50 examples built to celebrate Morgan’s most iconic model’s 50 years

First introduced in 1968, the Morgan Plus 8 remained in production for 36 years until 2004, becoming one of the industry’s longest surviving nameplate. The roadster was revived in 2012 with minor updates and soldiered on for a few more years. Come 2018 and Morgan is putting an end to the Plus 8 model for good with the 50th Anniversary Edition. The limited-run Plus 8 obviously celebrates 50 years since the model was launched, but it also pays tribute to the car’s early motorsport days.

Unveiled at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, the 50th Anniversary Edition also marks the end of the line for Morgan’s 4.8-liter V-8 engine. Borrowed from BMW in 2008, this unit remained in production at the company’s British facility a full seven years after the Germans stopped using it in models like the 5 Series, 6 Series, 7 Series, and X5. Morgan has yet to announce a replacement for the Plus 8, but a new model is probably under development. The body style will live on though through the 4/4, Plus 4, and Roadster versions, which use four-cylinder and V-6 engines.

Continue reading to learn more about the Morgan Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition.

Morgan Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition Teaser Video

Morgan Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition Exterior

  • Lacquered blue paint
  • British Racing Green option
  • Yellow accents
  • Optional soft-top
  • Race-style white circles
  • White exhaust pipes
  • Chrome bumper delete
  • Aluminum decklid panel
  • Custom headlamp graphics
  • Revised hood louvers
  • New five-stud wheels
2018 Morgan Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition
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The biggest visual difference is its blue lacquered paint color with yellow accents

A quick glance at this car is enough to notice that it’s clearly the Morgan Plus 8 in all its iconic glory. The curvy fenders, the laid-back grille, the old-school flat gauges – it’s all there. The biggest visual difference is its blue lacquered paint color with yellow accents. Going back into Morgan history, the blue color is very similar to Morgan’s first Plus 8 built-in 1968 known as the MMC11.

The 50th Anniversary Edition’s hand-painted yellow accents around the front grille, on the engine hood, and the "tow" markings below the bumper give the car an appearance reminiscent of the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron.

2018 Morgan Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition Exterior
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The iconic British Racing Green paint is also available for this model and comes with a soft-top

The iconic British Racing Green paint is also available for this model and comes with a soft-top, whereas the blue model remains a speedster vehicle only. Beyond the blue and yellow paint, there are race-style white circles on the doors, white exhaust pipes, and a chrome bumper delete, all of which give the Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition a motorsport-inspired look.

Other extra features include a spun aluminum domed panel on the decklid, light leather wrapping used to seal the external wing panels, simpler graphics for the LED headlamps, and extra engine hood louvers, and a leather belt. The number 8 painted onto the front grille harks back to the racing days of the original Plus 8. The exterior is rounded off by new five-stud wheels. Designed to mimic the original cast wheel of the Plus 8, the new wheels also allow room for larger brake calipers and are finished in a bespoke champagne color. The wheels are shod in tires revised to handle the power of the big V-8 engine.

Morgan Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition Interior

  • Special plaque
  • Waterproof leather
  • Twin-leated stitching
  • New dial faces
2018 Morgan Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition Interior
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The 50th Anniversary model keeps the Plus 8 spirit alive, but Morgan added a few extra features

The Morgan Plus 8 has a uniquely spartan yet leather-lined cabin built for the sole enjoyment of driving. The minimalist approach means there are no extraneous gadgets or large screens to distract from driving or the roadster’s iconic appearance.

The 50th Anniversary model keeps that spirit alive, but Morgan added a few extra features, starting with a plaque with a unique production number. There’s also naturally waterproof black leather for the upholstery and highly detailed, twin-pleated stitching on the seat centers for a motorsport-specific theme. The matte-finished walnut dashboard now includes specially designed dial faces.

Morgan Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition Drivetrain

  • Same 4.8-liter V-8
  • 367 horsepower
  • 370 pound-feet
  • 0 to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds
  • Top speed at 155 mph
  • Larger brakes
2018 Morgan Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition
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This Plus 8 model will be last Morgan to use the BMW-sourced, 4.8-liter V-8 engine

Like the Morgan Plus 8s built since 2012, the 50th Anniversary Edition will come powered by a 4.8-liter V-8 sourced from BMW. The unit is rated at 367 horsepower and 370 pound-feet of torque, which is identical to the more modern looking Aero 8 model. Tipping the scales at only 1,100 kg (2,425 pounds), the Plus 8 charges from 0 to 62 mph in only 4.5 seconds, to go with a top speed of 155 mph. Transmission choices include the usual BMW six-speed manual and the ZF six-speed automatic.

Alongside the newly unveiled Aero GT, which ends production of the Aero 8 lineage, the Plus 8 will be last Morgan to use the N62B48-series, 4.8-liter V-8 mill that BMW introduced all the way back in 2003.

