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Future models - Morgan - Three Wheeler

Morgan Three Wheeler on the way to Australia

Tripod: It’s been a battle, but Morgan Cars Australia reckons it has almost got the Three Wheeler Australian Design Rule certification.

Retro UK-built Morgan Three Wheeler almost ready for Down Under debut

Morgan logo8 Mar 2013

THE cult Morgan Three Wheeler is on the cusp of launching in Australia, with final certification on track to be completed by mid-year and first deliveries due before the end of 2013.

After more than two years of work, the small British company believes it has done enough to pass stringent Australian Design Rules that govern whether a car can be sold here or not.

In the words of Morgan Cars Australia spokesman Chris van Wyk, the company has spent the past two years doing “all the hard stuff” such as crash testing, and now simply awaits the final tick from ADR inspectors.

“We’ve now built a unit to what we understand the Australian standard to be, but of course until the inspectors see it and sign off, you’re not home and hosed,” he said.

“Australia is the only market in the world where this is classified as a car, so here it is a three-wheeled car whereas elsewhere it is classified as a motorcycle.”

According the ADR documentation, cars such as the Morgan are known as an ‘LE Motor Tricycle’, signifying a vehicle with three symmetrically arranged wheels, a gross mass of less than one-tonne (the aluminium Morgan weights 500kg) and a maximum speed in excess of 50km/h.

The first Three Wheeler to be officially imported to Australia is currently awaiting departure from Heathrow airport, and is slated to go on display at next week’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne before being handed to inspectors to address final homologation hurdles.

According to Mr van Wyk, Morgan Australia has received more than 300 expressions of interest in the oddball trike – perhaps best known as a modern-day interpretation of the model upon which the company was founded in 1909.

“Interest is quite unprecedented, I don’t know how many of those will turn into actual orders, but for sure it will exceed our normal volume that we do with the four-wheeled range,” he said.

Morgan sold just 16 cars in Australia in 2011, and offers four models – the 4/4, Plus 4, Roadster and Aero 8.

In its native UK, the retro Three Wheeler is about 15 per cent cheaper than the entry Morgan 4/4 which, if extrapolated to Australian pricing, would equate to a price of around $60,000.

However, Mr van Wyk said Australian versions of the Three Wheeler had some unique cost pressures, with the cost of modifications made to fit Australian design rules such as new headrests to be passed on to consumers – a similar arrangement to versions sold in the US.

“Because of these extra costs for unique certification, our cost is a little higher than for Three Wheeler elsewhere in the world,” he said.

Furthermore, unlike the $68,200 Morgan 4/4, the Three Wheeler does not evade the Luxury Car Tax, since its S&S V-twin engine uses more than 7.0 litres per 100km.

The front-mounted Harley engine is claimed to propel the classically styled trike to 60pmh (97km/h) in an estimated 4.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 115mph (185km/h) via five-speed Mazda manual gearbox.

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