Categories: News

Morgan outlines new 3-Wheeler – which three-wheelers from yesteryear are also worth checking out?

It is not customary to pay much attention to sketches of a new model. Often these are drawings drenched in exaggeration, flavored with a good dash of marketing. Morgan’s latest pencil strokes are also accompanied, in full tradition, with catchphrases such as ‘eccentric’ and ‘aircraft inspired’. The fact is that with the idiosyncratic English this is more than hot air and is really based on something! Not only is the design eccentric – actually a kind of fighter for the road – the ‘missing’ rear wheel makes the 3-Wheeler a eye-catcher. Over the years, there have been more tricycles to which the marketing term ‘eccentric’ was fine.

Forbidden to fly

The plan to build a tricycle, based on combat aircraft, is nothing new. Already in the fifties the German Messerschmitt introduced the KR175. In the aftermath of the war, the manufacturer was prohibited from producing aircraft and was therefore forced to divert to passenger transport. In four years, the Germans knew no fewer than 15,000 of these Kabinrollers –in other words, putting a scooter with a cabin on the road. It is this cabin where the aircraft inspiration is most expressed. Like its banned flying predecessors, the KR175 has a Plexiglas dome that guarantees perfect all-round visibility. In terms of performance, the single-cylinder powered KR175 had little in common with the Messerschmitts of yesteryear. Its just under 10 horsepower made it possible to reach a top speed of 80 kilometers per hour, but it did not go well.

The roof is going off

With its hinged roof, the Messerschmitt had a design feat that would be repeated many times in the years that followed. Also on the other side of the canal, where the English applied the concept to the Bond Bug. Entry was made possible by moving the entire roof, including the windscreen, forward. With its diminutive dimensions you had to struggle to really get into parking problems, but thanks to this ingenious system, getting in and out was extremely easy even in the most approximate position. The Bond Bug was produced by Reliant. Characteristic of this brand was the front-mounted single wheel. The marketers at the time called the Bond Bug a true ‘Fun Car’, which it lived up to with its relatively low weight and center of gravity.



Cult classic

In terms of stability, there are doubts about the configuration chosen by Reliant. While this was kept within limits with the Bug due to the aforementioned low center of gravity, the Robin was less stable there. In reality, it was not so bad with how often the Robin fell over, but on television the fiberglass box grew into a true cult classic. In both Top Gear and Mr. Bean the Robin guaranteed jokes and pranks. However, the lack of a fourth wheel had some serious argument. At the time, the cheaper motorcycle license was enough to drive the little Brit, with modest success as a result.


patriotic pride

Are all tricycles a product of the last century? Nope, in the mid-00s the Dutch Carver came up with a special creation: the Carver One. Again the single wheel was at the front of the vehicle. Because the entire cab dived into the corner like a Valentino Rossi, the stability problem was relegated to the history books. With two seats in a row, the Dutch ‘pride’ tried to combine the advantages of a motorcycle with a roof. With its price of a luxury mid-range car, the Carver was short-lived. The vehicle is now on sale again, for about a quarter of the original price. However, this electric, covered scooter will not drive faster than 45 km/h.

Modern interpretation

Also on the other side of the Grote Plas they are thinking about leaving out a wheel. The American Polaris has been supplying the Slingshot for several years now. In keeping with its Morgan counterpart, this brutal looking device has a single wheel at the rear. On its own, this axle has to get all the 170 horses generated by the 2.4 liter GM block on the road. The Slingshot has no other similarities with the 3 Wheeler. The American has state-of-the-art multimedia, a banging music system and a pleasant waterproof interior. The fact that the Polaris tries to bring the three-wheel concept to the twenty-first century is also clearly visible from the outside. Judge for yourself whether the Americans have succeeded in this.



In the begin

A list about tricycles is of course not complete without what is perhaps the most important of all. The Benz Patent Motorwagen is regarded worldwide as the first car ever, and it had only three (gigantic) wheels. Powered by an extremely light (100 kg) 1 hp single cylinder for that time, the classic Benz managed to transfer its power to the rear wheels via a leather tire. In this way the ‘horseless carriage’ could reach a top speed of 16 kilometers per hour. In 1886 a true revolution.


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