Morgan Plus 8 | PH Used Buying Guide

ByPunta Dewa

Nov 20, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Morgan Plus 8 | PH Used Buying Guide

Morgan Plus 8 | PH Used Buying Guide

Key considerations

  • Available for ยฃ78,000
  • 4.8-litre V8 petrol, rear-wheel drive
  • Thunderous noise and performance
  • Not ideal in wet weather or on bumpy roads
  • โ€ฆand electrical faults can be annoyingโ€ฆ
  • โ€ฆbut none of that matters to the happy owners

As one of Britainโ€™s fastest accelerating cars of the late 1960s, an accolade it carried well into the 1970s, the first Morgan Plus 8 was a real hero car of the age. It was launched in 1968 but, as usual, youโ€™d never have known that from its pre-war styling.

Its radical use of V8 power made it a thrilling and highly charismatic alternative to the AC Cobra. Legend has it that the switch to the Buick-based Rover V8s was only made because the Triumph four-cylinder engines that Morgan had been using were on the point of being replaced by straight sixes which wouldnโ€™t fit into the โ€˜ole provided. Whatever, the switch to V8 power turned out to be a happy development. Rover SD1-engined Plus 8s marched bravely on right up until 2004, by which time the engines were fuel-injected and displacing 4.5 litres. The 220hp they were producing at that time might not seem a lot now, but in a car weighing under a tonne it was enough for 0-60mph times in the six-second bracket and a top speed of 128mph, more than enough in a creaky wooden-chassised roadster with zero aerodynamic attributes, not much better weather protection and a literally ancient suspension design.

In 2012, eight years after the Rover connection had ended, Morgan decided to bring back the Plus 8 in a more modern form. Not to look at, obviously. Appearance-wise it would be as near to the old Plus 8 as possible. All they had to do was find an engine that (a) fitted into the new chassis, (b) was available in decent numbers, and (c) was legal from an emissions perspective, a point Morgan had not had to worry about in 1968.

The unsurprising engine source for the new Plus 8 turned out to be BMW. It wasnโ€™t a massive shock because variously sized versions of their N62B44 (4.4 litre) V8 motor had been powering cars like the Aero since 2005. In the Plus 8, which used the Aero 8-style bonded and riveted aluminium platform, it was the 367hp 4.8-litre N62B48 unit with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed auto gearbox.

As we said about the Plus 4 in that carโ€™s buying guide a traditionally styled modern Morgan is a classic car with most of the drawbacks of classic car ownership removed. Check that story out if youโ€™d like a wider perspective on the marque. The 145hp or 154hp 2.0 Duratec powered Plus 4 could never lay claim to face-melting acceleration, although 7.5sec for the 0-62 wasnโ€™t bad, but in the modern Plus 8 you got indisputably modern performance, to whit 0-62 in 4.5secs and a notional (weโ€™ll let you try it) top speed of 155mph.

In 2015 a limited edition of sixty Plus 8 Speedsters was released to celebrate the firmโ€™s 100th anniversary. These Speedsters had no hood, no side windows, no external doorhandles and no formal windscreen, deductions which reputedly chopped 100kg off the weight. You did get a low flyscreen to sort of deflect the windblast, plus a six-speed manual box as standard and a claimed 0-62 of 4.2sec. The Speedsterโ€™s ยฃ69,995 starting price was actually ยฃ15k lower than the straight 2015 Plus 8โ€™s โ€“ honest pricing but a missed marketing opportunity if ever there was one โ€“ but many buyers put money back on by opting for the things like the ZF auto โ€˜box (ยฃ3,000), side-exit exhausts (ยฃ1,700), and steelie-looky-likey alloys (ยฃ1,900).

In 2018 a 50th Anniversary Plus 8 was released to mark the firmโ€™s half-century association with, and departure from, the V8 engine. It could be had in either blue โ€˜speedster styleโ€™ open cockpit form or as a green traditional convertible with a soft top. Both had extra bonnet louvres and a leather bonnet strap. An โ€˜8โ€™ on the grille harked back to racing days and you also got yellow towing eyes, white brake calipers and exhaust tips, and new champagne-coloured alloy wheels. Limited to 50 examples, the 50th Anniv cost from ยฃ107,500 excluding local market taxes but we think that price might have included a special Christopher Ward chronometer watch.

