Having previously driven Morgan’s unique and wonderful 3 Wheeler, it was about time we sampled one of their V8 beasts. What better way to do so than in the Limited Edition Plus 8 Speedster.
Powered by a 4.2 litre V8 pumping out 367 BHP and 501 Nm of torque, this 950kg two seater gets you to 62 MPH in 4.5 seconds. Only 60 cars will be built, costing from £69,999.
Based on the Plus 8, the speedster loses the roof and gains a one piece polycarbonate aero screen along with some roll over bars behind the seats, this saves about 100 KG in total.
It’s a slick looking machine. Very retro in appearance, especially with the small fly screen and hidden roll bars. Finished in black, with azure blue leather trim peeping out from under the main panels it looks stunning!
The hand pressed louvres matched with the soft, fluffy underside of the leather bonnet strap are just gorgeous. This whole car has an abundance of detail smattered all over it, making it feel genuinely special.
We were lucky enough to sample a right hand drive manual version of the Speedster, every other review thus far has been of a left hand drive auto. Fortunately for us we were also the first to be let loose in it.
Plates freshly screwed on and only 80 miles on the clock we jumped in on a rather drizzly November day.
With sodden roads the first thing you notice is the torque of this thing, squeezing the right pedal gently we wiggled a little sideways out of Pickersleigh Road. Naturally, the only traction control you have is your right foot.
Acceleration is rapid. The ‘wind in your face’ feel adds to the brutality of the Speedster, before you know it you have surpassed the speed limit and have to get on the anchors.
Another thing that accentuates the feeling of speed is the raucous growling from that side mounted exhaust. It simply sounds like a wild bear that’s been poked in the eye, every rev growls with anger.
Things do get a little bouncy when giving it a lick down a country road, a bit of damper tuning would sort this out easily. In the corners the Speedster hunkers down nicely, the heavy weight of the steering wheel gives it a more engaging quality. Occasionally though it can feel a little slow lock to lock especially at lower speeds and through town.
Braking requires a bit of pre-empting, the pedal needs a good hard prod before you finally begin to decrease speed at a reliable rate, but it all adds to the feel and character of the car.
We had to be rather careful in the wet, with all that torque the Speedster will easily spin the rear wheels, in third gear, at 50 MPH, making enthusiastic overtaking rather entertaining.
Luckily when the Speedster gets a little squirrelly it doesn’t bite your head off, the heavy steering means you have to work a bit harder to catch the slide but it’s very manageable. Simply backing off the throttle also gets everything back into shape in a pinch.
Peering over the low slung doors for the first time your eyes fall upon a masterpiece. Tan leather and bright aluminium cover the majority of the interior. The dashboard contrasts in black, of the matte and gloss variety.
The speedo sits centrally on the right and is flanked by the rev counter, whilst directly in front of you – behind the wheel – you have the oil temperature and the fuel gauge.
One thing we have to specifically mention is the glorious Moto Lita steering wheel. It is simply a work of art and a joy to touch. It is a shame however that the steering wheel is third party, with 3D printing metals now entirely possible it would be awesome to see an ‘in house’ Morgan wheel being created. For the time being however, you can’t get much better than the current item.
The feel and quality of the leather, the craftsmanship in the stitching and the care taken throughout can really be seen. In fact the whole look of this car, hand crafted to near perfection would be worthy sitting on a plinth in a modern art museum.
Morgan’s V8 Speedster couples the old with the new so perfectly you can’t help but love it. Yes we got soaked driving it in November because it doesn’t have a roof, yes if you even slightly feather the throttle mid corner on a wet bend it steps out of line, and yes it is eccentrically British.
But once again, would I buy one? Hell yes!
Wrestling this V8 beast across the Malvern Hills in the wet of November, mist rising all around, the cold air in flooding my lungs and that awesome noise from the side exit exhausts…I have never felt more alive.
Morgan Plus 8 Speedster – Stunning interior, raw driving experience, awesome noise!