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Buying: Sports Cars

 

Morgan Plus 4 & Plus 8
Morgan Plus 4 & Plus 8

No other sports car has such a distinctive character as a Morgan, whether it’s the four-cylinder Plus 4 or the V8-powered Plus 8

Asked to name the fastest-accelerating cars ever built, it’s unlikely you’d think of this ancient-looking roadster from Malvern. Yet there was a time when the Plus 8 could slaughter far more expensive and glamorous machinery on the drag strip. Capable of sprinting from a standing start to 60mph in just 6.7 seconds (later cut to 6.1), the Plus 8 offers exhilaration like few other cars.

It’s a great car to own too; parts availability is generally good and it’s pretty much impossible to lose money on a Morgan, as long as it’s looked after.

And If you don’t need such searing performance but you still want to savour the raw driving experience that only a Morgan can offer, the Plus 4 is the car for you.

However, while the cars are great to own, buying can be fraught with problems. Fail to spot structural rot, or assume that corrosion is a mere cosmetic affliction, and you could end up paying over the odds for a car that needs a complete rebuild.

After 31 years with the marque, Melvyn Rutter has a pretty good insight into all things Morgan. Rutter comments: ‘The market is currently exceptionally strong for all Morgans, although I’m not sure why. The cars are always in demand of course, but right now there are some models that are in really short supply.

‘The chief one is the early Plus 8 with the Moss gearbox: those get snapped up as soon as they come onto the market, usually by people who want to take part in historic motor sport. You’d be lucky to find one for less than £25,000, which is a lot of cash when you think that a decent example of the later 3.5-litre Plus 8 can be worth as little as £16,000. However, newer Plus 8s with 3.9- or 4.6-litre engines can be rather more valuable, with such cars changing hands at up to £35,000.

‘Popularity isn’t skewed one way or the other in terms of four- and eight-cylinder models but, unsurprisingly, the Plus 4 is worth rather less than an equivalent Plus 8. The classic Plus 4, with a TR engine, is typically worth £12,000-£16,000 for a decent example, but Rover-engined cars are more like £15,000-23,000.

‘That’s entirely predictable, because the latter cars are so much newer, but it raises an interesting anomaly. Although there are very few early cowled-radiator Morgans around, they’re still worth less than their newer counterparts because the more recent cars are so much more usable. Buyers perceive the earlier Morgans as unreliable and impractical – so they’ll pay good money for a newer example in which they can take long trips to really enjoy the car.’

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