1978 Morgan Plus 8 'Lightweight' Roadster
Result: PASSED IN
The Morgan Motor Company is among the oldest independent automobile companies in existence with their turn of the century factory in Malvern Link, Worcestershire, England, producing classic sports cars today just as it has for over 100 years. Introduced in 1968 and remaining in production until 2004, the Morgan Plus 8 remains one of the most exciting of all Morgans, and is credited with giving the brand a performance credibility that quite possibly saved the company from bankruptcy. The Plus 8 was originally based on the chassis design of the long running Morgan Plus 4 Roadster. The alloy blocked 3.5 litre Rover V8 was squeezed under the bonnet and over time the chassis was refined along with the bodywork so as to contain the extra power and the larger rubber required. Initially the Rover motor was saddled with the ubiquitous 4-speed manual 'Moss' gearbox, but in 1972 the switch to a Rover-derived 4-speed improved shift quality. A five-speed became optional in 1977. The early Plus 8s came with two SU HS6 carburettors and a compression ratio of 10.5:1 to produce around 160bhp. In 1973 power dropped to 151bhp after a compression drop to 9.25:1, thanks to tightening emissions laws but the 1976 introduction of the enhanced Rover SD1 block saw this climb to 9.35:1 with power at 155bhp. All provide breathtaking performance thanks to a combination of lightweight construction and torquey motor. Good examples are worth strong money today, especially amongst fans of open-air British motoring.