Early Morgan three-wheelers looked little like the latest 3 Wheeler. It wasn’t until the Super Aero of 1927 that it began to take on the shape we today recognise as that of the classic Morgan: low slung to aid grip, handling and, crucially, stability. And compared with the earliest cars, it’s relatively aerodynamic, too.

So from the late 1920s onwards that’s how the sportiest Morgan three-wheelers looked, and that’s the basic design that has been mimicked today. To call it retro somehow doesn’t seem right. It isn’t a pastiche of the original like, say, a Fiat 500 or the latest Minis. Instead, it just follows the original formula: a steel tubular chassis, some ash framework and an aluminium body. It’s pure, honest, authentic and real.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Brake discs are a relatively healthy 270mm in diameter

In the same vein, the engineering beneath – and in front of – the Morgan’s nod to styling isn’t a pastiche, either. Morgan has taken what it believes to be the best V-twin for the job. Now, as then, it’s a motorcycle engine. But now, unlike then, it’s made by American engine maker S&S. 

S&S started out tuning Harley-Davidson motors, but after a time, as such companies do if they’ve got the nous, it began making entire engines. Today, if you buy a complete S&S motor, it’ll have the same pushrod V-twin layout as a Harley unit, but none of the internal components will necessarily come from Harley.

This one is pure S&S, and built to a unique Morgan specification. It’s a lazy, old-fashioned motor, square of cylinder dimensions and with two overhead valves per cylinder, operated by pushrods. As a result, it makes a leisurely 82bhp, combined with a healthy 103lb ft of torque, peaking at just 3250rpm – a grunty set of stats for a bike motor.

That’s mated to an MX-5 gearbox via a transitional case that contains a damper necessary to smooth the big V-twin’s otherwise peaky torque output. From the ’box there’s a bevel gear to change the direction of rotation, then a belt driving the single back wheel, which is suspended by a trailing arm. Front suspension is by wishbones, and there are coil springs all round – and no driving aids.

The EV3 is a different kette of fish, with the motorbike engine and manual gearbox removed and an electric motor and battery pack added. While other details remain sketchy at best, Morgan claims that its performance will be comparable to the conventional petrol version and have an operational range of 150 miles.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio
    The new Alfa Romeo Stelvio. We've tested it on UK roads for the first time
    First Drive
    18 August 2017
    First tilt on UK roads reveals a chassis almost as absorbing as the Giulia’s, though the Stelvio’s comfort and quality levels may disappoint SUV clientele
  • Car review
    18 August 2017
    Amid a broader vRS refresh, Skoda has built its most powerful Octavia yet to take on the established order
  • Jaguar F-Type Convertible 2.0 i4 on the road
    First Drive
    16 August 2017
    Having been previously impressed by the agile four-cylinder F-Type, now is our chance to try it in the UK and in open-top form. But can this entry-level Jaguar sports car hold off the impressive Porsche Boxster?
  • Aston Martin V8 Vantage AMR
    The Aston Martin V8 Vantage AMR is a swansong for the Vantage - but the first model to sport the AMR title
    First Drive
    16 August 2017
    Aston Martin's swansong for its venerable Vantage sports car allows it to bow out with its head held high, yet the performance AMR sub-brand's first outing leaves you feeling short-changed
  • Range Rover Velar 2.0D
    First Drive
    15 August 2017
    Can the newest Range Rover deliver the goods when it's being powered by a four-cylinder, 2.0L diesel engine? We tried it on UK roads to find out