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And the best-selling sports car in the UK is...

2014-07-15 08:10

BORN TO BE STYLED: The UK’S top-selling sports car right now is the Morgan Trike … but it comes with a five-year waiting list! Image: Morgan

DAVE FALL

If you’ve ever wondered what the best-selling sports car in the UK is right now you might find the result a little surprising.

If you thought it was one of those new F-type Jaguars, quite possibly an Aston Martin or a Lotus Elise, you’d be very wide off the mark because the car that’s filling the order books the quickest is totally unique, while boasting just three wheels, it’s the 2014 Morgan three-wheeler pictured in this article.

It’s a similar scenario over the pond in the US where just 13 Morgan dealers exist – but amazingly have managed to take orders for hundreds of trikes – Morgan Motor Company’s best-seller thus far in its 105-year history.

'YOU'LL FEEL LIKE A KID AGAIN'

Mind you, it’s going to take the small car factory based in Malvern, Worcestershire, some years to ‘keep all those customers happy’ as the total weekly production of their entire model range extends to just 16 units.

“Thank God there’s still Morgan building zany products like this,” said a managing director of one of the stateside outlets who describes the driving experience thus: “You feel like you’re a kid again, like riding your first bicycle. You’re on top of the world.”

Building Trikes is nothing new to Morgan, after all that’s how they started business in the first place back in 1910, continuing to feature a trike in their model line-up for close on 40 years with a choice of JAP, Blackburne, Matchless or Anzani vee-twin motors – but these days obviously updated with lots of 21st century design technology courtesy of Harley-Davidson’s tuning arm (S&S) with its 2.0-litre fuel-injected motor, mated to a Mazda five-speed (and reverse).

FUSION OF OLD AND NEW

The latest Trike, I think you’ll agree, is a real fusion of old and new.

From the design viewpoint, the focus was set on making the car as close to an aeroplane as possible, while retaining handy extra space for driver, passenger and a hold-all in the rear. But above all the Morgan three wheeler is designed for one purpose alone, to make driving fun. A leather-padded cockpit complete with aircraft instrumentation adds to the sense of flying on the road. The car is easy to control with compact dimensions offering a perfect view ahead and to the rear. The car seems to respond as much to thought as physical input.  

A few years ago the Morgan manufacturing plant was supposedly in deep, deep trouble – the Americans, unsurprisingly Morgan’s biggest market – had insisted on emission laws being observed on all cars without so much as a warning. A top British industrial trouble shooter was called in to try and save them from ruin telling them they must step up their production levels from 10 cars a week – and sell them elsewhere to eager buyers.

A special board meeting was subsequently called at the factory. The shop stewards were called in, the carpenters and tinsmiths stood around listening intently to proceedings and nodding wisely. Even the sewing ladies got together, while they all agreed on a cunning plan … to push up production levels to 11 cars per week!

Let’s be honest, the Americans really don’t know how to build sports cars, do they? They are all far too big. The Italians try their best but spend too much time making them look like works of art; while the Japanese nation seem besotted with making them far too safe.

What am I talking about? Building a real sports car the British way, of course!

Specifications
Engine: S&S 1976cc vee-twin
Power: 90kW/140Nm
Gearbox: five-speed (+reverse)
0-100 km/h: six seconds
Top speed: ±175 km/h
Weight: 525kg
Fuel tank: 42 litres
Price:  R575 000 (plus import duty)

What's your favourite British sports car and why? Email us and we'll publish your thoughts or use the Readers' Comments section below...
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