It is not too often that we hear from our friends at Morgan. The bespoke British sports car maker has won over our hearts with their unique and iconic interpretation of what a proper British sports car should be. However, even Morgan has to occasionally adapt to the ever changing marketplace, and it has done so by ditching the V8 engine for good, and preparing a bold surprise for a future generation of Morgan enthusiasts (this eager author included.)
While the outgoing Plus 8 and Aero 8 models are the only two V8 Morgan models in the stable for right now, the V8 engine has had a long and very intriguing history for Morgan, with the British firm using V8 engines for over 50 years. It all began in 1968 when the company shoehorned the Buick derived but Rover sourced 3.5 liter V8 into the first generation Plus 8, which was an attempt by the company to satisfy the demand of some of its customers that wanted more power and a slightly more bespoke ownership experience that the 4/4 and even the Plus 4 simply couldn’t provide. The Rover connection would persist for the majority of the Plus 8’s production run, with the engine growing twice in displacement before the company began buying the N62 naturally aspirated V8 from BMW in the early 2000s. The Plus 8 itself would take a brief hiatus in 2004, before returning in 2012 with the new BMW V8. With tightening emissions regulations, as well as BMW formally ceasing production of this engine not that long ago, Morgan was forced to end this exciting chapter of its history, and prepare for the future, and the all new chapter that it would write in the company’s iconic legacy.
But what will the future bring to fans saddened by the departure of the Plus 8 and Aero 8 models? While the answer to that question is still shrouded in a very murky fog of mystery, Morgan’s teaser video could shed a hint as to what might be possibly lurking underneath the bonnet. The bulk of the video centers around the final production Plus 8, which is being driven by the factory’s chief driver Keith Dalley on the English country roads that surround the factory as well as the nearby town of Malvern, England. However, at the end of the video, when Dalley pulls the car into the garage, a mysterious engine sound can be heard, and a tiny glimpse of a mystery Morgan can be seen peeking out from the confines of Morgan’s research center.
The distinct turbo whine that is spliced with the soundtrack could suggest that the company is preparing a turbocharged V6 to try and replicate some of the V8’s magic, but in a decidedly more efficient package. The main suspect here (at least in our opinion) is the 3.5 liter twin-turbocharged V6 that powers many of Ford’s current performance products. Like the V8, Ford has also had an enduring connection to Morgan’s heritage, with the U.S. based automaker being a long running supplier of engines for the company’s other models. While mainly focusing on the 4/4, Ford also supplies the 3.7 liter Cyclone V6 that is used on the current generation Morgan Roadster. With this established pedigree, the installation of the 3.5 liter would not be that difficult, and it would certainly be a worthy replacement to the outgoing V8 based on our prior encounters with this particular powerplant in Ford products.
The new engine (whatever it may be) will most likely make its debut in the recently announced “Wide Body” sports car that is expected to make its debut next year. This new offering would be positioned above the four cylinder models in Morgan’s lineup, and indirectly replace the V8 powered cars. A new platform is part of the package here, with Morgan claiming that it will be twice as stiff as the older aluminum chassis that debuted in the early iteration of the Aero. A new powertrain is also in the cards, and according to Morgan, has never been installed in a Morgan product before, which indicates that some form of electrification could also be involved. The Wide Body philosophy as a whole can indicate that the new car would be a very bold step for Morgan, and would be a drastic departure from the 1940s post war aesthetic that has long defined Morgan’s traditional lineup, with some rumors suggesting that it could have some design influence from the 1960s, with integrated fenders making their return after their first appearance on the poor selling Morgan Plus 4 Plus.
The video in question can be seen below, and we look forward to seeing and hearing more from Morgan on the new engine, as well as more details on the upcoming “Wide Body” sports car.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.