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How would you describe the looks of the new Morgan Super 3? As I mull this over, I’ve got three image-search tabs open in my internet browser: ‘scorpion’; ‘chariot’; and ‘Star Wars pod-racer’.
The Super 3 has hints of all of them. It was important, say Morgan’s designers, that the front pair of wheels protruded to look as if they’re pulling the new tricycle along, even though it’s actually driven by its hidden single rear wheel.
As was its immediate predecessor, the air-cooled, V-twin 3 Wheeler. Launched in 2012, that car felt like a classic from the off.
The Super 3, less so. I’m not sure photos quite do justice to its depth and sculpture.
It helps to see it in the metal to fully appreciate, say, the large distance between the turbofan-style wheel and the side panel, separated by spindly pull-rod suspension.
Or the reflections and shadows cast into the bodywork, which looks pulled taut because it is, because it’s stressed, because the Super 3 is Morgan’s first true monocoque.
Beneath that ’60s sci-fi exterior there’s no ash frame like on most Morgans.
And because this is still a small (3.58m long) and light (635kg dry) vehicle, clever design and packaging are rewarded.
Crackle-finished aluminium castings at the front, for example, locate the suspension, mount the engine, and divert air to the radiators.
Ah, yes, the engine.
You may note that you can’t see it here, even though an exposed motor has been a long-standing feature of three-wheeled Morgans.
It turns out that 2-litre, air-cooled, V-twin ’bike motors don’t find emissions tests overly agreeable, so instead there’s a Ford-sourced, naturally aspirated triple under the bonnet, mated to a five-speed manual gearbox from the Mazda MX-5.
Slip into the fixed seat and move the steering wheel and pedals to suit.
Give the starter a thumb from under the rocket-launcher-type cover and the engine, if the Super 3 has been fitted with an optional sports exhaust like our test car (there are a lot of options, on top of the £41,995 price), braps to a near-Porsche 911 idle.
I loved the Super 3 to drive. It deftly blends ride quality and body control, and while performance is modest by modern standards, it’s plenty for three skinny tyres.
You can rag it along your favourite back-road, revving it out happily, then glance down at the digital speedometer – waterproofed, like everything else on board, to motorbike-style standards – and find yourself comfortably below the speed limit.
A future classic? Yes, obviously.
But while most Morgans feel like classics from the moment they leave the factory, the Super 3 has an optimistic new-world charm that, you suspect, will grow ever stronger over time.
Images: Luc Lacey
- Engine 1498cc triple; 118bhp @ 6500rpm; 110lb ft @ 4500rpm
- Transmission five-speed manual, RWD
- 0-62mph 7 secs (est)
- Top speed 130mph (est)
- Mpg 40 (est)
- Price from £43,165