Tag Archive | "Morgan"

MB Drives The Morgan 3 Wheeler

In a crowded and busy motoring world where the emphasis is on lifestyle and connectivity it’s nice to get the opportunity to do a bit of old school motoring for once. This is why, during a visit to the Morgan Motor Company I had the chance to leap into the latest Morgan 3 Wheeler.

This is driving as it was seventy or eighty years ago. It transcends modern motoring. The 3 Wheeler is hand-built by craftsmen; it is small, impractical and draughty and the most fun you can have with your clothes on. It’s not even as if the 3 Wheeler is something new. When Karl Benz rolled out his first effort in 1885, it had three wheels. Since then of course there have been very many more across the years.

The latest 3 Wheeler however has received some revisions for the 21st Century. The chassis has been further developed to increase stiffness – this improves the handling. The steering has been modified to eliminate previously reported ‘bump steer’ – a tugging at the steering wheel when the front wheels travel up and down – all of which has improved the on-road stability.3w MB Drives The Morgan 3 Wheeler

At the top I mentioned that I ‘leapt’ into the cockpit. This is not technically true. It is a bit of a squeeze. The driver has to step into the car (there are no doors) and shuffle down behind the steering wheel. No doubt there is a knack to this, but for a new boy who could stand to lose a couple of  kilos it wasn’t easy.

Once installed though the seats are really very comfortable. The dashboard is simple and uncluttered and its centrepiece is a starter button with a flip-up cover. There’s something very special about that. The view out shows the wide track of the front wheels.

I manoeuvred easily out of the car park and took off up the road, elbow hanging nonchalantly over the side of the car on the leather panel as if I did this sort of thing every day. Now, anyone who has motored in an open-topped car knows all about the highs and lows of convertible driving. There’s all that fresh air and sky and then there’s the cold (this is winter after all) and the wind trying to pull off all your hair.

Yet none of Winter’s woes can get the big smile off your face. The engine – a 1,982cc V-twin petrol unit with a reliable Mazda five-speed manual gearbox and driving the rear-wheel by way of a toothed belt – has a purposeful growl but isn’t intrusive. Out on the road it was time to concentrate. The car handles well and steers accurately with no hint of instability. 80bhp will whisk the car up to 62mph is just 6.5 seconds and on up to 125 if you feel up to it. Enjoying the sensations of driving what is this car is all about.

If you ever find yourself in a position to drive one of these cars then grab it with both hands, whatever the weather. If you are fortunate enough to have a spare £31,000 or so (there is a wide range of options for customising to taste) and you could do with a second (or third) car that will bring you infinite driving pleasure, then invest in a Morgan 3 Wheeler now.

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Too Much Of A Good Thing?

Technology is all around us, all of the time. As fast as a new gadget or gizmo is released so it is almost immediately superseded by a new model. How long can we go on like this? Ultimately, there is only so much that technological wizardry can do for us before it all becomes stale and we start to yearn for a simpler time. Cars are a good case in point.

Back in the dark ages of twenty or thirty years ago ABS was about as advanced as things got. The act of driving required of a driver some measure of ability to safely maintain progress without getting into a tank- slapper on every corner or arriving at a braking point in a lock-up slide. Now we have ESP, lane departure warnings and cars that can reverse themselves. Is it any wonder that driving skill is being subsumed by the technology that is trying to save us from ourselves.

The latest piece of kit that is likely to arrive on cars in the near future will replace the good old rear view mirror with a video screen in front of you, using the latest smartphone technology. Apparently, one of the benefits will be to reduce dazzle from high beam lights behind you – and we all thought that was what dipping mirrors were for. It will also help with those cars which have small rear windows. How many of those in common use can you name?

This is something that has come from Audi ’s boffins and it is going to be tested on their Le Mans car. They are not promising anything yet but this could well turn up on new road cars in the near future. It seems that the camera/screen combination will adjust almost instantly to combat blurred images and vibrations from bumpy roads – so that’s most of Britain then. It may well also incorporate other driver information.

Meanwhile, over at Morgan Cars, they have announced their new Plus 8. Unlike most of the bland, complicated offerings from mainstream manufacturers this car has a powerful V8 motor and good old rear-wheel drive but there are few electronic aids. Anti-lock brakes and power steering are all you get for your money. It has proper round dials, round wing mirrors and round headlamps; in short, a proper car that will be unforgiving of sloppy driving. In the middle of the windscreen there’s the bog standard mirror we’re all used to. In a nod to modern times, however, it does get a CD player!

Manufacturers put this techno stuff on cars because they can, not because we need it. It makes motors increasingly more complex and reliant on dealers at ever escalating costs. Repairs are often out of the question as replacement parts are usually the only option and, boy, do we pay for it. It is no good playing the safety card because technology will make drivers more careless, not less, as they let the car do their thinking and driving for them. What’s next for the driving test? Mirror, Video, Manoeuvre?

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