I love that, and all the stories like it. I’d like to take the tour myself, but Stan and I are here on spectacularly brilliant business: to collect our long-term 3 Wheeler. I’m staggered to learn that most buyers don’t come to pick up their cars, instead picking them up from their local dealer.
What people do instead is show up during the build process to see their pride and joy coming together. As you might remember, we’ve done that already; Steve Cropley got his hands dirty some months ago – and most likely had his sandwich outside, too.
Now it’s ready and, cor blimey, didn’t we spec it well? I’ve never been quite as enamoured with the 3 Wheeler look as some in the office, but even I’m prepared to admit that in Land Rover Graphite Blue and with tan leather upholstery, it looks terrific. For a company overly fascinated by RAF roundels and mock bullet holes, the reproduction and placement of the original Autocar logo has been so sensitively handled that for a moment I consider whether we should have one tattooed on Stan’s arm, navy cook style.
Morgan’s James Gilbert talks me through the car. The 3 Wheeler has changed perceptibly from the early model we road tested in 2012. The fit and finish is now superb, helped by a real sense of nattiness and charm in everything you can touch and toggle.
Our optional extras have been judiciously selected, highlights being a lock box in the footwell (essential for valuables), a smaller-than-standard Alcantara-clad steering wheel and two dinky switches for the heated seats (also essential, given the lack of a heater). What we haven’t gone for is a taller wraparound windscreen, opting instead for the modest eyeball protection of the original wind deflectors.
Gilbert offers us the loan of a lid for the 125-mile return trip, a suggestion I bat away with the cocksureness of a fighter ace being offered a cushion for the seat of his Spitfire. Not five minutes from the non-existent gate, I realise I’ve made the wrong call. But by then I’m too wrapped up in the business of recalibrating my legs and arms to work a car as tiny and as nakedly mechanical as this.
Clearly, there’s no adjusting the seat; instead, the pedal box moves. Or it will do if you’ve got a spanner set and 20 minutes to spare. Impatient to have a go, I opt to leave the pedals where they are (apparently midway between Frodo Baggins and Treebeard) and then promptly regret that too when I remember that there’s nowhere to rest your left foot in the tiny footwell apart from on the clutch pedal.