On the evening following the V.S.C.C. Oulton Park Meeting I availed myself of a long-standing invitation on the part of John Lindop to inspect his beautifully-restored 1930/31 ex-Lones Morgan three-wheeler. We swapped a ride in a Facel-Vega for a run in the Morgan, which is still capable of 100 m.p.h. and which could reach 114 m.p.h. in track trim.
To be wafted up to 85 m.p.h. with lightning rapidity in this “Moggy” was exciting in the extreme, the 996-c.c. vee-twin o.h.v. air-cooled J.A.P. engine pounding out power so that the entire structure vibrates and the exhaust note is a hard, purposeful rasp: The nose behind that engine, containing petrol and oil tanks, is brief and the wind rushes unbroken past the passenger’s head. The only dial is the petrol-tank air-pressure gauge. On corners the Morgan is surprisingly stable, although its rear Hartford shockabsorber, on a hoop over the back wheel, was off for overhaul. The foot-brake hasn’t much effect but the hand-brake, operating on the front wheels, produces unexpectedly good retardation.
Lindop keeps this historic cyclecar in excellent condition, the body red externally and finished in workshop grey within. Naturally the two-speed transmission is retained and the chassis is lower than standard. The engine originally had a compression-ratio of 12 to 1 on one cylinder, 12:5 to 1 on the other, but now runs on an 8-to-1 compression-ratio, and, with two motor-cycle carburetters, gives about 30 m.p.g.
This brief ride in the ex-Lones Morgan ranks amongst my more satisfying and definitely more exciting motoring experiences.-W. B.
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