Why Drive a Boring Convertible When You Could Drive a Morgan Super 3?

A California jaunt in the British three-wheeler reveals a vehicle designed for taking the long way home

June 6, 2024 6:05 am
Driving the Morgan Super 3, a three-wheeled convertible from the British brand. Here's our full review of the American-spec model.
Don't let the Brits have all the fun.
Morgan Motor Company

Shortly after reviewing what I (or, more accurately, my headline-writing editor) dubbed “the most fun you can have on three wheels,” I found myself strapped into yet another oddball three-wheeler: the superlatively named Morgan Super 3.

As improbable as it seems, there is in fact an array of highly specific trikes from the likes of Polaris, Can-Am and Vanderhall currently available for those whose wanderlust inspires them to stray off the beaten transportation path. These genetic offshoots trade the “cager” trappings of crumple zones and cargo capacity for low-slung, wind-in-your-face immediacy. 

Morgan is no stranger to this format, as the boutique British brand has roots in three-wheelers dating back to the early 1900s. The manufacturer offered an even more retro-styled three-wheeler until 2021 that brought a distinctly old-timey feel to the genre, a Harley-Davidson-powered rig with steampunk overtones and the cornering capabilities of a brick.

The Super 3, which was introduced in the U.K. in 2022 and came to the U.S. in 2023, downplays the old-school vibe and doubles down on engineering, packaging a three-cylinder, 1.5-liter Ford engine and a Miata-sourced, five-speed gearbox under decidedly more modern skin. This is the first clean-sheet design for the manufacturer since 2000, and the brand’s most radical stylistic leap since 1962’s Plus 4 Plus. 

There are aerodynamic considerations infused into everything from the exposed suspension arms to the engine air cooling, and considerable lightweighting thanks to a bonded aluminum superformed chassis and stressed exterior surfaces. The manufacturer’s first-ever true monocoque structure helps the Super 3 tip the scales at around 1,400 pounds — orders of magnitude more than a motorcycle, but significantly less than the lightest mainstream cars on the market, like the Mazda Miata, which carries around 900 more pounds. 

The American-spec Morgan Super 3 that InsideHook writer Basem Wasef drove in L.A.
The Super 3 model that our writer drove in L.A.
Basem Wasef

Curiosities of the Morgan Super 3

Climbing into the Super 3’s tiny, open-air cockpit brings a certain sense of occasion. Seated shoulder-to-shoulder alongside your copilot, the sparse compartment frames two digital displays above a set of toggle switches not unlike what you might find in a small aircraft. The leather-wrapped steering wheel by Moto-Lita and polished aluminum shift knob tip a hat to traditional motoring iconography, while water-resistant leather and vinyl surfaces ensure a London-style downpour won’t keep this perennial roadster off the road. 

There are also a few ergonomic quirks, like the fact that only the pedal box, not the seat, is adjustable, and that apart from a shallow netted space on the doors, there isn’t really a place for small personal items. While the so-called “sideblades” — the panels located on the left and right of the vehicle just behind the front wheels — are designed for panniers and a rear luggage rack can accommodate bags, there’s not a lot of easy storage aboard the Super 3. There isn’t room for anything beyond the engine and radiators beneath the bonnet, and my tester’s rear luggage rack made it difficult to lift the lid and check out the modestly sized rear “boot.” 

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The dashboard and cockpit of the Morgan Super 3
Who needs gargantuan screens and a posh interior when you can have an open-air cockpit and the wind in your hair?
Basem Wasef

Magnify Every Mile Per Hour

The Super 3 is classified as a motorcycle in all states, so I donned my lid, pulled the inertia reel seatbelt over my shoulder and lap, and proceeded to rip this small-engined curiosity through L.A. boulevards and freeways

The first vibe the Morgan inspires is a distinct feeling of freedom, and an accountability to the eventualities of driving what is essentially a carnival ride without a safety net. Sure, there’s a stability and responsiveness that inspires confidence, not unlike how a lightweight sports car can make heavier vehicles feel bulky or cumbersome. The shifter moves easily through the gears with just a bit of mechanical “click”; the non-power-assisted steering commands skinny 130mm-wide tires which turn and articulate visibly from the cockpit; and revving the engine shakes the body just enough to remind you that you’re significantly more intimate with its inner workings than in a standard-issue convertible.

However, there are also no traction- or stability-control systems, no anti-lock brakes — instead, there’s the lingering feeling that if you get yourself into a pickle or cross the line and lose control, you’d be relatively unprotected in the unfortunate event of a wreck. Heck, some scooters have more electronic intervention than this bad boy.

Here’s what it’s like behind the wheel of a Morgan Super 3 — from Basem’s point of view.

Release the clutch and feed the gas, and the Super 3 pulls forward with the ease of a Honda Civic. The naturally aspirated engine, also found in stalwart subcompacts like the Ford Focus and Fiesta, puts out a modest 118 horsepower at a peak of 6,500 rpm and 110 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. While it’s good for a claimed 0 to 60 mph time of under 7 seconds — minivan territory these days — it feels nothing like a lumbering people hauler. The Super 3’s down-to-earth seating position and exposure to the elements magnifies every mile per hour. If you feel like you’re breaking every traffic law in the book, you’re probably just barely at the speed limit. 

While the machine doesn’t react to driver inputs with any particularly sharp or jarring response, there’s still an overwhelming sensation of exposure; the steering ratio isn’t particularly quick but the wheel feels lively in your hands, and the engine’s power delivery offers no spikey peaks or suspenseful valleys, just a steady, predictable flow of power through the rev range. Also notable are the relatively low absolute handling limits, which is to say that flinging the Super 3 aggressively into a corner at speed can, and likely will, lead to some loss of grip. This might sound terrifying to mild-mannered drivers, but is actually quite fun. A little bit of predictable sliding, as irresponsible as it can be, makes driving a slow car fast far more enjoyable than it sounds, and arguably more rewarding than piloting an ultra-powerful supercar at outrageous speeds.

While the general public may find fault with the inherent limitations of a vehicle as specific as the Morgan Super 3, the bleeding edge of enthusiasts will find it a weirdly rewarding and enjoyable way to take the long way home. (Those Americans who are interested, as Morgan PR and communications boss James Gilbert says, can get in touch with “a small but passionate network of around a dozen dealerships” who are “experienced in distance selling, able to help customers regardless of their location.”) 

Some of the more persnickety drivers (like me) might wish for a more hardcore experience, like an exhaust note that’s more soulful, more characterful power delivery and perhaps a boost in power to transform it from quick-feeling to actually quick. Many will also take umbrage with its starting price of just under $54,000, which can climb rapidly when the extensive options list is tapped. It may not tick every, or even many of the boxes of what most people seek in a vehicle. But that might be the saving grace of the Super 3: it’s precisely the kind of wackadoodle three-wheeler you never knew you needed.

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