Spotted in the Wild: Morgan +8


Jamie spies another rarity, this time from the British Isles.

I'm not sure what it is about this grocery store in the South Park area of San Diego, but so far it's proven to be a pretty good place to car spot. For those paying attention, this is the same parking lot that produced the 1971 Ford Torino Cobra. This time it has given us a Morgan +8.

In researching this edition of Spotted in the Wild, I found that it can be pretty tricky to pin point exactly what you're looking at when you see a Morgan. Why? Because even to the trained eye, Morgan +8s looked pretty much the same between 1968 and 2004. The +8 was based on the four-cylinder Morgan +4. Through the years, the +8 came and went and used several different V8s. There were standard body, wide body, two seat, two plus two and flat radiator variants among others.

The first engine in this most British of sports cars was the Buick 215 (3.5 liters). Rover eventually evolved this motor into the Rover V8, where it gradually grew in displacement and would go on to power everything from TVRs to Range Rovers. You could write a book (actually, someone probably has) on this motor alone, but we'll have to geek-out about that some other time.

The next big change didn't come until 1983 when Morgan ditched the carburetors and switched to electronic fuel injection. Displacement also grew to 3.9 liters. This bumped horsepower to 204 and enabled the +8 to out-sprint more modern contemporaries from the likes of Porsche and Ferrari.

In 1996 the 3.9 liter was replaced by the 4.6, which is the engine under the hood of the car you see here. After thumbing through several old, dusty, leather-bound British motoring books (okay, I used the internet) I was able to narrow down the build year of this car to sometime between 1998 and 2004. The biggest exterior tell is the turn signals. The ones in the front are under the bumper and the ones on the side are rectangular as opposed to circular. Drive Cult's own Matthew Lange also pointed out to me that this specific car was a widebody, meaning the fenders are wider to accommodate bigger rubber.

I'd be shocked if I got everything right here. If I've missed something or made a grave error, please feel free to school me.