2012 Morgan 3 Wheeler on the Road

2012 Morgan 3 Wheeler

2012 Morgan 3 Wheeler

After all of the lead up to final production of the Morgan 3 Wheeler, the official British version of Pete Larsen's beautiful ACE Cycle Car is now rolling out of the Morgan factory, which is a real throw back to the early days of building cars by hand. The ash frame supporting the aluminum body, the S&S V-Twin, the snug confines of the 2 seat cockpit, all combine to make a really sweet little road going trike.

Autoblog snagged a roadtest and made a couple of videos, one of the car on the road and one of the factory which shows you what handbuilt really means. The sound of the engine is perfect and is sure to please anyone who can squeeze in behind the removable steering wheel and take it for a spin.

They mention how different the handling is from the originals which had a tendency to lift the inside wheel on turns, this one just stays planted. It has great acceleration, a very pleasing exhaust note and seems just the thing for blasting around some back country roads.

2012 Morgan 3 Wheeler

2012 Morgan 3 Wheeler

You know, if you decide you're ready for a trike and your checkbook can handle $50,000, you might want to consider one of these instead of installing an extra wheel on that Gold Wing. If you're here in the states, just give Pete Larsen a call up in Seattle, he's the first dealer, which is only right, it's his design. Very cool.

Thanks for the tip, Steve!

UPDATE: Swapped the on road video for one with Jay Leno driving on the English roads. Looks like one helluva lot of fun.

Link: Autoblog

Videos below:

Comments

  1. B50 Jim says

    Cor blimey! If I had an extra $50 Large hanging around I’d call Pete, ride the Amtrack to Seattle and drive one home. That’s assuming my 6’3″ frame would fit behind the removable wheel and allow me to put the wheel back on. I’ve loved 3-wheelers since I saw my first Moggie in London when I was 6. What a hoot it would be to drive in a caravan of modern Morgans! I wonder — is a racing series being planned?

    • Howie says

      Well Mr Leno isn’t what you would call “short of leg” and he fits ok so you should fit too and don’t forget its hand made so there could be room for some adaption.

  2. Mark says

    Ok, I get the whole retro look thing, but give me a break, you’d think after all this time, they could have updated the look to something slightly more up to date.
    I like the basic concept though, but they need to modernize it.

    • Paul Crowe - "The Kneeslider" says

      I think they’re going after a re-creation of the original as much as possible just like Pete Larsen did when he designed and built his ACE. They’re not trying to design one from scratch. If you modernize it, you’re missing the point. I like the look as it is.

    • HolyHandGrenade! says

      Someone already did, its called the Cam Am Spyder and the result is very modern yet also super lame.

      This on the other hand is all kinds of awesome and drool worthy!

    • says

      That’s like asking H-D to update their design. (Ok, the did with the V-Rod, but I suspect they earn more from the air cooled bikes)

      • says

        Plus give them cridit for using a thoroughly modern pushrod V-Twin, instead of one from H-D or Moto Guzzi.

        • HolyHandGrenade! says

          You guys just cant resist shoe horning in a snide HD comment. No matter what the article is about someone will find a loose correlation to justify a retarded statement.

          • says

            You’re way, way too sensitive. I love Harleys – stating their engines are old tech, or that Morgan was wise in choosing the new S&S engine, wasn’t a complaint about the Milwaukee brand.

    • Rob says

      I agree modernise it more like a Lotus/Caterham 7 and in kit form so you use older Harley/Buell/SS engines. Find a standard front end from a rear wheel drive car and keep it cheap…

  3. dannyb278 says

    “modern” and “pushrod V-Twin” should never be used in the same sentance

    • hoyt says

      here we go again with the pushrod banter. What does the Vette run in its engine danny? And what endurance races has the Vette won recently, beating out higher spec ‘modern’ engines?

    • Aichbe says

      So the Motus V4 and the GM LS V8s are lame? ZR1 & Z-06 Are boring? Uh huh. And yet, even “modern” companies like Yamaha, which has made DOHC engines for decades, sells a lot of very capable, pushrod V twins. And any time you can get 150 HP out of 117 cubes, with as mild a tune as that had, I’d say it was pretty modern. DOHC cam drives are better when shorter with over-square engines, but you can run strokers with pushrods, and have low rpm torque, which is a very good thing for a street machine. Plus, 3 cams is kinda newfangled, too. And it sounds so much better than a high RPM rig.

