Some people just refuse to move with the times — and thank goodness for that. At least so say the fans (there are many) of the Morgan Motor Company. Founded in 1909, Morgan is based in rural Worcestershire and hand-assembles fine British sports cars that are so coveted that there is inevitably a (sometimes lengthy) list containing the names of those who have put down deposits and can’t wait (but must) for their brand-new Morgan to be ready.
Having made a prewar name with classic three-wheelers, Morgan had launched the company’s first 4-4 car (four cylinders, four wheels) in 1936, and it was a derivation of this that appeared as the traditional Morgan Plus 4 sports car in 1950 — a car that would continue to be produced as it evolved steadily into the 21st century.
The next big development was the arrival of the Morgan Plus 8 in 1968 (nothing to do with the number of wheels, but rather the new Rover V8 engine). Plus 4 and Plus 8 looked similar, but the latter’s performance was superior. Indeed, the V8 gave it deceptive oomph, with blistering acceleration and a surprisingly high top speed. To the considerable satisfaction of enthusiasts, Moggies (as Morgans are affectionately known) have never departed from the traditional construction method of steel chassis, ash frame and hand-crafted body — and the resultant lightweight sports car has always offered relatively high performance for an open roadster.
The Plus 8 was continued in production until 2004 (with various engine upgrades along the way), by which time over 3,500 had been produced. They remain collectable British classics that are robust enough to enjoy taking to the road day in, day out (especially in summer with the top down) — and sufficiently rare to ensure that second-hand values remain high.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1968 (until 2004)
3,532 cc V8
Top speed of 124 mph (200 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 6.7 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
The Plus 8 is fast, but its successor leaves it standing – the retro-styled ABM 8 can scorch from rest to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds and zip on to a top speed of 170 mph (270 km/h) – not bad for a wooden Car!