In this Market Trends we look at three British V8s that offer a throwback; the Morgan Plus Eight, MG RV8 and TVR V8s…
Morgan Plus Eight (1967-2003)
The Morgan concept was well-established even by the mid 1960s. Take a sportscar shape that originated in the 1930s. Put a well-proven engine into it. Stand back and watch the order book demolish as many forests as the body frames want. Simple tactic, for a simple car, with a simple appeal. And certainly a bigger boost to sales than the contemporary Plus Four Plus had been.
And the Plus Eight was created to the same formula – albeit by widening the chassis by four inches to accommodate Rover’s 3.5 litre V8. The model was so popular that even in the new millennium, production ceased with a full order book. The engine grew bigger over the years, sprouted electronic injection, but fundamentally the Plus Eight adhered to the same design ethos at the end of its production life as it had back in 1967.
And unsurprisingly values are strong even now. The last couple of years have seen a general increase, but a meteoric rise for the very best examples which is influencing a slightly less even market than before. Typically, £50,000 might buy you a very pleasant usable example now – £10,000 up on the position five years ago. This shows scant sign of changing, making a Plus Eight a very worthy investment piece.
MG RV8 (1992-1995)
MG was on its way back with the F by 1995 – but hadn’t yet got the car ready to go. As the brand had been dormant since 1992 and hadn’t produced a sports car since 1980, something was needed to pre-empt the new F and get the marque back into public consciousness. As luck would have it, British Motor Heritage was just starting to produce new MGB shells – and a project which utilised these could be a very clever way to promote both the brand and the new venture at once.
The RV8 therefore was effectively a vastly updated MGB, to be produced as a limited run Heritage project to revive interest in the MG brand. Interestingly, you could almost view the TF LE500 as a similar project a decade and a half later. Range Rover mechanicals and MGB commonality mean that keeping an RV8 on the road is a simple task today, and they attract a diehard band of followers who can consider nothing less.
This appeal means values have always stayed higher than the original BGT V8 was – though cars which were perhaps £15,000 five years ago are now fetching nearer to thirty. This is a rising trend, again making the RV8 a prime candidate for investment if you can find a good one.
TVR V8S (1991-1994)
The TVR S was the last in a long line of traditional TVRs – developed from the 3000S of 1979 as an entry level model and introduced in 1986, the S was intended as a Ford V6-engined entry level model to take the place of the Tasmin as the Wedge moved upmarket. By 1991, though, as TVR centred its range around Rover’s V8, the S was given that engine as an entry model to sit below the new Griffith.
This last iteration of the S model was well-received, and courtesy of its appearance in Gran Turismo 4 is the car that many of a younger generation have used as their entry to the world of classic TVRs. When production made way for the Chimaera in 1994, TVR entered a new and forward-thinking phase in the marque’s development and the final links with the days of the M series and the Taimar were severed.
Values for this “softer” TVR have never reached those of the Wedge. And the V8S is the cheapest car we have on our list. With values having dipped of late, it’s possible to get hold of a nice one for just £15,000 – and something usable for around £11,000. We’d hesitate to buy a V8S for investment purposes right now, but it’s worth keeping an eye on the market for future developments.