October 12, 2012 10:29 AM |
Posted By: Stephen Dobie
Rated 3.0 out of 5.0 by 2 members
Random car stuff
Ever think you’re the odd one out? The one whose opinion completely jars with common consensus? Normally I like the cars everyone else likes; BMW M3, Porsche 911, VW Golf GTI… they’re all as excellent as every other car journalist says. But after a drive home in seemingly one of the cars of the moment, one everybody and their dog is banging on about, I didn’t like it. ‘It’, being the Morgan 3 Wheeler.
I love the idea of it, of course. You can’t fail to be completely grabbed by its Spitfire-esque looks, the sheer madness of strapping a shiny twin engine to the front, and the raucous soundtrack that provides. But dynamically, the Morgan appeared to offer little. That a three-wheeled car with such tiny front-end contact patches isn’t satisfying in the corners should be little surprise, but if I’m going to sacrifice a roof, doors and windscreen, I’ll do so in aid of handling. Caterham would get my £25,000.
But this wasn’t the end of the matter. As I put-putted into my off-street parking and buttoned on the Morgan’s mohair cover (which the local cats chose to sleep on), I knew I had more time in its antiquated cockpit – a 100-mile drive back to its Malvern home via three different motorways, to be precise. Time was on its side…
Sadly, its starter motor wasn’t, so after filling the wee fuel tank and getting a Top Gear obsessive to help me bump start ‘Richard Hammond’s car’, I was on the way to Worcestershire via the A14, M6, M42 and M5: roads I can’t imagine figured highly in the 3 Wheeler’s brainstorming session.
And yet, it was winning me over. Mobile phone satnav gaffer taped to the dashboard and togged up in an old hoodie, naff raincoat and my Jean Ragnotti-signed helmet, I was in my element. I love the daftness of attacking a cold motorway commute in a car that couldn’t be worse designed for it – I’ve stuck my paw up to drive Caterhams, X-Bows and Atoms back to their exceedingly far-flung homes over the years, much to the delight of evo colleagues who I’ve relieved of the task.
Every mile I covered, I enjoyed the Morgan more. I’m a fairly shy bloke, but with helmet firmly in place I was lapping up the attention this car garners. I must have been the star of many camera phones that day (especially as I passed a school trip coach) and dropping a couple of gears to share the zany two-cylinder soundtrack with slow-moving motorway commuters provided constant fun.
Arriving at the factory gates (and parking downhill), I was also greeted by something very special. The sight of dozen upon dozen 3 Wheelers, in various states of build, as Morgan’s staff work tirelessly to meet demand. I felt unexpectedly proud.
It’s not a car for perfecting your cornering lines in, then, but that doesn’t stop the 3 Wheeler being one heck of an experience. If I ever get a proper toy car budget I’ll still be knocking on Caterham’s doors, but driving Morgan’s oddball was unforgettable. Just like all those other journos told me it would be.