1989 Morgan Plus 8 with 3,700 original miles!

One of the criticisms that is often leveled at traditional British sports cars is that while they generally are attractive, possess nice handling, and are great fun to drive, they often tend to lack in the power stakes. British manufacturer Morgan sought to address this perceived deficiency, and the Plus 8 could never be accused of being underpowered. This immaculate, low-mileage example, is a car that is sure to bring a smile to the face of any sports car fan, and it has been listed for sale here on eBay. Located in Savannah, Georgia, bidding on the Morgan has reached $27,100, With the reserve now met, it looks like someone is about to take possession of a potent little slice of motoring fun.

The owner says that the Rosso Corsa Red paint on the Morgan is nearly perfect. If the claim that the car has only covered an original 3,700 miles is correct, then the condition is hardly surprising. The owner doesn’t indicate whether he holds any documentary evidence to support the mileage claim, but you would have to hope so. The panels look nice and clean, and the soft-top appears to be in as-new condition. The sharply sloping rear end of the Plus 8 gives it a distinctive and traditional Morgan look, and there really isn’t a lot to criticize with this car. All that I can see is a car that would be a pleasure to drive on a sunny Summer’s day.

A Plus 8 is all about the wind-in-the-hair driving experience, and the interior of this car embodies that theme perfectly. Do you see a stereo or even a radio? Nope. What you see is a good array of easy to read gauges, a pair of comfortable and supportive leather-clad bucket seats, a meaty leather steering wheel, and a snappy little stick shift. It is an interior that embodies the philosophy that driving the car is not a journey, but is more of an occasion, or an experience. The hand-finished timber dash appears to be in fantastic condition, as does the rest of the interior trim and fittings. There isn’t much to be critical of here, and this particular photo demonstrates one of the interesting little design quirks of the Plus 8. You sit very low in the car, so the windshield doesn’t have to be enormously high. However, this presented Morgan with a design issue that they needed to address. The height-to-width ratio of the windshield meant that a pair of wipers were not capable of clearing the windshield adequately when it was raining. Their solution was to fit the car with three wipers instead of two. The Morgan is one of the very few passenger cars with this feature, and it is something that can prove to be a bit of a distraction the first time that you use them.

Opening the hood of a Plus 8 gives us the first opportunity to see that this car is very different from its British counterparts. It might say “Rover” on the valve covers, but this definitely isn’t a dog. The engine is the 3,532cc all-alloy V8 that saw service in many British Leyland road cars, including the Range Rover. The power is sent to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission. That engine definitely addressed that perceived power deficiency in British sports cars. A 1989 Plus 8 can accelerate from 0-60mph in 5.4 seconds, can cover the ¼ mile in 14 seconds and then keep going until it reaches a top speed of 131mph. Today, those figures remain pretty impressive for what is a quite civilized convertible. In 1989, that was head-and-shoulders above any comparable car and was enough to scare the likes of Porsche and Ferrari. To comply with American emission laws, the Plus 8 was modified to run on propane, but that is no longer the case with this car. The fuel-injection system has been ditched in favor of an Edelbrock carburetor and intake, and the Morgan now finds itself with a tank full of gasoline. The original fuel-injection system is included with the car, so it can be converted back to its original specifications if required. The original tires that were fitted to the Morgan were quite rotted, so it now wears a fresh set of Vredestein tires. The owner says that the car runs and drives really well and that it sounds absolutely awesome. I have no trouble believing any of this because even in standard tune fitted to a Range Rover, that sweet little V8 engine would make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end when it gets a few RPMs on board.

Jeremy Clarkson once said that the Plus 8 was a car that Morgan just forgot to stop making 40-years-ago. However, for all of his industry knowledge and experience, he was missing the point of what the Plus 8 was all about, and who the car was aimed at. There’s no shortage of people who would like nothing better than to own a traditionally styled British sports car, but they really want the style that is offered, combined with reasonable performance and reliability. That is what the Plus 8 offered to these people, and is why it remained a sales success from 1968, right through until 2004. That Morgan made the decision to revive the model in 2012 is an indication of the popularity of the car. This one looks like an absolute beauty, and if the mileage claim can be verified, then someone is about to own one absolutely awesome car.

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Comments

  1. Barry Traylor

    A real beauty.

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  2. Dan

    My preferred color for this car would be British Racing Green, but red is hardly bad. I like this car…a lot. If only I had the money and space for a third vehicle.

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  3. luke arnott

    Morgans use obsolete technology,have awful build quality and propogate the myth there is a long waiting list.There isn’t ,you can get one with a few hundred miles on it the next day,as people buy one,realise they are junk,and trade them in.Anyway,they are no longer British-owned!

    • Richard Love

      Amazing how they have lasted for 110 years. They must be doing something right. We have had one of ours since 1974 and never considered getting rid of it.

      8
      • Dave Mazz

        Apparently what Morgan did ” right” was they did *not* hire Luke Arnott to run their marketing department…. :-) :-) .

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    • Dan

      Many, many vehicles featured on this fine site could be called “obsolete.” The Morgan really flaunts it, though, and its obsolescence is part of its charm.

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  4. Terry Crouch

    I have a 1990 +8 with 14000 miles on the clock. It’s fun, and insured for a lot more than the currenyt offer. If you haven’t driven one, you should.

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  5. John

    Contrary to what you may have read elsewhere, the cars are very well finished and quite reliable. My Dad had two. The first one he kept over 30 years, the second was with him till he passed away. It is still soldiering on quite reliably with its new owner. This is not a “computerized” car, and the technology is quite obsolete. But that does not mean its poor. Consider, for a moment, that Keira Knightley and Emma Watson were also built using technology that, while quite obsolete, has never yet been surpassed. It really is possible that the Brits can occasionally come up with some really nice additions to this silly old world. Morgans are one of them.

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  6. Dave Mazz

    I suspect the current price shown for this ($27,600) will more than double before it’s sold. The NADA average retail price for a 1989 Plus 8 is $63,800, and Hemmings has two for sale (among others), a 1987 with 60,044 miles for $57, 995 and a 1990 with 40,217 miles for $59,725

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  7. Rube Goldberg

    Watch out for termites,,,and for the record, MG Midgets and MGB’s had 3 wipers for many years, I think some E-type Jags had them too. I took the center one off my MGB, it was annoying.

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