Currently reading: New 2022 Morgan 3 Wheeler to be revealed on 24 February
Retro-styled roadster will usher in a new design language and swap its V-twin for a Ford three-pot

Morgan will reveal the all-new, second-generation 3 Wheeler on 24 February ahead of a market launch later this year.

The reinvented roadster will be a thoroughly modern machine using the same advanced aluminium chassis technology as the new Plus Four and Plus Six roadsters, but will still feature a design Morgan describes as "bold and eccentric" with a technical front end and a "fluid form". It will be Morgan's first all-new design since the Aero 8 sports car was unveiled in 2000. 

Morgan claims the 3 Wheeler will offer the same raw driving experience as the outgoing 10-year-old model. The new 3 Wheeler’s most visible – and initially most controversial – change entails ditching the old S&S-sourced air-cooled 2.0-litre V-twin engine in favour of a normally aspirated, longitudinally mounted version of Ford’s considerably more refined 1.5-litre three-cylinder unit, as used by the Fiesta ST hot hatchback

The change is likely to result in a dramatic boost in performance, since the V-twin produced barely 80bhp (because of punitive exhaust emissions restrictions) whereas the Ford unit should be good for 120-130bhp (it runs to 197bhp with a turbocharger in the hot Fiesta), although Morgan isn’t yet confirming its precise output. 

The power-to-weight ratio should be impressive: Autocar understands Morgan engineers are using the outgoing model’s sub-500kg kerb weight as a target for the new one. 

Like the old car, the new 3 Wheeler will be rear driven, with the nose-mounted engine sending power through a five-speed Mazda MX-5 gearbox to a bevel box behind the cockpit, and then to the single rear wheel via a toothed belt. 

Morgan managing director Steve Morris said: “We see the new 3 Wheeler as an opportunity to offer existing loyal customers a vehicle that they can enjoy every bit as today’s, but it will [also] allow us to target a wider group of potential owners. 

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“We see this as a truly global product. Our big focus will be on building US sales, although we expect demand in the UK, France, Germany and Italy to be strong as well.” 

Morris said the model’s key advantage in the US is that its non-car status allows it to sidestep a tangle of compliance issues that surrounds many imported low-volume sports cars. 

While anxious to avoid over-confidence, Morris believes that 3 Wheeler sales could match those of all four-wheeled Morgans combined once the new edition is established in major markets. 

Historically, the 3 Wheeler was Morgan’s best-seller, and even the 2011 model matched four-wheeler sales for a time. 

“Around 2012, we were selling 28 cars a week in total,” said Morris. “We believe the new model could help us match or even beat those figures.” 

Morgan has no wish to “sanitise” the visceral 3 Wheeler driving experience: the 2022 car’s footprint is “virtually identical” to that of the outgoing model, its cockpit is just as open and it has the same diminutive road presence. However, the cockpit is wider and it has a lower floor that allows better access and better accommodation for taller and wider drivers. 

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Many details, such as the main instrument and fascia design elements, draw heavily on the best-loved features of the outgoing model. 

Wells is well aware that 3 Wheeler owners “do extraordinary things” with their cars, including long-distance touring holidays and expeditions. The new model will therefore cater to this more effectively, with convenient mounting brackets for luggage racks, cameras, lights and a variety of windscreens. A “huge” range of racks, mirrors, luggage cases and panniers will be offered as options, too. 

Radical graphics are already a familiar feature of the 3 Wheeler, but Wells said his design team is ready to hit new heights of invention. 

One item unlikely to be offered is a roof, although owners will be able to buy fabric tonneau covers and possibly a hard half-tonneau that will effectively turn the car into a snug single-seater. 

Although the styling is entirely new, the relationship with the old 3 Wheeler is clear. This isn’t a classically streamlined car, but much attention has been paid to aerodynamics. (The small frontal area and the act of moving the engine inside the car help a lot here.) 

Perhaps the most prominent feature, though, is a pair of near-flat “diffuser plates” on the body sides. Wells said these have a number of key functions: to manage airflow along the body (including helping to extract hot air from two front-mounted radiators), to carry pannier mountings, to provide an ideal palette for graphics and “to add drama”. 

While acknowledging that the new 3 Wheeler might still be current when the government’s 2030 ban on new ICE car sales comes into effect, Morris said Morgan is “more likely to be a follower than a leader” in electrification. 

Five years ago, Morgan’s plans for the EV3 electric three-wheeler were scuppered when a key supplier failed to deliver. Even so, the new 3 Wheeler is “protected” for manufacture as an EV as much as it can be. “It’s not a priority,” said Morris, “but it’s on our radar.”

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si73 26 January 2022
It will be Morgan's first all-new design since the Aero 8 sports car was unveiled in 2000.

What was the last generation 3 wheeler? Wasn't that an all new design when it cam out 10 years ago ish? I know it looked retro but I thought it was a new ground up design.
Ten years ago it was a 32k car, I wonder what it will be now as a used one from then hasn't lost any value, looking at the classifieds.
I would love one.

HowdyFolks 6 September 2021

With a liquid cooled engine there might even be a heater. That would be nice.

artov 2 September 2021
Never mind making it wider, make it longer. Last time I drove one I could only move my toes. Or make the tunnel higher so you can bend your legs.