First look: Morgan

First look: Morgan"s new three wheeler

It may not seem it at first glance, but the all-new Super 3 is a fantastically modern Morgan. Yes, the tri-wheeled configuration harks back to Morgan's beginnings in the 1900s, but this is the first clean-sheet Morgan design since the Aero 8 in 2000, the first Morgan to be built with a monocoque structure (using the company's new aluminum platform) and a radical diversion in a three-wheeler strategy with an inboard engine that has over two cylinders.

First though, just look at it. It's recognizably Morgan and still pleasingly retro, but the Malvern-based firm says that this time around it took influences from the jet age. Super streamlined, isn't it? Plus, from head-on, those side-mounted cooling packs (Morgan brilliantly refers to them as side blades) look like they've come straight off a modern-day F-35 Lightning. They house radiators up front and then stretch back past the front wheels to be decked out with panniers, luggage racks, or graphics.

There's no longer a V-twin engine on full display upfront, so the face comprises those lovely round headlamps, a signature horseshoe front grill, and pull-rod suspension that's mounted to a cast aluminum structure known as the Hartland Strut — named after the Morgan engineer that designed it. How very wholesome.

The front wheels are aero-spec, Morgan-designed units shod in bespoke Avon Speedmaster tires with ballooned sidewalls. The suspension wishbones are as long as possible to improve stability, and like with the previous generation 3 Wheeler, the insides of the front wheels are closed off for better aero and refinement.

Towards the rear, the cut-off exhaust is also mostly tucked inside the aluminum bodywork and the beltline runs right around the cockpit. There's another cast aluminum structure right at the back too — this one doesn’t have a name (poor thing) but clamps the two sides of the monocoque together, houses the rear lights, provides a base for the number plate mount, and hides the "pressure relief venting" for the rear wheel. Incidentally, that single rear wheel gets an Avon all-season tire Morgan assures will "provide optimum slip angle".

Anyway, you want to know more about the engine, don't you? It’s a Ford-sourced 1.5-liter naturally aspirated three-cylinder that's making 118bhp and 110lb-ft of torque. Morgan reckons on 0-62mph in around 7.0 seconds and a top speed of 130mph. Get a fly in the face at that speed and we're sure you’ll agree that's a quick enough top end. Morgan used Ford engines in its three-wheeled vehicles back in the 1930s and 40s, so there is some heritage there. Plus, ditching the 82bhp S&S two-cylinder motorbike engine of the old 3 Wheeler means Morgan can claim 40mpg for this new tripod, despite a 110kg weight increase. For those worrying — it still only weighs 635kg, although 2016's proposed EV3 only weighed half a tonne.

Anyway, we’re delighted that the three-cylinder is in there and it's connected to the same short-throw, five-speed Mazda MX-5 gearbox as used in the outgoing car. Morgan says that the clutch will be well weighted with a brief journey and that "particular attention has been paid to the pedal spacing, allowing easy heel-and-toe gearchanges". Lovely.

The interior is fancy for Morgan, with fully digital dials (a first for the company, you won't be surprised to hear), USB sockets, and even an optional sat-nav system developed by motorbike nav specialists Beeline.

Everything is water and dust-proof, with the option of vinyl, water-resistant leather, saddle leather, or a new technical fabric for the seats. There's a new footwell heater and an adjustable steering wheel and pedal box, plus a universal fixing under the dash (the same as on the side blades) that can house a cupholder or a Quad Lock phone mount. Luxury. There's also a boot out back, lockable storage under the seats, an optional rain cover for your legs, and many, many hard and soft pannier options. See, it's practical too.

Oh, and if you’re planning on doing big miles, you can have a large wind deflector (notice Morgan doesn't call it a windscreen) to reduce some of the turbulence. If you go for the smaller deflectors, you can spec them in clear or yellow tint. Morgan reckons the Super 3 will be all about customization, with over 200 options and accessories available from launch and a whole heap of liveries and graphics. The cars you see above apparently show off three potential themes — adventure touring, contemporary design, and classic motorsport.

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