Many people like the idea of owning a classic car, but are put off by the prospect of unreliability, expensive repairs and a more challenging driving experience. I think this may be why modern underpinnings clothed in a stylish period body have become popular. Imagine a car as classy looking as an early Aston Martin but with heating, disc brakes, servo’s and modern crash protection.
But these boutique cars and recreations come at a price. A mini built with a new body shell and all the upgrades are being sold for over £100 000. Recreations of exotic sports cars can be in the region of £400 000 to £500 000. Clearly beyond the reach of most of us.
One alternative might be a distinctive car from the Morgan Motor Company. The Super 3 is a three-wheeled Morgan offering a unique combination of mechanical feel, connection to the environment and visual differentiation from anything else on the road. The Super 3 is Morgan’s first clean-sheet design since the launch of the Aero 8 in 2000. The engine is mounted in-board and has an inline three-cylinder block sitting behind the front axle line.
The Super 3’s face portrays two familiar headlights and a horseshoe front grille, both recognisable elements of Morgan design. Mounted on the headlight pods are two small, machined aluminium turrets. These turrets house the indicators and position lights.
The tail contrasts this with elegant, streamlined simplicity. An exposed rib forms a beltline around the vertical midpoint of the vehicle. This feature is a nod to traditional seam joining techniques deployed on mid-century aircraft fuselages, and it is often apparent in ‘belly tank’ racers and early jets. Beneath it lies a unique cut-off tailpipe design. Underneath the rear clamshell boot is an enclosure sculpted to provide maximum luggage capacity.
The minimalist dashboard features Morgan’s traditional centre-mounted dials, but for the first time in a Morgan they are fully digital. Their surrounds – available in both anodised black or silver finishes. The engine start/stop button, inspired by the ‘missile release’ button on military aircraft, is carried over from the outgoing model.
A choice of seat materials includes vinyl, water-resistant leather, saddle leather with enhanced durability and a technical fabric that combines a high level of water resistance, UV resistance and ease of maintenance and which offers an appealing alternative to leather. Also available for the first time is a footwell heater.
A universal fixing is mounted under the dashboard and allows for a cup holder or Quad Lock phone mount to be fitted. Bungee cords can be fitted to the chassis impressions in the outer cockpit to provide a quick storage solution for coats, maps and small bags, while a discreet lockable underseat compartment allows more valuable items to be stored.
The engine is coupled to a five-speed Mazda MX-5 gearbox. The bevel box has been re-engineered using a custom tooth profile, and it drives through a carbon fibre-reinforced drive belt. The Super 3 is all about fun and being different. Each of the liveries and decals has been designed to add further personality to the vehicle.
HFS Morgan built his first three-wheeler in 1909, in the process founding the Malvern-based manufacturer. Three-wheelers would continue to be produced until 1952, setting myriad records in racing and taking on adventures in some of the most extreme parts of the world. In 2011, Morgan revived the three-wheeler encapsulating the spirit of the early V-twin-engined cars
The price for Super 3 starts at £34,958.33 excluding local market taxes. In the UK, which is Morgan’s biggest market, The Super 3 is £41,995 plus on-the-road costs.