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Our favorite anachronism is indeed returning, as we suspected. Rejoice!
Last year, we shed three tears for the iconic Morgan 3 Wheeler, an homage to its prewar cyclecars produced until 1952 and revived in 2011. Its death was due to a regulatory issue with its S&S X-Wedge V-twin engine, and it went out with a bang: The P101 limited edition, which rocked a dazzle-type wrap that looks suspiciously like the cloaking the newest 3-Wheeler you see here.
What the new 3-Wheeler won’t be is electric, at least at this juncture. One of the few details the company confirmed is that it will utilize a naturally aspirated Ford I-3 engine. There are several such three-cylinder engines in the Ford of Europe stable, ranging from 1.0-1.5 liters. Since the outgoing S&S-powered trike made around 115 hp, it’s likely going to be one of the larger-displacement “Dragon” engines.
That explains what looks like an iron gate tacked onto the grille area, to obscure that critical bit of the car that’ll be much different from the outgoing one. The V-twin was the visual focus of the old 3 Wheeler’s nose, the literal mechanical heart of the car exposed for all to see. The new I-3 will likely be in roughly the same place but faired in a bit more. Whether any or all of it will protrude into the open air remains to be seen. The nose doesn’t appear to be much longer than the old 3-Wheeler, for what it’s worth.
Some differences do appear in the bodywork. The rear deck appears to be a little sharper and sleeker than the more bulbous older car. And the front bodywork also appears to be wider and more muscular than the upright and rounded hood form on the previous car. Stalk-mounted taillamps appear to be set much further apart from the rear bodywork, but whether that’s merely set up that way for testing or whether it represents what’ll reach production is anyone’s guess.
Another prominent change that’s immediately noticeable from the older 3-Wheeler (seen in the gallery below) is the front suspension arrangement, which places the dampers and springs in a more inboard position, and puts the steering rack up front. More extensive front wheel fairings cover more of the inner part of the front wheel. The rear suspension and wheel are, of course, entirely covered up.
We’re excited to see what Morgan has cooked up for the next generation of the delightfully old-school, oddball 3-Wheeler, which remains one of the purest bits of silly fun in the automotive world. And we hope that, using the new 3 Wheeler as a basis, Morgan considers finally bringing its EV3 concept to production.
The new Morgan Plus Four combines cutting edge hardware with traditional craftsmanship. Chris Pickering reports
No other car manufacturer is quite as adept at blending old and new as the Morgan Motor Company. The original Plus 4 was the mainstay of the company’s range for an incredible 70 years from 1950 to 2020. Its origins stretch back even further, with the steel ladder frame chassis and the coachbuilt aluminium body effectively an evolution of those on the 4/4 that was launched in 1936.
Packaging these powertrains would bring their own challenges. The six-cylinder engine in the Plus Six is the longest ever fitted to a Morgan, while both come with complex control and aftertreatment systems. This meant that there was a constant temptation to open up the packaging volume, but Wells dug his heals in.
It may have the familiar elegant shape of its predecessors but under the bonnet the Morgan Plus Four is an advanced, modern vehicle
Now there’s a new Plus Four (the subtle change to the name reflecting what Morgan describes as the biggest advancement in the model’s history). Outwardly, it looks much the same as always. There’s the same classic roadster styling and the famous handmade ash frame supporting the sleek aluminium panels. But underneath it’s a car designed to take Morgan into the future.
“We recognised that we needed to ensure we had a strong future ahead of us in terms of emissions compliance, crashworthiness and the new GSR safety regulations,” explains Morgan’s head of design, Jon Wells. “That meant that we’d need a new vehicle platform, but a key requirement for us was to maintain the flexibility of coachbuilding with a separate body.”
With this in mind, Morgan decided to switch to a bonded aluminium monocoque design for the chassis, while retaining the traditional coachbuilding techniques for the body. It’s a tried and tested approach that the company has been using on its range-topping models since 2000.
Here, the majority of the structure is formed by folding sections out of sheet aluminium. The bonding surfaces are pre-treated with adhesive and then assembled on a jig before being baked at 180 deg C to create a single structure.
“It’s a really good solution,” notes Morgan’s chief engineer, John Beech. “We’ve been using this method for 20-odd years and we’ve never had a failure. It results in a very rigid structure – we use a small number of rivets for location purposes, but it’s the adhesive that does all the work.”
