When contemplating his brave new world of ‘unidexterism’, Iain Robertson reflected on several cars into which his two metre frame had never fitted before but which, one leg down, might now and the effortless lunacy of a Morgan three-wheeler, which, by comparison, might possess animal characteristics is one.
There was a time, when I used to pity three-legged dogs. I love dogs and imagining their silent discomforts was mildly discombobulating. Yet, despite the imbalance in both visual and actual terms, they seldom appeared to be disabled by losing a limb. Most three-legged dogs can run, jump and cavort just as they did with four legs. As such, they are surprisingly inspirational and still cuddle, give those adoring looks and lick life like the best of them.
Three-wheeled cars are a different kettle of fish. Created from economic need and serving the bike licence-holder, when a full car licence was unavailable, they had a role to fulfil. There used to be several European makes and models, many of which have now disappeared and one in particular, BMW, was grateful to Isetta for a route to its late-1950s survival…look at it now. Most of them, with the exception of Reliant and Morgan, which had dropped its three-wheeler for several decades before reviving it a few years ago, tended to populate the ‘bubble-car’ arena. However, only one, with the exception of the more specialist Grinnall Scorpion, retained a fully stable front-end, with the single rear wheel being left for drive purposes alone. Reliant has now departed the scene too.
Morgan’s three-wheel layout is not merely more stable but it can be engineered to deliver fun handling of an order that used to be the sole remit of the traditional soft-top sportscar. The wide front track and low-slung body provide unerringly accurate chsssis dynamics and, since dropping the costly 2.0-litre vee-twin engine, replacing it with a lightweight, three-cylinder turbo-petrol unit from the Ford Fiesta that displaces 1,432cc, Morgan’s three-wheeled future looks most assured. Delivering a modest 118bhp, it is enough to whisk the 635kg car from 0-60mph in a cool 6.7s, driving through a Mazda MX-5 manual gearbox. It can top out at around 125mph, if your barnet, or safety helmet and goggles will allow it.
Morgan has already proven that it can create an electric version of its ‘trike’, if your conscience troubles you but, with eight years still to run before government plans turn us into lifeless if fully-charged automatons, not that we can afford it, the enjoyment quotient is what remains for the ardent enthusiast. Priced from £41,995, Morgan is certainly earning its hand-built crust, because it is not exactly a bargain basement machine. Instead, it is a bespoke, ingeniously detailed and impeccably engineered two-seater that possesses weather-lashed ballsiness by the bucketload and a level of joie de vivre that leaves little else to be desired. Its devil-may-care stance is every bit as punchy as owning a McLaren, or Lamborghini, for kicks, at a somewhat lower price tag.
Dependent on final specification, you could be driving either a miniature showpiece in dogfight colours, or a more subtle but no less raucous example in a finish that might be of your choice, complete with fitted luggage. Morgan will play your honourable servant regardless, knowing intrinsically how to bolster its own self-image, although it will help if you possess even the merest streak of automotive renegade. The cockpit is close-coupled and even my remaining right leg is forced into a compromised crook to fit in the footwell. Thus, while no longer totally off-limits to me, the driving position remains in the optimum five feet eleven inches territory, or else be uncomfortable.
Yet, what a special event the cockpit is. The Super3, which is its name, is defiantly aero by design, with aircraft style, albeit digital dials and switchgear. Delicious flourishes of alloy, wood, hide and other materials reinforce the hand detailing, with uniquely deviant clamps, clasps and catches to reinforce the artisan skills explored by Morgan’s unique team of specialists. The delightful castings and mouldings continue externally, confirming the number of special items needed to create a Super3 from scratch. Equipped with tyres designed to optimise the car’s unique handling and roadholding envelope that are fitted to full aero, 20.0-inch diameter cast alloy wheels, the Super3 hugs tarmac like a hypercar. Even if you never drove it, it would look fantastic suspended like a Jackson Pollock from the office wall.
Designed for back doubles’ adventury, because motorways would be too scary, the Super3 would be a hoot on the Highland 500, or Wild Atlantic Coastal drive in Ireland, even though you would be well advised to use the panniers for plenty of dry and warm clothing. Its ride quality is surprisingly compliant, with scalpel sharp feedback through the steering wheel rim. If you are not a fan of sensory driving pleasures, then do not drive a Super3, yet the levels of grip are excellent, although it is lack of tread width that leads to earlier wet weather breakaway but adds to the fun.
Conclusion: In a case of what-you-see-is-what-you-get, the creature comforts are limited in the Morgan Super3 but I shall defy you to have as much fun with your clothes on, as this rare three-wheeler allows. From a purely personal viewpoint, I love Morgan for daring to remain British-based, handbuilt and different, with seriously low depreciation. Go on! You know you want to!