Undoubtedly a unique offering from Wales, we drive one of the few Morgan 3-Wheelers in South Africa.
Words: Wilhelm Lutjeharms
Images: Simon Luckhoff
The fact that the Morgan Motor Company has continued to produce their cars through all these decades, is quite an achievement. Founded in 1910, one of the first cars the company produced was a three-wheeler fitted with V-twin-cylinder engine.
Around two decades later these models were developed into more sporty-oriented cars. But, in 1952 the last three-wheeled Morgans were manufactured until Morgan reintroduced the model in 2011 at the Geneva Motor Show. Next up, as we know, Morgan completely redesigned this concept and only a few months ago they unveiled the third generation 3-Wheeler, now called the Super 3.
I personally have a soft spot for this company as my late dad and I spent a weekend in a Morgan, although it being a standard four-wheel version, driving through Wales a few years before he passed away. Driving a Morgan through Wales is not dissimilar to driving a Ferrari through Italy. The locals love this product and the history behind it.
However, a 3-Wheeler has always been one of the quintessential Morgan models and in 2022 it especially stands out, even more than ever before. I was definitely not going to pass by a chance to spend some time with one.
This looks like a very compact car for starters, and even more so when you climb inside. If you are a little padded around the hips, you simply won’t fit. But once you are snugly seated, the simplicity of this car and the pseudo aeronautical instruments quickly get you into the mood of what you are about to experience. There are also two small screens to deflect at least some air away from your head.
The open air enjoyment is a given, and so is the fact that the exhaust pipe is right next to your body. Your legs are stretched out in front of you to the beautiful floor-mounted pedal box, while the steering wheel can unclip to make ingress and egress slightly easier.
The gearlever is close to the steering wheel and the handbrake right next to it. Indicating just under 1 800 km, this 2014-year model is basically brand new – and it shows, being a one-owner car.
Behind the wheel
One of the joys from behind the wheel is the fact that you can see the right wheel, suspension assembly and exactly how it functions as you drive. You can even, to some extent, see a part of the left wheel moving up and down.
The clutch takes quickly and thoroughly, while the five-speed gearbox (the same unit used in Mazda’s MX-5) offers short throws and direct changes. This leads to a very engaging driving experience. Secondly there is the S&S, twin-cylinder engine, visually one of the many appealing features of the car. This unit does lead to some old-school rumble and vibration through the car, although slightly less than I expected, while you also constantly have the soothing twin-beat from the exhaust note.
Weighing only 525 kg, there is enough torque to have fun though. Acceleration feels brisk and possibly in line with the claimed 0-100kph time of 6 seconds, while being such a complete open-air experience allows you to intimately indulge in your immediate surroundings.
The engine is not happy to potter around 2 000 rpm or lower, but from there on up it easily revs to over 4 000 rpm. In the end it is more fun to make use of the torque lower down in the rev range than to chase the redline.
Although on-the-limit driving is not what this vehicle has been designed for, I can only assume that grip levels are rather low, and with some quality time behind the wheel you will surely be able to drive it in a rather fun manner.
Even so, the three-spoke steering wheel offers good feedback and the brake pedal lowers your speed comfortably.
Of course, there is no space inside the “cabin”. If you think you can leave your wallet or phone in your trouser pockets, you will be making a mistake. However, one small storage tray was able to accommodate my wallet and smartphone.
But, the neat tail piece behind the cockpit opens up with two latches. Here is enough space for two – very small – soft bags, or maybe two warm jackets. The choice is yours.
Unlike anything else
In the end, the Morgan 3-Wheeler offers an experience unlike any other car I’ve driven. Morgan has taken the concept of the original and eloquently mixed it with modern technology. The rawness of the driving experience, the fact that you can see part of the frame in the cockpit and sit so close to the road while being completely in the open, contribute to a truly unique driving experience. Also, everywhere we went all the people: children, men, women and security guards, smiled waved or asked questions about the car. That doesn’t happen often.
Thanks to The Archive for making this drive possible, where this car is now for sale. Visit their website or contact them directly on 021 812 0450.
2014 Morgan 3-Wheeler Bespoke
Engine: S&S, 2.0-litre, twin-cylinder, petrol
Power: 60 kW @ 5 250 rpm
Torque: 140 Nm @ 3 250 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed manual, RWD
Weight: 525 kg
0-100 km/h: 6 seconds
Top speed: 185 kph
Years produced: 2012 – 2021