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A Pembleton owner's view of the new Morgan three wheeler

The reborn Vee twin Morgan Super Sports trike. Press release details quote an under 500Kg car, powered by an S&S 1,800cc vee twin engine (based on a Harley Davidson unit) fuel injected and producing 115 bhp at the rear wheel via a Mazda 5 speed and reverse gearbox, propshaft to a bevel box, then belt to the rear wheel (housed between two swinging arms and coil over shock absorbers. Much is made of the vintage "aircraft" style of the car with promise of a 4.5 seconds 0 to 60 mph potential. The factory display car was a basic "Sport" LHD model in grey, with nickel-plated cowl and black wheels, mudguards and exhausts - the bargain basement option at £30,000. As you might imagine, we took the opportunity to sit in the car and examine it in close detail.

Physically, the cockpit is small - narrower than a Pembleton. The steering wheel has to be removed to clamber in - a simple lift-up collar releases the wheel (which defied active replacement!). The gearbox tunnel (gearchange and handbrake in the top) makes the driving and passenger seats very narrow, to the point where driver and passenger's outside arms are just that - outside the car. The pedals box is adjustable for length. Two small, fixed plexiglass wind deflectors sit on the scuttle. Instruments are mounted in a central panel, mostly obscured by the driver's inside hand on the wheel. There is no dashboard stowage and the cockpit edge is untrimmed, save for a pair of "foldover" side pads.

From the front of the car, gone is the Morgan sliding pillar suspension, instead double wishbones and angled, coil over shock absorbers carry the front wheels on a facsimile "pillar" upright, carrying vented disc brakes. The vee twin engine is topped with very cruiser-like chrome rocker boxes, but dominated by a saucepan-lid air intake between the cylinders. Under the bonnet, centrally there is an aluminium cylinder tank for oil, the battery and a black, plastic pump, leaving no effective luggage space for anything other than incidentals.

The front wheels are covered by cycle guards on substantial mounts that turn with the wheels. Our view was that the guards were mounted too far forward over the front of the wheels - rotating them clockwise would definitely increase their wet weather effectiveness. As positioned, they would be certain to spray passenger and driver in rain. The wheels and guards were sprayed gloss black; the twin side-pipe exhausts, heat shields and silencers were matt black. Seeing other new Morgans in the factory, gloss black wire wheels would appear to be the current "vogue" - alternative colours are a bespoke (no pun intended!) cost extra (we like our Pembleton wire wheels - also supplied by MWS - silver-grey or chromed). Stainless exhausts, silencers, heat shields, chromed roll-over hoops and headlamps come with the 'Bright Pack' at £2,744 (including VAT). Given the nature of the Harley Davidson derived engine, increased in height, mounting the exhausts on rubber bobbins directly to the body panels (there was no additional bracing behind the panel for the rear mounts on the display car) seemed likely to result in panel fracture.

The tail is in the traditional Morgan beetle back style, but without the vertical louvres of the original. Rear hinged, the rear top lifts up to reveal the wheel between twin swinging arms, sprung by a pair of coil over shock absorbers, with upper mounts on a normal Morgan cross tube. Twin slab tanks served by a central fuel filler, together with the very substantial wheel and tyre, effectively filled the tail.

At the time of viewing, Morgan had sold some 470 new 3 wheelers. Actual production was set to begin in July - apart from individual prototypes, some complete enough to run, none had been produced. From the viewing of the prototype that ran at Prescott at La Vie en Bleu that weekend, the car is obviously quick, handles well and "sort of looks the part". It is clearly a "driving only" machine with no weather-proofing option and no luggage capacity. An archetypal, British motoring icon, it would have been good to see a British engine (the JAP vee twin is being re-manufactured) on the front, instead of an American "rubadub" cruiser item.

The Morgan 3 wheeler has always been sought after; no doubt this one will be too.

Mike Meakin

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