A waiting list expressed in years (seven at one point) rather than months enhanced the mystique of the first Plus 8. Today, Morgans are still moved around various brick sheds on the outskirts of Malvern, but modernisation and investment has streamlined the build process and brought Morganโ€™s waiting lists down to months โ€“ which when you think about it is pretty much the norm for quite a few, if not most, vaguely desirable mass-production cars these days. So, waiting time is no longer a valid excuse for not doing what you may have been promising yourself for years, i.e., blowing your pension/inheritance/latest bank job proceeds on a Morgan.

If you want a new V8-powered one however, itโ€™s tough luck as theyโ€™ve not been part of the factory offering since 2018, by which time the V8s from Rover and BMW had put in a heroic 50-year stint and Morgan was able to pronounce its 1,100kg dry Plus 8 as the lightest V8-powered production car that was still meeting European safety standards. The nearest thing to it in the brochure now is the CX-Generation Plus Six, the companyโ€™s first new model for 19 years and a fine machine by all accounts, but itโ€™s not a V8 – and itโ€™s not cheap, either, at over ยฃ90k.

Fortunately, the beauty of the Morgan is that newness isnโ€™t really a factor in the buying decision. Used examples are cherished and rarely accumulate much in the way of mileage so are usually in as-new condition, rendering depreciation or the number of previous owners largely irrelevant.

Put โ€˜Morgan Plus 8โ€™ into a classified ad search engine today and youโ€™ll see cars dating back to the early 1970s or even the late 1960s. Most of them wonโ€™t be from the 2012-18 bonded-chassis era that weโ€™re focusing on for this buying guide, but modern 8s do occasionally come up for sale. At the time of writing, PH classifieds had three of them. Weโ€™ll give you links to those at the end, but youโ€™ll need to hang on to your haโ€™penny as the cheapest one will rush you nearly ยฃ80k. Still a big investment, then, but also a very safe one and you do get a unique motoring experience thrown in for your trouble.


Engine: 4,799cc V8 32v petrol
Transmission: 6-speed manual or automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],300rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],400rpm
0-62mph (secs): 4.5
Top speed (mph): 155
Weight (kg): 1,230ish wet
MPG: 23.3
CO2: 282g/km (man), 256g/km (auto)
Wheels (in): 18
Tyres: 225/40 (f), 245/45 (r)
On sale: 2012 – 2018
Price new: ยฃ82,500
Price now: from ยฃ78,000

Note for reference: car weight and power data are hard to pin down with absolute certainty. For consistency, we use the same source for all our guides. We hope the data we use is right more often than itโ€™s wrong. Our advice is to treat it as relative rather than definitive.


In a modern Plus 8 the BMW N62 4.8 V8 engine generated 367hp, or 390hp with the optional sports exhaust. If you were planning on doing most of your motoring top-down and below about 50mph, which would be a fairly typical Morgan lifestyle, the rorty pipe was worth the cost. Above those speeds the wind noise would drown out just about everything. Eye goggles didnโ€™t stop the noise or the stones hitting you in the face, so a full-face crash helmet was the fast Morgan driverโ€™s best friend, the only pity of that being that it would muffle some of the carโ€™s best feature, viz the noise from the rorty pipe.

Common problems not necessarily relating to Morgan but historically relating to the BMW N62 motor included cracking valve stem seals which allowed oil to enter the combustion chamber (signified by smoking on a cold start or on acceleration, and increased oil consumption) and visible oil leaks from the alternator bracket gasket, a ten quid part that could cost well into four figures to remove and refit. The valve stem seal problem was another expensive labour job if you decided for safetyโ€™s sake to replace all 32 valves.

The N62 was also known for coolant leakage from the transfer pipe, another potentially very expensive job, and for valve cover gasket oil leaks. However, these faults didnโ€™t affect every N62, which overall was a reasonably reliable engine, and the low mileages typically accumulated by Morgans helped protect owners to some extent from these generic failings.

The shift on the Morgan/BMW 6-speed manual gearbox was quick and accurate. The ZF auto changed up at the 6,500rpm redline whether you wanted it to or not and the downshifts werenโ€™t always buttery-smooth because of insufficient blippage but the box worked decently enough if you left it to its own โ€˜Dโ€™ devices. The option for paddle shifters was a box best left unticked as the responses to your agitated fingerings were treacle slow. The Park position of the main shift lever might as well have been called Bark as there was a very good chance of the bottom edge of the dash doing that to your knuckles.

