The Morgan Motor Company unveiled Super 3, one of the most intriguing and distinctive vehicles the company has ever built. Super 3 has been designed from the ground up to offer new levels of character, thrill and adventure, principles that have defined Morgan’s three-wheeled product since the company was founded 113 years ago. Like every Morgan, Super 3 will be built in Malvern, Worcestershire, at the company’s Pickersleigh Road factory. Skilled craftsmen and women have been handcrafting cars in these hallowed red brick buildings since 1914, just five years after HFS Morgan invented the first Morgan, known as ‘The Runabout’.At the very heart of Morgan Super 3’s personality is its driving character. Primarily, a three-wheeled Morgan is a vehicle that entices you to get behind the wheel, offering a unique combination of mechanical feel, connection to the environment and visual differentiation from anything else on the road. Few vehicles will engage their occupants like Super 3, which encourages owners to feel present in the craft of motoring and entices them to embark on incredible adventures. As the company’s most configurable model to date, Super 3 offers an extensive list of options and accessories that allow owners to tailor their own experience. From adventure touring accessories to race-inspired liveries, Super 3 adopts multiple personalities to reflect the individuality of its owner. Three expressions of these personalities can be seen on the launch vehicles.
Super 3 is Morgan’s first clean-sheet design since the launch of the Aero 8 in 2000 and the company’s biggest visual departure since the 1962 Plus 4 Plus. Super 3 challenges the typical perceptions of Morgan design yet remains true to the company’s underlying principles and heritage. With Super 3, Morgan introduces a new design philosophy. In comparison with the outgoing 3 Wheeler, which was created in the style of the 1920s V-twin-engined three-wheelers, Super 3’s designers and engineers have drawn influences from the mid to late century. The jet age was an era in which there was a logical relationship between function and form, as the horizons of imagination were broadened. Aerodynamic and mechanical requirements have heavily influenced the form and proportions of Super 3. This is most notable in the cast aluminium structures that provide the face of the vehicle, brace the engine and control the corner packages, while also directing air into the side-mounted cooling packs. Two rectangular ‘diffuser plates’ – referred to as ‘sideblades’ – intelligently manage cooling requirements while also presenting a platform for panniers, luggage racks and liveries.Honesty of design is one of Morgan’s key principles, and Super 3 embodies this wherever you look. Every feature – no matter how superficial it may appear – has an underlying mechanical purpose: the vehicle celebrates the marriage of design and engineering. Examples of this are prominent throughout Super 3. Features such as the metallic impressions in the footwell side panels, which stiffen the surface but are exposed as a design feature.
The Super 3 marks Morgan’s most comprehensive vehicle development programme yet. The company has employed a new level of competence in CAE (computer-aided engineering) and structural durability simulations. Its engineering practices are in line with many OEM whole-vehicle programmes and far exceed motorcycle standards. Further test vehicles have undergone ‘real-world’ mileage accumulation in all conditions, exceeding the parameters of any testing programme operated by the company to date and allowing for extensive insight into the life of the vehicle. In testing, Super 3 has outperformed its targets. Several validation prototype vehicles have been operational at numerous proving grounds, undergoing continual durability programmes comprising Belgian pavé, torsional ramps and continuous full-bore acceleration and braking tests. Particular focus has been paid to Super 3’s cooling package. Using a temperature-, pressure- and load-controlled environment, simulations have included the running of the car fully laden in some of the harshest and most challenging environments in the world, all of which were achieved with high levels of cooling redundancy.
