OTN 4, The Ultimate Morgan Plus 8!
After the Le Mans class win in 1962, Morgan stayed away
from the famous French 24 hours race for a long time. When the Plus 8 had
appeared they had a potential contender, as here was a car with good
acceleration, durability, light weight.
The big minus point against Morgan
competing at Le Mans had always been the deciding authorities.
Morgan agent John MacDonald did care for a return of
Morgan to Le Mans. He there commisioned a VERY SPECIAL Morgan Plus 8 to be
built. It was of lightweight construction, with aluminium body & wings,
lower front suspension, lowered engine and extra wide body.
It was the first +8 (apart from the prototype) to be shod
with wire wheels. Yet these were of the "Cobra" type, 8 1/2 inch wide. They
carried 205/70 VR 15 Avon tyres.
The engine, though related to that fitted to the road +8s,
was in fact unique. It is a Traco modified Buick/Oldsmobile engine (from which
the Rover V8 engine was derived), hailing back to 1965 (!), equipped with Weber
48 IDA carburattors.
These carburettors are identical to those used in the Porsche 904s of
the 1960s and stand proudly on top of the engine.The engine produced no less than 306
Because of these Webers, the bonnet needed a large scoop
on the top. This makes the car immeditely recognisable. A number of pictures in the slide show were taken while the car still was under construction at The Factory in 1976. Note the width of the body!
booth at that time was still one of the two old ones, long before the paint shop was built,
across the slope. In order to improve airflow, a front undertray was fitted.
The car came without any bumpers. This gave it a wild look. The usual filler caps were replaced by flip up ones,
complete with lock.
When the car received its traditional test drive around
the Malvern Hills, it must have drawn more attention than usual. The sound
emerging from its exhaust is not exactly equal to that of a standard Morgan Plus
8! Yet, it was a car intended for use on the road, with racing aspirations, to
say the least. In its final form the engine delivered 350 bhp! For Morgan cognoscenti it was easy to tell from its
contemporary counterparts for its wide body, wire wheels, 4 rows of louvres on
top of the bonnet, huge scoop to clear the Webers, etc.
The finished product looked like a real beast!
Unfortunately for John MacDonald, despite the kind
cooperation of the Morgan Motor Company, the Traco +8, as the car got known, did
not make it to Le Mans. The regulations changed and made a Le Mans adventure an
Such a special Morgan deserves good coverage here and thanks to the special disk with images received from its owner, I am able to present the visitors with a nice selection of pictures in the form of a slide show. Enjoy!
OTN 4 - The Traco +8
The car stayed in England for about 10 years, when one of
the real Swedish enthusiasts crossed its path: Leif Barryd. He acquired the car
back in 1987 at Heart of England Morgans and he has reamained its enthusiastic
owner ever since. Leif has collected a lot of documentation around the car and
its history, which makes it extra interesting.
Just take a look at the space between the inner headlamp
nacelles and the cowl and it's immediately noticeable how wide this car is! Leif uses the car on both road and track. The Traco +8 has
appeared in numerous publications over the years, varying from books to
magazines to a much watched You Tube film.
It certainly is worth having a look at this film. You can enjoy the car's spectacular looks
and sound at the same time. The following images give a brief overview of the car and
its specifications.In four words: A MOST SPECTACULAR MORGAN!
Thanks for sharing
this with me and all the visitors, Leif.