1975 Morgan Plus 8
Morgan is one of the most unique and iconic motoring brands of all time. This British family-owned company was founded in 1910 by Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan. Henry Morgan used to work for the Great Western Railway but quit his job in 1904 to pursue his passion for the automobile. He co-founded a motor sales and servicing garage in Malvern Link and in 1909 he designed and built his first car. A year later production started and the company prospered. A little-known fact is that Henry Morgan had developed the first independent front suspension a few years earlier.
The first Morgans were all three wheelers. Production grew fast and by the start of World War I around a thousand Morgan three wheelers had been produced. World War I put a stop to the production but it resumed quickly thereafter. It wasn’t until 1935 that Morgan produced its first four wheel car. It was named the 4/4, meaning four seats and four wheels.
The three wheelers were eventually phased out in 1952 by which time Morgan had introduced a bigger engined, high performance car, designated the Plus 4 to be produced alongside the 4/4. Subsequently Morgan introduced the Plus 4 Plus and whilst each of their models continued to evolve, during the late fifties and early to mid-sixties Morgan was seen to be “stale and producing more of the same” and many pundits thought the brand was indeed “dated and may fade away”.
In 1959 Henry Morgan passed away and his son Peter Morgan took over the business.
In addition to the challenge of reinventing the Morgan brand, Peter Morgan faced the problem of a decreasing availability of large four cylinder engines to be used in the Plus 4. In 1967 Rover had acquired the rights to produce the Buick 215 cui V8 engine. Peter Morgan quickly struck a deal with Rover to supply him with the ‘new’ V8 engine, now produced as a 3.5 litre Rover engine. The Plus 4 chassis was altered and in 1968 Morgan introduced the Plus 8. The car received critical acclaim when first shown at the Earls Court Motor Show in 1968 and it quickly put Morgan back on the map as a maker of high performance sports cars. The first production cars were built in late 1968 and the 3.5 litre (3528 cc) Rover V8 engine was good for 160 bhp that propelled the car to a top speed of 125mph, however, it was how it got there that had people excited. It was clocked by magazines in period from 0-60 mph in 6.7 seconds and could accelerate from 0-100 mph, quicker than a 4.2 litre Jaguar E-Type!
The car continued to evolve and Morgan Plus 8 production finally ceased in 2004 after 37 years, during which 6,233 cars were built. Just an incredible story really!
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a 1975 Morgan Plus 8 that is in fabulous original condition. This car has the Rover 3.5 litre V8 coupled to a Rover 4 speed gearbox. This car is confirmed as a rare Australian delivered, factory right hand drive example (there weren’t many!) that was despatched from the Morgan factory on the 28th November 1975. The car was delivered to Morgan Sports Car Distributors in Gisborne, Victoria and its original colour scheme was light orange with natural leather upholstery.
This car’s early history is not known. It was acquired by a doctor living in Montville, Queensland in the Sunshine Coast hinterland in the late 1990’s and he cherished this Morgan for seventeen years. The car was registered on club plates and it was used for Sunday drives, club runs and it even had a run in Targa Tasmania. It was then acquired by a Brisbane based owner around 2015. During his ownership the car has been used sparingly and Oldtimer Australia sold the car for him in June 2019 to the current owner. He bought the car as a kind of bucket list item. Having grown up in the UK, he’d always wanted one. He also used the car sparingly and now he has ticked the Morgan ownership off his bucket list it is time for this car to find a new home.
Today the car still presents beautifully in what can only be described as a stunning colour combination of orange with a dark tan interior. We all know that Lamborghini Miuras work well in orange but let us unequivocally say this . . . so do Morgan Plus 8’s!
The car was repainted perhaps twenty five years ago and the paint work remains bright with a good depth of colour. There are some blemishes, stone chips and a few stress cracks evident but overall the car presents well. All of the exterior trim, lenses and the glass are in good condition, though there is a small crack in the bottom right hand side of the windscreen. The interior of the car looks to be very original and in good condition also, particularly for a forty something year old car. There is just the right amount of patina evident which gives everything a very ‘comfortable’ feel. The upholstery is in good condition. We only noted a small patch on the driver’s seat but otherwise there are no rips or tears. The dash, instruments and controls are all in good condition.
The fun starts in a Morgan Plus 8 when you turn the key. With the carbies primed the engine on this car starts easily . . . and with a roar. You’re kind of expecting MG TC but you get an Aston Martin V8 sounding rumble! This Morgan has power to burn and it just goes about its business when you ‘give it the beans’! In fact, this would have to be one of the most fun cars we have handled in a while. We all know Morgans are ‘raw’ and that’s really part of the charm of the car. You go hard in a straight line and proceed with some caution around corners, particularly when the road surface is bumpy! That said the handling on this car is precise and the car steers and stops as one would expect. The engine pulls very strongly through the rev range and the gearbox changes up and down in a businesslike manner. The engine bay is clean, though very original as you will see from the photographs.
The car has a soft top that is in good condition. It is understood that this was replaced when the car was repainted some twenty five years ago. The previous owners proudly stated that they had never used it during his ownership. For them this was a top-down car, always! It is apparent that the soft top has probably not been used for a very very long time as it was impossible to get every clip fastened when the top was raised. It needs some time in the sun to stretch after which we’re sure it will fit. The car has a tonneau cover that is in very good condition.
When the current owner acquired the car, he had four new Dunlop SP Sport LM704 tyres fitted. In his ownership the car has travelled just under 1,000km.
You have to say that a Morgan Plus 8 is certainly ‘a lot of car for your money’! And, if you are outgoing enough to buy a Morgan then go the full monty and buy an orange one . . . this is so ‘very cool’!
The car will be accompanied by an original owner’s manual and a history file. The car’s history file contains some recent service receipts, registration documents and a number of Morgan Club Newsletters and documents.
The Queensland registration plates MOG 888 are available for purchase with the car.
This Morgan Plus 8 runs and drives well, but it is due for a service and tune. So, who’s going to be its lucky new owner?
- Rare Australian delivered factory right hand drive example.
- Stunning original colour scheme.
- Original owner’s manual and history file.
- Known history going back to the 1990’s
- A fabulous car to drive.
- Morgan Plus 8