Morgan Makes the Super Sports Three Wheeler Official

New Morgan 3 Wheeler

New Morgan 3 Wheeler

Many of you have already noticed, but the Morgan Motor Company has made it official, they're going to be manufacturing a new three wheeler, styled after their originals. As noted here previously, the new Morgan will be a modified version of the ACE Cycle Car, built by Pete Larsen of Seattle. Morgan bought the rights to Larsen's design and then re-engineered it to make it more production friendly and as close to the historical Morgan as possible. The body will be aluminum, the interior is leather and the occupants will be protected with two roll bars.

New Morgan 3 Wheeler

New Morgan 3 Wheeler

Although some speculated the engine would change from the Harley V-Twin used in the ACE to something like the JAP, it turns out the Milwaukee power plant will remain, mated to a Mazda five speed transmission, including reverse. The 1800cc engine delivers 100 horsepower to the rear wheel for a top speed of 115mph and a 0-60 of 4.5 seconds.

The ACE Cycle Car

The ACE Cycle Car - inspiration for the new Morgan

We've been saying very little except to alert you to the changes over at Pete's site but news kept leaking and after it was official, Morgan got 1000 inquires in one day and dealers are already rushing to place orders and create waiting lists, all from some computer renderings and a spec sheet! I said before, I thought the ACE was the best and closest replica of the original and it looks like Morgan agreed. Pete Larsen should be proud that his design was the spark, along with some help from Andrew English over in the U.K., that made Morgan decide to go back to its roots and produce this retro model with modern engineering. Nice work!

Link: Morgan Motor Company
Related: ACE Becoming New Morgan?

Comments

  1. Bryan c says

    What will be even nicer is if Morgan sells them for less than Ace. Not that I don’t think that it is worth it, but at $45k to start, the Ace Cycle Car was a little out of range for most folks.

  2. Sick Cylinder says

    Rumour on the Pistonheads forum is that they will be expensive and also that one of the reasons for Morgan producing this model is to comply with Euro rules on the average fuel consumption / CO2 emissions of their model range. If so, clever move!

  3. Will13 says

    Kudos to Pete Larsen for such a great design replicating one of the most sensational sports cars of all time. Now that it’s back under the Morgan Company, I’m sure the price will move considerably up market, which is a shame for the many enthusiasts that would surely cherish one of these awesome little roadsters.

    I’m very happy to hear that H-D will continue to supply the engines for the 3 Wheeler. It would appear that someone in Milwaukee has pulled their head out of the sand and recognized a good business opportunity for a change.

  4. Redman says

    But why? Do they honestly think they are going to make a profit from this vehicle during today’s economic meltdown?

  5. todd says

    It doesn’t sound like they are using OEM catalog Harley engines, just like I doubt Mazda is officially supplying transmissions. These are likely after-market and well massaged (it does say 100hp). I wonder who is doing the motor?

    I can’t imagine how proud Pete Larsen is to have a prestigious marque such as Morgan validate all his work buy buying it and slapping their name on it. What a legacy!

    -todd

  6. Ceolwulf says

    @Redman – are there any other vehicles in Morgan’s lineup that any sensible person would say ought to be profitable?

    Thank goodness even in this financially hand-wringing time there are people with more passion than sense!

  7. frederick says

    i have the serious hots for a reverse trike since i got up close to a couple originals on a vintage brit ride. september last got the opportunity to meet pete larsen and see several cyclecars in the works at his beautifully restored shop in seattle. his 3-wheelers are brilliant and his attention to detail is incredible. aerospace level hardware, fit and finish. his way around the legal red tape is to sell you a “kit” to your specifications which he assembles for you. out the door they are pricey, at the time depending on motor size and finishes i figured between $45k – $50k. the only thing i didn’t like perhaps morgan will address…larsen uses a huge honda cruiser rear single sided swingarm for the rear suspension. this forces a diagonal driveshaft that unfortunately intrudes into the cockpit, basically making it a solo driver. so unless you have a very slender rear-ended significant other or a medium sized dog you’re on your own. i’m looking forward to morgan’s “modifications”

  8. Anthony M. says

    This is also the first trike to be offered by a western automobile manufacturer in a long time; hopefully it will start a trend. VW dipped its foot in the water with its reverse trike concept, but then got gun shy over liability law.

