When word started leaking that Charles Morgan had been fired by the family owned traditional British sports car maker, one of the reasons given was that Mr. Morgan had, in an unauthorized manner, told a group of Morgan owners that an improved version of the 3 Wheeler would be launched.
I’ve been fascinated by reverse trikes for a long time. As young teens, my older brother and I made a reverse trike go-kart (he designed the frame and the drivetrain, I did the brakes and steering) because we didn’t have the money for a proper live axle setup in the back. The first hard turn taught us something about the inherent instability of three wheel vehicles. The inside front wheel lifted about 18″ off of the pavement (maybe that’s why I like the photo of Jim Clark’s Lotus Cortina cornering on three wheels so much). It took a bit more than a “dab of oppo” to settle it back down. I don’t remember if either one of us ever completely rolled it, but it was exciting to drive. Now comes word that Morgan’s revived 3 Wheeler, a car that seems to be able to drift and donut effortlessly while still keeping both front wheels planted firmly on terra firma, has become their best selling vehicle, prompting word of expanding the 3 Wheeler line. With that success my attention has once again been drawn to reverse trikes. I’m not the only one. Based on design patent drawings, it looks like Polaris will be soon introducing the Slingshot, a side by side reverse trike powered by a GM Ecotec 2.4 L four cylinder. From the styling the Slingshot looks to be aimed more at Ariel Atom fans than the traditional stringback driving glove set, so I don’t think the Morgan will lose any sales to Polaris, but either way, I think the Polaris will increase the popularity of three wheelers in general.
“YOUR CAR!!!! I LOVE YOUR CAR!!!!” She was a Slavic-faced woman in her mid-twenties, not bad for New York and positively model-grade by Midwestern standards, and she was literally hopping up and down on the streetcorner.
“It’s not a car,” I said, wedged into the Morgan’s extremely tight drivers’ compartment, feeling self-conscious in a half-face helmet that I wasn’t strictly sure was necessary or even required by law. “It’s a trike.”
“I WANT A RIDE!” she yelled. A crowd was starting to gather. The stoplight seemed to be taking an unusually long time to change.
“There isn’t room.” Wedged next to me, the Morgan’s owner, professional bon vivant and recreational speeder Alex Roy, was making a “no room” motion with his hands in her direction as he explained the situation.
“Oh,” I smirked, “I think there’s room.” But then the green light flashed and with an incongruous but very forceful Harley-blat we departed the intersection, leaving Miss Hopping Estonia 2007 in our blue-smoking wake.
Morgan’s wood-framed sports cars are facing an existential threat; a species of fungus that infects ash trees, which are the source of wood used on Morgan’s legendary sports cars.
51 years ago, my beloved Grandfather emigrated from England. Despite being a man of modest means, he immediately went out and bought himself the biggest, V8 powered American sedan he could buy (the exact make remains obscure – it tends to change every time my grandmother tells the story), swearing off British cars and his cursed MG Magnette for life. He would be just as bewildered as I am that there is any demand for the Morgan 3 Wheeler in the United States that would result in U.S. sales.
Rattle off a list of the buzzworthy EV makers that seem likely to achieve the “holy grail of EV development,” a multi-gear electric car, and chances are that firms like Tesla, Fisker, Th!nk or even a major OEM like Nissan will make the cut. You probably wouldn’t consider the ultra-conservative British sportscar maker Morgan to be in the running, as they still build body substructures out of wood… surely the brand that’s most stuck in the early 20th Century seems an unlikely candidate for EV technical leadership. Think again…
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. (Read More…)
You know it’s an all-new 2011 model because of the fancy computer-generated press shots, but otherwise would you have any idea that this is the 2011 model-year Morgan three-wheeler? Yes, the wackiest of British cottage sportscar shops has dusted off its old three-wheeler designs and is bringing the model back after a 58-year hiatus. InsideLine says the new version will offer 100 HP from a Harley “Screaming Eagle” engine and will weigh a mere 1,100-lbs, giving it an estimated 4.5 second 0-60 time. Of course, it will have to be homologated as a motorcycle thanks to the missing wheel, and there’s no word on price or American availability. Still, it seems to have retained the most important quality of its predecessor, namely that it is, as Sir Stirling Moss once put it,
a great babe magnet
As we reported earlier, TTAC is a subscriber to Morgan and Co.’s industry sales statistics. This means that current and detailed stats going back to 1993 are available to us, and we’re going to figure out the best way to share them with you. Like most things in life, there are pros and cons. The detail and amount of information is staggering, but it’s very affordable to us. It will save us time we don’t have to pore over numbers from manufacturers and compile them. But we also have to accept the segment categories as Morgan compiles them, and as you’ll see, there are times that doesn’t always jibe with how we intuitively categorize cars. Frankly, that’s getting harder to do all the time anyway: is the Flex a mini van or a crossover? Morgan sends us Excel spreadsheets and some basic charts. They’re not exactly exciting to look at, which is why we often succumb to spicing up these sales snapshots with a bit of eye candy. We’re going to be playing with different ways to present this stuff, so please let us know what works better, or not. I know you will anyway. (Read More…)