The Plus 8 GTR gives Morgan designers and engineers the opportunity to reignite one of the marque’s heroic legacy models with a ‘gloves off’ special edition. Limited to just nine examples, it marks the first in a line of Morgan special projects set to commence in 2021.
The Plus 8 GTR has only been possible because of the recent availability of a number of Plus 8 rolling chassis, which have been re-acquired from a third party following a discontinued project. These were all built by Morgan before 2018, and were never used for their intended purposes. All are to be recommissioned and will benefit from the upgrade of selected mechanical components.
Just nine Morgan Plus 8 GTRs will be built, with production beginning in summer 2021. The transformed special project will be available in certain worldwide markets, subject to local rules on the importation of European vehicles. As part of the special projects programme, customers will be invited to commission their bespoke Plus 8 GTR alongside Morgan’s design team.
The Plus 8 GTR explores design themes such as the high shoulder line, not seen on a traditional Morgan body for decades. Its five-spoke centre-lock wheels are reminiscent of Morgan’s 1990s Plus 8 race cars, framed perfectly by subtly re-sculpted wheel arches. Further design elements include a revised rear end, front wings, and front splitter, and the fitment of a hard top. The model also benefits from learning and expertise gained by the company since the Plus 8 officially finished production in 2018.
One particular design inspiration was the Plus 8 race car that competed in the GT series throughout the late nineties, more commonly known as ‘Big Blue’ (pictured). This car served as the testbed for Morgan’s first bonded-aluminium chassis, which would go on to underpin the Aero 8 and ‘Aero-chassis’ Plus 8 models. It seemed fitting, following the recent launch of Morgan’s latest CX-Generation bonded-aluminium platform, to use this opportunity to pay tribute to the car that pioneered Morgan’s use of aluminium structures.
As part of their transformation from rolling chassis to finished vehicle, each GTR will be handcrafted using Morgan’s traditional coachbuilding techniques. In a break from over a century of Morgan tradition, much of this work will be completed not at its famous Pickersleigh Road factory, but at the nearby Morgan Design and Engineering Centre (M-DEC). The Plus 8 GTR runs alongside core programmes and is one of several Morgan special projects to be announced this year. It follows numerous special project Morgan models in recent years, such as the Aero GT, SP1 and Aeromax.
All ‘Aero-chassis’ Morgan Plus 8s were powered by the BMW N62 4.8-litre engine, and the GTR will be no exception. In its original specification this unit produced 362 bhp, however, the exact power output for the GTR is yet to be finalised. A choice of a six-speed manual or ZF six-speed automatic gearbox will be available, with fixed allocations for each transmission option.