A few weeks ago, I finally had the chance to cross off a wish from my bucket-list, a that's experiencing Morgan's 3 Wheeler through the Malvern hills.  But let's start with the beginning... 

           Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan, or for short HFS Morgan, built his first vehicle in 1909. The legend has it that he built it to travel easier and faster through the steep hills of the Malvern area, in the English counties of Worcestershire, Herefordshire.  He called it The Runabout and it was a three wheeler with a Peugeot engine.  It was ''three wheels, a front mounted engine, one seat and tiller steering on top of the independent suspension''. Light, easy to maintain and pretty fast for its time.

^HFS Morgan and The Runabout. Photo taken in the Morgan museum.

   In 1910, thanks to the increasing interest of the public in his cycle car, HFS entered production. And so Morgan Car Company was born.  

   What a better way to showcase your mechanical feat other than racing. After a few weeks after its launch at the Olympia Motor Show in London, HFS himself entered The Roundabout in the MCC's (Motor Cycling Club) London to Exeter Trial, winning the Gold metal. After a ''brainstorming'' with the public, he soon found out why there were not many orders being placed. The fact that it was a single seater was a major turn off for the actual buying public. Needless to say, a second seat was added soon and Morgan 3 Wheeler was a hit. Racing and record-breaking laps at the Brooklands autodrome and Donighton soon followed.

   The Morgan Three Wheeler pretty much dominated racing in the UK, with multiple variations of modified engines like JAP, Blackburne, MAG, British Anzani and Matchless. Morgan never produced their own engine. The M3W's production was seized in 1950 with the last model leaving the factory in Malvern in 1953. The Morgan 4/4, the ''proper'' four wheeled handbuilt British racing car was gaining more and more fans by now and the 3 Wheeler was an icon only to its small but stubborn fan base.    

  ^Superb 1920's Super Sports Aero JAP overhead valve v-twin in the Morgan's museum. Love at first sight. 

    In 2011 at the Geneva Motor Show, after a gap of over 60 years, Morgan brought back to life the 3 Wheeler. The relaunch of the M3W was a bit shadowed by its engineering shortcomings. It took the new M3W  a few years to finally get the right recipe in body structure design and the right front end geometry for the enthusiasts to really enjoy their machines. The old models, just like the new ones are cult machines for their owners. 

   The new beast is powered by a S&S 2.0 muscle v twin engine and it is linked to a 5 speed transmission from Mazda (Miata). Tubular steel chassis, hand crafted ash wood frame and aluminium body panels. 82 hp and 500+ kg. And 3 wheels o' fun.

  Coachbuilding and craftmanship in one of the most ridiculous vehicles you can purchase on the market these days. Brutal, honest, ‘no frills all thrills’. To be completely honest, the central console is useless while driving as you can't read anything on the dash. Putting the key in contact is a bizarre hand twisting maneuver behind the steering wheel and the ride itself is a racing, dare I say one of the most agricultural experiences you can get behind the wheel. The start button under a fighter-like switch on the dashboard is a nice touch though. Inside, you really do feel like in a compact cockpit. Motorcycle Avon tires in the front and a beefy car tire in the rear. 

   Is it practical though ? Well, depending on the length of your journey and how sadistic you want to be with yourself, yeah, sure. It can get really windy inside the cockpit and the screen is more present not to let the bugs go into your mouth directly but rather into your eyes (haha).  And if you have the luck of a nice cold British rain... Even so, I've heard/read about plenty of owners driving their M3W's all around the world, embarking in long trips. 

   The cowl behind the seats opens up to reveal a small trunk for maybe two mid backpacks and a small fire extinguisher. You can get an option though to fit a grill on top of it for some extra luggage. In the front, behind the beefy V-twin you have the electric fan and under the cowl you'll find the battery, oil reservoir and another small space for storage.  

   It's clearly not a motorway machine or even a fast machine by the modern definition. Despite its predecessors, the modern M3W has most of its parts outsourced, like the chassis and the body panels. But when it comes to M3W, Morgan is far more than just a kit builder, with thousands of in house customizing features. From exotic paint color schemes right to the pattern and the color of the upholstery; all being tailored to the clients specific demands.   

    With everything I said negative about the M3W I have to admit that it is in the same time the most FUN vehicle I had the opportunity to experience. On two wheels or more. I've been a fan long before actually being in one, and to say it's perfect it a pure understatement. 

"To drive this car was the nearest thing to flying without leaving the ground." -Captain Albert Ball, fighter ace and petrolhead. 

  The model that I had the chance to enjoy is a 2019, Metallic Champaign Silver with a Brooklands Special edition exhaust, black wire wheels and quilted leather. It is priced by the MoCo at 40.000 pounds.  

   I fell in love with Morgan and the 3 Wheeler because of this blend of handbuilt and coachbuilding mystique that is wrapped around every machine that comes out of Malvern. The fact that even to this day the company is family owned is a major plus as well.

Find out more about Morgan and Morgan 3 Wheeler on their website, here

   Soon, very soon I hope, I'll take you with me on a virtual tour of the factory in Malvern. To be continued !

 ^Cool M3W arriving at the factory during my visit. 

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