Morgan’s engineers refined this concept for the CX platform that would underpin the new Plus Four and Plus Six, Beech explains: “We managed to reduce the material thickness significantly – from 3 or 4mm down to 1.2mm in some places – which means the new chassis only weighs 97kg. At the same time, the stiffness has been doubled in comparison to the old Aero chassis.”
One thing that was set in stone from the outset was that the new Plus Four had to occupy the same footprint as its predecessor, Wells recalls. This presented numerous challenges. For a start, the Plus Four’s compact dimensions and low-slung running boards only left a narrow centre section for the main structure. And while the old Plus 4 used a live axle at the back and a sliding pillar arrangement on the front, the new car would use double wishbones all round.
Inside Morgan’s Pickersleigh Road factory in Malvern
Part of the design brief was that the car had to be capable of running wire wheels. This posed its own challenges, as wire wheels use spokes triangulated around a central hub, which leads to a larger offset than you’d find on an alloy wheel.
“With a wire wheel, all the running gear has to be packaged well inboard of the centreline of the wheel. Getting the suspension geometry to perform – achieving a manageable scrub radius, for example, becomes a lot harder in that scenario,” says Wells.
Morgan developed its own low-offset wire wheels in response to this, but it also necessitated extensive development work on the wishbones, uprights and brake components.
Morgan was keen to futureproof the Plus Four against incoming emissions requirements – both to safeguard its position in existing markets and to open new opportunities where the previous car was unable to meet the legislation. A deal was struck with BMW, which had supplied the V8s used in the Aero 8 and the later versions of the Plus 8, to supply a new generation of direct injection turbocharged engines – an inline four for the Plus Four and an inline six for its bigger brother.
The majority of the powertrain electrical architecture is also shared with BMW, as are the transmission options. Much of the calibration work has been carried out at BMW’s test facility in Aschheim, near Munich.
“The support and the hardware that we’ve received from BMW have been absolutely paramount to the programme. It’s a relationship that goes back over 20 years and the engineers we work with there are very much part of the team,” comments Wells.
Packaging the BMW powertrain represented a key engineering challenge
“Power bulge is a phrase that’s now banned from the Morgan Design Studio as it came up about once a day during the development,” he jokes. “And once you’ve got everything in there – with the radiator and the cooling pack pushed up against the engine, the next challenge is keeping it cool. That required a lot of complex under-bonnet aerodynamics work. We’ve used external CFD for many years, but this was the first time we’d carried out a major study on internal aerodynamics.”
Step into the Morgan factory on Pickersleigh Road and you’re still greeted by the sound of panel beaters’ hammers and the smell of fresh timber wafting through the air. In fact, there’s more wood used in the body frame of the CX generation Plus Four than in its predecessor.
Modern technology is used wherever it can offer an efficiency benefit without detracting from the traditional craftsmanship that lies at the heart of Morgan’s production philosophy. Laser cutting, for instance, is now used to create the blanks that will later be hand-shaped into the Plus Four’s elegantly-louvred bonnet. Likewise, 3D printing is used to create jigs and fixtures that are used in the wood shop.
One of the reasons for sticking with a traditional ash and aluminium coachbuilding process is that it provides plenty of flexibility for Morgan’s small production runs (typically around 800 cars a year).
“We do everything for a reason – we really value the traditional skills that we have here, but as soon as we have a job justifying something then we don’t force it,” comments Wells. “For instance, Morgan is known for using wood, aluminium and leather, but when we did our electric 3 Wheeler concept we used a lot of carbon fibre. It’s about choosing the right materials and processes for the job, not being too precious about doing things a certain way.”
The wings are formed using the Superform process, which heats a sheet of aluminium to around 500 deg C and then blows it into a mould to create a complex 3D shape. But the remainder of the bodywork is sculpted by hand, just as it always has been.
The results are exquisite – particularly as other cars typically get bigger, heavier and more generic. Morgan has managed to retain the elegance of its original pre-war designs, despite bringing in a host of new technology.
There’s undoubtedly more to come. Although the company says it has no specific plans for electric or hybrid models on this platform, it has been designed to provide sufficient flexibility should that be required. The last few years have also seen a significant period of expansion, with a team of 35 engineers and designers now occupying a dedicated 30,000-square foot engineering centre. Whatever challenges the future may have in store, you can be sure that Morgan will be well-placed to tackle them in its own inimitable style.
