2014 Morgan Plus 8 Speedster is a retro road racerTue, 06 May 2014 00:00:00 -0700
Morgan is celebrating 100 years of building cars at its factory at Pickersleigh Road in Malvern with what it promises will be a series of special vehicles, appearing throughout 2014. The first of these is the Plus 8 Speedster– and it is special indeed.
For starters, as the Speedster name implies, it comes without a traditional windscreen and roof. Instead you get a little aero screen to keep the flies out of your teeth and a lot extra bonus cool points. This is Morgan reminiscing about a "bygone era of stripped back, road going race cars."
Morgan Plus 8 Speedster: V8 engine, paddleshift automatic gearbox
Morgan Speedster: 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds, but no roof and no door handles
Now, some might say the firm never, in fact, left this era in the first place – Morgan being famous for building cars out of wood. But the Speedster is based on the very latest Plus 8, which actually uses a modern aluminium chassis, and is powered by 372hp 4.8-litre BMW V8.
That’s not all that’s radical in Morgan terms here, either. As well as the missing roof, the Speedster becomes the first Morgan to be offered with paddleshifters. So much for being retro – although the paddles are only attached to a conventional six-speed automatic gearbox, rather than a dual-clutch or sequential unit.
Reassuringly, a six-speed manual gearbox is standard, however, joining a spec list that includes a choice of 12 paint options, two leather finishes, 18-inch wheels, blue detailing (including for the towing eyes – this is a track car, dontcha know?), distinct "100 years of Pickersleigh Road" chassis plate and, somewhat incongruously, cruise control and Xenon headlights.
The price of such eccentricity – and we don’t mean that as a bad thing – is £69,995, for which you get a crazy, old school-looking sportscar that can do 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds and has a top speed of 148mph. But no door handles.
Morgan Plus 8 Speedster: optional extras
If you do want door handles, those will set you back £100, which is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Speedster option pricing. The automatic ’box is £2,500, for example, or £3,000 if you want the paddleshifters. While anyone ninny enough to be requiring a roof will be forking out over at least £3,500.
We’re particularly fond of the optional 18-inch Speedster wheels, which cost £1,600 and look like old-fashioned steelies. All of the option prices are plus VAT, by the way.
Anyway, if you want one, act fast. The length of Morgan’s waiting list is quite literally legendary, and in spite of its idiosyncrasies we expect the Speedster to be in strong demand.
For more pictures of the 2014 Morgan Plus 8 Speedster, please click through the gallery at the top of the page.
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By CJ Hubbard, Motoring Research