Morgan Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition Pricing

2018 Morgan Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition
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Pricing for the Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition is not yet available, but considering that the standard Plus 8 starts at around £70,000 (almost $97,800 as of March 2018) before options or customization, we’d bet this special-edition model will be rather expensive.

Morgan Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition Competition

Caterham Seven

2013 Caterham Seven 620 R High Resolution Exterior
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Because of its retro design, the Plus 8 doesn’t have any actual competitors on the market. The Caterham Seven is closest car available, but only because this roadster has been in production with a similar design since 1973 and still retains the original form of its predecessor, the Lotus Seven, launched back in 1957. While both have roadster layouts, there are two major things setting them apart. For starters, the Seven is much lighter, with almost all versions tipping the scales at less than 800 kg (1,764 pounds), whereas the Morgan weighs in at 1,100 kg (2,425 pounds). Second, the Seven is not available with a V-8, as the entire lineup is powered by either three- or four-cylinder engines. The Seven is also significantly more affordable, starting from only £17,495 in entry-level guise. For Morgan Plus 8 money, you can actually buy the range-topping 620R model. And this Seven comes with tremendous performance. Motivated by a supercharged, 2.0-liter Ford engine, it comes with 310 horsepower on tap and sprints to 60 mph in a scant 2.79 seconds. That’s supercar performance right there. Pricing for this variant starts from £51,990, a relative bargain compared to what the Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition is expected to cost. But unlike the Morgan, the 620R is more of a track car, so it’s not as comfortable on the road and you’ll have to settle with not having actual doors.

Read our full review of the Caterham Seven 620R.

Conclusion

2018 Morgan Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition Exterior
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With a little more than 6,000 units built since 1968, the Plus 8 is far from being a popular car when compared to other nameplates. However, 6,000 examples is a pretty big number for a small automaker like Morgan. The 50th Anniversary Edition is definitely a niche vehicle that won’t appeal to the general public, but it should prove to be popular with car collectors in the United Kingdom. If you’re a big fan of the Plus 8 and never managed to buy one, you need to act fast as this is the best chance to own a piece of Morgan history.

  • Leave it
    • * Expensive
    • * Too dated?

References

2018 Morgan Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition Exterior
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Morgan Celebrates 50 Years of its Most Iconic Model with Special Plus 8 Edition

2012 Morgan Plus 8 Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2012 Morgan Plus 8.

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Read more Morgan news.

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Read more Geneva Motor Show news.

Press release

Morgan Motor Company has released the first teaser images of the much anticipated 50th Anniversary Edition of its iconic Plus 8 ahead of its full reveal at the Geneva Motor Show on March 6.

Named after the famous eight-cylinder engine beneath the car’s hand-built body, over 6,000 Plus 8 models have been built in the last 50 years at Morgan’s Pickersleigh Road home.

The family-owned, bespoke sports car manufacturer will produce 50 of the special-edition models, each to be sold through its existing dealership network. The Plus 8 50th anniversary edition will be a true V8-powered thoroughbred tribute to the model that has been Morgan’s crowning vehicle for 50 years.

The teaser images released by Morgan show a blue lacquered paint finish, reminiscent of the British coachbuilder’s first Plus 8 production model (known as MMC11), with hints of hand-painted yellow accents around the car’s iconic front grill, along the bonnet and on the rear towing eyes.

Born on the racetrack, the Morgan Plus 8 is a special combination of craftsmanship, luxury and technology. A lightweight aluminium chassis and 4.8-litre BMW engine sit beneath the traditional Morgan body. At just 1,100kg, the Plus 8 is one of the lightest V8 passenger cars in the world and is capable of 0-62 mph in 4.5 seconds as well as a top speed of 155mph.

First conceived by Peter Morgan, the head-turning Plus 8 prototype was revealed to the public at the Earls Court Motor Show in 1968. Approximately 6,000 Plus 8s were produced during this time until the car was discontinued in 2004 when production of the Rover V8 engine ceased.

In 2012, the Plus 8 was reborn into the Morgan range, on a lightweight aluminium chassis with the powerful 4.8-litre BMW engine, as used in the Aero range. With a restyled body, the new Plus 8 was proportionally larger and significantly quicker than any ‘classic’ Morgan before it. The Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition will be the last Morgan sports car to feature the naturally aspirated V8 engine.

This car makes its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show on March 6th.

Steve Morris, Managing Director of Morgan Motor Company, said: “This 50th Anniversary Edition is a fitting illustration of the Plus 8’s beauty and finesse, coupled with raw exhilaration and capability. Performance has underpinned every one of the Plus 8s that have driven out of our factory gates for 50 years and we’re excited to reveal the car in full in Geneva.”

Jon Wells, Head of Design at Morgan Motor Company, said: “Firmly established as Morgan’s crowning vehicle for fifty years, the Morgan Plus 8 continues to pioneer new technology within the classic Morgan bloodline. When combined with an uncompromising attention to craftsmanship, luxury and material choice, there is no more desirable Gentleman racer.

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