Morgan designers and engineers have been given a licence to thrill with a strictly limited run of nine special Morgan Plus 8 GTR V8-powered machines with production beginning in summer 2021…
The non-EV project is reported to be the first of many for the Italian owned company based in Malvern, Worcestershire with engineers being allowed to use their creative imagination on a car that’s essentially based on the Morgan Plus 8.
While high shoulder lines are nothing radical, the latest Plus 8 GTR makes full use of the retro styling and looks sensational from every angle including the rear. Five-spoke alloys with centre locking are reminiscent of Morgan’s 1990s Plus 8 race cars and sit rather well inside those outlandish wheel arches that have been given the Al Capone look. Tenacity doesn’t stop there with further design elements including front wings, front splitter, and the fitment of a shapely hardtop that slopes towards the windscreen.
Taking its cues from the company’s historic pedigree and particularly the Plus 8 race car that competed in the GT series throughout the late nineties, more commonly known as ‘Big Blue’. This car served as the testbed for Morgan’s first bonded-aluminium chassis, which would go on to underpin the Aero 8 and ‘Aero-chassis’ Plus 8 models.
The ambitious project has only been given so much thought due to the recent availability of a number of Plus 8 rolling chassis, which have been re-acquired from a third party following a discontinued project. These were all built by Morgan before 2018 and were never used for their intended purposes. All will be recommissioned and substantially upgraded in respect of mechanical underpinnings and safety reasons.
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Traditional coachbuilding skills and techniques will be used whenever possible but will be undertaken at the nearby Morgan Design and Engineering Centre (M-DEC) and not the usual Pickersleigh Road factory.
Much like Morgan Plus 8s, the GTR will use the tried and tested BMW N62 4.8-litre engine which although produces 362 bhp in its original state, the exact power output for the GTR is yet to be finalised. A choice of a six-speed manual or ZF six-speed automatic gearbox will be available, with fixed allocations for each transmission option.
A strictly limited run of nine Morgan Plus 8 GTRs will be built, with production beginning in summer 2021 and available in certain worldwide markets, subject to local rules on the importation of European vehicles. As part of the special projects programme, customers will be invited to commission their bespoke Plus 8 GTR alongside Morgan’s design team.
The Plus 8 GTR will run alongside other core programmes and is one of several Morgan special projects to be announced this year. It follows numerous special project Morgan models in recent years, such as the Aero GT, SP1 and Aeromax.
Jonathan Wells, Morgan 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.”