    While this will not be cheap, the fact that, as a three wheeler, this only needs to meet US and European motorcycle standards, and not US and European automobile crash test, safety and emissions standards, will make it much less expensive than the four wheeled Morgans.

    I’m sure Morgan is working directly with Harley and Mazda (as a five speed longitudinal transmission it is likely the same transmission as the base Miata); it works directly with BMW for four wheeler drive trains.

    It is too bad that Morgan couldn’t find a narrow angle liquid cooled engine so that the radiator cowl doesn’t need to be fake.

  9. joe says

    Fantastic looking retro machine ! Can’t understand why they would use an Harley engine when S&S make a bigger ,and better looking range of higher performance engines.

  10. Hawk says

    A Guzzi or an S&S engine might work but I’m sure someone will hang a V-10 Viper or a V-12 BMW on the nose sooner or later. But then, maybe not …. it would lift the drive wheel off the ground.

    May just take a ride down to Seattle for a peek …..

  11. Bob Flowers says

    The Morgan Company will indeed make a killing on these, even during the economic meltdown. Someone who might have bought something more than twice as expensive such as a boat who is now squeezed for a 100K purchase can probably still easily enjoy the simple pleasure of some great toy such as this for 1/3 the price. (The well-off gearhead who might have bought this in 1997 might have to settle today for a “Mere” 2-wheeled harley however!) Note the use of a metal body… the biggest objection of the traditionalists was the use of fiberglass in an earlier Morgan. They evidently listen carefully to their customers. I also see here evidence of a long term commitment with BMW for powerplants and transmissions, which should be to their benefit across all model lines! As to HD directly supplying engines, I suspect they are all from aftermarket suppliers, possibly even made in Europe, which reduces the “stigma” of the Morgan being an American machine, and opens up the possibility of ordering any engine which can be mated to the transmission and fit the space available! The question in my mind is the implication of large quantity production to regulations in the Eurozone. (In the USA, the ACE is exempt from all smog testing for its entire lifetime due to its low rate production). (Andy: are you lurking? You are the guru on this!)

  12. says

    I like the Ace Cycle Car version better than this computer rendering from Morgan.
    I see things on the rendering that I think detract from the product.

    The “dual roll bars” simply have to go. That is a modern styling cue on a variety of roadsters today, to the point of trite. Perhaps it was cute on the first car that had them, but it’s almost cliche now. Go back to the single large roll bar.

    The 3-spoke steering wheel is NOT an improvement over the 4-spoke steering wheel on the Ace Cycle Car.
    The “cleaned-up” interior and dash on the Morgan rendering do nothing to help the vintage cache’, and the clear lexan frameless windscreens are out of place. The Ace Cycle car had the interior right, and the Brooklands windscreens are mandatory.

    The re-routed exhaust way out wide on the Morgan rendering, along with that big boxy section near the bottom/front is NOT an improvement. That’s an eyesore. And it needs the chrome put back on the exhaust, please.

    My impressions are that this Morgan rendering has attempted to fill the classic nature of this car with tacky modern styling cues, which really ruin the classy appeal of the car, and they need to go back to where Ace Cycle Car had it.

    I do like the fact that they’ve picked this car up to manufacture, but I sincerely hope they remain true to the vintage appeal, and not tart it up with these crappy “corporate styling room trends” that they’ve changed on it.
    The Ace Cycle Car version is miles better in appearance.

  13. WRXr says

    I like it, however, if they were going for the pure retro look the could hang a modern, Austrian built JAP engine on the front.

    Personally, I think a V-ROD would look more at home there than any Air-cooled Harley engine, but they probably have their reasons.

    I’d also route the exhaust under the car.

  14. craigj says

    Normally I despise chrome with a deep deep passion, but in this case the chrome exhaust needs to come back … though with a chrome heat shield. As much as I admire the VRod motor, that large lump would look completely out of place on something like that. Maybe something like the S&S X-wedge motor for something different and with more performance? I also like the single hoop, though with a diagonal brace please.

    I’d really like to check one of those out, although I think I’d need 2lbs of butter to wedge myself into it every time I took it out of the garage.

