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Monday 12th March 2012


PH BLOG: MORGAN PLUS 8 DELIVERY DUTY

With Monkey jetting off to drive the Boxster someone had to drive the Plus 8 back from the Alps...


You may have noticed there was a motor show in Switzerland last week. And one of the cars debuting has actually been in PH hands for several weeks already - the black Plus 8 run by our own Mr Harris. According to our man at Morgan this actually caused them a bit of a problem, being how it was their development car and all. Fear not, live feedback via PH (namechecked in Charles Morgan's press conference, so we hear!) has now been incorporated into the car's R&D. Here to help and all that.

You want a camera truck? You got it
You want a camera truck? You got it
Given that the car was debuting at Geneva Chris decided to drive it out there - full story and video in due course. But with him jetting off to drive theBoxster and then new SL(stay tuned, coming shortly!) it needed someone to drive it home. Which is how I ended up, literally, snowboarding down a mountain to meet Chris, cameraman Neil Carey and the Morgan at the bottom of a piste outside Chamonix. Actually, that is as rock'n'roll as it sounds and as I arrived at the bottom of the run Chris was just pulling in. And in the time it took me to release my bindings and walk over there was already a crowd around the Morgan. This, it seems, is what happens with this car.

We spent the rest of the day filming, commandeering the Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian I'd driven out in as a camera truck with the long-suffering Neil (I won't detail quite how long-suffering but, with the roof up, the Morgan is a very confined space to share with someone for a drive across Europe) rattling about on the load bed attempting to keen his lens trained on a giggling Monkey in a Morgan. Well, at least he was in the fresh air now.

Warm jacket definitely essential, roof up or down
Warm jacket definitely essential, roof up or down
So to the drive home. Running solo meant the passenger seat took the bags and I could put the roof down. Which, given the clear blue skies, was a real bonus. Dry roads, two-metre snow banks either side and the most stunning scenery imaginable was, to be honest, simply a garnish to fun to be had at the wheel of the Plus 8.

The imbalance between power and tyre size/grip is heroic. Ditto the noise. So a route combining lots of hairpin bends and tunnels was hoontastically good fun. Into the more rolling Jura region the roads got a little icier and my throttle applications a bit more measured but the Morgan was still huge fun.

It's far from perfect - Chris is right about it being over sprung and it's hard to heel and toe properly - but it's such a riot you just don't mind. And, for my money, the lightly modernised styling is the perfect expression of the more high-tech aluminium chassis beneath. I wouldn't usually like 'modern' wheels on a car like this but even they seem to work visually. It looks kind of civilised but goes and sounds like an utter hooligan, which is an appealing combination that makes all other cars seem dull and anodyne.

Tunnels good, if somewhat noisy
Tunnels good, if somewhat noisy
And people just love it - French girls blow kisses, other drivers mouth 'wow!' as you pass on the motorway and the friendly Dutch bloke who ambled over for a chat when I stopped for coffee nearly fainted in shock to the answers "how much does it weigh?" and "how much power does it have?" 1,100kg (dry) and 367hp being the answers. "You should be careful, the French have cops everywhere with cameras," we warned, somewhat paternally.

Yes, it seems, they do... It could have been a lot worse.

Off the back roads and onto the peage I decided putting the roof up might make for slightly more comfortable cruising. But, it seems, wind noise and draughts actually seem to increase. No, not sure why that happens. I texted Chris at this point. "Try it in the rain" came the response.

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to the cash point we go
Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to the cash point we go
Some pictures below from the trip and, as I say, look out for a more in-depth report from our man Harris shortly. I still have the car and, having at least hoovered out the road trip detritus from the inside, am now debating how long it's acceptable to leave the rather fetching grime on the outside.

Dan

 

 

 


UPDATED: Now with added (blustery) video footage...

 














Author: Dan Trent