RAC Cars News


The Renaissance Of The Three Wheeler

By raccars Published

Image Source

Mention three wheeled cars and most people's thoughts inevitably turn to Del Boy and his hideous yellow Reliant Regal. However, a niche British manufacturer is changing all that with its Three Wheeler, an updated version of the car it first built 105 years ago.

The Morgan Motor Company is a small, family firm, hand building its cars from the same factory in Malvern in Worcestershire that it has inhabited for a hundred years. The company decided to reproduce a centenary edition of its classic three wheeler with a 400 model production run, but demand has been such that 1,400 units have already hit the road. A waiting list of several months awaits new customers for the £32,000 car.

The Three Wheeler, of course, bears absolutely no resemblance to the famous Peckham market trader's panel van. In fact, it provides the performance and comfort of a modern day sports car with the appearance of a classic. Furthermore, it reverses the famous Reliant layout, putting one wheel at the back and two at the front, making it far more stable to drive.

Each car is made to order and customers can select from 12 colourways, leather upholstery and neat options, such as ceramic exhaust pipes. The cars ride upon an ash frame which is crafted from Lincolnshire or Norfolk sourced wood. Styling is inspired by fighter planes, seen in the neat touches such as the 'bomb release' style starter button and cockpit style driving position.

Morgan expected most of the cars would go to its existing loyal fan base, but after a year had already sold 1,000 units. Turnover now runs at about 500 models per annum and half of the firm's total output is formed by the Three Wheeler. Most customers buy the car as a luxury and a second car, rather than their principal vehicle.

The original Three Wheeler went out of production in 1953, thanks to post war privations hitting the supply of materials and the growing popularity of four wheelers. While the old car still has a hugely enthusiastic fanbase, buyers are being seduced by the practicality of the modern version. Reliable modern mechanicals and an entertaining driving experience are convincing fans old and new, although like the original, the new Three Wheeler is a two seater only.

A small cadre of die hard Luddites is rejecting the newer models but the car has gained enough prestige already to put detractors in the minority.

Looking to Buy?
Search for cars