Retro-styled roadster looks set for a second-gen revival, and all the signs point to a heavy overhaul
Morgan has begun testing a substantially overhauled second-generation version of its lightweight 3 Wheeler roadster, as it prepares to wind down production of the current car this year.
Autocar has obtained an exclusive image of a prototype being put through its paces, giving us a first look at how the Malvern manufacturer will update the diminutive 3 Wheeler, which remains similar in its concept and design to the Morgan Super Sports launched in 1933.
Most obviously, one of the current car’s defining features, its front-mounted V-twin engine, has been removed. Morgan previously confirmed that the outgoing car’s 1998cc motorcycle-derived 82bhp aircooled engine – supplied by American manufacturer S&S – would become non-compliant with emissions regulations in 2021, but has not yet detailed its replacement. Irrespective of output, Autocar understands the engine will continue to drive the rear wheel exclusively.
It is now two and a half years since Morgan shelved plans for a pure-electric version of the 3 Wheeler, citing problems with its powertrain supplier and vowing to bolster its EV development capabilities by bringing “additional specialist resource in-house”. It remains unclear whether this second-generation car could spawn a zero-emission variant.
With no engine elements on show, it appears the next-gen 3 Wheeler’s powerplant will be housed, more conventionally, in the bodyshell itself. That means it’s likely to be larger than the current two-cylinder unit and, as is the case with the other models in Morgan’s range, will likely be sourced from a third-party manufacturer.
BMW currently supplies engines for Morgan’s four-wheeled sports cars, but the smallest is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder taken from the Z4 sports car, and would almost certainly be too large for the 3 Wheeler’s shell.
Beyond that, we can see clues as to a subtle redesign for the brand’s smallest model. With the engine relocated, it looks as if Morgan will introduce a more streamlined front end, although the front wheels will remain exposed while the rear wheel is enclosed within the tail of the car. However, the roll cage pictured here is for testing purposes and won’t make production.
More significant are the apparent revisions to the 3 Wheeler’s chassis. With the front track visibly widened, we get a good look at what seems to be a much more advanced suspension set-up, while the vented brake discs at the front have been substantially upsized, all of which points to a more overt handling focus and potentially a power increase for the 3 Wheeler.
The new 3 Wheeler is expected to be shown in full towards the end of this year, ahead of an international market launch in 2022.
Morgan has recently appointed a distributor for Ireland and the company, still on the go after some 111 years, has now unleashed the first in its ‘CX-Generation’
When Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan founded the Morgan Motor Company in the Malvern Hills back in 1910, I doubt very much he thought the company would be on the go 111 years later, still producing unique and bespoke sports cars.
The fact that the company is still fully functioning is a credit not only to Henry Morgan’s vision, but also to that of an Italian-owned investment company which took it over in 2019, promising to expand the operation which is still based in the small British town of Malvern Link.
Some 220 people are employed in the manufacture of Morgan cars and roughly 850 units are made annually in an operation that is actually a lot more modern than most people think, even though the marque’s characteristic trait — the use of wood in the manufacture of the chassis — is still part and parcel of the company’s raison d’etre.
Although the rose-tinted vision of a Morgan probably involves a Spitfire pilot with a twirly moustache, a silk scarf, and a blonde WAAF speeding along Second World War-era English country lanes, the modern incarnation of the car differs little in appearance but those driving them these days are certainly nothing like the originals.
Down the years, Morgan has made everything from three-wheelers to roadsters to coupes, and they were renowned for such as their sliding pillar suspension and their wooden chassis, made of ash and African Bubinga red hardwood. Over time, the cars grew a modest but well-heeled fan base who adored not only the retro look and manufacturing techniques, but also the lovingly sporty nature of these handmade specials.
Latterly, and especially so since the company’s takeover by Italian investment group InvestIndustrial in 2019, the business has re-emerged as a more focused and modern entity.
You can add a hand-stitched leather interior, if you so desire. Picture: Dan Linehan
This is underscored by the fact that its current model line-up now has the essential Morgan look, but is underpinned by modern construction techniques — albeit still incorporating an element of wood within.
The company describes the modern models — the Plus Six and the Plus Four — as being the first in its ‘CX-Generation’ which bear a bonded aluminium platform which is much stronger than the traditional chassis. They sport BMW engines and gearboxes instead of the Matchless, JAP, Coventry Climax, Standard, Triumph, Rover, and Ford engines the company used down the years.
