► V8 special based on old stock Plus 8 chassis
► BMW-sourced 4.8-litre engine
► First of nine cars has been completed
Morgan Motor Company has revealed the first of nine examples of its new Plus 8 GTR, the company’s most powerful road car ever.
A discontinued external project allowed the company to re-acquire the old stock chassis, which had gone unused until now. They are now being turned into just nine examples of the ‘raw, visceral, loud and low’ Morgan Plus 8 GTR, which draws heavy inspiration from the company’s GT racer of the 1990s, known as Big Blue.
It’s the second special project we’ve seen from Morgan this year, following the Plus Four CX-T.
Only nine cars?
Yep – the Plus 8 GTR is based wholly on old stock produced before 2018. They are being recommissioned and upgraded, and the brand’s traditional coachbuilding techniques will be out in full force with the exploration of new design elements.
Highlights include the return of a high shoulder line, a revised rear end, front wings and front splitter, a hard-top roof and five-spoke centre-lock wheels housed within redesigned arches. As you’d expect from Morgan, all of these elements are hand-crafted from aluminium.
Design inspiration comes from the ‘Big Blue’ GT racer of the 1990s, which was the testbed for the brand’s bonded aluminium chassis that went on to underpin the Aero 8. The first Plus 8 GTR, photographed here, is finished in Yas Marina Blue.
Interior features include new door cards, bespoke GTR dials and optional carbon fibre racing seats with harnesses. The car can be ordered in left- or right-hand-drive, and Morgan says five of the eight-off production run are being exported abroad.
What’s it powered by?
Drive will come from a BMW-sourced 4.8-litre V8, as used by the regular Plus 8, which ended production in 2018. However, while the original produced 362bhp, Morgan says ‘a new engine tune and cannon-style twin-exit sports exhausts’ see power increased to 375bhp, along with improved throttle response.
Gearbox options will be a six-speed manual or six-speed ZF automatic.
‘We are excited to release the first images of the Plus 8 GTR following the design sketches published earlier this year,’ said Steve Morris, chairman and CEO of Morgan Motor Company. ‘The Plus 8 GTR represents an opportunity for Morgan to celebrate the V8 engine once again, something we did not expect to do since finishing the Plus 8 and Aero 8 models in 2018. Striking design, the finest craftsmanship, and an exhilarating sports car to drive, the Plus 8 GTR is the perfect swansong to the Morgan V8.’
Speaking earlier in 2021, Jonathan Wells, head of design, said: ‘Reviving a V8-powered Morgan at the current time may not seem like the obvious choice for a manufacturer firmly focused on new platforms and powertrains. However, when the opportunity presented itself to recommission a number of rolling chassis and create an exciting special project such as Plus 8 GTR, we embraced it fully.
‘This project has allowed Morgan’s design and engineering teams to revisit some of their favourite elements of past Morgan models, as well as experiment with some features that we hope will appear on future Morgan cars.’
Can I have one?
Unfortunately not. With just nine to go around, Morgan’s design team has been working closely with each Plus 8 GTR customer, helping them dream up their own bespoke example. Morgan says the cars are built in varying configurations of transmission and drive side, as per customer requirements.
Similar to the Plus Four CX-T, the Plus 8 GTR is likely to have been offered exclusively to customers who already have a strong relationship with the brand – collectors, long-time collaborators and the like.
Morgan hasn’t revealed how much the Plus 8 GTR costs, but it would be fair to assume six-figure sums have been scribbled into cheque books to secure one.
Production will take place, in a break from tradition, at the Morgan Design and Engineering Centre rather than at the Pickersleigh Road factory. Morgan says it will share more examples of the Plus 8 GTR as they are built over the coming months.