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    GUY HOLMES’ ROVER SD1 ‘TWIN PLENUM’ VITESSE

    / #Rover-SD1 / #Rover / #Rover-Vitesse / #Rover-V8

    Just check out Guy’s beautiful Rover-SD1 luxobarge here, a car that’s clearly been kept in tip-top condition by one discerning owner. This awesome old skool British icon may look pretty stock on the outside, but that's the whole point. In reality it's sporting plenty of tucked-away modifications, enough to make it quite the sleeper on the streets.
    With a comprehensively re-worked version of Rover’s 3.9-litre V8 now sitting pretty under the long bonnet, there’s also plenty of breathing mods, as well as far beefier braking and suspension systems. In short, it's a real hairy-chested driving machine.

    “I’ve owned and loved it since 2001. Not many can resist the sound of a Rover V8 rumbling down the street!” He's not wrong, eh?

    TOP MODS: 3.9-litre V8 engine (with flowed heads, Crane 216 cams and #Rimmer-Bros stainless-steel exhaust system), Jaguar XJS front brakes, Goodridge brake hoses, high-capacity radiator with Revotech electric fan, Spax adjustable suspension, polybushed, #MOMO steering wheel
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    CRAZY V8 ESPRIT / LOTUS ESPRIT / PUNK AND DISORDERLY

    If you want to annoy the purists, what better way than a #V8 #Lotus-Esprit-S3 running on air ride and Jap wheels. A lot of people don’t like this Lotus. It’s got the wrong engine, the wrong suspension, the wrong attitude. But this Lotus doesn’t really care what you think, it’s got its own stuff going on… Words: Dan Bevis. Photos: Chris Frosin.


    It’s a matter of pride here at Retro Cars that we seek out cars which don’t follow the welltrodden path; the mavericks, the outlaws, the oddballs – the cars with a bona fi de punk ethos that thumb a nose to authority and cock a snook at the naysayers. There are plenty of people within the traditional classic car scene who’ll tell you that there is a correct way of doing things, and to deviate from the norm is to invoke their ire. But screw them.

    Where’s the creativity in building a car that dozens of people have built before? Where’s the sense of achievement? The lifestyle we celebrate is one of brash weirdness, and they certainly don’t get a lot more brash or weird than Rob Howard’s Series 3 #Lotus-Esprit . We’re talking gruff supercar power, scene-friendly altitude, down-with-the-kids rims fresh from Japan… this is the polar opposite to a pipe-and- slippers concours resto. This is a punk collage, a scrapbook of ideas pasted together from all corners of the modifying world, and we couldn’t be more in love with it.

    Now, we know what some of you will be thinking – ‘Oh, it’s another old Lotus on air-ride’. Sure, there are a few of these on the scene these days, and we’ve featured a couple of ’em ourselves; Dean Meeson’s Esprit and Luke Gilbert’s Elite. But if a surfeit of bagged Lotuses is the biggest problem you encounter today, then you should probably take a few minutes out to consider how damned lucky you are. Besides, this is very far from ‘just another old Lotus on air-ride’ – this is nothing short of a work of art.

    “I’ve always been into cars, even when I was a kid,” says Rob. “I started working on cars when I was about fourteen years old, always wanting to change them, to fi t bigger engines and bigger wheels. I guess it’s in my blood? Anyway, the Esprit was my childhood dream car – James Bond driving into the sea had me hooked! Someone in my town had one when I was growing up, and I knew I just had to have one… one day.”

    While Bond’s Lotus may have been modified to cope with the salty rigours of sub-aqua mischief, Rob’s would eventually end up taking an altogether different turn – but, of course, he had to find one first. And that sort of thing doesn’t always go as well as you might think.

    “This is actually my second Esprit,” he explains. “The first one I had was a yellow Series 1, which had a Rover V8 already fitted. But it was crap – horrible to drive, and the 130bhp P6 engine was really underpowered. They do say ‘Never meet you heroes’, and I was just so disappointed with it.”



