The old-school Morgan drop top is really an vintage sports car with a modern drivetrain and concessions, plus it’s now officially available in Singapore
Ever wondered what it’s like to drive a sports car from the 1950s? The romance aside, cars from that period in time were not known to be the most reliable or safest of conveyances. But here’s a little piece of history wrapped up in a modern, much safer package, the Morgan Plus Six.
The Morgan brand has always been a very niche player in the automotive world since it first appeared in 1910, and it’s one of the last true hand-built cars of this age. Up until today, Every Morgan is assembled in Malvern, Worcestershire, England, in a custom specification as ordered by the customer. The Plus Six, and its smaller engined sibling the Plus Four, are the only two Morgans legally allowed to be bought and driven on the roads of Singapore.
The Plus Six is essentially a two-seat roadster with a manually folded fabric soft top, powered by a very modern 3.0-litre turbo in-line six cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic gearbox plucked straight from a BMW Z4 M40i. The car features a cabin frame made of wood, but not to worry, as it sits on and is surrounded by a properly rigid aluminium chassis as befitting a serious sports car.
There are still some functions on the car that require manual operation though. Raising and lowering the fabric roof is a two-person job, with a series of latches and clips to do up along the sides.
The window glass fits over the door and is secured into place with large thumbscrews. You need to decide to leave them on or take them off before you drive, because they don’t wind down the usual way. If the window glass is in place and you need to open the window to access a car park’s cashcard reader or something similar, you’ll have to open the whole door.
There’s no storage or luggage space of any kind in the car either. What looks like a ‘boot’ at the back is really just a large access hatch for rear axle maintenance, and the only space to carry stuff is in the narrow gap behind the seats. This isn’t a car to go shopping in, or even carrying a large sports bag in. Actually, there’s no space inside to even get two people and their tennis gear to a Sunday morning game. It’s really a car for the driving experience.
And that’s the car’s real unique attribute. Rather than keeping you insulated, the Morgan Plus Six delivers a hail of feedback once you get under way. With the roof folded, the experience is quite different from other convertibles too. You’re well-shielded from the wind, though the low door sills make you feel a little more exposed than usual. The rear wheels are just behind you and with 340 of BMW’s turbo horses driving them, the car has the potential to feel like a rocket when you really get it going.
It’s light and fast, though there’s no traction control or electronic stability assistance so to achieve that stated 0 to 100km/h launch time of 4.2 seconds needs practice, a good grippy surface, and plenty of safe runoff areas.
You’ve really got to really respect the power from the car as getting it wrong can send the whole package spinning off into the trees. There’s a pretty rigid chassis underneath the bodywork, so you can really feel the suspension working and the braking feel is serious sports car quality. It’s not overly assisted and does take a slightly firmer push than you would normally expect to hold the car at traffic lights, but on speedy drives it comes on its own, feeling very progressive and confident.
There’s a real visceral feel to the drive and when compared with a modern supercar, you feel much more happening with the Plus Six.
The dashboard features plenty of old-school metered charm, but with the concession of a digital speedometer beneath the steering wheel. However the glare from the sun with the roof down makes it slightly difficult to read sometimes.
Every single Morgan Plus Six is custom-built, and that accounts for the waiting period with every car ordered from the British factory. The base price of a Plus Six in Singapore is a chunky S$415,888, but that’s just in its basic form with a single solid coloured body and basic interior trim.
The car driven here actually has an additional S$45,100 of options included, and here’s a gist of what the extra S$45k pays for: metallic paintwork, large wheel options, interior leather textiles, seat detailing, embroidery, centre console wood veneers, steering wheel colour, roof fabric options, roof trim beading options, exterior badging and chrome, and the sports exhaust. When you buy a Morgan Plus Six, you’re really buying a basic car body and engine, then choosing and paying for the desired options that really ring up the price.
The end result is a unique sports car that costs in the region of half a million dollars, in the same price league as a new BMW M4 coupe and Lexus LC 500. But it’s also clearly a sports car for a very niche market and the dealer NB Auto knows it. Low profile but well-heeled car enthusiasts are pretty open to having something unique in their garages for whenever the mood strikes, so here’s a car that is purpose-built for those occasions.
|Engine||2,998cc, inline six, turbocharged|
|Power||340hp at 6500rpm|
|Torque||500Nm at 1520-4500rpm|
|VES Banding / modifier||C1 / +S$10,000|
|Price||S$460,988 (as tested) without COE|
|Verdict||A niche performance car for this part of the world, but full of old world charm with a modern drivetrain|