Morgan-Harley tie-up

One too many wheels or one too few?

Morgan, the lost-in-time car British sports car maker, is turning to none other that Harley-Davidson – a firm with a similar disdain for technological development – to power a revived version of its 1930s three-wheeled sports cars.

Morgan made its name with V-twin, bike-powered three-wheelers, but hasn't built one since the outbreak of WW2, instead turning to car-engined four-wheelers that have remained virtually unchanged ever since. Now, more than 70 years on, it's returning to the three-wheeled, motorcycle-powered formula.

Although no official announcement has yet been made, a new company “The Morgan 3 Wheeler Ltd” has been registered to the same address as the Morgan Motor Company in Malvern, Worcs, and just this month a new trademark has been filed revealing the name “Morgan 3” and a logo showing a winged V-twin engine.

The car itself already exists. In fact, it's already in production. But not in Malvern – it's being hand made in Seattle under the guise of the ACE cycle car, an updated replica of the original Morgan Aero three wheeler. While ACE has been making its $48,000 replicas for a couple of years, its website now reveals that they're being “constructed under license from The Morgan 3-Wheeler Ltd, Malvern, England.”

The clear implication is that Morgan's new venture has bought the design rights to the ACE machine, and will start turning them out with the new Morgan 3 badge on the nose.

The car's formula is a straightforward take of the original Morgan trikes, with a round tube chassis, air-cooled V-twins hanging out of the front, driving through a conventional five-speed-and-reverse car gearbox to a shaft-driven single rear wheel. It departs from the original by using double wishbone front suspension instead of Morgan's ancient sliding pillar arrangement, and the old JAP or Matchless V-twins are replaced with modern Harley engines in either 1442cc or 1687cc forms. The bigger motor is claimed to push the 950lb trike to over 120mph.