  4. B50 Jim says

    Nothing wrong with pushrods; they’ve worked just fine for 100 years — and an OHC engine hanging out front of a Moggie would ruin the whole vibe. The S&S mill makes tons of power and torque, and motivates the Morgan to any extra-legal speed you’d care to drive it if you have the stones. I want one, in RAF livery of course — to honor my grandfather, who helped keep the Royal Flying Corps’ kites in the air during the Great War.

  5. todd says

    I’d love to have one. I just need to see if my lender considers this a car (3.5% financing) or a motorcycle (5.75%). Maybe split the difference?

    This is the sort of vehicle that would potentially get me off my bike – but I’m afraid it would just sit in the garage since I can’t split lanes with it.

    -todd

  6. Mike says

    Huge kudos to Pete Larsen for conceiving and building the beautiful little thing and respect to Morgan for taking up his design and putting it out in pretty much its original form. They could so easily have got pissy and re-rolled heir own, given that his was a re-roll of theirs, which would have been very ungentlemanly.

  7. B50 Jim says

    Todd–

    It would be classified as a motorcycle — anything less than 4 wheels. Splitting lanes is illegal here in Illinois so that’s not a consideration for me. But driving one must be a bit tricky; remembering there’s a center wheel. Watch out for those potholes! Straddling one will give you a big jolt and potentially wreck a rim. It’s sort of like a sidecar — you have to learn a whole new set of skills. But at 50 Big Ones, all I can do is dream about it.

    • todd says

      I know what it is, I’m just not so sure a lending company knows what it is – unless they look at the registration afterward. I’m familiar with trikes, I’ve driven a Messerschmitt, VW trike, a Cushman, a Servi-Car, and had a sidecar hack of my own. I prefer the dynamics of the reverse trike over those of a conventional and certainly more so than a sidecar.
      Slightly off-topic but, once you start lane splitting you’ll wonder how anyone ever commutes without it. I couldn’t imagine having to drive to work stuck in traffic.

      -todd

  8. says

    Really great to see Morgan pull through with this. A lot of credit goes to Pete Larsen’s shop for keeping the spirit of the lil’ three wheeler alive all these years.

    Fantastic stuff!

  9. Scotduke says

    I saw them at the Goodwood Festival of Speed the other week and they sound as good as they look. The price is, a bit out of my league, which is a pity.

  10. Mark says

    Yes, I understand all about the retro look, but I honestly don’t think very many people are going to get exited about this vehicle.

    There are only a few reasons someone would buy something this outdated, and neither of them seem to apply to this vehicle. Buyers willing to purchase something this dated are looking for a historically significant vehicle, such as a 4 cylinder Indian or a Vincent Black Shadow, something that was extremely desirable in it’s time, but too expensive and rare to purchase today. I hardly think the Morgan 3 wheeler is in the same league as those vehicles.

    So all you have here is an expensive curiosity piece that has all the shortcomings of an old design without the status and value of owning a true classic.

    The reintroduction of VW’s Beetle is a perfect example. That car would have been a complete failure if VW would have simply reintroduced the same old 1974 Super Beetle, instead VW captured the emotion and essence of the old car in a completely new and modern package.
    I believe this vehicle would be far more successful if Morgan would have followed that same path instead.

    • HolyHandGrenade! says

      Ah yet HD sells probably 5 to 1 of Heritage Soft-tails to the VRSCF Muscle and probably even a greater ratio of 48s to XRs.

      I think this vehicle is very desirable given its classic nature. Besides, how is this not a modern version of the original? Modern tires, belt driven, EFI, disc brakes, Mazda gear box, modern electronics. This IS in essence a resto-mod.

      If you want a modern trike, go get a Can-Am Spyder and bask in all its sterile goodness. Its a great trike, does everything in a modern and slick way, but does nothing to stir the soul.

      I guess we can agree to disagree until official sales numnbers come out. Also, VW Beattle is a trud. The original Super Beatle is way more desirable than a modern retro styled Golf.

    • tim says

      I think you’re flat wrong.