One challenge faced during the creation of Morgan Super 3 was the desire to maintain a small footprint while also improving on the turning circle of the outgoing model. Sculpted castings carefully flank the engine, with rectangular radiators sitting outboard of these castings, and this limited the space available for the front wheels. Coincidently, this aesthetic reflects a long-standing Morgan design trait of a central body flanked by separate wing forms. To overcome this challenge, the radiators have been encapsulated behind extremely thin and flat panels. On a jet aircraft, these panels would be referred to as ‘diffuser plates’; on Super 3, these ‘diffuser plates’ are referred to as the ‘sideblades’. The sideblades efficiently manage inbound and exhaustive airflow through the radiators. Morgan Super 3’s face portrays two familiar headlights and a horseshoe front grille, both recognisable elements of Morgan design. Mounted on the headlight pods are two small, machined aluminium turrets. These turrets house the indicators and position lights, satisfying wide field-of-vision requirements and resulting in the headlights themselves sitting lower and delivering a low-slung, purposeful aesthetic. Bracing the engine are structural aluminium castings finished in silver or black. These castings support the engine and corner packages while also ducting air into the cooling packs. The mechanical requirements of these castings have delivered the character of Super 3’s face and have become a crucial design element. The engine resides beneath the nose cone, which is positioned deliberately to deliver both optimal weight distribution and desirable proportion. This visual mass sits directly behind the centre line of the front wheels and is a principle proportion of Super 3. Beneath the cowl, the engine is visible through a mesh with its moving mechanical components clear to see. All of the elements of Morgan Super 3’s wishbones, pull-rod suspension and headlight structure have been shaped to assist airflow to the radiators behind them, and the mechanical complexity is reminiscent of that of early-century three-wheeled Morgans. The headlight stalks themselves are structural, acting as an additional brace between the upper and lower wishbone pick-up points, while continuing to reflect the vehicle’s trihedral theme.
In 1933, Morgan introduced the F-Type three-wheeler, which made the switch from V-twin power to a conventional Ford engine, housed under a bonnet. Almost a century later, Ford has again been chosen to supply the engine, specifically its innovative 1.5-litre naturally aspirated three-cylinder petrol engine. Powerful, efficient and characterful, it provides a combination of attributes which make it perfectly suited to its application in the Morgan Super 3. Extensive development has gone into tuning the engine’s acoustic content and enhancing its natural and distinctive three-cylinder character. It is exceptionally compact and has allowed Super 3’s design to remain true to form without compromising passenger space. The engine is coupled to five-speed Mazda gearbox, as found in MX-5 and used in the outgoing Morgan 3 Wheeler. Unlike the previous model, however, no compensator is required in the driveline, therefore minimising complexity and weight. The bevel box has been re-engineered using a custom tooth profile, and it drives through a carbon fibre-reinforced drive belt. The powertrain meets motorcycle Euro 5a, which is in line with cars, and will meet Euro 5b which includes OBD requirements.
Core to any Morgan product is driving enjoyment, and thanks to more than a century of experience, the company has become a global leader in the dynamic behaviour of three-wheeled vehicles. Super 3 is no exception. It is fundamentally stable – achieved through a dedication to keeping the vehicle’s mass within its contact triangle – and feels planted but with an assertive turn-in feel. Pull-rod suspension is key to this, bringing mass inboard and reducing unsprung mass while aiding airflow to the radiators. The rear tyre on a three-wheeler plays a crucial role in the handling and dynamic capabilities. The company has undergone a rigorous testing programme to determine the exact tyre choice for the rear of Super 3. After significant real-world testing and simulation, an Avon all-season tyre was selected to provide optimum slip angle. The rear tyre on a three-wheeler is often subjected to the dirtiest, wettest part of the road, and as the driving tyre it must maintain appropriate contact and grip. Morgan has worked in partnership with Avon to develop its own 20-inch diameter tyre for Super 3. Reviving the iconic Speedmaster name, the tyre is based on the look of a heritage motorcycle tyre with ‘ballooned’ sidewalls but has been engineered specifically for Morgan and is closer to a car tyre in its design. To ensure ultimate performance, the compound and casing design have been through multiple iterations of fine tuning.
Super 3 is the most configurable Morgan to date. The company has curated an extensive list of more than 200 options and accessories, each one allowing owners to tailor their Super 3. A key project aim was to design and homologate all accessories and options alongside the development of the main vehicle. This not only ensures that those options work in total harmony with the vehicle but also removes the need to retrofit additional options once the vehicle has been built. Morgan has developed many of its own options and accessories and worked with several key partners to help curate the options available. These project partners include Malle London, Beeline and Quad Lock. Feedback from owners of previous three-wheeled models has been instrumental in defining some of the key accessory themes. These themes – three of which can be witnessed on the vehicles demonstrated at launch – include adventure touring, contemporary design and classic motorsport. Malle London creates the finest British motorcycle luggage and adventure accessories. Morgan has worked in partnership with Malle London to develop the Morgan x Malle range of vehicle and clothing accessories. The Morgan x Malle pannier is made from 18oz waxed black canvas and features unique fixtures on the reverse to attach the pannier to the sideblade. The size of the pannier is unique to Morgan and features multiple compartments as well as a rear-mounted cup holder.
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