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Morgan

In 1906 H. F.S Morgan opened a garage and motor works in Malvern. (UK).  At the time H.F.S Morgan was a district agent for Wolseleys and Darracqs and he also started one of the first bus services in the country, running a 15 seater Wolseley from Malvern Link to Malvern Wells and, later, from Malvern to Gloucester.

In 1909 Morgan created his first 3-wheeler which he called the Morgan Runabout. Powered by a 7 hp twin-cylinder Peugeot engine Morgan had intended to build a motorcycle but changed his mind and built a single seater 3-wheeler. The chassis was built at the Malvern College work shop by Stephenson Peach, then engineering master at Malvern and Repton.With its light weight the Morgan Runabout had a  power weight ratio of approximately 90 hp per ton, and as a result of its high performance became very popular. In 1910 Morgan obtained his first patent for his design and after exhibiting two Morgan Runabouts at the Olympia Show in 1911 Morgan went into production. Now powered by a  single cylinder 4 hp and twin cylinder 8 hp JAP engine, Morgan in 1912 advanced the design by creating a new chassis with a two-seater body and several models were exhibited at Olympia in that year.

In 1912 Morgan became a Limited Company and during the next few years the Morgan was successfully collected numerous gold medals, first class wards and trophies in trials, hill climbs and races. The Morgan became advertised as “The Fastest 3-wheeler in the World”.

Morgan's first attempt at Brooklands was in the International Cyclecar Race when a Morgan driven by  Mr. Harry Martin easily came first.  H.F.S. Morgan then broke the 1100 c.c. Hour Record at a speed of nearly 60 m.p.h. and as a result became the first holder of "The Light Car and Cyclecar" Challenge Trophy.  Morgan then went on to produce racing cars in 1913 that had a longer chassis and O.H.V. JAP engines.  The vehicle won the Grand Prix with ease and the racing model then became known as the Grand Prix. The successes of the Morgan Motor Company were soon to prove essential as when the first world war broke out in 1914, Morgan’s sales had never been higher.   Despite the fact that part of the factory had to be converted to producing shells and other munitions for the war effort, limited production of the Morgans was able to continue through out the war.

H.F.S.Morgan realised the sooner he could get his factory back into full production after the war, he could sell many cars in the post-war rush. This he managed to do as at the end of the war most manufacturers were unable to switch to full production for nearly a year due to the lack of materials. lt was in the two years after the war record sales and profits were bestowed upon the Morgan Motor Company.  Morgan had built a four- seater model for his own personal use in 1915. This later became successfully marketed as the Family Runabout. Towards the end of the 1920’s and into the 1930’s, it was the General strike and depression that changed Margins advertising to emphasis ’tax, economy, comfort and cost’, but Morgan realised to beat this depression and to prevent going into liquidation like many other companies, he had to introduce a 4-wheeler car. This it did in 1936, and continued to produce 3/4-wheelers up until the second world war  The ‘Lightcar and Cyclecar’ magazine wrote in 1925

    “were it not for the dogged and justly well rewarded persistence of one manufacture it is doubtful whether the great mass of the motoring public would not regard the 3-wheeler as a freak and nothing more.

    (Lightcar and Cyclecar magazine.25th September 1925.):

In 1935 Morgan produced the F series of Morgans that was classed as the best Morgan to date. Powered by Ford 8hp and 10hp engines Morgan continued to produce 3-wheelers slowly until July 29, 1952 when the last 3-wheeler, a Ford-engined "F"-Super left the Morgan Works.  Morgan were then to concentrate solely on 4-wheeler models.  To date the 3-wheeler Morgan is one of the most emulated of 3-wheelers with many 3-wheeler kit cars being built on the Morgan design.

In October 2010 Morgan announced that they were going to reintroduce the famous 3-wheeler in March 2011.  The 2011 Morgan 3-wheeler will follow the classic design of the original but be updated with modern technology. It will be powered by a Harley Davidson 1800cc “Screaming Eagle” V-twin engine that uses a Mazda MX5 five speed gear box. Unlike Morgan 3-wheelers from the past that required several tweaks and checks before each journey the 2011 model is to offer “get in and drive” simplicity and reliability.

With a padded leather interior the 2011 Morgan has a tubular frame with two roller bars that surround the passenger compartment.  An aerodynamic super formed ‘bullet’ hull made from aluminium protects the occupants from the weather. The overall weight is estimated at 500kg with 100bhp giving the vehicle a top speed of an estimated 115mph and a 0-60mph time of 4.5 seconds.  To retain the vintage look the Morgan also has spoked wheels.  The cost is estimated to be around 30,000 when the vehicle is launched at Geneva in March 2011.  Morgan aim to be building around two hundred 3-wheelers a year with the first vehicles appearing on the road in May 2011.

A 1929 Morgan Super Sports Aero. (My thanks to Gerhard Kiessling for allowing me to use this image from his web site)

The 1930 Morgan Family Runabout. (My thanks to Gerhard Kiessling for allowing me to use this image from his web site)

1930s Morgan van

A 1949 Morgan F-Super.  (My thanks to Henk Tappel for sending in this image of his Morgan)

The 2011 Morgan  (Image from Morgan brochure)

Supporting Documents:

None

Related pages on this web site:

Old 3-Wheeler Adverts

Museums:

Chris Booth has a museum  (Falstaff Antiques) in Kent, UK  where he has a collection of  Morgan 3--wheelers dating from 1913 to 1935 plus the only known Humber Tri-car  of 1904.

The National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull (UK) has a 1934 Morgan Super Sports.

Further Information and related Web Sites:

3-Wheelers.com:  View Links I - P

Google: Search for Morgan

 

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