Morgan says that despite the look and feel of the new Plus Four, it remains the same as when the model was first revealed almost seven decades ago; only 3% of the components are shared with the outgoing version.
And, having driven it, I can confirm that the new beast is a whole lot more ready for the modern world than anything that preceded it.
As brand development is now moving along nearly as quickly as one of the company’s products, it is appropriate that this new era for the company is reflecting a push for new markets and customers.
That is why Morgan has recently appointed a distributor for Ireland (all 32 counties) and why it has reached out to someone with lifelong connections to the industry here and a special connection with motorists who like something different from the norm.
The new distributor is a company called Edgewood Automotive and the man running it is Fermoy, Co Cork-based Wayne McCarthy, the son of the late but legendary industry figure John McCarthy, who ran an Opel franchise, among many other business interests, in the town for decades.
Wayne also ran the Motorpoint operation on the Lower Rd in Cork City for many years; it was a Saab dealership as well as the source for many unusual automotive imports to this country.
He is not only terribly proud of his history in the business, but also noticeably confident about the future of a brand such as Morgan, even given its undoubtedly niche status.
Even though the entry-level Plus Four model will cost north of €100,000 here, it is easy to see why his confidence in the product is not in any way rash. The whole issue here is that while you can order an-off-the-line model, you can also personalise it to the max.
The list of stuff you can add to the car — everything from a hand-stitched leather interior to the bespoke Avon tyres and the specially crafted wire wheels to the brass knock-offs which hold them in place — is extraordinary and will certainly appeal to people who like the word ‘unique’.
Element of trepidation
There is an element of trepidation involved in taking anything of this nature for a spin — especially around the unfamiliar backroads of north Cork — and the mild expectation is certainly present that you’re about to be subjected to a boneshaker which can trace its roots back to a time not long after the Wright Brothers were first taking flight.
Fire it up and you get a low burbling thrum encouraging you to find out what’s possible here. Picture: Dan Linehan
Nothing could be further from the truth. Lower yourself — you have to, believe me — into the driver seat and you find yourself cossetted by high-grade leather and appropriate amounts of dashboard and centre console wood, of which there are seven options. You look out on the long, hand-louvred bonnet and get a feeling of unadulterated motoring richness.
Fire it up and you get a low burbling thrum encouraging you to find out what’s possible here. And with 255 bhp on offer, what’s possible is nearly alarming. Boasting a dry weight of 1,009kg, the Plus Four is light, but with that four-pot BMW turbo under the hood, there’s no shortage of poke and an eight-speed auto ‘box, also from Munich, helps get that power on the road when and where you want it.
Top speed is a shade over 240km/h and the 0-100km/h dash is achieved in just 4.8 seconds, which is 0.4 of a second quicker than the option with the six-speed manual gearbox. These figures suggest a certain fleetness of foot and they are not wrong because the rate of progress here is pretty savage.
That being so and what with the car also being rear-wheel drive, you might jump to the conclusion that you’ll be applying the opposite lock on a fairly regular basis — depending, of course, how far you dial up the inner hooligan — but unless you’re very bold or very dumb, that does not have to be the case.
In fact, the car is nothing like as tail-happy as I anticipated and even on dampish roads, there was nothing of the sphincter-tightening nature I expected. I thought I might be heading for Castlelyons looking mainly out the passenger window, but there was none of that.
Neither was there much blood-rushing when the brakes were applied. Once upon a time, Morgans were noted for their reluctance to stop, but now there is a proper ABS system onboard here and any thoughts you may have had of a fishtailing, smoke-wreathed roadster can be dismissed.
This is indeed a beauteous beast and while some might find the retro look a little naff, those who appreciate the hand-built craft on offer, as well as the modern chassis and drivetrain, will look to the individuality and distinctiveness that Morgan sells and they will embrace that fully.
This is a car with great history and now, also, a great future. It melds the old and the new into a fascinating concoction of thrills and heritage with a large dash of exclusivity.
That’s a blend that’s definitely intoxicating.
Colley verdict – The cost: From €106,000, The engine: A muscular two-litre petrol turbo, The specification: You can have pretty much anything you desire, The overall verdict: A classic, Star Rating: *****
The Bristol Bullet was set to be a Morgan Plus 8-based retro drop-top powered by a BMW V8—except now we’re getting nine 2022 Plus 8 GTRs instead.
