Chris Harris brings together the Morgan Three Wheeler and Caterham Seven Supersport but not to do a head to head comparison. This video is more of a celebration of what makes the British lightweight sports car such a special experience. He says, “These cars remind us what driving, and in a sense motoring, is all about. It’s about the sensations of controlling a machine not the speed with which you cover ground, although both of these are very, very quick. But it’s also about the adventure. Wrap up warm and cover 150 early morning miles in either and you’ll be reminded why you loved cars as a kid, why your first time behind the wheel was one of your defining moments in life. These then are the essence of driving.”
On this episode of Jay Leno’s Garage, Jay’s friend Jason Len from XK’s Unlimited brings by his hot-rodded 1970 Morgan Plus 8. The car has been modified using the Shelby Cobra formula where an American V8 is put into a small British roadster body. The car originally came with a 215 cubic inch (3.5 liter) aluminum Buick V8 which is commonly referred to as the Rover V8 in Europe. This Morgan has the 3.9 liter version of the block with forged internals and Weber carburetors on top. It’s crazy to think of that much power on a car whose frame is made of Ash with suspension designed in 1910, but that’s what makes this hobby fun.
The updated version of the Morgan 3-Wheeler was without a doubt one of the most interesting cars to make it’s debut in 2012. The basic design remained the same but with some modern running gear including the transmission out of a Mazda MX-5. Everybody talked about how the new car payed homage to the old one, but now we get to see an original car thanks to Jay Leno. Leno’s 3-Wheeler’s parts were made in 1932 and then it was assembled in 1946 after the war and shipped to Australia. His car is a deluxe model with the same Matchless MX-4 V-Twin that powered the Brough Superior which was a British made motorcycle that was thought to be the best in the world during it’s time. Other options include the 3 speed transmission with a reverse gear and the barrel body that allowed the carrying of a spare tire. Very cool old little car.
Car and Driver’s European Correspondent, Jethro Bovingdon, sets up a British sport coupe showdown. It’s old school vs. new school with the Morgan Aero Coupe taking on the Aston Martin V8 Vantage S. The Aero Coupe is the most performance oriented model from a 100 year old company that still uses ash wood in the frames of some of their cars (if you want to call the 3-Wheeler a car). It’s simple and light giving it a good power to weight ratio with a BMW V8 under the hood. As with anything made by the hands of skilled craftsmen, the Morgan Aero Coupe is not inexpensive. The price tag is in the same neighborhood as the Aston Martin V8 Vantage S. Jethro takes both cars out on track to see how each car takes a different approach at similar concepts.
Motor Trend’s Carlos Lago takes the funky Morgan 3 Wheeler out for a spin. It’s essentially a giant torpedo body powered by a big Harley Davidson style motor. You get the openness of a motorcycle with a bit of vintage fighter plane swag. Carlos says he adores the car because it makes everybody happy. I don’t know. I can think of a lot of better ways to spend $45,000 on cars/motorcycles that actually handle well. Like it or hate it, the 3 Wheeler still makes for a fascinating review.