    As you’ve probably deduced, however, Rob is not the sort of man who gives up easily. Having harvested the V8 conversion parts and squirrelled them away, he waved goodbye to the disheartening yellow cheese-wedge and went on the hunt for the car he’d really wanted all along: a white Series 3. “These have a much better chassis,” he explains, “and an improved rear suspension setup. Much better for sticking a V8 in there!” And, naturally , there’s that spectre of 007 lurking in the broad rear aspect, ready to indulge in racy espionage at the drop of a Martini glass…


    “I found the car for sale on a Lotus forum, totally stock and needing a little work,” Rob recalls. “The exhaust manifold was cracked, and the interior was horrible; very faded and turning green! It ran crap but was perfect for my needs – and it was white! I had no use for the four-pot engine anyway, I already had an engine lined up to transplant into it. V8 power was, of course, at the top of the list for the project. I just love the sound. There’s no stereo in here, it doesn’t need one! And another high priority was the wheels; I hate stock wheels, very boring. This car needed to have something unusual. The Esprit is a tricky one to change wheels on though, and it can look horrible if you choose the wrong type or size. I got lucky, I think my wheels look killer – maybe I’m biased? But lots of people that see it also agree the wheels look great! Anyway, after the V8 and the wheels it was all about making it better and faster, and a tad lower…”

    Heh. ‘A tad’. Rob really does run a masterful line in understatement. Being an avid fan of American hot rod shows of the Fast ‘N’ Loud ilk, air-ride was increasingly permeating its way into Rob’s subconscious as a viable option. Having experimented on various previous projects with lowering springs, coilovers and what-have-you, he knew what he wanted and, more importantly, what he didn’t want. There would be no crashy ride or smashed sumps here, this was going to be a suspension setup done right and done well. “I thought air-ride would be the best of both worlds,” he shrugs. “Any height I like, and any spring rate? What’s not to like? OK, it’s not quite as simple as that, and the ride is still fairly harsh, but it’s way lower than I could have got it by other means.” The most cunning part is that Rob’s combination of coilovers and Universal Air bags is managed by AccuAir’s E-Level system, which keeps the car at whatever height you determine regardless of external influence – so, say, if you tell it to run at a particular height, then stuff the boot and passenger seat with bags of cement, it’ll still run at that height you’d told it to. Isn’t it great living in the future?


    The ride-height’s taken care of then, so let’s talk about that engine. It’s a Rover V8, like in his maligned old yellow Lotus, but in this instance it’s a pukka TVR unit. What’s more, it’s been stretched yet further into the realms of motorsport excess; the already-formidable 4.3-litre TVR Griffith engine has been reworked by V8 developments into a rumbling 4.5-litre monster. “I found a hillclimb car for sale that had this engine fitted, and I knew it’d be perfect for my Esprit,” Rob grins mischievously. If you cast an eye over the spec box, you’ll see why he’s grinning. The motor really is a monster, with a torque-rich spec designed for propelling light things up tall things at alarming speed. Just the job!


    “Fitting the V8 was actually quite straightforward, using the gearbox adaptor I had kept from the Series 1,” he says. “I had to make new mounts and carry out a lot of cutting to the rear body to make room for the big-bore 3in twin exhaust, and things kept changing throughout the build as parts got altered and made better; more often things wouldn’t work out how I planned, so had to be reworked or changed completely. The exhaust was re-done three times before I got it how I wanted! The air-ride was a nightmare to fit too - getting it to go a lot lower than Lotus ever intended meant that, with a car that’s well over thirty years old, a lot of the suspension parts were a pain to remove due to neglect and rust. Jobs take a long time to do as it’s all done on my driveway; the car has spent most of its time on axle stands and in bits since I’ve owned it due to always changing things and waiting for parts. And I still have plans to improve the car, it’ll always be evolving and getting better. Working on cars is like childbirth - you forget the pain until you get the spanners out…”


