Alt-Fuel With Flair: Propane-Powered 1982 Morgan Plus 8


A 1982 Morgan Plus 8, propane-powered and turbocharged.

A 1982 Morgan Plus 8, propane-powered and turbocharged.

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In case you thought we just reported on cars that are green in their energy sources, this 1982 Morgan Plus 8--available on eBay with 1 day left, and first brought to our attention by BringATrailer.com--qualifies both in the figurative and literal senses.

Classic roadsters almost always look fine in British Racing Green, and this Moggie wears a fresh coat of it. Also new are the tan leather interior, side curtains (in lieu of roll-up door windows), tonneau cover and top, according to the seller’s listing.

But what about the healthier, more CO2-friendly side?

The continuation of the green theme lies under the Plus 8’s split, center-hinged hood (bonnet, sorry). Underneath sits a venerable 3.5-liter aluminum Rover V-8, modified to run on propane, not gasoline.

This configuration was more a result of necessity than design, at least for us in America.

Since the Rover V-8 didn’t pass U.S. emissions standards of the day once the then-British Leyland stopped importing the Rover 3500, Bill Fink and his Isis Imports in San Francisco converted Morgans to run on propane.

Safety regulations were met with the fitment of US-spec bumpers, signals and so on. As for the ash wooden subframe, that was a green touch born with every Morgan, left unchanged for certification.

Besides giving a few lucky customers legal access to an iconic, hand-built sports car, the fuel-source revision on this side of the pond included the fitting of a turbocharger. That only made a quick car quicker, despite design and technology that clocked in at only slightly younger than Thomas Edison.

However capable in acceleration and handling, this is not a car in which you’ll find yourself speeding accidentally. With the all the elemental isolation of a t-shirt, the Morgan makes 30 mph feel like 60 mph in a modern car.

And the starting bid for this green, fresh-air experience? That would be $50,000.

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