Ever wondered what Plus 8 let loose might have been? Nine Morgan buyers are destined to find out…
By Matt Bird / Thursday, February 18, 2021 / Loading comments
Viewers, don't adjust your sets: this GTR is very much derived from the old Morgan Plus 8, the car that went out of production in 2018. But it's also a new car – honest. Morgan says that "a number of Plus 8 rolling chassis" have become available thanks to a "discontinued project" originally taken on by a third party. So, a decision had to be made: what to do with a bunch of leftover Plus 8s? Well, you build the Morgan GTR, of course, a "raw, visceral, loud and low" road racer, said to represent what happens when "design and engineering teams let their imaginations run wild." How exciting.
Though derived from standard, 367hp Plus 8s, all nine of the GTRs to be built will be recommissioned "with the upgrade of selected mechanical components" as well as the lessons learnt about the Aero-chassised Plus 8s since production ended. With power unconfirmed, it wouldn't be a surprise to find the 4.8-litre V8 making nearer 400hp here. Manual and automatic gearboxes will be offered for the GTR, with the allocation of each already said to be decided. Given the standard Plus 8s were already overendowed with performance, expect the GTR to be very, very fast indeed.
Elsewhere the car takes inspiration from the Plus 8 race cars of the 1990s, with the high shoulder line, five-spoke centre-lock wheels and the sculpted arches. Morgan says its iconic 'Big Blue' Plus 8 racer – see here – from the turn of the century has heavily influenced this new GTR, and it isn't difficult to see the shared DNA. Jonathan Wells, Morgan Head of Design, said of the new car: "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."
Interestingly, this new car will not be built at Pickersleigh Road; instead it will be assembled, still with traditional coachbuilding expertise, at the Morgan Design and Engineering Centre. In addition, and perhaps even more intriguingly, the GTR is set to be just the start for the latest range of limited edition Morgans. This one will go into production in the summer, with the exact specification to follow closer to that time. But Morgan has stated that the GTR is merely the first "of several special projects to be announced this year", evoking the time of the old Aeromax, SP1 and Aero GT. Which sounds like nothing if not good news to us, because who doesn't love a really special Morgan? For anyone disappointed not to be on the GTR shortlist, don't forget that Morgans for the track are not a new idea, either – see the classifieds for proof…
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