    Thank goodness Rob’s enthusiasm lies in modifying old cars rather than delivering babies, we’re a bit concerned about where he’s planning to stick his torque wrench. But thankfully his skills are entirely well suited to Esprit rebirth, as the results you see here demonstrate; sure, he says it’s unfinished, but that’s true of pretty much every feature car owner we speak to. We particularly love his choice of wheels, too – that James Bond influence of international mystique has led him to source a set of three-piece Super Star split-rims straight from Japan, the rears arriving 9in wide apiece and being rebuilt to a meaty 11.5in girth using Image 5in lips. That’s the sort of forthrightness that gives the car proper supercar presence, something that the old-school wedge always deserved.

    “I like to get out in it as much as I can – when it’s working, that is,” Rob laughs. “It’s a Lotus, so something generally needs fixing, but it’s fun to take it to work and there’s always a buzz around it wherever it goes. My colleagues are always saying ‘I saw someone taking pictures of your car again’! And yeah, I know it’s annoyed a few Lotus purists, but who cares about them? It’s my car.”

    …and that’s exactly the right attitude. This badass Esprit doesn’t care what you think, it just does what it wants. It doesn’t always work, but that doesn’t matter either. The Low-tus exists on its own terms, and that’s enough.

    Monster 11.5in wide rear wheels transmit the 4.5 litre V8’s torque to the tarmac.

    “Working on cars is like childbirth - you forget the pain until you get the spanners out…”
    “The Esprit was my childhood dream car – James Bond driving into the sea had me hooked!”

    James Bond eat your heart out, you can keep your submersible Esprit, we’d rather have this!


    Thumping great V8 soundtrack means that Rob has no need for a stereo install.


    SPECIFICATION #Lotus-Esprit-V8 / #Lotus-Esprit-V8-TVR / #Lotus-Esprit-TVR / #Lotus-Esprit / #Rover-V8 / #Lotus / #AccuAir /

    ENGINE: 4.5-litre #TVR (Rover) #V8 , fully balanced, forged 93.5mm bore #Cosworth pistons and #HRC1037 rods, cross-drilled and balanced #HRC1400 Iceberg crank (80mm stroke), high-volume oil pump, Stage 3 big valve heads, stainless steel 42.8mm inlet and 36.8mm exhaust-valves, fully ported and gas flowed, uprated valve springs ( #VSSV8 ), Piper steel vernier timing chain set, #Piper-BP270 camshaft, Rhoades anti pump lifters, John Eales billet rocker posts and head stud kit, #Edelbrock-Performance inlet manifold - fully ported and gas-flowed to match heads, Edelbrock Performance 1404 (500cfm) 4-barrel #Weber carburettor, #K&N turbo plenum with large K&N cone filter, #Mallory Performance billet distributor with electronic ignition, #Mallory Pro 8mm plug leads and high output coil, TVR big bore exhaust manifolds reversed, twin 3in bore custom stainless steel exhaust system, Rover SD1 sump, Esprit Developments engine conversion kit, custom mounts and turbo rubbers, Sierra Cosworth 60mm core alloy radiator, twin electric 12in rear-mounted fans, Davies Craig EWP 80 pump and controller, extra cooling booster pump fitted at rear, Mocal remote oil filter and oil cooler rad, alloy header tank and swirl pot. 289bhp @ 5500rpm; 300lb/ft @ 4500rpm

    TRANSMISSION: Esprit/Citroën SM 5-speed transaxle, alloy bellhousing adaptor and custom input shaft, lightened race steel flywheel, uprated clutch

    SUSPENSION: #Gaz-Gold-Racing / #GAZ adjustable front alloy coilovers, #Protech rear alloy coilovers, Universal-Air Aero Sport airbags, #AccuAir-E-Level management, #Air-Zenith-OB2 compressor, #Dakota-Digital quad air pressure and tank gauge kit, twin seamless alloy 3-gallon air tanks, front top and bottom suspension arms modified, uprated polybushes, hubs modified to 5x112 PCD and 66.6 centre bore, Canley Classics forged front uprights (trunnion free)

    BRAKES: Front: Audi 100/200 314x30mm cross-drilled vented discs, custom fitted to rear of hubs, Porsche 996 Brembo 4-pot alloy calipers on custom billet mounts.

