Riding Shotgun in the Awe-Inspiring Morgan Threewheeler
For the classic motoring enthusiast one name sticks out the way that a Unimog would in a parking lot. That name is Morgan, and if you thought the automaker was long-gone, you might think you're looking at a ghost. The idea that wood is as commonplace as steel or aluminum, or, that three-wheels are better than four, only comes from the minds of the Morgan Motor Company in Malvern, England. Founded in 1910, Morgan was synonymous with the idea of the Threewheeler. Unlike most vehicles, it came with a relatively commonplace front end, but with mounted an air-cooled motorcycle engine, and a single rear wheel. Later this design sprouted the +4, the +8 (with four wheels), and continuing on to the Aeromax today. All of which, keeping the signature classic British styling. In 2011, to celebrate a bit of company history, owner Charles Morgan (son of Peter Morgan) decided that a more practical, yet still-classical Threewheeler was in order. And so it was.
Recently, we were bestowed with the chance to witness one of these stunning pieces of automotive engineering firsthand, thanks to some direction from Morgan and our new friends at Chariots of Palm Beach in Florida. My immediate reaction when seeing the Three Wheeler was an inaudible "Wow…" it was even more stunning (and larger) than I had ever imagined. As a longtime Morgan fanboy, this made me more giddy than a 15-year-old girl in a Nicholas Sparks movie premier. (ed note. I think the wood frame of the Aeromax quivered at that ref.) From the bodywork, to the signature WWII RAF paint scheme, to the fighter-plane dash, down to each and every stitch of handworked leather; it was a thing to behold. Each one, hand-built buy a team of engineers in the Malvern factory and heading out the door at around $60K.
The 80-hp S&S V-Twin engine (sending power to the rear wheel) produced an erotic gurgle of a sound. Paired to a Mazda Miata 5-speed manual transmission, it was more than torquey enough to get the blood flowing. And that righteous short throw gearbox made the shifts extremely quick and impressively precise. Underneath, unlike the woodwork found on the Morgan Aeromax and others, the Threewheeler uses a steel tubular chassis, which keeps the overall curb weight at a minimum while providing maximum strength. On a scale of 1-10- as a passenger, it also kept the fun factor at around a 9.99. The two-seat layout fit my lanky 6-foot layout rather nicely- although, I don't suggest any heavier blokes attempting a ride or drive in one of these anytime soon. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHDjS1Jfzg0&feature=youtu.be Overall, it was extremely impressive. And although I was unable to tell you firsthand how it feels in the cockpit, said Morgan salesman at the helm did have a heavy foot and more of an appreciation for the quirky British trike as I did. It's one of those experiences that you walk away from with a grin on your face and a few bugs in your teeth. There's really nothing like it.