  15. Mike von Collas says

    HFS Morgan built his first trike in 1906. IMHO These ‘cars’ reached their development apogee in 1933 with the beetle back Super Sports. That’s 77 years ago, folks. Whilst I am sure the ACE is a fine vehicle in its own right I think Morgan are missing an opportunity here. This is a step backwards both in time and technology and doesn’t mesh at all with the thinking shown in the ‘Lifecar’ design study. Both Puegeot and VW experimented with FWD reverse trikes for good reason. A single driven rear wheel on a reverse trike in this day and age is just plain wrong.

  16. Sportster Mike says

    There was a nice little Morgan style 3 wheeler on Poole Quay, England last summer. A Harley engine on the front, built in Salisbury by the guy who used to run Planet Engineering. I’ll find a pic if I can. Was selling for about £25000?? so will be a lot cheaper than Morgan

  17. Sportster Mike says

    Incidentally whatever happened to the Triking? That was a Moto Guzzi engine 3 wheeler
    Don’t know if any one other than the UK ever got that one

  18. NHstever says

    Note to Ben James- check out an Ariel Atom 3. It uses a 6 cylinder Honda GW motor I believe. Saw one recently & the owner indicated it was in the $45k range. The website has a couple of short videos of it in use.

  19. Sportster Mike says

    @craigj
    You shouldn’t be using butter!! margarine is much healthier for you – (I can’t believe its utterly butterly)…

  20. B50 Jim says

    I’ve been intrigued by Morgan 3-wheelers since I saw my first one while visiting England sometime around 1959 — I was 6 years old and the idea of a 3-wheel vehicle amazed me. I recall my mischievous uncle reached in and released the brake, then goaded me into pushing it, and I was amazed how easily it rolled (he reset the brake). Plus it was tiny compared to my dad’s Plymouth. I like this concept but I’ll have to see a photo of the real item, not a computer rendering. The front end appears too “clean” for a machine with all the working bits right out there for all to see. I agree the pipes should be chrome, and a production model probably will need bigger mufflers. The funky boxy sections toward the front do mess up the lines, but I see the need so people with shoe size bigger than 8 will be able to drive it. Too bad there are no contemporary English V-twins to power it; I’m tired of Harley clones. Maybe the folks at Hinckley could think of something? Or how ’bout a liquid-cooled diesel turbo-twin? Something around 1.4 liters and 150 foot-pounds would really scoot. The radiator could be somewhere in the back to keep the heat away from the driver and passenger, plus keep the dimensions looking right. Just musing.

  21. Thom says

    If “a single driven rear wheel on a trike is just wrong”, why is it working so well for Can Am/ Bombardier? Tom-ay-tos , tom-ah-tos. (Incidentally, it’s easier to steer and more stable this way….)

  22. Mike von Collas says

    Thom: The Morgan was the original drifting machine. You steered on the throttle, the steering wheel being used to initiate a turn. Sideways was the way to go. This made excellent use of the limited tyre technology of the day.
    The T-Rex and the Bombardier use modern, sticky, wide low profile tyres. The T-Rex is rear engined and carries a full roll cage, the Bombardier mid engined but you sit on top of it. As a result I suspect both have relatively high centres of gravity and therefore both will tend to lift the inside front wheel when cornered hard. Unless, of course, you’re drifting. In which case DO NOT BACK OFFf! If you do those modern sticky tyres will suddenly bite and you will find yourself in a sticky situation requiring lightning quick reflexes to get out of. I know of two documented instances of this occurring, both on RWD, rear engine trike designs. Any owners of T-Rexes and Bombardiers out there who care to comment?
    Perhaps this is the reason –rather than the retro look – Morgan are going with skinny bike tyres?
    Front engined reverse trikes concentrate mass between the front wheels. Front wheel drive helps avoid getting into trouble in extremis.

  23. Sick Cylinder says

    Re the earlier question – with a watercooled engine where would the radiator go? – behind the engine of course like on the original Morgan.

    Have a look at the BRA Cars website – the CX3 Honda CX500 / 650 powered model looks nice – sadly kit no longer available, but they were cheap to build. I have seen one on the road with a Honda ST1100 motor.

    I think a Honda ST1300 motor would be a better choice than the Harley Davidson for Morgan – smooth, powerful, easy to silence, reliable and you can use the sequential bike gearbox plus the output shaft is in the right position – it would also be lighter.