Founded in 1945 primarily to keep the Bristol Aeroplane Company’s crew busy after the war, Bristol Cars went from using pre-war BMW technology to producing some of the most quintessentially British motorcars ever made, all hand-built to Rolls-Royce-rivaling standards. Bristol maintained a single dealership on the corner of London’s Kensington High Street and Holland Road, and this conservative attitude towards sales slowly and steadily pushed it into bankruptcy by 2010. The group that bought Bristol’s assets promised a new speedster by 2015, powered by a BMW V8 and limited to 70 units to celebrate Bristol’s 70th anniversary.
“Project Pinnacle” led to a drivable Bristol Bullet prototype presented at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed, only for the new venture to go silent afterwards and into liquidation in 2020. Yet back in 2015, the new Bristol company purchased rolling chassis from Morgan for the Bullet—specifically, the Plus 8 bonded aluminum platform fitted with a 370-horsepower BMW V8. As with Les Edgar’s revival of TVR, the Bristol rebirth looked great until it didn’t.
The Bullet itself made perfect sense. A hot limited-edition speedster with BMW powered just like the original Bristols, except styled somewhat like a late 2010s restomod AC Cobra. Given the size and enthusiasm of the British collector car market, the entire 70-car run could surely sell out in no time.
With its suitably long hood, fine leather inside the two-seater cabin, AP Racing brakes and German V8, the Bullet could have been a proper dream machine.
Two years ago, the Morgan Motor Company had to move on to a new aluminum platform that used turbocharged straight-six BMW engines to keep up with our times. However, when nine of its old Plus 8 rolling chassis went up for sale when Bristol closed, Morgan quickly realized that nine track-focused specials based on that older tech could be built for 2022. The resulting Plus 8 GTRs would feature a naturally aspirated V8 under a new aerodynamic Plus 8 body that pays tribute to Charles Morgan’s mad “Big Blue” endurance racer from 1995.
As Morgan put it: “The project has only been possible because of the recent availability of a number of Plus 8 rolling chassis, which have been re-acquired from a third party following a discontinued project.”
Big Blue was Morgan’s test bed for the then-new bonded aluminum chassis that made the Aero 8 and other roaring V8 sports cars possible. This new run of nine 2022 Plus 8 GTRs will be what the Bristol Bullet couldn’t, only with a roof and the rest of Morgan’s bold design.
Production of special-edition Morgan Plus 8 GTR will begin this summer, limited to nine examples
www.autocar.co.uk/ 18 February 2021
A special-edition Morgan Plus 8 GTR will be built this summer, three years after production of the standard car officially came to an end.
Morgan says the GTR will be a “gloves off” version of the Plus 8, with the project made possible after several chassis earmarked for a discontinued external project were reacquired from a third party.
Only nine examples of the Morgan Plus 8 GTR will be built, but the British firm is set to reveal several other special edition models in 2021.
Power will come from a 4.8-litre BMW N62 engine, although Morgan has suggested that output from the recommissioned units will be higher than the 362bhp achieved in their original specification. Six-speed manual and automatic transmissions will be offered, although allocations for these are fixed for the production run.
The chassis are completely unused, having been built by Morgan before 2018. The company says some mechanical components will be upgraded for use in the Plus 8 GTR.
“Reviving a V8-powered Morgan at the current time may not seem like the obvious choice for a manufacturer firmly focused on new platforms and powertrains,” said Morgan’s head of design, Jonathan Wells. “However, when the opportunity presented itself to recommission a number of rolling chassis and create an exciting special project such as Plus 8 GTR, we embraced it fully.
“This project has allowed Morgan’s design and engineering teams to revisit some of their favourite elements of past Morgan models, as well as experiment with some features that we hope will appear on future Morgan cars.”
Morgan’s design and engineering teams have been told to “let their imaginations run wild” for the GTR, with inspiration coming from the ‘Big Blue’ GT series racer of the 1990s. That vehicle was used as a test bed for the bonded-aluminium chassis tech that later replaced Morgan’s traditional steel chassis in 2004.
With a full unveiling due before the car enters production this summer, sketches show the GTR sporting a high shoulder line “not seen on a traditional Morgan body for decades”.
The wheel arches have been resculpted and the five-spoke centre-lock wheels are a nod to the Plus 8’s racing heritage. The rear end, front wings and front splitter have all been reworked, with a hard-top replacing the original fabric item.
