Brighton Days for the Revived Morgan 3-Wheeler
It’s a cycle and a sports tourer and an exhilarating drive into motoring history: After almost 60 years of inactivity, the famous 3-Wheel Morgan has been reborn, with the Valley’s Brighton Motorsports the exclusive Arizona dealer.
“This is not a new car or concept; it is a vehicle that was originally produced in 1910 through 1953 by Morgan Motor Company, and now Morgan is re-introducing it back into production,” says Karen Mustoe, who, with husband Shane, owns Brighton Motorsports and Brighton Ranch Paint & Body in the Scottsdale Airpark. “And, because the 3-Wheeler is powered by a motorcycle engine from S&S Motors and titled as a motorcycle, it’s inexpensive to license and title in the U.S.”
Brighton Motorsports, 15650 N. Northsight Blvd., Scottsdale, specializes in the sales and repair of vintage European and American collector cars. Nearby, Brighton Ranch Paint & Body, 9550 N. 90th St., is the Mustoes’ full-service collision and restoration facility.
Celebrating its 102nd anniversary this year, Morgan offers three packages for the 3-Wheeler: Sport, Bespoke and Superdry models.
After selecting one of these, you individualize your vehicle as to colors, graphics, chrome or no chrome and other features. Standard features for the approximately 1,100-pound aluminum-body Morgan include a 1990cc V-twin S&S engine, a 5-speed Mazda gearbox, including reverse (the original offered gravity and pushing power!). The result: stunning performance, great fuel economy and outstanding value for your dollar.
Performance recalls the “flying-through-the-air” experience reported of the original “Cyclecar.” With 120 bhp, the lightweight car can do an estimated 115 mph and accelerates from start to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds.
Also standard are an exposed tubular black chassis; gloss black wheel arches, lamps, wire wheels and roll bars; matt black exhausts and gloss heat shield; nickel-colored cowl; twin fly screens, again recalling the original; and a choice of padded black or tan leather cockpit.
The interior also includes leather seats, dash and side pads; leather steering wheel fitted with an alloy center cap; black anodized dash panel; aluminum aircraft-inspired toggle switches; body-colored trim panels; and bomb-release-style start button. In addition, choose from eight colors, including Sport Black, Teal and Red with Black or Tan Leather. For all models, you can also order a Toad Immobiliser, featuring automatic vehicle immobilization, and a Starcom1 Intercom System.
Options for the Bespoke and Superdry models include the Bright Pack, with polished exhaust, roll bars, cowl and engine and chrome headlights; exclusive paint; tonneau mohair; racing stripe, flags, bullets and numbers, even a pin-up girl. Many other optional paint colors and leather colors are also available in the Bespoke model.
The Superdry model is named for the premium youth-clothing manufacturer. Production of this model is limited to 200 and features the company name on the rear fenders.
Morgan Motor Cars was founded by H.F.S. Morgan, a clergyman’s son, who opened a garage and workshop in Malvern Links, England, in 1906 and started serious manufacture in 1909. The vehicles were usually powered by either J.A.P. or Matchless V-twins, most often innovatively placed forward of the radiator.
The cars were immensely successful. Morgan entered the vehicle in the Olympia Motorcycle Show in November 1910 for the London to Exeter Trial and won a Gold Medal. By the outbreak of World War I, 10 British and world records had been achieved as well as 24 gold medals in reliability trials.
W.G. McMinnies won the International Cyclecar Grand Prix in Amiens — against significant four-wheel competition. And, in 1930, Mrs. Gwenda Steward drove the 3-Wheeler in track competition in Paris and broke the world speed record at more than 100 m.p.h. Shortly later, she made 117 mph on a straightaway.
With success on and off the track, the Morgan Motor Company introduced a four-seater Family Roundabout after the war as well as a commercial delivery van. In France, it was produced for a short time as the Darmont Morgan. And, in 1933, a Ford-powered F-Type featured a conventional hood and radiator and reaffirmed the popularity of the 3-Wheeler. A 4-wheeler was introduced in 1935. Fifty-eight years ago, the final first-generation 3-Wheeler left the factory in 1953.
“Morgan’s long history is sprinkled with many events: new model launches such as the original three-wheeler, reproduced also as a pedal car, racing successes, stories and famous people,” Karen says.
“What’s so exciting about this wonderful car is how it blends 21st-century needs for downsizing and fuel conservation with our ageless need to go fast and to enjoy the thrill of motoring,” Shane adds. “With the reintroduction of the 3-Wheeler, the Morgan Motor Company is returning to its roots, and you, too, can enjoy the great joys of open-air driving without the antiquated mechanicals of the original cars or the costs of other specialty vehicles being produced today.”
Karen, Shane, and the Brighton Motorsports crew should receive the first Morgan 3-Wheeler by the end of December. The new Morgan 3-Wheeler will be unveiled at the L.A. Auto Show Nov.17–27.
“That same display car will be at Brighton before the January auctions,” Karen says, noting that Morgan has already taken advance deposits on more than 600 3-Wheelers. “Initially, Morgan’s supply will lag behind demand, so it would behoove those interested to order soon.”
Brighton Motorsports, www.BrightonMotorsports.com or 480.483.4682. For complete information on the 3-Wheeler, see www.morgan3wheeler.co.uk.