plus 8. Specialist Melvyn Rutter says the Roadster is better for long distances and a much easier car for women to drive over a Plus 8.

Best buys & prices

Usually cheaper than a Plus 8 like-for-like, forecourt prices start at around £35,000 for the Jag-engined Roadster and say 40 grand, and above for the later Ford Mustang 3.7 replacement, but values appear to be more dependent upon condition, specification and mileage meaning a top 3.0-litre can sell for the same price as the 3.7. Versions featuring accepted Morgan upgrades, perhaps to the suspension and brakes, can command a bit more folding stuff simply because they’ve been made more desirable.

From £32,000 target price £35,000



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