Morgan Works Servicing for โ€˜Traditionalโ€™ cars like the Plus 8 (i.e., the non-CX Generation cars) costs ยฃ65 for a โ€˜health checkโ€™ (basically a visual inspection), ยฃ536 for an โ€˜intervalโ€™ service and ยฃ925 for a full service which included things like wheel removal for brake checks and fluid replacement, coolant system pressure checks, hood and door adjustments, body panel fixing checks and the like. All these prices are ex-VAT, so add 20 per cent for the final figure. An overall mpg figure of more than 20mpg should be regarded a result. Driving hard will lower that to 15mpg or less.


The Plus 8 had whatโ€™s generally referred to as the Aero 8 chassis, a bonded and riveted aluminium affair. Although this was much improved over its predecessor in terms of durability, itโ€™s still good practice to get an engineer to check out the chassis of any Plus 8 youโ€™re thinking of buying. Rectifying cracks and failure points in vulnerable areas like the engine mounts is not as ruinously expensive as you might think because new chassis components are available from the factory at vaguely sensible prices.

Whereโ€™s the wood that youโ€™ve heard about then? Is there any? Yes, laminated and preservative-dipped ash is still used, but only for the frame on which the aluminium body panels and interior materials are hung. Morgan likes ash because itโ€™s lightweight, strong and easy to work with. They also reckon it helps to quell vibrations.

There were some improvements to the rigidity and suspension of the Plus 8 in 2016 but the Plus 8 wasnโ€™t the sort of car you could jump straight into at a track and rack up a fast time in the first three laps courtesy of the efforts of whoever was responsible for the traction and stability control software. You got ABS and that was your lot. Expecting precise apexes and smooth braking were forlorn hopes on bumpy and/or wet surfaces, and there was a strong tendency for the car to plough straight on into turns, but these olde-worlde imperfections were what endeared Morgans to many historically inclined owners.

Be ready for jolts up your spine on sharp ridges and for heavy-ish steering at speed. As youโ€™d expect there was enough poke to poke the back end out but the loading-up of the wheel during that sort of manoeuvre took away much of the feel that you might have liked. In normal use however the power steering worked well enough, and certainly better than it did on the Aero 8.

The biggest fear for anyone buying a regular car is that itโ€™s been over-used but itโ€™s the opposite for Morgans. Many of a used Morganโ€™s chassis-related problems will be down to under-use. Besides the usual and obviously visible signs like cracked, perished or squared-off tyres you need to keep an eye out for leaky brake master cylinders and seized calipers.


The body for the 2012-on Plus 8 was the widest one Morgan had ever built. Unlike something like a Caterham, climbing into it with the roof in place did not require the suppleness of an Olympic gymnast.

Colour choices for new Morgans were just about limitless. Some took the view that metallic paints didnโ€™t really suit them. Others took the view that the absence of a boot killed off the whole Morgan idea, which is a bit odd as you canโ€™t really imagine a Plus 8 being the only car in the household. There was a lockable storage box behind the seats that was big enough for phones and the odd bag of sweets, but your main luggage would have to go onto a purpose-made rack. Having your bags on public display like that is not the most relaxing way to go on a tour involving certain European cities.

Morgan rear lights have been known to malfunction and headlights could flick off after a bump. That sort of thing might sound pretty minor but diagnosis of electrical problems like blowing bulbs could often turn into a long and frustrating process. Many possible causes have been suggested, from chafed or broken wires in the loom to dodgy earth connections or jamming signals from unfriendly countries. Not really on the last one, but Morgan electrics could be quite flaky. Some have pointed the finger at the sourcing of CANBUS controllers from Volvo as a less than ideal means of communication between Morgan and BMW items. Replacing faulty CANBUS modules fixed some mystery issues for some owners, albeit hardly cheaply at well over ยฃ500 plus labour, but replacing faulty parts didnโ€™t always provide a long-term resolution as they could just as easily fail again.

As weโ€™ve said in quite a few of these guides, sub-optimal battery condition is never helpful when it comes to electrical issues.ย 


Obviously, the interior is a key part of any Morganโ€™s appeal. So is its hand-built nature, but that can be a curse rather than a blessing. When the Plus 8 first started doing the road test rounds journalists were left in no doubt that they were dealing with a hand-built car when the press vehicle arrived with wires dangling loosely behind the dash. The steering wheel didnโ€™t befit a car costing over ยฃ80k and the presence of no less than four keys โ€“ one each for the doors, lockable storage box, fuel filler and ignition โ€“ banged home an aftermarket vibe.

