Morgan Plus 8 Speedster strips away frivolous luxuries … like a windshield

For sports car fans who think today’s offerings have been diluted by technology, there’s an anachronistic oasis in Britain’s Malvern Hills.

Morgan may not show much interest in developing new models (aside from the retro-futuristic Aero 8 and wacky 3 Wheeler), but it’s been refining its “Plus” sports cars for decades in a manner that makes Porsche’s development of the 911 seem frivolously quick.

The latest Morgan is the Plus 8 Speedster, which celebrates the company’s 100th anniversary. Set to go on sale in June, it makes even the most spartan modern cars look luxurious by comparison.

Morgan says the Plus 8 Speedster recalls “a bygone era of stripped back, road-going race cars.” That’s a romantic way of saying that it doesn’t come with a windshield.

With everything possible removed to save weight and reduce drag, speedsters were in fact a common sight on the roads of yesterday, when turning a sports car into race car often required little more than painting a number on the door.

Safety standards and creature comforts have made this practice obsolete, making the Plus 8 Speedster a very unusual sight indeed.

However, while the hood is held down with a leather strap, underneath it is a modern 4.8-liter V8 from BMW. It produces 367 horsepower, and drives the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.

Morgan says the Speedster will do 0 to 62 mph in 4.2 seconds, and reach an electronically-limited top speed of 148 mph. That’s probably as fast as you want to go without a windshield.

Despite its lack of luxuries, the Morgan Plus 8 Speedster will still command a base price of around $117,800 when it goes on sale later this year. Buyers should also factor in the price of a helmet and goggles.