    Rear: Mondeo 280x12mm cross-drilled and slotted discs custom fitted to rear shafts, Esprit rear calipers, carriers modified for larger discs, stainless braided hoses

    WHEELS & TYRES: 8x17in +25 (front) and 11.5x17in +20 (rear) Super Star 3-piece split-rims with 205/45 Yokohama Parada Spec 2 (front) and 315/35 BFGoodrich Comp T/A (rear)

    EXTERIOR: Side scoop ‘ears’ widened and modified into quad intakes, rear hatch locked ajar with flush-locking bonnet pins, modified front air intake and revised radiator location, rear bumper drilled to improve airflow output, rear engine bay floor removed, extra spaceframe chassis brace fitted with alloy heatshielding

    INTERIOR: Stock ‘teddy bear’ cloth refreshed with black dye, #Nardi Personal 350mm steering wheel, MX-5 suede gearstick gaitor, leather #Lotus gearknob, Stack wideband lambda gauge, #Dakota-Digital air pressure gauge, SJ Sportscars black carpet set, Accuair Switchspeed controller

    THANKS: “ #Gerald-Moors for all the machining work - A4 Engineering, Unit 7 Manor Park, 35 Willis Way, Poole, BH15 3SZ, Tel:¬01202 676047”
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    SO FAR SO GOOD?

    Your next car Mr Bond – The #Jensen-FF
    CAR: #Jensen #FF
    YEAR: #1968
    OWNER: Ray Potter

    According to William Boyd’s latest James Bond book ‘Solo’, the Super Spy’s choice of personal wheels is a Jensen FF. The year was #1969 and James apparently having been impressed by what he saw in Jensen’s Park Lane showroom was told by a keen salesman – “This is the car for you Mr Bond – the FF”.

    Not that I knew this when I was leaning against a stunning looking example at an auction doing my duty by reporting on the sale for this magazine. Nor did I think that I would end up owning it at the end of the day. I noticed what a glorious beast it looked, that it obviously had a shovel load of money spent on a restoration and how very ‘Aston-like’ it resembled and had a guide price of at least a third that of a similar aged AM. It was a long story how and why I bought it that day over a year ago!

    HAMMER BLOW?

    What I soon found out shortly after the hammer went down and looked at the paperwork that my car was a rare early Mk1 FF, never call it an Interceptor or even an Interceptor FF as I was soon reminded by aficionados of the Jensen Owners’ Club that I have since joined (always a wise move). This model may be distinguished from the Interceptor by the twin air vents in the front wings and in the case of my rare Vignale built model, a few front end styling cues, plus the whole car being nearly five inches longer.

    The saga of getting her home from the sale venue started the next day when it didn’t – start that is! This wasn’t a problem as all auction houses are used to flat batteries with jump-leads at the ready but eventually started, I decided to keep her running whilst insurance was arranged. Finally arranged and fuelled up, the temp gauge was nearly off the clock and with my wife following, the FF was stalling at every opportunity so I indicated to pull into the car park of a pub (conveniently serving Sunday roasts!) after making a quick decision to call the AA since I had only had a brief look under the bonnet and hadn’t a clue about doing anything to the monster #Chrysler 6.3 V8 lump under the bonnet. To their credit, especially for Sunday lunchtime, the man with a van arrived promptly.

    I have done some daft things in my time but what I did next is downright stupid! As the car was still very hot and whilst Mr AA was getting a few tools ready, I released the radiator cap to check the water level thinking this is one job I can do! Readers can guess what happened! A geyser of scalding fluid shot all over the engine bay and indeed the whole car covering it with what I then discovered was Evans Cooling Fluid, somewhat stickier and smellier than water.

