Morgan is one of that ever dwindling vanguard of names that provides us with a genuine link back to the golden age of motoring. The famous old British bastion was conceived back in an era when motor cars were viewed with a deep-seated suspicion by many who preferred a more traditional form of horse power to get from A to B. It is therefore quite remarkable that, 100 years after the company’s founder, HFS Morgan, designed and built the first car to bear his name in a small factory in Malvern, its modern day counterparts are still being produced at the very same Pickersleigh Road headquarters.
Morgan thinks this milestone calls for a celebration; and we wholeheartedly agree. What they have cooked up for the special occasion is certainly no birthday cake, it is rather more rapid than that.
The clue is in the name with the special edition Morgan Plus 8 Speedster. Sticking to the same principles as its famed predecessor, which remained relatively untouched during its marathon 36 year production run, the modern day Plus 8 is a featherweight propelled by V8 power. The Rover-built powertrain of old is replaced by BMW’s 367bhp 4.8 litre engine, as used on the modern-styled Aero coupé and Supersport models. The more performance orientated Speedster edition is tuned to squeeze every last drop out of the rumbling V8, with 0-62mph shaved to just 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 148mph. Equally, in line with long held Morgan philosophy, the Plus 8 Speedster boasts a phenomenal power to weight ratio thanks to its modified aluminium chassis, based upon that which has underpinned the Aero range since 2001. This, we are promised, will give the Speedster improved handling to match its new burst of speed.
And then there’s the style. The contemporary Plus 8 may be the mechanical sibling of the blinged-up Aero models but in terms of looks and character there is no doubt that it draws total inspiration from its 1960’s predecessors. In addition to the classic body introduced for the new Plus 8 in 2011, the Speedster is equipped with side mounted twin exhausts, retro alloy wheels, an even slimmer windscreen than the base model’s already wafer thin counterpart and roll bars fitted behind the cabin.
The Plus 8 Speedster can be snapped up in limited numbers from June 2014. A variety of customisable add-ons will be available but the standard model will still set you back a snip under £70,000. However, regardless of the price tag, an investment in the Plus 8 Speedster is not just and investment in a rapid, edge-of-your-seat little roadster. It is an investment in history; 100 years of it to be precise. After all, in an age of multi-national corporate giants, where else can you get that very personal feeling of taking delivery of a new car at exactly the same place where your great-grandfather might have done so before slipping on his driving gloves and goggles a century before.