Of course, the original Morgan three-wheelers are by now 60 years or older and often fall into the collectors' car league. They are not so practical for every day use either.
Yet they do appeal to motoring (and particularly Morgan) enthusiasts and draw crowds whenever they appear at -historic- competition events. The top drivers outperform many later and faster cars.
Over the years people who loved the traditional three-wheeler, asked for a revival. Every time they were disappointed when the Morgan Motor Company decided not to take on the challenge. Other firms, like Triking, did produce similar looking vehicles. These were not produced in large quantities. The Triking (produced by a Morgan three-wheeler owner) is now quite sought after itself.
The American firm Liberty Motors, owned by Pete Larsen, built a trike which looked similar to the beetle back Super Sports. It was powered by a Harley Davidson engine. This was called the ACE, short for American Cycle-car Endeavor.
Only after an ACE road-test by motor journalist Andrew English was published in the Daily Telegraph, Pete's design caught the interest of the Morgan Motor Company.
When directors Steve Morris and Tim Whitworth of the Morgan Motor Company went to visit Liberty Motors, the ball started rolling back towards Malvern.
It was decided to purchase the rights for the ACE from Liberty Motors, create a separate company to build the revived Morgan Three-Wheeler and to market Morgan's cheapest product.
First some redesigning was necessary. The Harley-Davidson engine was dropped in favour of an S&S engine, which has no less than 1982cc capacity out of solely 2 cylinders!
A strong gearbox is needed to put all the power thus produced on the road in manageable proportions and the reliable Mazda MX5 unit was chosen for this. A whacking 0 - 60 mph acceleration time of only 4 seconds is the result! It will outpull many an exotic car, costing a multiple factor!
A new company was founded to produce and market the new three-wheelers: Morgan 3 Wheeler Ltd. They also have a separate website, www.morgan3wheeler.co.uk
After the first exhibition of the three-wheeler, in Geneva 2011, orders poured in. Before too long 500 orders had been placed! Yet, production couldn't start until the inevitable starting problems with running the car had been solved.
The standard equipment were 8 different body colours, in combination with either black or tan leather interior. The gearbox has five forward speeds and one reverse (long gone are the days of two speeds without reverse!). The cowl is nickel coloured, the exhausts (on either side) matt black. The only weather protection is provided by two fly screens. Who needs a hood??
The trikes were approved for both the USA and Europe, which in potential should open a big market for these fun cars.
As with the traditional four-wheelers, also the three-wheelers have their "Bespoke Specifications". This means in principle that most parts are polished (exhausts, engine, cowl, head lamps, roll over bars) instead of matt, every body colour and leather option is available and also "graphics packs" (for instance a shark nose).
An additional development are the Superdry models, produced in cooperation with the Japanese clothing label of that name. This company, founded in 2003, is selling premium clothing of Japanese design, with a vintage Americana style. A special leather jacket is produced by them, to accompany the 200 Superdry Morgans that will be made. All jackets are numbered and the leather used is the same as used for the interior of the cars.
The Superdry edition will be immediately recognisable by its orange wall tyres, aero style riveting, branded gearstick. quilted Superdry tarp leather seats and the Superdry livery pack
Below follow a series of three-wheeler pictures, taken by Nico Zonneveld, when visiting The Factory in June 2011.
The New Sports Three-Wheeler
Around the end of October 2011 the first dealers received their demonstrators. That ought to be the starting point for getting the production going. Hopefully 2012 will see a steady flow of deliveries of the revived three-wheelers.