The Morgan Plus 8 was first launched in 1968. It retained the basic classic sports car shape used on the first four-wheel Morgan introduced in 1936 and similar chassis and suspension.
This Z-section ladder chassis with a suspension comprising coil springs at the front and a solid axle on semi-elliptic springs at the rear dated back to the original 1910 Morgan. However, it had a new Rover V8 overhead valve engine which gave it sparkling performance.
When Rover adopted the 3.5-litre, small block, all-alloy Buick V8 engine for use in its top line model Morgan successfully negotiated a deal to use this 120kW power plant in their new Plus 8 which they had under development. This engine certainly gave the car a good turn of speed. It was capable of a top speed of 200km/h and could accelerate to 96km/h in just 6.5 seconds.
Whilst the four-speed close-ratio gearbox mounted remote from the engine had excellent ratios it sometimes proved difficult to operate smoothly. In 1972 it was replaced by a four-speed Rover gearbox coupled to the engine.
In fact, the Plus 8 remained in production for a number of years and had several Rover engine and gearbox changes over its life as it continued to be a good seller. Even 18 years after the marque was first introduced the factory was quoting delivery at a five year wait.
Using traditional craftsmanship the car with its steel-body fitted over an ash wood frame had a very open-air driving position. Whilst the ride was harsh on all except the smoothest roads the car had superb road holding and positive brakes making it a fun car to drive.