Mor­gan loses a wheel

The spe­cial­ist car­maker is set for a new raid on Aus­tralia, writes Paul Pot­tinger

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

AS CAR com­pa­nies com­pete to down­size en­gines, niche maker Mor­gan has gone one fur­ther by re­duc­ing the num­ber of wheels.

The Three­wheeler, the model on which the com­pany was founded in 1909, will make a come­back next year af­ter mak­ing its de­but at the Geneva Mo­tor Show.

Billed as a week­end fun car, the Three­wheeler is pow­ered by a 1.8-litre Har­ley-Davidson Scream­ing Ea­gle V-twin en­gine. Power goes to the sin­gle rear wheel through a Maz­da­sourced five-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion.

Mor­gan pre­dicts that the car will com­plete the 0-160km/h sprint in 4.5 sec­onds and max out at about 180km/h.

It has an air­craft-style cock­pit, com­plete with a bomb-re­lease starter but­ton.

Mor­gan Aus­tralia’s Chris Van Wyk says: ‘‘We first have to achieve Aus­tralian com­pli­ance to de­ter­mine if it can be sold here.’’

This hinges largely on its weight rather than its lack of a fourth wheel.

In Aus­tralia such ve­hi­cles must ‘‘weigh 450kg and at the moment we have not re­ceived an of­fi­cial weight’’.

Some­thing of a mi­nor flood of new Mor­gans is on the way. The com­pany’s lo­cal op­er­a­tion has re­solved a three-year tus­sle with Aus­tralian de­sign rules to once more al­low the sup­ply of the Clas­sic Mor­gan range.

Van Wyk says ex­ist­ing or­ders, some dat­ing from 2006, have now re­ceived pri­or­ity in the Mor­gan pro­duc­tion queue.

‘‘Seven cars will be pro­duced for Aus­tralia be­fore the end of this year, and due to the strength of the Aus­tralian dol­lar, prices have been cut by $20,000 com­pared with 2006.’’

The lo­cal line-up of Ford en­ginepow­ered Clas­sic Mor­gans is: the Road­ster Sport 3.0 V6 165kW at $132,910; Road­ster 3.0 V6 165 kW ($122,900); Plus 4 2.0 In­line 4 106 kW ($89,910); and 4/4 Sport 1.6 In­line 4 82 kW ($78,500).

Though the $ 375,000 Aero Su­perS­ports with its 4.8-litre BMW V8 re­mains the flag­ship, five lo­cal or­ders have been made for the Su­perS­port Ju­nior, a $7260 2m pedal car for kids.

The 101-year-old car­maker this year will pro­duce a record 800 cars at its Worces­ter­shire fac­tory.

The next new model, due in 2012, is the EvaGT four-seater coupe, pow­ered by BMW’s 3.0-litre twin scroll turbo in­line six.

Old is new again: the Mor­gan Three­wheeler, first seen a cen­tury ago, will get a new lease of life.

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