There are plans for Morgan‘s radical Three-wheeler to be sold via three U.S. dealerships later in 2012, according to company chief Charles Morgan. Last year, the famous British sports-car maker had launched the two-seat, front-engined sports car. It is based on the Liberty Ace, a three-wheeler that was designed in the U.S.
Notably, Seattle-based Liberty also makes sidecars for Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The project was bought by Morgan from Liberty. Morgan then restyled it and extensively redeveloped it to build a sporty, retro-look three-wheeler that took inspiration from the three-wheel sports cars that Morgan built between 1911 and 1953 as well as from historic fighter planes. What resulted was an open two-seater that weighed 1,155 pounds and that was equipped with an 80hp 2.0-liter V-twin engine made by S&S of Wisconsin.
Power is sent to the single rear wheel through a Mazda Miata five-speed transmission, enabling the model to accelerate to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. The base Three-wheeler is priced at $40,000 in the UK (without taxes). It features leather upholstery, fly screens, an alloy steering wheel, wire front wheels, polished exhausts and aluminum aircraft-style toggle switches. Morgan, the grandson of the firm’s founder HFS Morgan, intends to sell the car through three dealerships in the U.S. One of the three is Seattle-based Liberty. The identity of the other two dealerships has yet to be confirmed but it’s rumored that it will be in California and the East Coast.
Already, the Three-wheeler has gotten U.S. regulatory approval. Because of its low-volume and layout, it is exempted from numerous rules that apply to four-wheeled cars. As part of promoting the Three-wheeler in the U.S., it will be joining the 2012 Gumball 3000 rally that takes place in just a few weeks.
Morgan is also hoping to start selling its newly reintroduced Plus Eight, a 367-hp 4.8-liter BMW V8-engined version of its popular four-wheeled sports car, which was last available about 10 years ago with a Rover (nee Buick) V8. Whether it will be imported will depend on whether Morgan secures an exemption from the requirement to provide smart airbags. This car only uses conventional bags.
The new Morgan Plus 8 uses aviation technology to reach a mere 1100kg in unladen weight, making it the world’s lightest V8 passenger car that meets European safety standards. Its chassis is also one of the stiffest of all convertible roadsters today.
A perfect companion for the city or the country, the car instantly responds to the driver, who can enjoy while knowing that the car has a minimal environmental impact. Speed sensors in the wheel report to the Electronic Control Unit for the best engine performance possible and for clean throttle response. The Morgan Plus 8 is a real driver’s car, and it is also unexpectedly cost-effective to drive.
This is the most classically comfortable Morgan built yet. The convertible mohair roof, insulated with a double liner, goes up easily. Even tall drivers will find more than enough room. Standard air conditioning cools the lush leather cockpit, which comes with a lockable storage section, and a standard radio/CD player entertains through high-quality speakers.
The Morgan Plus 8 is also the only Classic Morgan that comes with a six-speed automatic transmission, which operates in 'Sport' and 'Auto' modes. 'Sport' mode holds the engine to a maximum 6500rpm revs and 'blips' the throttle before shifting down. It also comes with power-assisted steering and ABS brakes.