      And as Charles Morgan said “We’ve got pre-orders”. Thats the proof. Who cares why someone wants it, as long as they’re prepared to lay their money down?.

    • Keith says

      you sound bitter…it’s well built, there is less crap like ABS to fail on it. It doesn’t use lucas electrics. You don’t have to worry about coolant…

      So what’t the problem? By definition it is not a car. So maybe you are crying about the lack of a roof or the fact you don’t straddle it. Hmmmm, no I think your problem is you can’t afford one and thus dislike it for those reasons.

  11. says

    I love this car!

    As for “outdated”, that’s what I look for in a vehicle.
    I gave up chasing Ewoks on StarWars-cycles on the planet of Endor.
    Give me the vintage stuff any day.

  12. sfan says

    More coverage here on the S&S site, including video of Jay Leno’s test drive (& surprise); his interview with Charles Morgan at Goodwood 2011; donuts and burnouts; and, for those interested in speeches, the official launch at the Geneva Auto Show:
    http://info.sscycle.com/performance-times/bid/51874/Introducing-The-new-X-Wedge-powered-Morgan-3-Wheeler

    Also, here is a video onboard a Morgan 3 for the Goodwood Hill Climb on July 3:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8_-cnLf3SY

    I must admit it sure looks and sounds like fun.

  13. bblix says

    Dated? How about just plain old “different from anything else”. Given the price tag, this is aimed at a niche that wants THIS vehicle.

    If I had the dough and the space to justify such a purchase, I’d love one. It’d be a hell of a grocery getter.

  14. Paul Crowe - "The Kneeslider" says

    For those of you who didn’t notice, I added a video above of Jay Leno taking one of these for a drive (Thanks, sfan, for the link). He has an original, too, and he notes that this does everything the old one couldn’t, it accelerates very nicely, turns, handles and stops great with good rubber and big disc brakes. If the new Morgan is some old and dated machine, I’m all for it. What a hoot!

  15. says

    I’ll say it, it looks like a bathtub on not quite enough wheels. I’m sure its fun to drive but I could definitely get a bunch of awesome toys for $50k rather than one odd looking one.

  16. says

    I don’t doubt that they have plenty of orders. $50K is not much money to some (it is a bit to me), so they will sell a few.
    Perhaps when the first wave of enthusiasm slows a bit, they might, hopefully, do a model with a ‘modernisation’ to it . Not a jelly bean / Jetsons thing, but a ‘logical’ evolution type of thing. Like the new Nortons as against the late originals.

    I can see the Bath Tub analogy – well, original Morgans fitted that bill too, I grew up with Moggies and MG TCs and TFs around me, as well as endless bikes. But the style impression, like many vehicles / bikes, can seem to change a Lot with just the colour. That light blue, really throws it at you, The British Racing Green, lessens the effect – to me.

    Like those Chryslers, that start with P ( I’ve gone blank on the name) I see most, and they really don’t appeal – especially those with the flames on them. But there’s one in my area, in black, that looks much, much better. Maybe it’s me – but that’s just it, it is how each person sees things…

    I have never liked the new Beatle that much – too much of a “Jelly Bean”, for me..

    The new Mini somehow retains more of the Mini style, even though it’s a Much larger vehicle. It , other than the size (though I’ve no problem with that), seems to have a more direct visual link to the tiny original Mini.

    I hope the do well, and can eventually expand the range, just a bit.

  17. Dr Robert Harms says

    Id be a buyer for one . I assume (read “hope”) that there is a reverse but nothing I have read so far mentions that. As the rear drive is toothed belt, the transmission is a question. Bikepost.ru has numerous pictures and it appears quite well finished. Id really prefer that they used something a bit more retro for the rear turn lights and Id especially like it if the ash body frame was polyurethaned clear rather than painted

  18. Hooligan says

    Charles Morgan says they have preorders, yes but they have preorders for the cars. The waiting time for them to be made is at least a year (it used to be 3). Apart from the fact this is simpler to make than the cars so should be turned out quicker but that price is a eye waterer.
    In England there is a race series for Caterham/Lotus 7 clones that use bike engines. A Hyuabusa engine is the favourite choice for these. The (kit) construction cost of these is a quarter of the Morgan. And they are faster and more stable.