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First look: Morgan back on three wheels

Classic, not plastic: Morgan says the time is right for another three-wheeler.

Morgan reveals born-again three-wheeler as classic models return Down Under

11 Nov 2010

BRITISH classic car-maker Morgan has revealed a modern-day interpretation of the model upon which the company was founded in 1909, the Three Wheeler, which is set to make a global comeback next year.

Provided the final kerb weight figure of the production model meets the local standard for three-wheeled vehicles, the born-again three-wheeler will also become available here, where Morgan Cars Australia this week also announced the recommencement of Classic model production.

As well as recalling the British retro-brand’s original model, Morgan’s modern Three Wheeler is similar in concept to the more contemporary looking, Canadian-built Can-Am Spyder, which became available here in mid-2009 for $26,990 and employs a 990cc Rotax V-twin to shift its 316kg kerb weight.

Billed as a “weekend fun car”, the Morgan Three Wheeler is powered by a circa-75kW 1800cc ‘Screaming Eagle’ V-twin from Harley-Davidson, which 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 transmission.

53 center imageLeft: Morgan Three Wheeler. Below: Classic Morgan Aero 8, Morgan Aero SuperSports, Morgan EvaGT.

“The success of the Morgan Motor Company was founded on the manufacture of an icon, the Morgan Three Wheeler,” said Morgan when it announced the intriguing new model last week.

“This brilliant but simple design by engineer Harry Morgan (HFS) became one of the most successful lightweight cars of the early days of motoring.

“Whilst the world is a very different place in 2011 the time is right to relaunch this exceptional design.”

To be available in eight exterior colours and with a padded leather aircraft-style cockpit in either black or tan, the new Three Wheeler is said to reignite the joy of 1920s motoring “without the fragility or temperament”.

It features a superformed aluminium bullet hull, black anodised dashboard with aircraft-style toggle switches, gloss-black wheel-arches and lamps, gloss-black rollover hoops and wire wheels, twin ‘flyscreens’, an exposed tubular black chassis and a ‘bomb-release’ starter button.

GoAuto understands the current Australian design Rule’s maximum weight for three-wheeled vehicles is 450kg and, although another manufacturer has applied to have that limit increased to 570kg, Morgan has so far stated only that its new-generation Three Wheeler will weigh less than 500kg.

Morgan is yet to reveal pricing, but says the first cars will be delivered in the UK in 2011 at a price of around £25,000 ($A40,400) plus VAT. Morgan is also planning a wide range of accessories, including weatherproof clothing and unique luggage.

Meantime, Morgan Cars Australia (MCA) this week announced a revised price list – including savings of around $20,000 due to the healthy Australian dollar – for its Classic model range, which was withdrawn from sale in Australia in 2007 due to ADR technical issues.

The latter have now been solved and Morgan says it has fast-tracked the production of seven cars this year for Australian customers, some of whom paid deposits more than three years ago.

The Ford-powered 2011 Classic Morgan line-up will include the Morgan Roadster Sport (powered by a 165kW 3.0-litre V6 for $132 910), the Morgan Roadster (powered by the same engine for $122 900), the Morgan Plus 4 (powered by a 106kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine for $89,910) and the entry-level Morgan 4/4 Sport, powered by an 82kW 1.6-litre inline four for $78,500.

Standard specifications of the two Sport models include a number of “high value” options, such as leather trim and reclining seatbacks, but colour choice and other options are limited.

MCA says the other models continue the Morgan tradition of bespoke options, allowing customers to choose from a range of cosmetic alternatives, including an unlimited range of exterior colours.

The family-owned Morgan Motor Company will produce a record number of cars in its 101st year, with around 800 vehicles set to leave the factory at Malvern Link in rural Worcestershire, England in 2010.

The first four-wheeled Morgan was designed in 1935 and the 4/4 model entered production in 1936, leading Morgan to claim the 4/4 badge is the most enduring model nameplate in the world.

The Morgan Aero SuperSports continues as the flagship of the Morgan range in Australia, priced at $375 000. Only 175 examples of the limited-edition car - powered by a 4.8-litre BMW V8 - will be produced, with four cars to be delivered here this year. Morgan has sold three examples of the Aero 8 in Australia this year.

Production will then shift to Morgan’s recently announced four-seater EvaGT coupe, which is expected to open up an entirely new customer base for the company after it enters production in mid-2012, powered by BMW’s 3.0-litre twin-scroll turbocharged six-cylinder engine.

MCA has also taken five orders for the Morgan SuperSport Junior pedal car, of which 500 will be made. The two-metre-long pedal car, designed for children up to about 13 years of age, costs $7260.

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