|THE M3W: CUSTOMER CONSENSUS!!
by Lorne Goldman, Edi Stampfel and many others
The long awaited M3Ws are now arriving in buyers' hands..more each day. Feedback is flooding into the Morgan Wire inbox from the UK and Europe. Considering the wholly new nature of the M3W, we believed it premature to review the vehicle before a finished product was shipped to customers. While there will undoubtedly be more development and refinement, now is the appropriate moment to present the first customer consensus and happily, there IS a consensus! Let's go to it now, before the details, before the watchpoints, before the areas listed for attention, Let's go right to the punchline.
The autosport Fates and stars have conspired to align after months of angst to create a HOME RUN!
It hits all the bases one hopes for in a new vehicle. The vehicle has come along immensely in the last few weeks. Rumors suggest that the advice of its designer, American Pete Larsen, was re-involved recently and consequentlyproblems that had plagued progress have been solved. See BELOW for more. Each email to the Wire from excited recipients is a bit different but each sings the same bottom line. "IT'S A HOOT" to drive and leaves every pilot and passenger exhilarated. One veteran 3-mogger and the MTWC member for decades, reports that the hardest thing to do is turn off the ignition!
After all is considered, said and done. After the teething faults, the high price, the change in specification, the finish and (mostly) how it has been marketed, it is thoroughly fun and an instant icon. Potent evidence that the legendary Morgan luck is still alive and kicking.
The vehicle, especially in a pure unadorned state, is VERY attractive. Undoubtedly, it will become more so as the famous Morgan aftermarket turns its attention to it. I admit to not being a fan of automobile graphic packs or car wrap craze that has spread from the USA but some of dealer treatments are great. On the other hand, the beauty of the Factory's stick-on shark's teeth and bullet holes must rest in the eye of the beholder.
I shall posting some of the range of possibilities here. (Just click the images to make them a larger). A polished aluminum version would make a fine statement for its owner.
All our people reporting mentioned the use of self-tapping screws and the lack of a solid finish on the underside components, some already rusting. It is hoped that these areas will soon be addressed in future production.The front registration plate is also an issue..at least in England. Too big. Dealers are having motorcycle plates made instead.
This is a frigid time of year to test a wide open vehicle in Europe. But one bravely jumps into the M3W, switches the key to the ignition position, lifts the bomb release' and starts the engine. A big bang, a misfire and then you hear the famous S&S engine burble. The front vibrates, the rear vibrates and your butt vibrates, each keeping time with the combustion sound.
There are not many switches or controls and nobody has reported missing them,. There is no booster for the brakes, no heater, no roof - perfect! Despite the low temperature, you don't notice the cold as your adrenaline is up and the blood is pumping.
On a country road you open up the throttle and the revs soar on the fly. The drive train is very noisy, it sounds like a buzz saw. It can be so loud, that some couldn't hear the engine. However, what is not suitable for one person's ears is music for another's'. There is no insulation from the sound of drive train - like 70 years ago! Those who have tried the newer M3Ws, with the later bevel box report that the noise is less, especially after the trike has a few miles on the meter.
Steering response is direct and driving comfort better than expected. The earlier demo suspensions are very firm but fun. The newer customer cars are more comfortable. The seats are, bar none, the most conforatabkle the MMC has ever produced on any vehicle, 3 or 4 wheels. Missing potholes in the road is not an easy game; the third wheel makes it nearly impossible as with all three-wheeler. The Mazda gearbox is everything Larsen hoped for. The gear change is short, quick and accurate. Great to work with. Maneuvering at slow speed is heavy work because of a too-wide turning circle but it does not detract from the experience. The tyres rub the mud guards at full lock and a central rear view mirror is needed.
POWER & WEIGHT
The Morgan power estimates (100, 115 or 120 bhp depending on which of their early specifications or brochures you read) have turned out to be optimistic figures. The bhp stated on the Certificate of Compliance (CoC) is 81.58 bhp. As well, some dealers indicate that there a rev limiter feature for the running in period. After 20 hours of engine usage, the S&S electronic programming eliminates the limiter and the engine runs free. The limiter restricts rpm to 4800. Normal running after while allow the rpm to run up to 6000.
As well, the weight of the 3wheeler has climbed from the original estimate of 450 or 500 kilos to 550 kg on the official CoC. With the change in power, that makes a significant difference in the power-to-weight ratio from 267 bhp per tonne to 148 bhp per tonne..or 45% less. The Factory informed the Wire that the "S&S engine, on the bench, makes 115-120 bhp. However, once fitted to an exhaust system equipped with cats. (to meet EU noise & emissions standards), the power drops. However, only two of this article's customer/contributors expressed a desire for more power.
By way of an explanation, Steve Morris, a Morgan Director says: "Firstly, it is important to know that the initial data published was, as always, the best guess based on information we had at the time of issuing. As with all Development of new products we are completely governed by legislation and OEM supplied product. The new figures published are following our calibration and unfortunately they are what they are. It is important that we follow procedures as set out by the governing bodies which is what then allows us to sell the vehicles. As with all Morgan products once in Production we do not stop then a program of continuous improvement and this will also be the case with the 3 Wheeler. Please do not pre judge the performance until you have driven the vehicle as I think you will find the performance exhilarating."
The feedback suggests Mr. Morris' advice will be correct for the bulk of buyers. Most people will want to cruise with these machines and not race them. Even as it is, a jack-rabbit start in first gear will leave black stripes on the asphalt. Of course for some of us hooligans, there is never enough power!
The largely unconnected group reporting to the Wire had many comments in common. Each noted an unstoppable smile on their faces during the entire experience. The hardest thing for them to do with the machine was to (very regretfully) turn it off!
BUILD QUALITY & DEFECTS
There are many who are very uncomfortable with the fashion this product has been marketing. But whether appropriate or inappropriate, PR has nothing to do with vehicle intrinsics and they are great, despite the marketing hype, despite the sticker styling, the rocky development process and despite the delays. At this stage, from these seats, the car looks a BIG WINNER!
It returns Morgan to the very roots of its reputation.
Namely, a wonderful quirky car from a wonderfully quirky company, the first
since the first 4-wheeler. It promises to be as impactful and as timely
and beneficial to the Company as the advent of the Plus 8 (aka Peter
Morgan's car) in 1968. Let's keep our fingers crossed. The Morgan Wire
extends its congratulations to Management for seeing its potential and
having the courage to produce it. It is very possible that the Morgan 3-Wheeler
will become known as the signature vehicle of the present Morgan era, Charles
|Transport Canada (formerly the Ministry of Transport, Goverment of Canada) has explained to the Wire that the new Morgan trike cannot be imported to Canada under current legislation, despite the widespread distribution and polularity of the Can Am trike by Bombardier. In Canada, the Morgan threewheeler configuration forces its classification as a car, not as as a motorcycle as it is in the USA. As such, it cannot meet the safety requirements necessary to its importation. A Canadian motorcycle is defined as a vehicle of two or three wheels where the user sits astride the vehicle. Whereas a car is a vehicle where the user's torso is enclosed. In the UK, the M3W was classifed as a car because of its high weight. In the USA, with its long history of heavier motorcycles than one finds in Europe or the Far East, this was not a factor.|