By Jay Traugott, Editor At Large
I never thought it would appeal to me. The first time I saw it, its originality and uniqueness intrigued me, but I never really saw myself wanting to own one. And as the months have passed and more of my journalist colleagues have had a chance to drive it and write about their impressions, desire began to set in and I pulled out the calculator on my cell phone. Yes, within just a few short years of smart saving, I could possibly, just possibly, be able to afford a Morgan 3 Wheeler.
So what exactly inspired my newfound object of automotive dreams? Numerous things, such as its engine noise. But before I get to that, I need to admit a couple of things. First off, the new 3 Wheeler reminds me of the Big Wheel I had as a young kid. Although it's been some 25 years, I clearly remember riding it around the sidewalk in front of my parents' old house with the other neighborhood kids. Of course it was only as powerful as my pre-school era legs could move the pedals; it was something that was easy to ride and didn't require any training wheels.
Second, I've never even considered owning a Morgan. It's a brand that I've always appreciated both for its craftsmanship and commitment to old-school business practices that has kept the small boutique family-owned automaker going strong for over 100 years. But still, it wasn't the car for me. However, when I was at the Geneva Motor Show last March, I was walking through the Morgan display and found myself staring with true admiration at the pre-production 3 Wheelers. Now here was something truly different, and even kind of bad ass.
The one in particular that caught my attention was painted a matte military olive green with evil eyes up front, an arched brow over them, and a grinning shark mouth. After the show ended, there were only three cars that I thought truly stood out amongst all of the others: the Lamborghini Aventador, Pagani Huayra, and the Morgan. Of those three, I think it's fair to assume, but I need to confirm this with my accountant, that buying the first two is out of the question at my present income. That I can live with, but the 3 Wheeler has a more realistic price tag.
According to Morgan's website, pricing for a base 3 Wheeler begins at 25,000 GBP plus VAT. With the ever so wonderful state of the U.S. dollar these days, I was concerned what it would cost to order one and have it shipped stateside. So I contacted a dealership that imports Morgan's to the U.S. and was told it would start off at around $43,000. Not cheap, but still affordable, especially when considering the base of entry for my other two Geneva show favorites. But that $43k (plus a couple grand more for some options) would also buy me something that would make any Porsche 911 owner smile with envy.
Then he/she would hear its reportedly amazing sound. Although I've never heard it in person yet, the numerous online videos can allow for anyone to hear the music of the 3 Wheeler's wonderful 2-cylinder air-cooled 1982cc V-twin engine with 115hp. Mated to a five-speed manual taken from a Mazda MX-5, Morgan wisely chose a transmission that's not only reliable, but also has one of the best short-throw shifts available today. The combination of power, shifting and noise must make for a one-of-a-kind driving experience.
And with the open top and lack of any sort of protection from the wonders of nature and the occasional semi-truck, it's highly likely the 3 Wheeler and its driver will feel as one with the road underneath them. I just have to thank Morgan for building something for the inner Big Wheel and auto enthusiast in all of us.