Morgan’s newly unveiled, 335bhp, BMW-powered Plus Six will undoubtedly be a hoot to drive, while also being civilised, (reasonably) practical and Teutonically reliable, but offered the choice between it and this decidedly ‘old school’ Morgan that’s coming up for grabs at R.M Sotheby’s in Essen on April 11 – well, you know what I’m thinking.
As it happens, the 1976 car’s upper estimate of around 75,000 euro puts it near the price of a Plus Six but, as the photographs show, it’s dripping with the type of genuine patina that money can’t buy.
It also has an interesting history that began when racer Andy Garlick decided to take advantage of a revision of the production sports car regulations for the Le Mans 24 Hours and set-out to commission Morgan to build him a Plus Eight racer.
“The widest Plus Eight ever built, and the only one on wire wheels”
Unfortunately, the rules were changed again before the build was completed, rendering the car once more ineligible and causing Garlick to abandon the project, leaving it to be adopted by Lanchester Morgan dealer I & J MacDonald, which took delivery in the summer of 1976.
What it got was, allegedly, the widest Plus Eight ever built, and the only one to leave the factory on wire wheels. Beneath the aluminium bonnet, meanwhile, nestled a 215 ci (3.5-litre) Oldsmobile V8 – not vastly different from the regular Oldsmobile-derived Rover unit – mated to a ‘rally’ gearbox. There was also a bespoke roll cage, aluminium floorboards and rear brake drums, and upgraded front discs.
The car was used on the road and lightly campaigned for around a decade before being traded to Morgan dealer John Worrall, who then sold it to the current Swedish owner who has been its custodian for more than 30 years, during which time he has gradually improved it with better brakes and suspension and a limited-slip differential.
Although raced on several occasions during the 1990s, it has largely been used as a road car and appears at auction fresh from storage – and complete with all of its original fixtures and fittings (the interior looks exquisitely ‘vintage’) plus a wealth of ephemera that includes photographs of it in-build at the factory, a booklet explaining the story of its creation and numerous photographs of the so-called ‘Monster Morgan’ in action at various competitive events.
So, if you’re contemplating a Plus Six but think it might be a bit too civilised, this undoubtedly more raw – but possibly more rewarding – Morgan might just offer a totally illogical but strangely tempting alternative.
On sale at RM Sotheby’s Essen sale on April 11
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