New limited edition Morgan Plus 8 GTR project revealed
The special edition Morgan Plus 8 GTR sports car harks back to 1990s racers and will feature a host of aggressive styling tweaks
The company moved to its new bonded aluminium underpinnings, which were designed to work with BMW’s latest four and six-cylinder petrol engines, and sold off a number of Plus 8 rolling chassis to a third party for an external project.
This has since folded, meaning Morgan has reacquired the nine old stock Plus 8 chassis, which has made the GTR project possible.
As illustrated by the firm’s design sketches, the Plus 8 GTR will draw heavy inspiration from Morgan’s GT racer from the late 1990s. Affectionately known as “Big Blue,” the car served as a testing platform for the architecture that would eventually underpin the production Plus 8 and Aero 8 models.
Revisions over the original Plus 8 will include an aggressive front splitter, a deep rear diffuser with a twin-exit exhaust and wider wheel arches, which will cover a set of lightweight alloy wheels. The bonnet will also receive a few extra louvres to improve engine cooling, while vents behind the front wheels will help extract heat from the brakes.
The Plus 8 GTR will be powered by the same BMW-sourced 4.8-litre V8 engine used by the last versions of the original car – and it’ll be offered with a choice of either a six-speed manual or six-speed ZF automatic gearbox. Morgan hasn’t yet confirmed the unit’s output, but a spokesman for the brand has hinted that it’ll be more than the old car’s output of 362bhp.
To cope with the extra power, Morgan will upgrade the Plus 8’s suspension, tyres and brakes. The firm’s engineers will also make some structural changes to the car’s underpinnings, adding strengthening plates around the engine bay and extra bracing for the chassis legs.
Morgan plans to have the first Plus 8 GTR finished by the end of summer this year. However, as each of the nine special edition cars will be built to the owner’s specification, prices are expected to be rather steep. There’s no official word yet, but we’re anticipating a starting figure of between £200,000 and £250,000.
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.”
Now check out the old Morgan Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…