Every example of the GTR will be handcrafted using traditional coachbuilding techniques, but in a break from tradition, production will take place at the Morgan Design and Engineering Centre (M-DEC) rather than at the Pickersleigh Road factory.
Customers will be given the chance to create a bespoke Plus 8 GTR with the help of Morgan’s design team.
Replica car production expected to start within months after NHTSA rulemaking
Replica car sales permitted under the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act will start to take place within the next few months now that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has – after five years, numerous reminders, and one lawsuit prodding the agency – issued its final regulations on the matter.
“The roadblocks have been eliminated,” SEMA President Chris Kersting said in a press statement. “SEMA applauds NHTSA’s final rule allowing companies to market classic-themed cars.”
Since 1967, federal law has prevented carmakers from producing turnkey vehicles that do not meet federal motor vehicle safety standards. Replica carmakers have only been able to sell brand-new cars and trucks until now by selling kits or engineless vehicles that the customer then has to finish.
However, under the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act, which passed in December 2015 as part of a highway funding bill, replica carmakers would be able to sell turnkey replica vehicles that do not necessarily conform to current automotive safety standards, provided they adhere to production caps (no more than 325 vehicles per year, built by companies that construct no more than 5,000 vehicles per year worldwide), use EPA- or CARB-certified current model-year engines, and replicate vehicles at least 25 years old.
The law also mandated that the EPA and the NHTSA draft guidelines and regulations for anybody who wanted to take advantage of the law within a year of the law’s passage. While the EPA issued its draft guidelines by the end of 2017, the NHTSA didn’t do so until about eight weeks after SEMA filed its lawsuit asking a federal appellate court to compel the federal agency to act.
The recent regulation, which the NHTSA issued Friday [15 Jan 2021] and which will be enacted in the Federal Register in the coming days, addresses a number of minor issues that arose when the agency issued its draft of the regulation in December 2019. Perhaps the most significant change, according to Stuart Gosswein, SEMA’s senior director of federal government affairs, is in the agency’s definition of “resemble.”
“NHTSA started off with a more conservative approach” under which replica vehicle manufacturers would be limited to the same length, width, and height as the vehicle being replicated, Gosswein said. The draft regulation even specified that the replica vehicle’s interior would have to match the original vehicle’s interior dimensions as well. “So they’d just be building reproductions. We argued that the operative word is ‘resemble,’ not ‘duplicate,” and they agreed.”
Under the revised guidelines, interior dimensions will not be considered and replica vehicle manufacturers will be allowed a 10 percent difference in external dimensions – possibly more with the agency’s permission.
“Whether a replica motor vehicle sufficiently ‘resembles’ an original motor vehicle is a matter NHTSA will decide on an individualized basis and in its discretion, taking into account the overall appearance of the vehicle,” the agency wrote in the regulation. “To be clear, the FAST Act creates an exemption program designed to allow historic models to be replicated in a less costly way by low-volume manufacturers. NHTSA does not interpret ‘resemble’ in a manner in that would allow vehicles that are merely inspired by older vehicles to be built, or otherwise allow for artistic license to create vehicles that merely remind the public of past automotive heritage.”
In addition, the NHTSA’s final regulation allows foreign carmakers to sell replica cars in the country via registered importers, relaxes the burden of proof on replica carmakers regarding copyrights and licenses necessary to produce the replica cars, and allows replica carmakers to purchase rolling chassis from production carmakers provided the two companies can agree to stamp VINs according to the specifications in the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act.
The agency also clarified that its regulations apply only to vehicles that were originally offered for consumer sale and thus does not permit replica vehicles based on prototypes, concept cars, or show cars.
Roughly a dozen companies have expressed interest in replicating everything from Checkers to ’32 Fords to DeLoreans to Lamborghini Countaches to Shelby Cobras, though the unanticipated delays in the EPA’s and the NHTSA’s regulations – caused by bureaucratic delays and a plethora of unfilled positions at the NHTSA – led some of those companies to backburner or even cancel their plans.
“They’ve been waiting for this day so they can unpause,” Gosswein said.
The publication of the NHTSA’s regulations does not mean that replica car sales will start immediately, Gosswein said. “The rule will take effect immediately, but companies will still need to register with NHTSA, EPA, and CARB and get their proposals approved. It’ll be some months until sales begin, though there are definitely some companies – about five or six of them – with their proposals ready and waiting to submit.”
