The Great British Adventure

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British Classic: Morgan 3 Wheeler
09 October | Classics
Eccentric and brilliant in equal measure, the Morgan 3 Wheeler is the epitome of a true British classic.

Morgan 3 WheelerFounded in 1910 and still making cars by hand in the heart of Worcestershire, the Morgan Motor Company's most famous cars technically aren't cars at all. Morgan's iconic, sporty, classic three-wheelers are technically cyclecars - a hybrid, as the name implies, of a car and a motorcycle. 

Founder H.F.S. Morgan's first car design was a single-seat three-wheeler, made for his own personal use in 1909. His vanity project captured the imagination of many, and led to the production, between 1911 and 1952 of the 'Grand Prix', 'Aero', 'Sports', 'F4' and 'F Super' models.

Each combined a number of essential Morgan characteristics - specially-adapted motorcycle engines placed ahead of the front wheels; a chassis made of steel tubes brazed into cast lugs; and most importantly of all, an overwhelming sense of fun and adventure.

It was only a shift in motoring tastes in the 1950s that saw the three-wheelers fall from favour, but a hardcore of fans remained dedicated to this quirky and special car - and in 2011, a new version was produced. The Morgan 3 Wheeler - which packed sufficient power to zip for 0-60mph in under five seconds - was even featured in a Top Gear episode where presenter Richard Hammond picked the Morgan 3 Wheeler as his car to compete with a pair of more conventional track-day cars. He liked it so much, the 3 Wheeler won the show's "Not-A-Car of the Year 2011".

But all that is history and narrative. Rare occurrences on Britain's roads, they remain beautiful things to actually drive. So when the chance came to hop in one and do just that, we grabbed it.

For fans of motoring in all its forms, it is an experience that has to be enjoyed first-hand to be believed. Close to the road, quick and nimble, the scenery races past at a giddying speed. The engine, motorcycle-made or not, is a loud and proud thing that only enhances the driving experience.

And best of all, these classics still look stunning. As we tooled around the countryside in Dorset, heads turned. And not just because of the novelty value of seeing an all-too-rare three wheeler, but because the design is so typically British, and so wonderfully eccentric, without ever feeling forced.

There may be more practical cars, more powerful cars, more comfortable, flashy, all-purpose cars than a Morgan 3 Wheeler - but for true believers, none of that matters. These peculiar cars - sorry, cyclecars - are the real deal.

 

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