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Reborn 3 Wheeler majors on practicality and personalisation, and is set to be Morgan's best-seller

Morgan is returning to the start of its 113-year history to inspire an all-new £40,000 three-wheeler model, the Super 3, which it believes will lift vehicle production at Malvern to unprecedented levels and give the marque a bigger global presence than ever when it hits the market in August.

The new model, Morgan’s first “clean sheet” design since the Aero 8 in 2000, is a new take on the traditional 3 Wheeler that company founder HFS Morgan first started selling in 1909. It ditches the motorcycle-derived V-twin engine that has been a recurring theme in Morgan 3 wheeler history in favour of a front-mounted 1.5-litre Ford in-line triple, a normally aspirated 118bhp version of the engine that powers the Ford Fiesta ST

Unlike any previous 3 wheeler, the Super 3’s engine is carried on an extremely rigid but lightweight frontal casting that joins a new, CAD-designed, monocoque chassis, most of whose lightweight aluminium panels are Superformed in nearby Worcester. There is a similar but smaller joining casting at the rear of the body: both elements are described as “unashamedly functional” pieces that also contribute to the car’s visual character. 

When Super 3 production reaches planned levels late this year at Morgan’s Malvern Link factory output should amount to around 15 units a week, more than double the outgoing model’s best total. Combined with similar production numbers for the recently revised, BMW-engined Plus Four and Plus Six models, Morgan’s total annual output should reach or even exceed 1500 cars a year, a production leap compared with the totals of 800-900 cars in recent years.

Morgan MD Steve Morris has especially high hopes for Super 3 sales in the US where compliance regulations for motorcycles and tricycles are easier to negotiate than for cars, though he is at pains to point out that the Super 3’s crash test regime and safety engineering goes far beyond minimum requirements. Morris believes Super 3 sales of around 400 units a year are possible in the US alone, but predicts that like the outgoing model it will have global appeal to buyers with “an adventurous spirit”.

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Design chief Jon Wells says modern CAD and CAE techniques were invaluable in helping his team meet the packaging challenges of Super 3’s monocoque body-chassis which included maintaining ultra-compact body dimensions while fitting the engine inside the body, rather than across the front as with previous V-twin models. With a 3.6m overall length, Super 3 is 120mm longer than the outgoing model — thus similar in length to a Fiat 500 — yet it provides considerably more generous cockpit space for occupants in practically every dimension. The seats (available in a total of four finishes) are fixed but both the pedal and box and the steering column are adjustable (the latter for both reach and rake).

One key feature of the car is a pair of novel, multi-functional sideplates, one on either side of the body, which add greatly to Super 3’s versatility. They play a vital role in directing cooling air into the twin radiators (one either side of the engine), their space-saving shape allows the Super 3 an excellent turning circle and they provide perfect mounting space for the model’s “limitless” selection of side-mounted panniers, racks and luggage carriers.

Versatility is an constant theme: Super 3 bristles with snap-fasteners that allow the fitting of toolboxes, cameras, mirrors, satnavs, wind deflectors and screens. Morgan plans to offer around 200 pieces of optional equipment and encourage approved outside suppliers to fo the same.    

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The Super 3’s north-south engine, which produces 118bhp at 6500rpm and 110lb ft at 4500rpm, drives through a five-speed gearbox (supplied by Mazda) to a special bevel-box ahead of the trailing arm-mounted rear wheel that changes the drive orientation through so that power can be transferred to the rear wheel by toothed belt. The front suspension is independent by coil-sprung wishbones (operated by pushrod) and the handsome 20-inch front wheels have an exaggerated positive offset to allow the wishbones to be as long as possible for what Wells terms “perfect corner geometry”.

To complete the picture, Morgan has cooperated with Avon to create a skinny but grippy tyre with a modern compound but a classically shaped tread pattern, especially for Super 3. The tyres bring back Avon’s Speedmaster brand and even carry a Morgan badge on their sidewalls.   

Driving the Super 3, with its smooth and high revving triple, is considerably different from the torquey, “rumbly” V-twin, Wells reports, because the new engine thrives on high revs. You have to drive it, but if you do, it goes very well because of its modest 635kg kerb weight. There has been much work on the engine sounds — to make it “rasp” in the mid-ranges, and “sing” when it gets closer to its 6500rpm power peak. Super 3 fulfils the essential function of every 3 Wheeler, says Wells, to be “a motorcycle for car people”.

Morgan is taking orders now, will begin building cars at the beginning of April (every dealership will have two demo cars) and will start delivering customer cars in August. There won’t be different models, as such, but Jon Wells and his designers have created three different “themes” — Adventure Touring, Contemporary and Classic — at launch, just for guidance. “Morgan owners are proud to be individuals,” he says, “so we wouldn’t dream of telling them what to do. But the options list is essentially limitless so we want to help them focus their ideas.”

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frarob 24 February 2022

Heated seats!

MrJ 24 February 2022

I like this, especially the hi-tech dash panel.

But... what happened to the EV Morgan that was shown a while back?

That's the one I would like, and hope it is on the Morgan timeline, and not forgotten.

Bolida 24 February 2022

majors on practicality- really ? Morgan the answer to a question no one asked