One potential remaining holdup concerns the number of drivetrains available for replica car companies to use in their vehicles. While it’s possible for low-volume manufacturers to use any EPA-certified production engine package, the law also specifies that the replica carmakers have to use a CARB-certified engine package, and at last count CARB only approved of one engine package: the 430-hp LS3 E-Rod V-8 crate engine from GM.
“The engine manufacturers were enthused when the law was enacted, but then everything got put on hold,” Gosswein said. “This is why our focus now will be on engine packages and on getting as many out there as possible for a variety of sizes and needs.”
While many of the replica carmakers Gosswein knows of are expected to power their vehicles with internal combustion engines, he said at least a couple are looking to go electric, possibly with packages like GM’s eCrate system.
For now, though, Gosswein said the major push is over and all that’s left for SEMA to do is help the various replica carmakers navigate the application process.
[I deleted the photos from this article as they are the same as shown in the other article of the same topic and as posted to the MMC web site. If interested, view them there. Mark]
The 3 Wheeler will soon return in electric form, finally.
Having sold over 2,500 units since production began in 2012, The Morgan Motor Company is about to put an end to the S&S 2.0-liter V-twin-powered 3 Wheelers. However, before gearing up to produce its electric successors known so far as the EV3, Morgan will offer just 33 examples of 3 Wheeler P101s, which are celebratory special editions featuring several updated parts. These 3 Wheelers will be available in five ‘art pack’ variants, starting at £45,000 in the U.K.—the equivalent to roughly $60,000.
The Morgan Motor Company may have started out with conveniently tax-evading 3 Wheelers in 1911 following 1909’s Runabout prototype by HFS Morgan, yet the original line was discontinued after the last Ford-engined F-Series rolled out of the Malvern factory in 1952. The modern, American-engined 3 Wheeler’s story began in 2009 when Morgan engineers launched Project 101, the development program leading up to the 2011 production model. The Morgan 3 Wheeler has been mildly updated since to become a fan favorite, a unique toy, and the perfect tool to set transcontinental driving records with.
In 2021, production of the combustion-engined 3 Wheelers will come to an end with the 33 P101 editions, which all feature a single-leaf tonneau cover—first seen on Morgan’s EV3 concept in 2016—that is supposed to let everybody know that this is more of a hardcore single-seater compared to the regular 3 Wheeler grocery getters out there. Going very high-tech with composites indeed, like “on engine shrouds for 1970s race cars,” Morgan’s resin cover exhibits a natural translucent golden color.
The P101s also come with body-colored low-drag Aero disk wheels, 9-inch Hella spot lamps positioned way down to reduce turbulence around the suspension and wishbones, and alternated black and white ceramic-coated straight-cut exhausts to emphasize the asymmetric theme. Further details include torque markers on each front tire, a fly screen, additional louvers, exposed rivets, and P101 markings all around.
Additionally, Morgan’s four P101 art packs include:
The Belly Tank: Referencing liveries found on belly tank racers and “lakesters” that were inspirations for the 3 Wheeler initially, The Belly Tank graphic pack features a distressed effect in the vinyl.
The Dazzleship: The Dazzleship is the boldest of the art packs. Its striking black and white design is inspired by the graphic camouflage of period military vehicles.
The Aviator: Evoking a sense of aviation spirit, The Aviator graphic pack is an extension of similarly themed graphics currently offered on the 3 Wheeler. This art pack is inspired by nose art found on RAF planes in WWII.
The Race Car: Three-wheeled Morgan vehicles were competing in motorsport almost as soon as the first example was created. The Race Car graphic pack features stripes and roundels, paying homage to the liveries that adorned early Morgan race cars.
It’s all about those stickers, folks! Morgan says that all 33 production slots have already been allocated to Morgan dealerships in the U.K., Europe, and the United States, with production beginning immediately alongside the last bespoke 3 Wheelers in 2021.
As for the electric successor, Morgan first presented its EV3 at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, only to delay the project severely afterward, due to switching suppliers and restarting the development process while also dealing with financial difficulties. However, the all-electric new Morgan 3 Wheeler is eminent now and will join the line of BMW-powered new Morgans in 2022.
The Morgan Motor Company is marking the end of production of one of its most well-loved models, the 3 Wheeler, with the announcement of the P101 edition. The 3 Wheeler — which was introduced in its current form in 2011 — will cease production in 2021, once type approval on its S&S V-twin engine finishes.
