ALL of me is excited about Morgan’s new Super 3 – but I suspect it’s my buttocks that will benefit the most.
It’s an all-new, three-wheeled sports car, but the thing that intrigues me most about is that it’s appreciably bigger than the one it replaces. Not in a bloated, middle-aged spread sort of way, but in that you’ll no longer need to be as lithe and agile as it is to clamber in with any kind of dignity.
Champion readers with very long memories will know that I’m a big fan of the old Threewheeler – in every sense of the phrase, unfortunately. I loved the howl of its air-cooled S&S V-twin engine (which, ironically, is what killed the old one off in the first place, as it no longer meets emissions regulations) and how, with no bonnet to cover it, it might as well have been sat in your lap. I was hooked on how responsive it was, and how its tiny steering wheel would squirm in your hands over the adulations of the asphalt. I didn’t even mind the pretend bullet holes on the side – but even as a slimmer twentysomething squeezing into its tiny tub and then having a passenger post themselves through the letterbox-esque slot that remained was one of my abiding memories of it. A bit cramped is putting it lightly.
But the new Super 3 isn’t a rethink of a 1920s sports car clearly designed with hobbits in mind – it is, in fact, the company’s first all-new design since the cross-eyed Aero 8 rocked up 22 years ago. So while it might look like something that a First World War fighter pilot might enjoy, it’s bang-up-to-date. The only bit the two cars have in common is the transmission – the Mazda MX-5’s five-speeder, because as flick-of-the-wrist sharp manuals go, it’s still the best ‘box in the business.
The thing that took me by surprise is that the Super 3 isn’t electric, because Morgan spent ages teasing us with a zero-emissions one-off at motor shows a few years ago before quietly dropping the idea. Instead, there’s a 1.5-litre Ford Ecoboost petrol engine, this time hidden behind an actual bonnet to help with aerodynamics and weight distribution. The 118bhp it kicks out to the single wheel at the back might not sound like much, but given it weighs half what a new Fiat 500 does, it’ll still crack 60mph in under seven seconds. However, I still reckon that an all-electric version might be under wraps at Morgan’s HQ down in Worcestershire, given how much work they’ve already put into the idea.
While it might look like it’s escaped from a grainy black-and-white film of Brooklands in the 1920s and have petrol rather than on-trend electrics doing the hard work, the rest of it’s bang up to date. You certainly didn’t get digital readouts and USB sockets in the old Threewheeler. It’s kitted out with a Google-based navigation system designed specifically for the car and has a mounting specifically for your smartphone. The structure is bonded aluminium, sculpted using computer-aided design. The only thing that I’m not so keen on is the price, which at £41,995 is a little larger too, but to be fair that’s only a grand or so more than the old one, and you get a lot more car for your money now.
On paper at least, the Super 3 should be a corker. And I’m looking forward to being able to fit properly this time!
David Simister is the editor of Classic Car Weekly