Why is the Morgan so popular?
The Morgan +4 was, and still is, completely outdated. The body looks as though it was designed somewhere in the 1930s; it is uncomfortable, draughty, and cramped. The ride is hard and bumpy over less than perfect surfaces. Production methods have not changed all that much in decades; each car produced is still handbuilt using such cutting-edge materials as leather and ash. Production is slow, with the Morgan factory producing between 15 to 20 cars of all types per week.
It is also beautiful in its own way, a real head turner, and fun to drive. Owners love them, and there is a waiting list of several years for new vehicles! This just goes to show that low prices and mass production are not necessarily the route to longevity for car manufacturers; Morgan Motor Company has been in business since 1910, and has outlasted innumerable far bigger companies in its time.
Has it been developed further?
The +8 first came into production back in the late 1960s when Triumph stopped supplying their four-cylinder 2138 cc engine. An upgrade to a bigger engine was on the cards and Morgan plumped for a Rover V8 3.5 L engine pumping out 165 brake horsepower. Although this engine was dated. It's all alloy construction made it light enough and gave the new +8 a top speed of more than 120 mph. Acceleration was neck snapping and for sometime in the 1960s the Morgan was the fastest accelerating production car in Britain.
Whilst it looked identical to it's predecessor, the wheelbase was slightly longer and alloy wheels had been fitted to reduce weight. Eventually wider tyres were fitted to accommodate the increased power, which meant that the wings needed to be widened.
Was it successful?
Absolutely. There was an instant backorder, which remained right up until its replacement with the +6.
What about the transmission?
Initially, the Rover Moss gearbox was used; this was noisy and old-fashioned, so it was eventually replaced by, firstly, another Rover four-speed box; then the five-speed box from the Rover SDI; and finally a choice between a six speed manual box and (heaven forbid) a six speed ZF automatic system. Morgan purists would not like that!
Is it comfortable?
You don't buy a Morgan for comfort. It is an enthusiast's car, which many people find fun to drive.
Should I buy one?
If you need a family car to do the shopping in, transport the kids to school or take for long journeys, then it is probably not the car for you. If you want a fun car that will turn heads every time you stopped at traffic lights then it will take some beating. The new +6, with a BMW in-line turbocharged engine producing 335 brake horsepower, driven through an eight speed automatic gearbox, with an all-aluminium chassis, will cost around £90,000 depending upon final specifications; but you'll have to wait quite a while to get one!