If you were being totally objective about it, the Plus 8 interior was a triumph of style over function. The seats looked inviting but they were too high and didnโ€™t provide much in the way of lateral location. The trademark central instrumentation worked OK if you had good peripheral vision but there was always a risk of it reminding you of the film character WALL-E. The pedals didnโ€™t seem to be in the right place while the aftermarket radio was, quite literally, out of place in a daft and potentially dangerous spot under the dash. In a previous incarnation, PHโ€™s own Nic Cย neatly summed it up by saying that the radio would regard your smartphone with the same stony-faced mystification with which a de Havilland Mosquito might contemplate a Hellfire missile.

Air con was standard but setting the fan speed was a random sort of operation. When it rained, it sometimes appeared that the triple wipers didnโ€™t seem to be working that well โ€“ until you realised that they were working fine and that the problem was water running down the inside of the screen, and quite often through the side screens. Thereโ€™s a funny video of Chris Harris draping newspapers around the cabin of a porous Plus 8 he was taking to the Geneva show. He made it there OK, albeit rather soggily.

Some owners had trouble with their Plus 8 fuel gauge needles wavering wildly between half full and full. Morgan found a solution for this but some owners were told it was too complicated to be worth the bother. Bulb failure warning lights could illuminate when there were no bulbs out, again possibly due to dodgy CANBUS modules. Electric window switch fuses could repeatedly fail.


The Plus 8โ€™s โ€˜traditionalโ€™ body shape is the nearest thing to a golden Willy Wonka ticket for Morgan. Thereโ€™s no reason to suppose than they wonโ€™t be able to go on selling this type of car for as long as suitable power sources are available.

In light of that, hearing about the real-world shortcomings of the Plus 8 might cause you to lift at least one eyebrow in puzzlement. For some who were thinking about buying one it might be an off-putting read, but if it is then youโ€™re probably not right for the car. Morgan ownership is different. Normal rules donโ€™t apply. If youโ€™re an accepting sort and you believe that brisk motoring in anything other than perfect conditions should demand mental effort on the part of the nut behind the wheel, then you will very likely get on famously with a 2012-on โ€˜Aero genโ€™ Plus 8. The strong residual values tell you that there are enough of those people around for Morgan โ€“ and by extension their owners โ€“ย to be content with their respective lots for years to come.

Hereโ€™s something. Over 8,000 Plus 8s of both generations were built over its 50-year lifespan. Itโ€™s a fair bet that a large percentage of them are still knocking around, but even in the UK where theyโ€™re built there are rarely more than a handful of them on public sale at any given moment. There will be many others that are never seen in ads or at auctions. Theyโ€™ll be โ€˜kept in the familyโ€™, traded among fellow enthusiasts or handed down as heirlooms. That level of retention surely tells us something about these remarkable vehicles.

The biggest UK source of used Morgans is Morgan themselves. Besides the cars they have on site in Malvern their website also acts as a hub for cars being sold through their dealership network. As we went to press they had 27 Plus 8s for sale, of which nine were โ€˜new-genโ€™ cars ranging in price from ยฃ78,000 for a 2013 auto with just under 13,000 miles โ€“ย the cheapest 8 on the UK market at the time of writing โ€“ to ยฃ148,500 for a 2018 car with just 68 miles covered.

Not entirely sure how Plus 8s reached those price heights but luckily the three Plus 8s being advertised on PH classifieds were at the more accessible end of the market, starting at ยฃ79,950 for this 9,000-mile 2015 auto in Jaguar red. For ยฃ5k more (ยฃ84,950) you could get yourself into this 5,000-mile Speedster manual from 2015, number 30 of the sixty made. Another ยฃ5k jump would move you forward two years into this 11,000 mile auto with Rolls-Royce Velvet Green paint and a tan interiorย 

If you are determined to try and get a bargain, look for high-mile cars โ€“ย by which we mean anything over 30,000 โ€“ย as these can be a hard sell for dealers. The cheapest Plus 8 we saw on sale in the UK had over 90,000 on the clock and a price beginning with a 2 but of course that was an old-gen car.

Talk Morgan is a nice global forum for marque owners and enthusiasts. Youโ€™ve also got the Morgan Sports Car Club. If youโ€™re considering Morgan ownership, we strongly recommend you have a gentle browse through sites like these before donning your woollen bathing trunks and taking the plunge.ย