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The Top Gear car review: Morgan 3 Wheeler
For:Daft, but more than a little bit brilliant
Against:It might be brilliant, but it's utterly daft
2.0 V-Twin Sport
It’s not like anything else, this Morgan. But you knew that already, just by looking at the pictures. Pictures that, if we’re honest, give a very...
What we say:
Possibly the most fun we've had all year. It's not modern, but it's deeply, deeply cool
What is it?
Neither fish nor fowl, the Morgan’s three wheels make it unconventional as either a car or a motorcycle. A glorious recreation of the three wheelers which formed the foundations of the Malvern Link firm, the 3-Wheeler has proved an astute business move, with orders flooding in. It’s an expensive toy, though, despite Charles Morgan’s assertions that you could use one every day. You could, but you’d be mad.
Sensibilities are immediately forgotten when you fire up the front-mounted S&S twin-cylinder engine. It’s neither quiet, nor refined, the vibrations shaking the three-wheeler to the core. Just as well it’s so open, as those vibrations make the mirrors pointless – driving it requires the mentality of a motorcyclist and plenty of over-the-shoulder checks for oncoming traffic. And it’s quick enough to exploit the smallest gaps in traffic, the circa 115bhp noisy twin gives this lightweight sub-500kg machine serious performance.
With only one rear wheel, traction is sometimes an issue, but it’s a grin-inducing one. Get it right and 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds is achievable, but oddly it’s not that which dominates the driving experience. It’s the front wheels, which bob up and down under their mudguards as the Morgan skips and bounces down the road. The steering is odd, with quick initial response then plenty of effort needed to wrestle it around corners. The brakes require a serious push too, the 3-Wheeler a busy, involving drive.
But then that’s the point. It’s fast, fun and demanding, if not exactly polished and poised.
On the inside
Comfort is relative to the speed you’re travelling at, with hurricane-like draughts accompanying anything approaching national speed limits. Leather covers most surfaces and the aircraft instruments are a neat, if not easy to read, touch. Some lovely detailing features in the spacious cockpit, not least the beautifully machined pedals and switches. That makes it a shame that the gearknob – which operates a slick-shifting Mazda MX-5-sourced gearbox – feels so cheap. Wonderfully old school,as in pre-ergonomics, you’ll require dextrous fingers to start it thanks to the awkward position of the ignition.
It might be a bit silly, but that is evidently appealing to many, with the Morgan factory running at capacity to keep up with demand. It’ll never be anything other than an occasional toy thanks to its enormous impracticality and lack of weather protection, but what a toy. Even sat in the garage
it’s got massive capacity to please, though at £30,000 it’s not a plaything for the hoi polloi. Refreshingly simple, there’s little to go wrong with it, though you’ll need to buy some tweed, a flat cap and driving goggles to drive it with any credibility.