England-based Morgan Motors recently chanced upon a batch of rolling Plus 8 chassis that had been finished but never used. Instead of selling them as spares or weighing them in, it took advantage of the discovery to develop a limited-edition model named Plus 8 GTR that offers enthusiasts a V8 engine and a race car-inspired design.
Carmakers aren't normally parts hoarders, and Morgan is not an exception to the rule. It explained that the nine platforms came from an unidentified third-party company that purchased them for a project it didn't finish. We can't help but wonder what kind of creation each chassis should have ended up under, but the firm didn't provide the slightest clue about their intended use. All we know is that they're bonded aluminum units built before 2018.
Morgan will recommission each chassis before putting it under a Plus 8 GTR, and most of the work will be performed by hand. Sketches suggest the Plus 8 GTR will look right at home on a race track. It's unmistakably a Morgan, but it gains six-inch spotlights with black covers plus a full body kit that includes a front splitter, extra air vents, flared fenders, and a rear diffuser. All of the add-ons are functional. The vents punched through the front fenders reduce turbulence in the wheel wells, for example, and the extra slots cut into the hood improve cooling.
Center-locking five-spoke alloy wheels add a touch of racing flair to the design, while a hard top keeps the elements out of the cabin. It's a look that's a tribute to Big Blue, a model that was part race car, part prototype.
Lifting the long hood will reveal a naturally-aspirated, 4.8-liter V8 sourced from the BMW parts bin. Called N62B48 internally, it powered the 550i and the 650i, among other models. It developed 362 horsepower in its standard configuration, but Morgan hasn't decided how it will tune the engine for use in the Plus 8 GTR. Regardless, the eight-cylinder will spin the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic built by ZF.
Morgan will make nine examples of the Plus 8 GTR, with fixed allocations for each transmission option, and production will start in the summer of 2021. Pricing hasn't been announced yet, though it likely starts in the six digit range. Buyers will be given the opportunity to work directly with designers to personalize several aspects of the car. For those who miss out, the company announced it will unveil several other special projects later in 2021.