P101 stands for Project 101, the internal name given to the project to revive the 3 Wheeler when development began more than a decade ago. Limited to just 33 examples, the P101 was conceived by Morgan’s in-house Design and Engineering departments to celebrate their original project, and its resulting model success throughout its production run.
The current 3 Wheeler has been one of the company’s most popular models of all time, more than 2,500 examples having been made since its launch in 2011. The 3 Wheeler is exported to all corners of the globe, and has received countless motoring accolades from across the industry. This recognition, the popularity of the car, and the numerous ‘stand out’ road trips undertaken by owners confirms that the spirit of adventure and individuality is alive and well, both at Morgan and within the wider automotive industry.
Characterised by a purposeful and utilitarian aesthetic, the P101 features a range of unique components and bespoke detailing, many of which have been inspired by the prominent design features of Morgan’s three wheeled models.
A striking single-leaf tonneau cover – first seen on Morgan’s EV3 concept in 2016 – has been deployed to exaggerate the asymmetrical theme, and is intended for single occupant use. The composite resin cover exhibits a natural translucent golden colour, not dissimilar to materials witnessed on engine shrouds for 1970s race cars. The tonneau is lightweight, streamlined, and honest in both its design and manufacture.
The Aero-disc wheels – painted to match the main body colour –– provide a further streamlined visual and define the look of the P101, making it instantly recognisable as a unique model. The low-drag aero-disc wheels work together with low-slung Hella 9-inch spot lamps, positioned to reduce turbulence around the suspension and wishbones, whilst also giving the car a more forward-leaning aesthetic.
Adding to the asymmetry and split identity of the P101, alternated black and white ceramic coated exhausts contrast left to right of the model. Further detailed additions include torque markers on each front tyre, straight-cut exhausts, a fly screen, additional louvres, exposed rivet details, and unique P101 markings. Together, they evoke the sense of excitement felt around the company when the original prototypes were being developed.
Each 3 Wheeler P101 is available in Deep Black or Satin White Silver paint, with appropriate decals to suit. Further to this, four P101 art packs will be available for customers to choose from, each with their own unique identifiers and vivid graphics:
The Belly Tank – Referencing liveries found on belly tank racers and ‘lakesters’ that were inspirations for the 3 Wheeler initially, The Belly Tank graphic pack features a distressed effect in the vinyl.
The Dazzleship – The Dazzleship – featured in the launch film and images – is the boldest of the art packs. Its striking black and white design is inspired by the graphic camouflage of period military vehicles.
The Aviator – Evoking a sense of aviation spirit, The Aviator graphic pack is an extension of similar theme graphics offered on 3 wheelers. Inspired by nose art found on RAF planes in WWII.
The Race Car – Three wheeled Morgan vehicles were competing in motorsport almost as soon as the first example was created. The Race Car graphic pack features stripes and roundels, and pays homage to the liveries which have adorned by early Morgan race cars.
The limited-edition P101 is priced from £45,000 plus local market taxes and on-the-road costs, and all 33 production slots have already been allocated to Morgan dealerships. Production of the model will begin immediately and continue alongside ‘bespoke’ 3 Wheelers during 2021.
The importance of three wheelers in Morgan’s history cannot be underestimated. From the original Runabout built by HFS Morgan in 1909, through to the latest version in production today, thousands have been built in Morgan’s factory in Malvern, Worcestershire. Through various iterations, the original three wheelers were made until 1952, when the factory began exclusive production of four-wheeled cars until the launch of the 3 Wheeler in 2011. Details of a potential successor to the 3 Wheeler are yet to be announced, and while Morgan can confirm that the Morgan 3 Wheeler will return, there will be a break in production.
Steve Morris, Chairman & CEO, Morgan Motor Company, said: “Production of the most recent 3 Wheeler has been a thrilling and exciting chapter in Morgan’s history. The significance of the original Three Wheeler is undoubted, however the introduction of the ‘current’ 3 Wheeler in 2011 proved to Morgan, and the world, that fun cars still have a place and that the ‘why not’ attitude is sometimes best.
The P101 celebrates the raw and stripped back nature of the 3 Wheeler, and provides us with the perfect opportunity to draw an incredible chapter of Morgan’s history to a close. Once the 33 examples have been created, the opportunity for an exciting new chapter for three-wheeled Morgan vehicles begins.”