New Morgan Plus 8: The Adventure Road Test - CHRIS HARRIS ON CARS


Uploaded by drive on 21.03.2012

Transcript:

We--
that's Neil and me--
are going to drive the Morgan Plus 8 to Geneva from my
house, which is in South Wales.
That is a journey of 733 miles, and Google Maps reckons
it's going to take us 12 and 3/4 hours.
First, we've got to try and pack some stuff into this car.
All right.
Before I talk you 'round the cabin the Morgan Plus 8, we
need to know one thing.
I am a very, very small man.
I'm 5'7" standing on tiptoes.
I'm now going to get into the vehicle.

So this'll be my driving position
for the next 12 hours.
Neil will sit here.
Neil is, by the way, well over 6', so he's got
it worse than me.
That will settle down a little bit, although we'll have
probably a bag resting on my head.
Few bits and bobs in there.
Keep the GoPro mounted on the front.
Because part of the idea is to shoot the journey all the way,
looking at the GoPro from South Wales all the way to
Geneva, to give to guys to use on their Geneva [INAUDIBLE].
Um, it's going to be a labor of love, this is, Neil.
It really is.
There's just no space in here for anything.

Now what you need to know about MMC II is it's the first
new Plus 8.
It's the development car.
That means its' not a finished car, especially the hood,
which, as we're discover, is broadly speaking, still at an
experimental stage.
Having no space means ingenious storage solutions
like sticking out trusty in-car rig to the boot.
But who cares, when you have 370
horsepower and 1,100 kilograms?
I love these adventures.
They're really, really great fun until you're in the car
and it just starts to rain on the inside.
Anyhow.
It's British.
The sense of adventure is there.
We're having fun.
We've got all the way from South Wales to the Port of
Dover-- well, actually, Folkestone--
for the Eurotunnel.
We've done about 200 miles of the 730, so charitably, let's
call that just under a third.
We're driving the new Morgan Plus 8 to the motor show at
which it's going to be launched.
That's quite a cool thing to do, you know?
I've never done that before.

Hello, and welcome to Northern France in a Morgan Plus 8.
Progress report-- we're about 250 miles into our journey.
We've been going for what feels like quite a long time.
And it's absolutely pissing it down with rain.
We've got quite a serious water ingress issue here,
because the truck grooves that we're driving in are quite
deep water.
And as you can see, even if you can't see, there's water
coming in everywhere.
But I found a use for the Guardian.
I think if we just stuff that down there--

bit on my legs, that'll stop the--
there we go.
[INAUDIBLE].
I can't really see anything out the screen at the moment,
because we're evaporating some of the water that's landing on
the inside.
Newspapers are holding up well.
We're glad about that little modification.
That's worked for us.
We're making what can only be described as very bad time.

Stiff upper lip is--
it's softening just slightly, because our estimated time of
arrival is about seven days' time.
Yeah.
Spirits remain high, though.
And the Guardian is really soaking up a
lot of the pain here.
We've got that one covered.
Both legs are now what I'd term wet.
But we're plowing along.
And I have to say, these Avon ZZRs are pretty good in these
conditions, because the motorway is now flooded, and
we are still going through it at 75 miles an hour.
I think any faster, we would be in trouble.
We're going to get there.
We are going to get there.
Best think about autoroute peage is they give you several
opportunities to do standing starts.
And this car sounds the absolute goolies.

The weather has changed now.
After two and a half hours solid rain, it's dried out.
The road's dry.
And we're going quite a bit quicker, as you can hear by
the wind noise.
I'm not going to specify exactly how fast we're going,
but suffice to say that the Morgan Plus 8 is a fast car.
Once you get kind of accustomed to the wind noise,
it just hammers along.
It's fast.
It's very stable.
The ride gets much better with speed.
The car is much, much more comfortable, let's say, at
higher speeds than it is at medium speeds.
Really enjoying it.
I love the fact that you get this louvred top to the point
where the cooling vents are, the fact that you can see the
tops of the two headlights and the wing tops to the position
the car, and the fact that every time you go past another
car, they look at you and they smile.
You know, it's difficult to put a value on a
car that can do that.
Because a Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, more often than
not just will not do that.
But the Morgan will.
It's strange, isn't it, how things can change so quickly?
Two hours ago, I was getting wet knees, thinking, oh, god,
this is a bit too much.
But now we're barreling south at a fair old [INAUDIBLE].
I'm loving it.

So the key numbers are 780 miles in 11
hours and 45 minutes.
It's been a really interesting journey.
It started out in a blizzard.
It then got so much better.
And by the end, you know what?
I found myself in a British modern AC Cobra.
Because it's just a muscle car, and I really, really
enjoyed it.
I'm pretty tired, fatigued, but a really good adventure.
Great fun.

Enough of adventuring.
You want to know some more about this new Morgan.
It's called the Plus 8, and it uses a 370-horsepower BMW V8
and a BMW six-speed gear box.
Underneath it's basically an Aero 8 aluminum chassis, but
being a Morgan, it uses a wooden frame
to support the body.
Yes, it's wooden.
This car is a mixture of modern and ancient.
There are quaint triple wipers and
arrow-formed aluminium panels.
That motor makes it seriously rapid, and the exhaust mode
alone is worth half the 80,000-pound asking price.
There's even an iPod connector.
You just can't actually hear the hi-fi.

Well, let's face it.
You can't drive all the way to Geneva, be within one hour of
Chamonix, and not come and drive the car on some little
cold, twisty roads.
So balls to Geneva.
Let's test the car a bit.

So what's it like, this Morgan?
Well, it's not the last word in sophistication,
I have to be honest.
Yes, it's got the aluminum chassis, but it's got a little
bit of a [INAUDIBLE] shape, and the steering column moves
a little bit.
But these are very, very bumpy roads.
It's just a proper experience, that you can hear that noise,
wind in the hair, upright driving position, wheel on
your chest.
It's classic British roadster.
And it's fast, as well.
There's no doubt.
It's fast.

You do have to have your wits about you, though.
The steering on the car is very fast.
It's quite stiffly sprung, so it doesn't
like mid-corner bumps.
And there are no systems at all, so if you get it
sideways, it's kind of your problem.
Not something I really want to be doing too much around here,
because there are plenty of immovable objects to clatter
on the side of the road.
It's a car that you kind of just try and build a rhythm
with and stroke through the corners.
But you can smell what's going on outside.
I mean, the protection from the elements is zero when
you're like this, and I love it.
I want to be buffeted.
I want to be hit around.
I want to feel what's going on.
I want to smell the mountains.
Hah.

Do you know what I love most about this car, is that it
kind of transcends motoring.
Sounds awfully glib, I know, but every journey you take in
this isn't really a journey.
It's a mini-adventure.
That's what we've had since we left the UK.
It's about as far from perfect as a sports car can be, but I
absolutely love it.