    Later I noticed the cap was clearly marked as filled with this coolant… We mopped up everything in sight helped by using a vast quantity of paper towels that I took from the pub’s toilet. My glasses, anorak and face were covered with the stuff and during an attempt at a wash and brush up in the said facility; I got some very strange looks from the pub’s customers coming in to have a call of nature!

    GOOD EVANS…

    I have since found out that Evans Fluid has a boiling point over 180 degrees, is not toxic but the car had been overfilled with it, hence the pressurisation on release. After mopping down, the AA man then suggested that the FF best spend the rest of the journey on the back of one of their low-loaders. Whilst waiting for this to arrive, we had our much needed Sunday lunch. It was a wise decision as the motorway was stop/start all the way but when both we and the car eventually arrived home, it was unloaded and driven into its clean and cosy garage. It wasn’t until the next day that I had my first proper look at the car and I was pleased with my impulse buy but even after a good old charge, she was still a reluctant starter. Once warmed up however, I noticed a coolant leak just under the header tank. The next day I noticed a small pool of oil under the car and being reddish in colour, I presumed it must be from the transmission, the FF of course being #4WD auto. Looking through the huge history file and bills on the car, at least two respected Jensen specialists had tried to sort this problem over recent years with most of the transmission having been replaced or rebuilt at a cost of thousands.

    But it was still leaking and frustratingly, I could never see where the oil was coming from despite putting drip trays in appropriate places with the engine running or not, wiping all casings etc but it never leaked when I was looking! By now I had a list of other ailments, mainly minor electrical malfunctions; my bete noire! As I am too long in the tooth to clamber under cars any more or to get up again in a hurry, plus being useless at electrics, it was time for help – and preferably from someone familiar with the quirks of a Jensen FF.

    Enter ‘David Essex’ – or to be more precise, Dave Barnett who happens to be the Jensen Owners’ Club Area Representative of Essex! Dave who describes his business as ‘cottage industry’, works on his own with no fancy workshop, but whose knowledge of Jensens, particularly the rare FF, is just about second to none having been almost born and bred with the model. He currently has a couple of #Jensen-FF-Mk1 s , an SP and his latest acquisition, a Jensen- Healey fitted with a #Rover-V8 .

    As reluctant starting and occasional stalling were a priority on the list of problems, it seemed sensible that my FF was transported down to Dave in Hornchurch. His first job was to re-jet and adjust the Edlebrock carburettor so that it would at least fi re up when required! Changes to the alternator wiring, a new voltmeter dash instrument that now showed a healthy charge was checked and rewired with the correct voltmeter, a few new relays and new ignition switch that didn’t turn round and round in the lovely wood faced centre console of the FF, the electrics were slowly put to rights.

    LOTS TO FIX…

    Apart from the hole in the radiator, Dave didn’t like the way the twin Kenlowe electric fans were mounted by bolts directly onto it instead of the proper brackets on the chassis so new ones were fabricated, the radiator sent off to a specialist for repair. Other electrical faults, a window riser, dash lamps and the horn to name but a few were fixed – puzzling since the car boasted a current MoT!

    Dave then set about finding the oil leaks. One was found coming from the power steering pump and this was soon cured with new gaskets but frustratingly, not a drop appeared to be dripping from the FWD axles onto Dave’s floor at this point – and that was the main reason I sent him the car. It wasn’t until sometime later when he was fitting a pair of braided oil cooler pipes instead of the rigid copper lines, a popular mod amongst Jensen owners, that the fault was found. Dave jacked the car up on one side and oil started to gush out of the front input shaft of the transfer box. It would appear that there was virtually no oil left in that particular unit until the car was jacked up one side, oil from the main gearbox then being transferred over finding the ultimate cause, a broken oil seal. Had the problem been looked for on a four-poster with the car level, the wrong size and consequently split seal was unlikely to have been discovered! Once fixed along with the other long list of jobs, the FF was finally returned after nearly a year after I bought it, with a new MoT and another large bill to add to the already fat history fi le of invoices – but to be fair, Dave’s charges were reasonable and he admitted he did have other smaller jobs for his regular customers to fi t in between.

