It's safe to say that the Morgan 3 Wheeler has had one of the largest lust-to-power ratios of any vehicle on the road in the last few years. It's also a vehicle I've sought to film since I first saw this very car near my town two years ago. And when I finally got the opportunity to experience the magic of this car and its fascinating owner a few weeks ago creating the film you see above, I realized that there exists a world of knowledge to which only 3 Wheeler owners are privy - and it's absolutely fascinating.
So while sharing the emotional perspective of 3 Wheeler ownership with the video featuring Morgan driver Michael Hardyman in the video above remains my main objective, I've also decided to compile some of the facts that I learned during my experience with a vehicle that is so magnificent and bespoke, yet remains at the same time so lustfully simple. And while my brief collection may not bring you as close to the Morgan 3 Wheeler as Hardyman's nearly 11,000 miles have brought him to his, it should shed some more light on this mysterious and trivia-laden (yet surprisingly easy to attain) three-wheeled creation.
- Perhaps the most immediately apparent visual element of the 3 Wheeler, aside from its lacking (or excessive, depending on who you ask) nature in the wheel department, is its engine. This motor (an S&S V-twin unit) has a recommended operating range of 3000rpm and above, and pulls best between 3000 and 4500rpm. Running the engine below that range for long periods of time is actually highly detrimental to the engine and a number of related drivetrain components, and can have severe consequences.
- While Morgan's assembly process takes 13 hours per car at the factory, each major component of the car is created independently, and often on different continents.
- As an option for buyers, Morgan can create a personalized, leather-bound build journal for each 3 Wheeler built, containing unique pictures from each car's production.
- Although the 3 Wheeler does have a tube frame to contain drivetrain components and some body panels, the majority of the bodywork is, in fact, held on by a wooden assembly - even on the M3W, the company embraces the tradition. (Shots of both of these components are visible in the video at 4:12)
- The Morgan 3 Wheeler is very much a production car, even for North American customers. Michael's M3W was ordered at a New York dealer, and the purchase process was much the same as any bespoke supercar (or indeed any other Morgan).
- The Morgan's front tires are Avon motorcycle-style tires, but the rear is a conventional automotive wheel. As such, storage in the rear compartment is - to use mild terminology - limited. While a few articles can fit into the rear storage, Morgan also offers a traditional rear luggage rack.
- While the vehicle is registered in many US states as a motorcycle, you don't always need a motorcycle license or endorsement to drive it. Hardyman did not need one for use in Vermont, although - as he mentions in the video - the legal topics surrounding Morgan 3 Wheeler ownership are often murky and undetermined.
Of course, there's more to the Morgan than that, and almost every component comes with its own history and, as Hardyman points out in the video, its own set of rules. Despite my time with the car, I feel like the Morgan 3 Wheeler remains to me just as mysterious and bizarre as it was before - but my lust for it has grown considerably.
Being near the Morgan, and the simple, mechanical glory of its MX-5-and-S&S-hybrid powertrain and the bygone class of its timeless leather adornments, has made me realize how wonderful a simple, honest, open-to-the-world car can be. Rarely does a vehicle enter onto my must-have list with as little fanfare as this tiny Morgan - but perhaps capturing my attention with such simplicity is the most suitable manner for this fantastic, storied car.