That long, looong hood jutting out in front of the driver… those sensual, swooping fenders flowing back to a gently sloped rear end… the bulbous headlights and supple leather belt securing the hood…
The Morgan Plus 8 Speedster looks like it just rolled out of the 1940s, a free-spirited refugee from the London Blitz that escaped the rubble and rationing, dropped its skimpy top, and headed for the countryside in search of a little uninhibited fun. But this car is no antique. Indeed, the Speedster is actually the newest offering from the Morgan Motor Company, commissioned to celebrate the anniversary of the British automaker’s factory on Pickersleigh Road in Malvern, where old-school craftsmen have been hand-building beautiful driving machines in small quantities for 100 years now.
The Speedster is a variant of the Morgan Plus 8, the company’s signature model since the 1960s. Like the Plus 8, the Speedster is built around a BMW-manufactured 4.8-liter V8 that delivers 367 horsepower. That’s more than enough to push the 2,425-pound car from zero to 62 mph in 4.2 seconds; the Speedster tops out at a governed 148 mph. A six-speed manual trans is standard, although there is an automatic option for people without a pulse. Morgan plans to begin production of these wonders in June, so that ought to give you plenty of time to save up the £69,995 price tag, which comes out to a bit over $117,000 in U.S. currency. Pocket change, right?
But don’t make the mistake of thinking Morgan is a stuffy legacy company that’s fixated on the past. While it definitely believes in traditional styling in its production models, Morgan also has one foot squarely in the future with its state-of-the-art Nissan-powered LM P2, seen here in 2012:
OAK Racing will be running the Morgan-Nissan at Laguna Seca this weekend, entered as car number 42 in the prototype category at the 2014 Monterey Grand Prix. It will be OAK’s first outing at the famous venue in Monterey, California, and the team will get just 15 minutes to qualify and try for a high position on the grid.
As it happens, the Derbi’s own Mike Gillilan is in Monterey to photograph the event, so stayed tuned for coverage throughout the weekend, and after!