Inside Morgan - behind the scenes in the real British sports car company - Inside Morgan - the driver
evo looks into one of Britain's best-loved car makers - and discovers it's far more than the anachronism it seems
The 3 Wheeler – nicknamed M3W by Morgan – is not at its best at walking pace. Or maybe it is, since a crowd of cameraphone-toting pedestrians seems to gather whenever it’s parked. But to drive, slow speeds exacerbate the M3W’s heavy clutch, equatorial turning circle and chuntering, vibratory engine.
But few cars I’ve yet driven – scratch that – no car I’ve yet driven has delivered such consistent, persistent, vibrant driving thrills as the 3 Wheeler.
From the moment you thumb the starter button – located under a Eurofighter bomb switch guard – to the point you arrive windswept and half-deaf at your destination, you’ve been part a vital component in the car's locomotion.
The M3W’s appeal is delivering this experience whatever your level of proficiency behind the wheel. Despite lacking a fourth wheel, the layout is inherently stable – there are no driving aids, but backing off the throttle as a slide develops quickly halts its progress.
The skinny front tyres load up quickly, discouraging overly ambitious cornering, but understeer is benign when you do explore the car’s limits. The brakes need a firm shove if you’re really covering ground, but vibration and buffeting acts as a natural speed-limiter. If you’re not wearing a helmet or goggles, that speed limit drops to around 40 or 50mph. Any more and your own tears begin to extinguish your vision.
So you drive it at a leisurely pace. And even then, the car assaults your senses. The twin fishtail pipes on our Brooklands edition give it the aural presence of a Hawker Hurricane and make blips of the throttle damn near irresistible. The car still vibrates and shudders. The rear tyre still spins through first and second gears, engulfing you in a fug of rubber particles. It smells of warm oil at idle and smells of whatever field you’re passing the rest of the time. The experience is almost enough to convince you you’d live with it every day.
You couldn’t, of course – even the least evo car on the market would be preferable on a rainy, midwinter motorway schlep after a ten hour day and seven hour flight – but it makes you think it could because it’s so endearing when conditions conspire in your favour.
Endearing. That’s my takeaway from a day experiencing Morgan’s factory and its cars. The people, the mix of tradition with modernity, and the 3 Wheeler. Hypnotic. Vibrant. But mostly endearing.