Founded on an Icon
The success of the Morgan Motor Company was founded on an icon, the Morgan Three-Wheeler. This brilliant but simple design by H.F.S. Morgan became one of the most successful lightweight cars of the early days of motoring. The principal of fitting a powerful motorcycle engine and simple transmission into a light-weight chassis and body inspired a new type of vehicle which generically became known as the ‘Cyclecar’. Thus the fashion for ‘new motoring’ introduced the freedom of the open road to those of more modest means. The Morgan Runabout was at the forefront of this movement and therefore Harry Morgan can be regarded as the man who first introduced motoring for the masses.
The prototype was constructed in 1909 and was a simple three-wheeler with a tubular steel chassis fitted with a 7 h.p. Peugeot V-twin engine. One of its main features was the unusual power to weight ratio of 90 brake horsepower per ton, which enabled this little vehicle to accelerate as fast as any car being produced at that time. H.F.S. had invaluable assistance from Mr Stephenson-Peach, the engineering master at Malvern College and Repton School in Derbyshire, in whose workshops much of the development work was carried out. Although not originally intended as a commercial venture, the favourable reaction to Morgan’s machine encouraged him to consider putting the car into production. Leslie bacon decided that this was far too risky and quit the partnership, although the two men remained close friends for the rest of their lives.