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.