When I was a budding young copywriter in 1973, older, more settled advertising types smoked a pipe, had two basset hounds at home and came to the office in a British racing green, topless Morgan. In wintertime, their lips were blue. Our generation was too drunk to even drive a car – even in the more lenient 70s. Now, Morgan, one of the last remaining true British carmakers, is going back to its roots: Three-wheelers.
Morgan’s first car was a three-wheeler, built in 1909. Morgan’s last three-wheeler was built in 1952. It remained popular because with three wheels, it was classified as a motor cycle, which had certain advantages. It avoided the steep post-war tax on cars and could be driven with a motorbike drivers license.
Now, the three-wheeler is coming back, reports Morgan’s hometown paper Worcester News. This coming Tuesday, the new Morgan 3 Wheeler will be unveiled at the Geneva Auto Salon.
The paper assures us that “The 3 Wheeler is an updated version of the original, which was built in Malvern between 1909 and 1951. The new car retains the classic lines of the iconic original, but allies them to some of the most-up-to-date automotive technology, including a 1,917cc motorcycle engine by American manufacturer S and S, similar to those in the latest Harley-Davidsons, and the five-speed gearbox from the Mazda MX5. “
According to Charles Morgan, the car – if we can call it that – “weighs under 500kg, it can go 0-60 in 4.5 seconds and do 50mpg and because of the size of the fuel tanks, it’s got a range of 400 miles.” (Remember, he’s British, do your own adjustments.)
Production of the 3 Wheeler will start in May. 300 people have already put down deposits for the car, expected to cost about £30,000 ($ 48,000). All Morgans are assembled by hand. The waiting list for a car is approximately one to two years. Take a number.