Production is limited to just nine examples inspired by a racing legend.
Last year marked the end of an era for the British carmaker Morgan as the quirky 3 Wheeler is ending production. In 2018, we also waved goodbye to the V8-powered Morgan Plus 8. Three years later, Morgan has announced it's reviving the Plus 8 with a limited-edition GTR project. Limited to just nine examples, the Plus 8 GTR is the first of several "special projects" Morgan is planning this year.
Visually, the GTR will be a more aggressive take on Aero 8 with design cues inspired by Morgan race cars. Housed in wider wheel arches, the five-spoke center-lock wheels, for example, are a homage to Morgan's Plus 8 race car known as 'Big Blue' that competed in the GT series in the late 1990s. Other enhancements include an aggressive front splitter and wings, a revised rear end, and a hard-top roof.
Big Blue was used as a testbed for the company's first bonded-aluminum chassis, which would later underpin the Aero 8 and Plus 8 models. Morgan's latest four-wheel models such as the Plus Four are underpinned by the company's new CX-Generation bonded-aluminium platform after the company's traditional steel chassis ended production last year.
Morgan's new GTR project was made possible after Morgan was able to reacquire a number of Plus 8 rolling chassis from a third party. These will be recommissioned with upgraded components. Like the standard Plus 8, the GTR will be powered by the BMW N62 V8, a naturally aspirated 4.8-liter engine most recently used in the 2010 BMW 5 Series and X5. The power output hasn't been finalized yet, but it should produce more than 362 hp in the standard Plus 8. This unit can be paired with either a six-speed manual or ZF six-speed automatic gearbox.
"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," said Jonathan Wells, Head of Design at Morgan. "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 favorite elements of past Morgan models, as well as experiment with some features that we hope will appear on future Morgan cars," he says, alluding to the 'gloves off' approach Morgan's engineers have been asked to take with the special edition.
Production of the Plus 8 GTR will begin in summer 2021, with each built to a bespoke specification chosen by the customer. It will also be available in select worldwide markets depending on import restrictions for models from Europe.