    I have managed to drive the car now at least a half-dozen times before putting it away for the winter and I was not disappointed. The FF (Ferguson Formula four-wheel drive) is a Gran Turismo in every way with a superb quiet ride, not too firm or soft but corners beautifully. The traction and confidence of the 4WD system is soon felt and with some 330bhp instantly on tap, it seems somewhat unnatural that wheels aren’t slipping whatever the surface. Although it’s happy to burble along quietly, it has huge torque for a rapid overtake when called for.

    The standard Girling hydraulic disc brake system is very reassuring without being over-sensitive to pull up quickly, I’ve yet to feel the effect of the unique Maxaret anti-skid unit; perhaps I have been too cautious in hard braking – or maybe it doesn’t work! The system however is yet another innovative feature of the FF and why it was so advanced almost 50 years ago. Steering is surprisingly light and the feel of the big, woodrimmed wheel adds to the driving pleasure of this largest technically brilliant and safest Jensen ever. Only moan so far? Don’t watch the petrol gauge when you are driving!

    Original Mk1 cockpit looks great and more classical than later interiors.
    ‘JeFF’ anybody? Old all wheel drive set up still impresses today.
    Side grilles help cool the US V8; it now runs on Evans Waterless Coolant.
    “Never call it an Interceptor – or even Interceptor FF!”
    Ray thinks Jensens are real bargains when compared to an Aston Martin.
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    POWERING UP A CLASSIC BARGE

    Car #Austin-3-litre
    Run by Martin Buckley
    Owned since October 2014
    Total mileage 47,549
    Miles since
    acquisition none
    Latest costs £400

    For some reason, having run one in the late 1990s, the #Austin 3-litre was an itch I had to revisit and scratch properly. I tracked down a nest of them to #Rover-P5 specialist David Green near Ipswich, including a really rather smart one in Mulberry, which was beyond my budget, and a less smart example for about £6000. But it was the semi-derelict car at £2000 that had my name on it. It just wanted to be saved, sitting there slumped on its Hydrolastic suspension with mostly original grey paint, rusty wheels and surprisingly smart interior.

    The history was murky, but it seems that #VFL659H started life with a coach-hire company in Sheffield. Some work had recently been done to the engine, although I was disappointed to find that it was seized solid when attempts were made to get it running after it turned up in Cirencester. Actually it didn’t really matter because some of the inspiration behind the idea of having a 3-litre was to create a tuned engine for it – head polished and ported, stronger valve springs, bigger carbs and so on to make the thing really go. Not a cheap exercise, though, and once I’d done some digging it began to look as if even getting the 3-litre lump up to MGC spec (with flat-top pistons to raise the compression) might go beyond what I wanted to spend. I found an #MGC engine for £950, but somehow that didn’t excite.

    Then a 4 litre R conversion was suggested: the #Rolls-Royce F-head straight-six from the VdP barge. Now that has the right feel about it, not simply because I would be gaining 50bhp and losing 100lb (the #FB60 has an alloy block), but also it would look right under the bonnet in the way a #Rover-V8 or some modern engine just wouldn’t. Yes, I know #BMC dabbled with putting a #Rover engine in the #ADO61 , but there was also a proposal for a sort of poverty Bentley using a 3-litre shell powered by the 4-litre unit. Although I’m not a big fan of putting the wrong engine in an old car, I feel a 4 litre R lump is totally in the spirit of this motor. It will give it much more acceleration and a meatier but more refined character – hopefully.

    It is easier said than done, of course. Finding a suitable 4-litre donor engine was simple enough: a C-registered scrapper was extracted from a garage in Liverpool for £400 where it had lain undisturbed since #1979 . My only fear was that this engine would turn out to be seized, too, but applying enough electrical grunt got it to spin over freely enough, even though it has still not coughed.

