As the proud owner of Morgan 3 Wheelers from 1932 and 2014, Jay Leno is very aware of which one is better for a casual drive around Los Angeles. Morgan built its first Peugeot motorcycle-engined, tax-dodging two-seater in 1911, and only made the upgrade to the water-cooled Ford Sidevalve-engined F-Series by the early 1930s. Some eight decades later, when the opportunity came about to use the American-made 2.0-liter S&S V-Twin to power the modern equivalent of Morgan’s first product, the famous factory on Malvern Link’s Pickersleigh Road was quick to develop its new 3 Wheeler for the 2012 model year.
The Morgan 3 Wheeler pairs the front-mounted air- and oil-cooled two-cylinder with the snappy five-speed manual of the Mazda MX-5. With such features as fuel injection and modern disc brakes on board, the 3 Wheeler is a very capable and rather quick machine, as evidenced by the non-stop Cannonball record set with one by wildcards Alex Roy and Zach Bowman back in 2015.
Jay Leno bought his in 2014, which means the Euro 3-specification S&S V-Twin puts out 82 horsepower at 5,250 rpm and 103 pound-feet of torque at 3,250 rpm for a top speed of 115 miles per hour. Sadly, the later Euro 4 models are not only 132 pounds heavier, but they also have the same 1,998cc engine rated at just 68 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 95 pound-feet of torque from as low as 2,500 rpm.
In any case, driving fun is guaranteed even at lower speeds, and if you’ve ever wondered what’s under the tiny hood of a Morgan 3 Wheeler, we can reveal that the list begins with the oil tank and battery.
Ultimately, emissions regulations put an end to the Morgan 3 Wheeler’s career and the factory waved goodbye to this successful era with just 33 P101 editions. Unlike the 2,500-plus sticker-heavy units sold since 2012, these special 3 Wheelers feature a single-leaf tonneau cover made of a wood-like resin, along with body-colored Aero disk wheels, repositioned nine-inch Hella spot lamps, ceramic-coated straight-cut exhausts, and more.
Morgan’s next 3 Wheeler will be electric, and as much fan as that may be, we’ll miss having a pair of one-liter cylinders do their thing way ahead of the front axle.
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