    Rough measurements reveal that the two engines are basically the same size, but that there is an issue regarding the position of the sump and oil pick-up on the R-R engine and the location of the Austin 3-litre’s crossmember. I am reasonably confident we can overcome this, however. In a few days, Mike Connor will start taking the engine out of the Vanden Plas 4 litre R and getting to grips with how it will fit into the #ADO61 shell, hopefully without too much major surgery. Rust-wise the 3-litre is pretty sound, although it has the usual problems with the front valance (which has pretty much disintegrated) and a variety of scabs.

    Inside, it just needs a couple of carpets and window-winder handles. To keep momentum going, I’ve had the wheels shot-blasted and they will be fitted with a set of ex- #Lancia-Gamma tyres. Having semi-committed myself to this project, I am relieved to say that the 4 litre R donor was a shed, so there was no temptation to take pity on it and try to get that one going, too.

    ‘I am not a big fan of putting the wrong engine in an old car, but a 4 litre R is totally in the spirit of this motor’
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    Car #Morgan-Plus-8

    Year of manufacture #1997
    Recorded mileage 6624
    Asking price £30,995
    Vendor Richard Thorne Classic Cars, Grazeley
    Green, near Reading, Berks.

    WHEN IT WAS NEW
    Price £33,285
    Max power 190bhp
    Max torque 235lb ft
    0-60mph 6.1 secs
    Top speed 124mph
    Mpg 20

    This immaculate Morgan is a one-owner car, and he’s only selling it to buy a new #Morgan Plus 8. The exact mileage is unknown because the odometer started massively over-reading before it was changed in #2007 . Five stamps in the service book show that it leapt from 6000 to 27,000 between services so, judging from that and the old MoT certificates, the true total could be anywhere between 14,000 and 20,000 miles.

    This is one of the last short-door Plus 8s, with a galvanised chassis, and, as you would expect, it’s in excellent shape. It was ordered with a long list of extras such as wire wheels, aluminium body and wings with scuttle roll-bar and passenger side mirror. The Morgan has possibly never been out in the rain, because the hood and sidescreens look unused. The plywood floorboards are dry and clean, too, plus the hide upholstery is only lightly creased and worn. The walnut dashboard – another extra-cost option when leather was standard – is also perfect.

    The front wings were resprayed a while ago and there are a few tiny star-chips in the nearside rear mudguard that will be sorted before sale. The standard exhausts are in good shape and there’s a little surface rust on the wheel rims, which again will be cleaned up by the vendor. The tyres are new-looking #Pirelli P6000s, with an unused spare.

    The 3.9-litre #Rover #Rover-V8 shows some light corrosion, and is fronted by a replacement aluminium radiator and thermostat housing. Its coolant is full and pink, plus the oil golden and to the top mark on the dipstick, although the Morgan will be serviced again before it leaves RTCC.

    The engine starts instantly, showing 31/2 bar oil pressure at warm tickover that never budges, and 13.8 on the voltmeter. It’s taut to drive but not crashy – which counts as an almost fluid ride on a Morgan – and everything works as it should, from the gearbox synchros to the brakes. There’s plenty of prod, of course, with that lovely V8 woofle. It will be sold with the original bill of sale and delivery slip, a new MoT plus the owner’s manual and a fully stamped service book.


    SUMMARY

    EXTERIOR
    Straight; shiny; minor blemishes will be rectified prior to sale.

    INTERIOR
    Lovely veneer; hide barely worn.

    MECHANICALS
    Healthy; just serviced again.

    VALUE ★★★★★★★✩✩✩

    For - A nice vintage of Plus 8 that’s in excellent order.
    Against - Chrome rims are a bit flash.

    SHOULD I BUY IT?
    It scores highly in just about every way – ideal for a blast of a crisp morning. And winter is always a great time to buy a sports car.
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